Position Analysis: Kneeling

Kneeling has been the position I love to hate.  Jeff Cooper didn’t think too highly of it so I didn’t either.  After I began to actually think for myself, it was never a priority to rethink kneeling, so I have tended to be dismissive of it.  Trouble is, I have always found that it’s just sort of natural to drop into kneeling when I need approximately the speed of standing and a bit more steadiness.  Let’s take a look and see what we actually have here.

I did not have a photographer for this shooting position.  Lucky for you that August of 2011 was the month that I dedicated this blog to kneeling and went way in depth in two parts.  I still shoot it pretty much the same way.  My elbow might be a little lower now.  I used the low kneeling position for this test.

This was the fifth position I tested over the course of two days.  I had a flinch by the time I did kneeling, so my groups were horrendous.  This was the last time I shot before moving from this paradise of a range at my own home/hell on earth.


To see my testing protocols click here.  Without further ado:

Slow Fire:


Boys, we got us a problem.  This isn’t something my ar15.com group app will save me from.  I only have 9 holes on my target.  Usually when that happens I can find one hole that is elongated.  In this case I can say definitively that there are only 9 holes.  The other possibility I looked for was that I only fired 9 shots.  Well, even though my iPhone shot timer app was not reliable, it was only unreliable in the course of this test in one way- it would stop recording early on occasion.  This time I had times for 10 shots, and none of them looked out of the norm for split times.  The only explanation left is that I missed the target backer.  I think I can see the shot in the wood above the backer, but I can’t say for sure that it came from that particular missed shot, so it’s a mystery, and my slow fire distance in the charts to follow is actually garbage.

Time Stress:

Time Stress

While my group still sucked, at least I can account for all 10 shots.  I realized during this target that I was flinching and that I had to overemphasize my follow through by really pinning the trigger to the rear.

Time Stress Exerted:

Time Stress Exerted

I guess what I needed to tighten my group up was to do a bunch of jumping jacks and pushups.  Actually, I had all 10 shots to pin that trigger to the rear, so that’s probably what you’re seeing.  It’s still pretty horrible though.  Wait until you see my standing groups!

My groups translated to the following distances for my static, highly visible 4” target.  I gave you a reminder that the bar for my slow fire group is invalid:

86- to unsupported kneeling

Maximum Distance 99 To Unsupported Kneeling

I’m going to skip the part where I would otherwise have gone on and on about how the time stress and time stress exerted groups compared to the slow fire.  If I can get all 10 shots on paper next time I’ll make up for it.  There will be a next time, because I just can’t settle for how I shot this time.


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 62.97 and 63.06 seconds respectively, averaging 63.02 seconds.  The average of all positions, for comparison, was 57.33.  At least I was consistent.  What you’re seeing with the sling supported positions, more likely than slinging up taking the extra time, is finding the natural point of aim every time.  This was the 7th fastest of 10 positions timed in this manner.

The average split time for this position, excluding reloads, was 4.86 seconds (low 3.3 , high 12.97).  The average time of all the positions was 6.53.  Even with taking my time on a few shots to get the best sight picture I could hope to ruin by mashing the trigger, this was still the fastest position in terms of splits of all those that I tested.

The total times of each timed portion of the test were 149.70 and 127.86, averaging 138.78.  The average time of all the positions tested was 134.48 seconds.  There’s an explanation for that.  I have to single feed rounds, unless I’d rather remove the mag and top it off.  I do know that my first single fed round for the Time Stress portion got stuck in my pocket and that the time for that split was inordinately high.  Something very similar happened in the Time Stress Exerted phase.  This position probably should have been 4th or 5th fastest overall.

This position was the biggest glitch of my entire test.  Having a crappy flinch day and losing that one round were not great, but that was about as bad as it got.  That is, except for my standing groups.  That will be next.  Same bat time.  Same bat channel.




8 thoughts on “Position Analysis: Kneeling

  1. Dude, the free download AR15.com app doesn’t cover oopsies that large. You have to spring for the Master Professional Gunfighting Tier 1-Molle-covered-Multicam-front-Marpat-back-Operator version, after you upgrade your computer.

    • They only gave me the free version???!!! DON’T THEY KNOW WHO I AM????!!!!!!!!!

      I was wondering why it said Tier 2 on it and why it was available only in Woodland and the chocolate chip desert patterns.

  2. Well, misery loves company. I’ve switched from raised foot to flat foot behind support in an attempt to improve my kneeling. It does provide some very marginal additional stability. But then, in the field, flat foot doesn’t always get me over the undergrowth. Yes, I’ve been short all my life, and I ain’t gettin’ any taller now. If you come up with the miracle cure for the wobble inherent in this position, please let us all know.

    • Larry, just lean your forward hand against the side of a tree or similar object. I’m afraid that is as good as it gets. However, I think one ought to be able to clobber a deer out to about 150 yards this way, maybe even further.

      • No disagreement from me Pete. I’m always looking for additional ‘field expedient’ support. Last year I bagged a deer at about 170 as I made use of a tall post to stabilize a shot from standing. This free help is not to be minimized. I’ve shot deer from kneeling out to almost that far, but to be truthful, I’ve missed some also.

  3. Pingback: Sling vs. No Sling, Part 3: Kneeling | Art of the Rifle

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