When it comes to accuracy and handling a firearm safely, your shooting stance plays a major role. Of course, your stance will change, or at least need adjustments, based on the type of firearm you’re using—after all, you’d hardly hold a handgun and a rifle exactly the same way. Any of you who have shot any firearm before can attest to the fact that, it’s not just all about arm strength or careful aiming either; creating a sturdy base with your stance can better help you prepare for the recoil, which will lessen your inclination to “jerk” or “flinch” as you pull the trigger. For those of you new to the AR 15 world, or firearms in general, one of the best starting points to improving your accuracy is to ensure you’re using proper form.
While you’re going to hold each firearm style differently, there are some basic starting points to firing any firearm. To start with, create a firm—but not locked!—base with your feet and legs. There are different methods for this, including keeping your feet parallel versus staggering one foot in front of the other slightly. However, the basic starting point to create a strong foundation is to stand with feet slightly more than shoulder’s width apart, knees slightly bent, and toes on both feet pointing toward the target. You will likely want to lean forward slightly at the waist and shift your balance forward a bit. With a stance like this, your legs will help give you a strong base, but one that will help your body absorb and counterbalance the rearward force from firing. Your arm positioning will vary more depending on what you’re shooting, but should strive to have your arms as fully extended as possible without your arms locked.
Now, basic shooting stance covered, we need to add a caveat or two. First and foremost, the AR 15 was originally designed primarily for combat use and, as you may imagine, in combat situations—or even for hunting use—time is often of the essence, so you may not have time to fidget and fiddle and get your form just right before firing. The second caveat: depending on your primary usage, you may not always shoot from a standing position. In order to get into a solid shooting stance quickly, there are a couple of things that help.
When you drive, you’ve probably had enough years of experience that your vehicle feels like an extension of yourself. You can sense where your car is in the lane, how close other vehicles are, how far away the stoplight is, and so on. This is proprioception; essentially, you’re using external cues and stimuli to unconsciously perceive your own orientation in regard to movements around you. Most serious firearms owners, whether military or civilian, spend hours on the range to finely hone this same sense with their firearm. This is an excellent practice as it allows your body to start naturally and unconsciously sensing how to move and position when firing, which often helps improve accuracy.
The other key component to finding that same proper shooting stance quickly and accurately is to make it easy for your muscle memory to do the heavy lifting. Part of this goes back to the proprioception thing we just discussed, and spending hours training your body. The other part is to give your hands a sort of flashing neon sign for “your hand here.” For an AR 15 (and many other rifles), this is where a rail grip or foregrip comes in. Yes, part of the benefit to an AR15 rail grip or foregrip is that the texture helps you keep a firm grip. But the other key part is that it gives your hand a very specific point to return to every single time. For tactical or hunting use, a rail grip or foregrip means you can go from safety on, gun down, and relaxed to aiming at your target in a sturdy stance quickly and not have to worry whether your front hand is far enough forward.
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