Ready Positions (R)

The Rifle Drills course is an on-line curricula consists of 15 short instructional modules with quizzes.

The predecessor to the Rifle Drills Course is the Handgun Drills course which we encourage everyone to start with. By building on the foundation of the Handgun Drills course you will more quickly learn what works for you should you be afforded the luxury of enough time to retrieve your long gun.

In this Rifle Drills course, we will provide you with the study materials needed to begin mastering stress resistant gun handling techniques for the rifle. This course will introduce you to drills that you should practice at home (dry) and on the range (live).

The drill modules should be completed in order, after which the student can revisit any module at any time to refresh their memory. Students who complete all 15 modules and pass the quizzes will be awarded a certificate that can be posted to their profile page.

INSTRUCTIONS: Watch the video, read the narrative, review the still photos then take the quiz at the bottom. When done move on to the next module indicated at the bottom.

DURATION: 30 Minutes


RIFLE DRILLS - 05 Ready Positions At this point I have mentioned a few positions to you that may not be familiar with, so before we go any further I would like to quickly cover these positions and get you acquainted with them.

Once we are faced with legitimate lethal force event, we will need to present our rifle towards our target area, and because it is a legitimate lethal force event, we should have our finger on the trigger.

We have our finger on the trigger because we never threaten with a firearm and we are already prepared to shoot.

While we can escalate force and test for compliance, we should never threaten.Therefore, if we are pointed in at someone, we had better be shooting, and in order to shoot, your trigger finger must be on the trigger.

Therefore, if we are pointed in at someone, we had better be fully capable, willing and ready to soot, and in order to shoot, your trigger finger must be on the trigger.

If lethal force is not the case and we are simply escalating force or testing for compliance, then we should not be pointed at anyone, nor should we allow our trigger finger to be on the trigger.

So remember this basic rule, on target = on trigger, and off target = off trigger.

The Field Ready

The first basic positions I want to familiarize you with is the field ready position, it is the most relaxed position you can be in, and the field-ready is the position you will be in most of the time when you actually wear your rifle; simply because it is the most relaxed and least fatiguing position you can be in while carrying a long gun.

The field-ready takes advantage of the tactical sling and simply allows you to rest the rifle's weight comfortably against your body.

The downside of the field ready is that it does take a little longer to engage from than some of the other positions we will be describing to you shortly.

To assume the filed ready position, simply assume a natural and comfortable stance, something you could stand in for a long period of time.

Allow the rifles weight to be supported by the tactical sling. Keep your trigger finger straight on its tactile reference point with your firing side hand maintaining a comfortable yet firm grasp of the grip, while your support hand comfortably rests on the handguard, thumb over the top (or pointing along the side), ready for action.

01 The Field Ready - Think of a long-term relaxed ready position, allow the sling to do the work.
Note: Trigger finger is straight on its tactile reference point.

RDM 5 1

The Ready Position

The ready position is the position you would find yourself in if you believed that the fight were eminent, such as when entering a hallway or room in order to clear it.

While the ready position is a fast position to engage from, it is very fatiguing and not a position you would want to be in for any extended period of time.

To assume the ready position, simply presenting your rifle out to approximately 30 degrees below your line of sight, at a downward angle, with your trigger finger straight and on its tactile reference point, with the stock deep into the shoulder pocket (off the deltoid, into the chest).

Must the muzzle be depressed at exactly 30 degrees?


As long as you have an unobstructed view of your surroundings and you are not unintentionally covering your adversaries feet/legs.

You can keep the firearm higher or lower (appropriate to the situation/distance), as long as you don’t violate the firearms safety habits you will be golden.

02 The Ready Position - Keeping the elements of a proper stance and grip, with your trigger finger straight and off the trigger, the muzzle will be below your adversaries feet/legs.

RDM 5 2

The High Ready Position

The high ready is a position that is a good choice when you don’t believe contact is eminent, yet you believe contact is probable but it is likely.

While the high ready doesn’t provide the long term comfort the field ready does, it is much more comfortable on the lower back than the more fatiguing ready position.

To assume the high ready position, keep your trigger finger straight and on its tactile reference point, then simply tuck the rear portion of the stock (around the butplate) under your firing side arm, and simultaneously bringing the tip of your muzzle up into your line of sight.

When you look around, your muzzle should follow your eyes. Think, eyes - muzzle - target. Wherever your eyes go, your muzzle should follow.

03 The High Ready - Stock tucked under your armpit, trigger finger still straight on its reference point, front sight/muzzle in your line of sight (think: eyes - muzzle - target).

RDM 5 3

The Point in Position

To get to the point in position from the ready position, keep your basic grip and stance unchanged and simply elevate the muzzle straight up into your line of site.

As your rifle comes up you will disengage any safeties and simultaneously place your trigger finger on the trigger taking the slack out of the trigger.

Why is the safety off and finger on the trigger with the slack out?

Because we never threaten with a firearm, so if you are pointing in, you are obviously sure that you need to kill someone. Therefore, if you are point in you
need to be ready to shoot, and being ready to shoot requires your finger on the trigger with the slack out, ready to fire.

For the moment, that’s where we want you to stop; point in and your trigger finger on the trigger and the slack out (without pressing the trigger to get the hammer to fall or the firing pin to click forward).

04 Grip Starts - It only takes a fraction of a second to move from the ready position to the pointed in position.

RDM 5 4

I have used the term slack a couple of times so let me clarify:

If you have your unloaded rifle in your designated dry practice area, point it in a safe direction (see the DSI Dry Practice Guide) and gently place your finger on the trigger without activating it.

When your finger touches the trigger, and as soon as you start pressing, you will notice a little mush, a slightly springy/spongy feeling. This spongy feeling is the spring tension that is holding the trigger forward.

If you have no spongy/springy feel and your trigger just "breaks" (hammer flies forward), you may have what we refer to as a clean break.

If this is the case, you have no slack, you will simply place your finger on the trigger and press when ready.

On the other hand, if you have any springy/spongy movement in the trigger, it is what we call “slack.” The slack in your rifle may or may not be very noticeable, and the amount of slack will vary from manufacturer to manufacturer, as well from one model to another.

Consider slack as an undesirable element to the trigger, so if you are going to be point in, and have your finger on the trigger, one of the first things you should do is get rid of the slack, that spongy feeling… until you feel the actual mechanical resistance of the trigger.

Almost all factory firearms have some amount of slack, so as soon as your finger touches that trigger when you are point in, get used to taking the slack out immediately - by the time your rifle is up and level with your eyes, all the slack should be out of the trigger.

Now, as I wrote above, at this stage I don’t want you to press the trigger to make any hammers fall or to hear any firing pins fly, so once you have the rifle sights in your line of sight and the slack out of the trigger, consider this “pointed in drill” finished.

If you build in the habit above, you will be taking positive steps in the right direction as well as setting a solid foundation for lightning-fast shooting in the future.

Once you have finished pointing in, return back to the ready position by first getting your trigger finger straight. Learning to move from the pointed in at the ready position is also a good habit to build. Does this mean that you must always go from the pointed in at the ready?

No, but for now, it is a habit that I would like for you to build until you become more mobile (which will happen in short order once you are working with us on the range).