Position Analysis: Cross Ankle Sitting

This breaks with the order that I actually shot the positions in, but is the most logical position in sequence to follow open leg sitting.  I had actually shot kneeling and standing prior to cross ankle sitting, because as I said previously, I didn’t know how much I’d have time to shoot so I skipped ahead to kneeling and standing prior to doubling back to cover this position and squatting.

Cross ankle sitting is my go-to sitting position for static targets on level, uniform terrain.  I’ve shot stage 2 of the Appleseed AQT literally millions of times in this position (that was a lie).  It locks me into my natural point of aim more effectively than any other sitting position I have tried.  As with the open leg sitting position, my professional photographer was absent for this shooting session, so you’ll have to refer to my 2011 article here.

I shot the groups to test this position at a different location from most of the rest, as I no longer reside or have access to the property I used to live at.  I shot at the location I did my shooting at for the first year of the blog and where the videos for the Whelen Challenge, Rifle Ten, Rifle Bounce (Jug Bounce), my snapshot update video, and my close range moving target video were shot.

This shooting session felt as if the entire thing was under time stress, because I had about an hour to do what had taken me over three hours the week prior.  I didn’t have a key to the facility and I had about an hour before I got locked in, vehicle and all.  I shot this position, along with squatting and another sitting position, three groups each, for a total of 90 rounds, in less than an hour, brass picked up and all.  They were closing the gate as I drove out, which gave me a good opportunity to flip off the guy closing it (it’s important to foster a reputation as an upstanding member of the community).

I shot from exactly 100 yards.  I didn’t note the weather, at least in a place I can find it, but the internet tells me that the high of the day was 72 degrees.  Since it was at 100 yards, does it really matter?  I tell you no!!!  I had no elevation or windage corrections from zero.

To view my testing protocol, click here.

I apologize for the poor lighting in the following photos.  I didn’t have time to photo them at the range, so I brought the entire target backer home.  It was not well lit by the time I arrived home with time for photographs.

Slow fire:


Time Stress:

Time Stress

Time Stress Exerted:

TSE app

Oh WHOOPS!!! I left my ar15.com shot group app on.  I’ll turn that off so you can see the group as I really shot it.

Time Stress Exerted, take 2:

Time Stress Exerted
                   Everything seemed to be going as planned until that last shot…


Those groups translated to hit probabilities on my stationary, easy to see 4” target within the following distances:

86- to Cross Ankle Sitting

Maximum Distance 99 To Cross Ankle Sitting

There are times when I’m in ‘shape’ for shooting this position, and then there’s the majority of the time.  I haven’t been in top condition for this position for a while and was not at the time of this test.  Note in the results that under exertion this position tanked in comparison to open leg sitting.  Most of it was due to one bad shot, but I can’t say it didn’t happen.  What I do think would be valid to say is that the quality of the shot was different than the others, and that the predictive nature of the statistics is not up to measuring the variability of human qualities in these positions that are so dependent on the human over the rifle.

I’ve actually shot from this position under exertion many times (significantly more exertion than in this test) and have found that it is extremely difficult unless I’m super dialed in.  In this case I took a lot of extra time to get my hits (see times below), but that isn’t always an alternative.  I think the problem comes from the compression that this position puts on the torso.  The position moves a lot when the heart rate is up and the breath is gasping.  Now I know that there’s a better alternative.

As with open leg sitting, I compared this position to supported sitting by averaging the three groups from each position.  It was 50.48 as precise as supported sitting on average.  That’s within about four hundredths of a percentage point of the open leg sitting average.

The time from the start signal for the time stress and time stress exerted groups until my first shot, which is the time it took me, from a standing position about a foot away from my rifle, to load my magazines, load the rifle, and assume a firing position, was 73.42 and 62.42 seconds respectively, averaging 67.92.  The average of all positions, for comparison, was 57.33.  Establishing natural point of aim for sling supported positions is more demanding.  This position ranked third from the bottom of the list in speed of the first shot fired.

This should have been among the fastest of positions in terms of split times, but I had a few glitches with my natural point of aim wanting to drift.  I often can watch my NPA drift down and left when I’m looped up as my support side rotator cuff stretches, allowing my rifle to go farther left than my elbow.  My split time average for this position was 7.58 (low 3.3, high 11.34), versus the average of all positions which was 6.53.  What I’m used to more along the lines of when I shot this back in 2012:

Video credit to David Foucachon.  Thank you!

My total times to my last shots in the time portions of the test were 138.55 and 161.44, averaging 150.0 (149.995) seconds, versus the average of all times, which was 134.48.  The time stress exerted portion was really robbing me of acceptable sight pictures, so I took the time I needed to, but even without exertion the position was slower than average.  There is a trend in the numbers that may explain the reason for this that I’ll address next month.

I think what I learned about this position is that it works pretty darn well if I have time to set it up perfectly, or if I’m really dialed in with a lot of recent practice in it.  Under exertion, it loses out to open leg sitting.  Other than that, it’s kind of a wash, and I should look for support if I need to shoot better.

One thought on “Position Analysis: Cross Ankle Sitting

  1. This is also my go-to sitting position, and I have pretty much found the same thing you have (albeit in much less scientific method). I have found that if I take too much time between getting into position and taking the initial shot, I start developing pretty uncomfortable pain in my ankles and hips. Open leg seems faster, and more comfortable, but is certainly less stable for me. But playing with today, I think open leg is something I will have to spend more time with.

    I like the crack about ARFCOM groups, it’s true in a sad way.

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