Shooting positions: Part 2 sitting and kneeling

by B.B. Pelletier

Start with sitting
The sitting position is one of the most stable of all, coming in just behind prone. But it can be a difficult position for many shooters to assume. The classic position is sitting with the feet planted flat and splayed apart in front of the shooter. This works okay for a very fit person; but, if your midriff is thicker, it pushes you back until you cannot maintain the position. That’s too bad because this is the No. 1 position of choice for field target shooting.

The classic sitting position has the legs splayed out with the heels dug in.

The classic sitting position with the legs splayed apart with the heels dug into the ground separately depends on finding just the right piece of ground upon which to sit. If you can’t find what you need, there is a better way to sit.

Truss me – I know what I’m doing!
The sitting position is SO popular that a harness has been developed to strap the legs in place and keep the shooter upright. You’ll notice that the shooter in the picture isn’t heavy, he’s just an older man. As we age, the muscles in our backs get shorter and tighter, and this can do the same thing as a big belly, so the harness is most helpful for older shooters.

This field target shooter wears a harness that allows him to cross his ankles.

Tip 3. Cross your legs!
Instead of planting your heels apart, if you cross your legs at the ankles when you sit like the shooter in the picture, most of the pressure will come off your back. This relaxes you while sitting, but it also removes the knee as a shooting platform. The shooter in the picture has his legs held up by the harness, and he’s using his knee to rest the rifle. But notice that he has a pad on his knee that elevates the rifle so his eye is in the correct position for sighting. The same thing can be done when the legs are crossed without a harness, if you make a rifle brace to stretch from your crossed leg up to where you want the rifle to rest. This rest will be about four times longer than the pad in the picture, or about 10 inches long. Experiment to find the right length for you. All it takes is a board with a Y on either end.

Tip 4. The ankle roll
The kneeling position is easier to assume than sitting for most people, but it has one serious drawback. Your butt sits back on the off leg, putting a lot of pressure on the ankle. It’s no problem for anyone but a three-position target shooter because a roll of padding can be inserted under the ankle for support. In the target shooting world, they frown on additional supports and, depending on what level of competition you shoot at, the rules about ankle rolls can be daunting.

The kneeling shooter sits back on the off leg, putting great pressure on the ankle. A roll of padding between the ankle and the ground relieves the pressure to a large extent.

Next time I’ll address the question we received about controlling muzzle flip in a pistol.

25 thoughts on “Shooting positions: Part 2 sitting and kneeling

  1. hey B.B. im having a lot of trouble with my scope stop. it keeps slipping i was wondering if u could tell me which scope stops perform the best on high recoil rifles with heavy scopes

  2. It’s really the rifle and not the scope stop. Dianas are difficult but not impossible. Tomahawks are more difficult. If the rifle doesn’t have a place for the scope stop to connect to, it’s next to impossible to stop the scope from sliding.

    What kind of gun are we talking about?

  3. I’m trying to picture this board with a v and how it will effect a “soft” hold. Guess I’ll do some experimenting. Also I’ve been disappointed with the groups I’ve gotten with my r9 in .20 I use for pests. But after 2’000 or so rounds acurracy has really improved, but it’s still pretty hold sensitve. I’d about given up on it, but now I think I’ll keeper.I think theres a lesson there. Also on 5/7/05 you mention J B bore cleaner. I don’t see it on the site. Where to get it? this blog is awsome thanks again

  4. William,

    Pad the top V (that holds the gun) with leather. The bottom that rests on your leg can be more of a semicircle with padding, if you like. I have used this board with PCPs, I don’t know how well it will do with springers, though TXs shouldn’t be a problem. Your R9 is hold-sensitive and will never change.

    My board is about 10 inches long. I have seen adjustable rests, too.

    Get JB Bore Compounds at any GOOD gun store. Or order it online from Midway (


  5. I know this has nothing to do with that last post, but i had to ask you bb.

    What is the best hunting air rifle i can buy for under $150?

    I am looking for accuracy and punch.

    I just bought a crossman quest 1000x in .22 cal from pyramid. The estimated arrival date is the 31st.
    Would you think that was a good choice. I noticed that you havent done a review on the quest. I have read good and bad reviews. I need a well respected and experienced individual’s opinion (Thats You).

    The most accurate gun I have ever owned was a crosman 1377c. I bought this guy 1 week ago,and I took down a smaller sized crow from about 30 yards with open sights,and 3 or 4 pumps, with a cooperhead .177 wadcutter. It took my breath away. I was about to order the 459mt, a 3-9 x 32 leapers scope, and a crosman 1399 shoulder stock. The shoulder stock is suprisingly available at They have horrible prices though.

    I need help BB.


  6. i found an interesting rifle, and i thought you might want to have a look. it is a paintball marker, but it uses small casings to hold ammunition, and a puff of c0s to propel it. if you think about that, it means with a different casing and barrel, it could shoot other things. and thats what it does. bb/pellets, accordingly. you can buy the marker and barrel separately for about $600 (ouch!!) or pre-assembeled for about $800 (ouch!!!!)
    the site says it gets 400 fps with a paintball, so i assume it is higher with a pellet. it holds 20 rounds, and is semi automatic. at 40 yards, it gets groups of 7 inches, with paintballs. one must think that with pellets it improves. i think this would make a good hunting rifle. it has enough power to kill, and when it dosent, the follow-up is less than a second away.
    links: – marker – kit – pre-assembled
    i know the price isnt great, and there are other rifles that get better accuracy and power for much less, but i thought it was very interesting, anyhow.
    what do you think, bb?

  7. B.B.

    Have you developed any methods for dealing with a break barrel springer in the prone or sitting positions? All my shooting is standing – too difficult to cock in other positions.

    Springer John

  8. “paintball”

    The gun you sent me to uses sabots to hold the BBs (the real steel BBs, not airsoft). Ouch! There is no way it will ever be accurate enough for anything, let alone hunting wherte you want the best accuracy you can get. There is no rifled barrel, hence no long-range accuracy.

    You will have to load each of those tiny sabots before you load them into the magazine of the gun.

    Incidentally, since they refer to steel BBs as 4.5mm, we know they do not know much about BBs. BBs are about 4.3mm.

    I see the semiauto action as the only attraction, but the Crosman NightStalker gives you that WITH accuracy for a lot less money.

    If I am going to shoot at targets, I want the gun to be better than I am, and this one isn’t. When you throw in the high price, it doesn’t sound too good.

    Those are my thoughts,


  9. While the sitting position can be more stressful on one’s back, the solution is not (just) a brace; a better solution IMHO is to do one’s exercises. I do stretching and strengthing exercises for my back every day and at 63 shoot without a brace every day with comfort.

    Basically, what a physical therapist will teach one is how to do what a chiropractor does to you for yourself. Cheaper and better for you.

  10. i shot a 200 silver arrows and about 100 crow magnums out of the crosman i just bought. The scope keeps shifting the impact to the right. even with opens sights i cant get it 2 shoot dime size groups at 15 feet.

    It is actually called “Quest 800x .22 cal”. It has amazing power but i can’t get it to group. I shot it with it press hard agianst my shoulders and a tight grip, but that failed. I shot it while it was resting on a pillow and against my shoulder for some control, but that also failed. I shot it with a light rest on my shoulder and a tight grip on the forearm, but that also made me want to cry.

    I dont know what im doing wrong.Even with turning the dials correctly for elevation and horizontal direction, it failed to follow. None of the shots fell on top of each other. I’ve shot better groups b4.

    I dont KNOW WHAT TO DO!!

    Can somebody give me some tips…
    anybody 😐

    I also dont hear or feel any clicks on the scope.

    BB, Should I send it back and get the benjamin 392?

  11. I know what’s wrong!

    Your scope is adjusted out too far in one direction, either up or right, and the erector tube is floating on the relaxed springs. I addressed this on March 24, 2005. Go to the archives (on the right side of the blog index page), click on March 2005 and scroll down to the 24th. That post will describe your situation.

    The solution is to adjust the scope while leaving the reticle adjustments centered.


  12. Cesarf25s,

    Some more comments on your problem.

    The Silver Arrows are not accurate in most guns. And the same for Crow Magnums. Try Crosman Premiers, or JSB Exacts. They will group.

    Are you using a light hold? The Quest is recoil-sensitive and does not like to be held tight. And don’t rest the forearm on anything but the flat of your hand.


  13. Cesarf25s,

    Some additional comments on your problem. Both Silver Arrows and Crow magnums have bad reputations for accuracy. Try Crosman Premiers and JSB Exacts.

    The Quest is very hold-sensitive. Are you floating it, rather than holding it tightly?


  14. I tried both bb. If by floating you mean giving it enough grip to keep it steady but letting it dance around after a shot. I’m sorry i mislead you on that last comment. Every shot I took with it I had it reasting on the palm of my hand for my own security. While testing it more the top wheel of the scope flew off and hit me on the forehead. I also shot about 50 more kodiaks and maybe 30 more predators. The kodiaks + crows grouped like this, with open sights…

    that one that hit the rubber part of the shoot came back and hit me on the top of the head. I was wearing glasses. 🙂 Most of the kodiaks fell into the into the part of the shoe that is sewed together. The kodiaks did penetrate further.


  15. Cesar,

    15 feet is too close to shoot your rifle. At 10 feet, get the pellet hitting below the aimpoint as far as the center of the scope is above the center of the bore.

    Then move back to 30 feet. The goal is to have the pellets land an inch low. That should put them on at 20 yards (60 feet).


  16. BB,

    What is the best air rifle (right out of the box)that you have ever owned?

    Whats the best group you have ever made?

    What is your favorite air rifle moment?

    I just thought these questions would be a nice little break for you. You devote yourself to answering as much airgunning questions as you can.

    We are all really grateful.

    Thanks for the help.


  17. Hey B.B.

    I was wondering what position you use when sighting a scope, or anytime you’re trying to achieve maximum accuracy?

    And… that field target shooter in the picture in the blog wouldn’t happen to be you now would it?


  18. I just saw one of your blogs that probably answers my question: shooting from a bench gets you the most accuracy.

    Know of any good plans on the web for a homemade bench?


  19. jw,

    I do shoot from a bench when going for the best accuracy, but I know a few field target competitors who sight-in sitting down.

    No, I don’t know of any good bench plans. Sounds like a good research project for you.


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