Continuing with a review of orthodox shooting positions, we come now to the kneeling position. In terms of stability, it is generally considered to be the least stable with the exception of the offhand position. In terms of speed, it is probably second only to offhand. Yes, there is a consistent pattern there.
More Stable = Slower
Faster = Less Stable
The kneeling position is a good field position in my opinion. It is quick to assume, quick to exit, it gives the shooter a smaller visual signature, allows for getting behind cover if necessary, and is a great improvement in precision over offhand with little increase in time.
The reason we get more stability with kneeling over offhand is that the supporting elbow is supported by the support side knee. The reason that kneeling is less stable than other positions is that the firing side elbow is still unsupported, as in offhand. This makes the shots fairly stable vertically, but generally more erratic horizontally. This instability can be mitigated to a great degree by dry fire practice.
Because the support arm is, well, supported, this makes the loop sling an option. If you’re unfamiliar with using a shooting sling, there will be an upcoming article. For this article, we’ll just do it unsupported, which seems to me more consistent with the probable use of this position in a more “time sensitive” situation.
To assume the kneeling position from a standing position, angle the firing side away from the target as in offhand, approximately 70°– 90°.
Contact @ 12 o’clock
Angle the body away from the target
Bring the butt of the rifle to the shoulder, as in offhand. While doing so, begin to drop your body by bending your knees, and bring your firing side foot so that your buttocks will be sitting on it when it completes its drop. By the time you have the rifle up, you should be sitting on your foot.
Your support side elbow should be just in front of the support side knee. The point of contact is “flat of the arm” to knee.
The “flat of the arm” is located just above the elbow on the back of the arm.
The “Flat of the Arm” is approximately located within the red box.
Avoid putting the point of the elbow on the point of the knee, as this is not stable (about as stable as a ball sitting on a ball).
Don’t do this. It’s not stable.
There are a couple of different ways to orient the firing side foot. The first is to have the toes bent up, the ball of the food in contact with the ground, and the buttocks on the heel. We’ll call this “High Kneeling”.
The second method is to keep the foot straight and the outside edge of the foot in contact with the ground, and the buttocks on the inside of the foot. We’ll call this “Low Kneeling”.
High kneeling is faster. Low kneeling is regarded by some to be more stable. Some people have limited flexibility and can only do it one way. I can use both, but generally favor high kneeling. It’s quicker, and they seem to me to have about the same level of precision.
With low knelling, because your bottom is lower, your point of aim will be higher unless you do something to get your support side knee lower.
You can lower your point of aim by extending your support side foot forward. Sliding the support hand forward will also lower the point of aim, though not as much.
In the upcoming article, “The Kneeling Position- Part 2”, we’ll fine tune things a bit.