Prone positions for serious marksmanship

Prone positions for serious marksmanship

According to Jeff Cooper in The Art of the Rifle, “The shooter’s body is the gun mount. It not only stabilises the rifle so that efficient sighting can be achieved, but it also affects trajectory initiation by moving slightly as the projectile moves from the chamber to the muzzle. Prone is the most stable of the standard positions, and a good shot can hit about as well from prone as he can from the bench rest.”

The prone positions are used for hunting or competitive shooting. They’re stable because more of the body is in contact with the ground than with the standing, sitting or kneeling positions. There are two primary positions: the cocked-leg and straight-leg prone positions. You should choose the prone position that best fits your shooting purpose or body shape.

Remember, the rule is to always shoot from the steadiest position from which you can see the target.

Getting positioned

In the straight-leg prone position (ideal for those with slim bodies) the shooter’s legs are straight and flat behind them on the ground. This is very quick to assume because you simply lie down on your stomach with your legs straight. But for those wider around the middle, the cocked-leg position may be better suited. This takes the pressure off of your stomach and chest, making it easier to breathe, which in turn reduces your pulse rate. You simply bend the right leg, which rolls you slightly onto the left side of your chest, taking the pressure off of your stomach.

So, the steps are to find the right position, practise the position without the rifle, practise with the rifle, align the position with the target, dry-fire the rifle at the target, shoot groups at the target with live fire, adjust sight to centre shot group on target, and finally continue to shoot groups from the position.

Alas, the prone position is slow to get into and out of. Furthermore, the surrounding vegetation might block your shot. But when all’s said and done, the prone position is still the best test of raw marksmanship.

Unsupported prone position

In the unsupported prone position, you simply drop to the ground and aim your rifle. Your muscles and skeleton are the only things holding the rifle up. Your spine will be offset from the rifle, as opposed to completely in line with it. And it’s perfectly fine to rest the magazine on the ground to help stabilise the shot.

Supported prone position

In the supported prone position there is the old style: you rest your hand on a surface like a pack or a sandbag and then place the rifle on your hand. Note that you rest the rifle on your hand.

Precision supported position

The precision supported position is mechanically different. Your body and the rear of the rifle should form a parallel line with your spine. The feet are straight out back, and flat. The support hand, rather than supporting the front end of the rifle, supports the stock. Sometimes you might use a squeeze bag to help adjust elevation. The straight parallel line of the precision prone position means much better recoil control.

At Marksman’s Nest

Geoffrey Coetzee, chief ranger at Marksman’s Nest said, “You should practise your shooting fundamentals in all the positions. While practice makes perfect, do it knowing that you won’t get it perfect when the pressure is on. So, get into and out of correct positions quickly.”

There are many more prone positions that we cover at Marksman’s Nest shooting range: Rollover prone, Reverse Rollover Prone, Jackass-Hawkins Prone and The Hawkins Position for serious marksmanship.


Another fulfilling experience on the range

Another fulfilling experience on the range

On 27 March 2021 we had another great learning experience at Marksman’s Nest Shooting Range. Attended by about 30 people, we had a guest speaker and also a survivor of a farm attack. She gave us a short reality check. We were able to ask questions and got straight answers.

Competitive shooting activities followed and needless to say we ended on a high with a braai in true Marksman’s Nest style.

If you too want to be part of the fun, learning and activities, call Geoffrey Coetzee 082 7172197 and ask to become a member.

This is also a good time to remind all to join us on 1 May 2021 for the private citizen tactical course called the Advanced Firearm Proficiency Course. This course is not for beginners. By attending, you can earn loyalty points for this activity towards your Modern Day Marksman certification (3x points per activity done at Marksman’s Nest). Call/WhatsApp 082 717 2197

Owning a gun requires responsibility

Owning a gun requires responsibility

With great power comes great responsibility! And that applies particularly to owning a firearm. We at Marksman’s Nest continually stress the fact that firearms are incredibly dangerous if mishandled or misused. In the light of the recent mass shootings in America, we urge every firearm owner to educate him/herself and act responsibly.


Because of spiralling crime in South Africa, access to gun ownership is imperative. Background checks and restrictions on unsafe individuals owning weapons is something most responsible gun owners support.

Know the laws

Just as a driver needs to know the local speed limits and road rules, a gun owner should be well-versed in restrictions and regulations. You’ll need to apply for the necessary licence and permits.

Take training courses and practise

To keep yourself and others safe, it’s important that you undergo thorough training when you become a gun owner. Attend at least a few beginner’s classes and then graduate to more advanced classes.

Secure storage

Apart from knowing how to handle guns, your biggest priority as a gun owner needs to be stopping other people from handling your firearms. It’s usually said that guns should be kept away from children, but it actually should be kept away from any unauthorised person. To prevent accidents and/or theft, store your gun(s) in a secure place under lock and key – child- and theft-proof.

Use a sturdy SAPS-approved safe, a heavy-duty lock, and a mechanism that can’t be picked. And secure the safe to a wall or the floor.

A good scope

Using proper optics suitable to your hunting rifle goes a long way in ensuring there aren’t any stray bullets. This way you’ll be keeping your hunting partners safe.

Safety in your vehicle

Fact is that most gun thefts take place in vehicles. Lock-boxes and vaults are the best options for your SUV or bakkie. Ensure it’s secured to the vehicle, as well as having its own lock.

Cleaning and care

Improperly cleaned or maintained firearms are extremely dangerous. Prevent accidents by learning how to clean and maintain your weapons properly. Bring your rifles to Marksman’s Nest for hands-on tutorials. However, if you’re too far from us, always choose certified instructors.


Ammo is just as dangerous. Stray cartridges are particularly dangerous when live. Ensure that you haven’t dropped any when you go hunting. In addition, always collect spent cartridges. Any plastic casings or shells that you find should come back with you. The lead content in them will poison wildlife. The plastic is also a choking hazard to creatures.


Marksmen should be fit!

Marksmen should be fit!

Fitness matters if you want to be a good marksman. Many people in the shooting and preparedness communities neglect fitness. But here at Marksman’s Nest we advocate a good level of fitness.

First up is general physical condition, followed by strength and work capacity and lastly, high-stress situational preparedness.

Basic physical conditioning and health

This shouldn’t be particularly strenuous. The goal is ensuring a spectrum of capability rather than specialisation. And we don’t distinguish between male, female, young, old or disabled.

Start off with: hand release push-ups; bodyweight squats; the plank; a 1,5-km run, a 6-km ruck. Each of these is a good indicator of health for each area measured: upper body strength, lower body strength, core strength, cardiovascular health and endurance.

Hand release push-up

Start in the prone position with your chest flat on the floor. Your feet should be flexed with toes pointing to the ground. Place your hands at the sides of your chest and roughly even with your nipples. For proper width, consider placing your index fingers so they are just below the fronts of your shoulders as you lay on the ground.

Your arms should angle back about 45 degrees from your shoulders. Press and raise your body off the floor while keeping your back straight. After reaching the maximum height, return to the floor and then lift your hands slightly and squeeze your shoulder blades together.

That’s one repetition. Do at least 10 reps in 3 sets within 2 minutes.

Bodyweight Squat

While the push-up is a good test of upper body strength, the classic squat is a good measure of lower body strength. Do at least 50 repetitions within 2 minutes. Start in the standing position with feet slightly wider than shoulder-width and toes pointed slightly outward. Lower yourself until your hips are below your knees and your thighs just past parallel to the ground. Don’t go all the way down. Return to the standing position. Your back should remain as straight as possible the entire time.

The Plank

The plank tests the deep core muscles responsible for stabilising your torso and lower back. Starting position is on the ground but resting. When you start your timer, you must assume the position and hold it for as long as possible while maintaining the correct form. If any other part of your body (i.e. hips or chest) touches the ground, then the exercise is over. Ideal time is to hold the plank for 1:30.

1,5-km Run

You could do this around the neighbourhood. Aim for 8 minutes.

6-km Ruck

This requires you to use some equipment. It could be a weighted vest or something else, but you need to carry 15 kg dry weight as you walk. Moving distance under load is a foundational human skill; therefore, it’s essential for a marksman’s fitness standards. Try walking as fast as possible. Aim for 15 minutes per 1,5 km. Total time should be 1 hour 4 minutes and 40 seconds.

Good luck! We remain yours in fitness.


Great learning experience at our Tactical Training courses

Great learning experience at our Tactical Training courses

After a successful course earlier this month, registration has opened for the next Tactical Training Courses on 1 June and 16 August this year. The entry requirement is a BASIC qualification in Handgun, Shotgun & Carbine, as well as a BUSINESS qualification in Handgun, Shotgun & Carbine.


The course objectives include: 1 Draw from the holster; 2 Rapid reload + speed reload/mag change; 3 IA- drill – tack, rack and assess; 4 Clearing a malfunction/high risk situation; 5 JAMS; 6 Failure to go into battery; 7 Reverse grip; 8 CQ shooting techniques; 9 Multiple target shooting; 10 Down and scan; 11 Interview stance; 12 One-handed shooting; 13 Back to target draw and fire; 14 Target left/right; 15 Barricade shooting + Roll-out technique; 16 Dynamic movement; 17 Groucho walk; 18 Barricade shooting; 19 Shooting on the move/box drills; 20 Moving backwards; 21 Moving sideways; 22 Extraction drill; 23 Team work; 24 Barricade crossing- Wall, fencing; 25 Aircraft + sunset photography; 26 Practical shooting assessment: Handgun/shotgun/carbine.

Theory & Practical Aspects

The Theory and Practical aspects covered are: Tactical awareness and preparedness – Body Alarm Reaction; Muscle Memory; Conditioned Reflex; OODA Loop.

Tactical Fundamentals and Considerations covered include: Moving with the Firearm; Body Positions; Grip; Cover & Concealment; Point of Aim.

Tactical Firearm and Ammunition Considerations comprise: Choice of Firearm; Advantages and

Disadvantages of Firearm; Types; Appropriate Ammunition and Considerations; Calibers’ of Semi-Automatic; Firearms and Ammunition; Shotgun Ammunition; Understanding Ballistics; Principles of Penetration.

Tactical Approach and Positioning covers: Bullet trajectory and shooting angles; Vehicle approach and shooting angles; Approach Techniques; Two-Man Covering Formation; High-Risk Approach: Tactical Team; Approaching Stairwells; Shooting Over High Walls and Obstacles.

Tactical Entry & Room Entry Techniques consists of: Stealth Room Entry; Dynamic Room Entry; Stealth Movement in Dark; Unknown Terrain; House Penetration; Hand Signals;

Arrest & Search Techniques include: Arrest Techniques.

Tactical Equipment is the final module.

Be sure to register by phoning or WhatsApp: 082 7172197.

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