Basic Rifle Marksmanship (BRM) Series- Sitting

Time to tackle the Sitting position! It’s almost as simple as, well, sitting down…

There are just a few details to iron out but they are easily mastered with just a touch of practice. Sitting is my most favorite position to shoot from. If I am given the choice of positions, sitting it is! This kind of goes against the wisdom I learned in the Navy, “Why stand when you can sit, why sit when you can lay down”. With all that said, lets do this!


Sitting comes in three basic forms, Cross Legged, Open Legged and Cross Ankle. I prefer cross legged as I feel that it is a more solid method as opposed to open legged. Each has their place terrain depending and ability of the shooter.

Cross Legged– Exactly what you think it is, just like when you were a kid. Sit on the ground, cross your legs. Do not sit with your torso directly facing your target. You want to be at around 30-60 degree angle depending on what is most natural for you. Not straight on and not a full 90 degrees.



Cross legged action side

Remember the Hard to Soft deal I mentioned? Still applies here. Hard? Knees and elbows. I prefer hard elbow into the inner soft portion of the thighs around the knee. You can reverse that if that is more comfortable to you but the point remains, Hard to Soft contacts.

With the “Crab Claw”

Leaning in to adjust POA

Leaning in more maintaining ‘Hard to Soft” contacts.

Adjusting the height of your sights is as simple as crossing your legs more or less or adjusting your elbow position.


Elbow on foot

An important fact to remember, Natural Point of Aim (NPOA) applies to all shooting position as well as all the steps that lead up to achieving it.

Open Legged – Sitting and again, do not sit with your torso facing straight at the target. You will want the target off about 30-60 degrees just as before. Knees up, elbows (hard) to the inside of the knees (soft). Of course as before you can lean more forward and go soft area behind your elbows (triceps) to the hard of your knees. To adjust the height of your sights you either raise or lower your knees or lean in or out. You’ve maintained your Natural Point of Aim (NPOA) right?


Open legged support side

Open Legged action side

The Open Legged position lends itself well if you find yourself shooting from the side of a hill.




Cross Ankle– In the Cross Ankle you have a seat same as the Cross Legged position and instead of bringing your feet up underneath you leave them extended, bending your knees and bringing your feet in slightly with your ankles crossed. How much will depend on your comfort and your sight picture. Place your elbows on your knees again, find the spot that allows hard to soft contacts again (this never changes) and lean in. It can be rather comfortable.


Elbows in different spots to suit POA


More on Cross Ankle can be found here from the AMU.

Bonus Positions!

Rice Paddy Prone– The Rice Paddy Prone. Not really a prone and not really a sitting… How do you get into it? Perform your best squat, straight down. If you don’t remember how, watch a toddler, they have amazing form!

Body angle to the target is the same as in the sitting positions if not slightly more square. In the bottom position you are basically sitting on your calf’s, you lean forward and find the hard to soft contact with your elbows that allows you to be comfortable and maintain the proper sight picture. Depending on your knees you may or may not be able to achieve this position or maintain it for very long. That’s ok, it’s not for extending shooting. This is for speed and not necessarily a “basic” position. But I just wanted to expose you to it.





FREAK SHOW Prone!– It’s not really sitting and it’s not really prone. You can thank Pat McNamara for this one. First and foremost, don’t attempt this one unless you know you have the flexibility for it. So the first step in attaining the Freak Show Prone is a good stretch…


Like most of these sitting positions you will usually have a slight cant to the target depending on your flexibility.






There you have it folks, the variations of the sitting position. Some basic and some not so basic but all have there place. Well, maybe, except for Freak Show Prone…

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