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Fundamentals of Shooting Part 2: Natural Alignment & Body Position

 >  Fundamentals of Shooting Part 2: Natural Alignment & Body Position

In Part 1 of this series we covered the importance of Stable Firing Platforms and how to achieve it in the prone (lying) position without a bipod or rest for your rifle.

In this article we will discuss the second fundamental technique of shooting, which is natural alignment to the target.

One of the biggest mistakes people make when they first start shooting is attempting to aim at the target by moving the rifle and not their body.

The problem with this is, whilst the weapon is pointing at the target, it creates a misalignment of the body, which is still pointing straight ahead and not at the target.

What then occurs is that your weapon will want to pull away from the target back to it’s natural resting position. To stop this you have to hold it on target using your upper body muscles.

This is called muscling the weapon, because you are fighting the natural direction that the rifle wants to point.

As the name suggests, it is not a comfortable or natural position and will result in making it harder to hold your sights on a target because your point of aim will want to move back to it’s resting position.

If you can’t move the rifle onto the target then how do you aim?

The answer to this question is that you move your body, not just your

What this does is move the rifle’s natural resting point of aim.

When done correctly your rifle point of aim will move.

How to adjust your natural point of aim when shooting

This is how you adjust your natural point of aim from the prone unsupported position.

Moving your aim left or right

Moving your aim left or right is achieved by shuffling the hips to the left to aim to the right, or shuffling right to aim to the left.

These are subtle movements that will maintain alignment of your body with the weapon and target.

Moving your aim up or down

Moving your aim up or down is achieved by shuffling the hips forward to aim lower, or back to aim higher.

Remember that you do not need to make large movements here, only subtle changes.

This is because the movement of your aim compounds over distance.


In summary, when taking slow deliberate shots your rifle should naturally point at the target when resting in your arms.

If it does not, then do not pull it onto the target buy moving it with your arms.

This is called muscling the weapon and will cause inaccurate shooting results as you will be fighting the rifle to stay on target.

Instead to move your natural point of aim, move your hips and your rifle will naturally point at the target.

In the next post we will discuss breathing, how it effects your aim and how you should time your breathing while shooting for optimal results.

About the Author

Simon has over ten years of military and private security contracting experience, spending the majority of his time as a sniper in the Infantry before leading mobile protection teams providing security for Australian diplomats. He has deployed and operated in multiple theatres, including Afghanistan and Iraq with the Australian Army and as a private contractor. He has extensive experience in training and development of both domestic and foreign forces in Infantry skills and is particularly passionate about marksmanship training.

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