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I have been looking at getting a book that covers marksmanship specific to the AR15. The local Barnes and Noble doesnt have anything so I am going to have to order online and wanted to check for some suggestions beforehand. I was looking at "Rifle Marksmanship" by the USMC and "M16A1 and M16A2 Rifle Marksmanship" by US Army. Anbody ready either of these? In addition to marksmanship I would like something that covered all varoius parts w/pics and cleaning and maintenance since in a new the AR. Thanks for all the suggestions and of course any links would be great as well. I have read the one on the forum here so I am aware of that link.

596 Posts
This was put up on AR15.com a while ago:

"Berzerker77's easy how to guide for beginning shooters.

Hi there and thanks for taking the time to read this short commentary and pictorial on the shooting basics. If you have been shooting for years and are former .mil than this will seem familiar and might just be a waste of your time. I am specifically pointing this at rookies who for whatever reason cannot find a shooting mentor or go get training somewhere. This is not the be all/end all of instruction and every shooter should strive to become better whenever possible. If you read this and do not agree with what I am saying on a subject please feel free to email me and we will discuss it. I shot competitive smallbore in high school for 4 years and that is where i am drawing this knowledge from.

Authors notes will be italicized. They are my opinions and may not work for everyone. If you disagree with my opinions then feel free to shoot me an email and we will discuss it. If you crap on my thread then I will probably just ignore you.

The rifle used in this demonstration is an Ar-15 but it could just as easily be a ruger 10/22. When it comes down to practice the important thing is that you DO IT!

Chapter 1 SAFETY:

I would be doing something terribly wrong if I did not start the budding shooter out on the safe way to handle a firearm so we are going to take into account the 4 rules of firearm safety. There are probably more than 4 rules but these cover the gist of firearm safety.
Rule #1 Treat every firearm as if you know it is loaded! In simple terms this means there is no such thing as an unloaded firearm. (This is a catch all rule that you will see recited again and again.) There is a time when I am not worried about my firearm being loaded. That time is when it is pointed downrange and I am doing dry fire exercises. I have checked and rechecked the chamber. I still keep my finger off the trigger until I am lined up with my target so in effect it wouldnt matter if it was loaded or not.
Rule #2 Never let your gun point at anything you are not willing to destroy! Pretty self explanatory, even a .22 can seriously ruin your or someone elses day. Control your muzzle at all times.
Rule #3 Be sure of your target and anything beyond the target should your round miss or penetrate the backdrop.
Rule #4 Keep your finger off the trigger until the target is in your sights. I will be discussing trigger control later in this commentary but this is a little different, It is trigger finger control, Your rifle has a triggerguard to keep it from catching on things and discharging. Keep your finger outside the triggerguard or someone close by will probably tear you a new asshole if they see it on a range, This applies to muzzle sweeping as well.


The great thing about our sport is that it has no requirements to be the best physical specimen on the planet. There are no limits to who can shoot based on height, weight, age. It normally does not matter.(Yes I realize it would be hard for a 500 lb man to shoot a highpower match but that is semantics) Each of these things simply requires a different approach to shooting.

The human body is an incredible machine capable of doing some amazing things. However like all machines it has a certain capacity for doing so many things at once and once you reach that limit performance drops off sharply. Let me liken it here to a computer because you all will no doubt be reading this on one. Lets say you have 1 gig of ram and you play a graphics intensive game, it seems to run pretty ok. Then you want music so you turn on your mp3 player and the game might start chopping a little. What these positions do is use the least amount of system resources.

The most accurate place to shoot your rifle is off a bench. There is little human error to factor in except perhaps sight alignment. The problem comes in when you are out in the middle of nowhere and there is something needing to be shot. I have never taken a deer by shooting off a bench. They serve purposes to work up loads and sight in rifles but when it comes down to it after those tasks have been accomplished you need to work on shooting with only your body for support. (If you are a benchrest shooter please do not take offense, they will find out about that discipline later in their shooting career)

The positions shown in the pics to follow are tried and true methods of stabilizing your rifle. As everyones body is different so the positions can be modified to make up for that difference. The human body is made up of large amounts of water and is therefore in a state of constant motion. We fortunately have bones which we can use to act as stabilizers and these positions make the most of it.


This chapter is going to show the basic positions with the use of a sling. You do not NEED a sling and I dont use a match sling while hunting. but if you want to use one then please use these pictures to the fullest. They will improve your ability to hit where you aim. You will notice that the sling is low on my upper arm and not very high like it would be with a shooting jacket. I personally think that this position is the best for casual use as it provides good stability in each position without the need to chenge up the length of the sling. FWIW I bought the sling used at a gun show for 5 bucks.

Position 1: PRONE

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Line up your body between 15-20 degrees from the line of fire, any more than about 30 degrees is gonna make you damn uncomfortable. (this is for right handed shooters, if you are a lefty please just switch what I am saying around backwards. There should be a line coming up your left side straight from heel through the shoulder. The rifle is held with your left hand and the left elbow is kept out to the left of the rifle, not under it(That was pretty old school stuff and a LOT of people will still tell you it is the gospel truth. If the rifle is directly over your elbow it will have a propensity to move back and forth as if on a monopod, we want to make it a little more like a triangle of support.) Draw your right knee up toward the chest so your body naturally rolls over toward the left side. This allows you to breathe easier which in turn makes your breathing have less effect on the rifle. Your right elbow will naturally fall into position. This is the most stable of the positions and one of the easiest to shoot well with.

Position 2: SITTING

Cross legged. .
To get into this position I simply place my right foot crossed behind my left and sit down. You should be facing between 40-60 degrees from the line of fire. Your legs will be on top of your feet and your feet on the ground. Place your elbows in the crease of your knee and they will not tend to float about. (If you place your elbows on the front of your knees there will be a greater tendency for them to wander about as the skin on the knee is loose.) To change elevation you will need to move one of your knees. This is great for target shooting but not so much for hill terrain hunting.

Position 3: KNEELING

Kneeling is the fastest position to get into that can stabilize your rifle very well. You place your left foot in front about a pace in front of your right and simply drop your right knee to the ground. Your left knee will be in the air and a semi stable platform to rest your elbow on. If you have time to make the position steadier you can sit back on top of your foot and create a more stable platform. I have taken probably 50% off all my deer from this position.

596 Posts
Part Deux:

"Position 4: STANDING

Standing is the least stable of the 4 major positions. It is a position a lot of people struggle with and as such they tend not to practice it. Think of a line going from where you stand to the target. Stand with your toes parallel to that line. Step back from the line with your left foot by about 2-4 inches. This is called an open position. Place the butt of the rifle high in your shoulder so your head comfortable leans down to acquire a cheek weld. If your neck is not comfortable then you are straining muscles and that takes away from your other system resources. Place your left elbow against your body and cock your hips slightly forward. This allows your center of gravity to take some of the strain of holding up the rifle. Place the rifle on your fingertips/fist/palm/whatever works for you and drop your right elbow until it is comfortable.(You do not have to drag your right elbow into your side if it causes you to strain to do so.) The closer your rifle is to your torso in this position the more accurate the shooting will be IMO. Now you will never be able to stop the rifle from moving in this position so dont bother trying. What you are attempting to do is make the movement uniform and take the shot when the front sight is traveling toward the bull. If you attempt to take a shot while the sight is centered you will miss because the rifle wont sit still for as long as it takes your brain to tell your finger to pull the trigger. If however you start the shot while traveling toward the bull in lets say the 7 ring it will more likely be in the 10 ring when the target is scored.


Natural Point of Aim. or NPA for short is where(once you factor in holding the rifle and taking a position) your body will naturally be pointing the rifle. If you fight against it you will lose. You will need to know where it is and move your body until it is on your target. Here is how you do it. EXCERCISE: Take a bottlecap and trace around it on a piece of paper, now fill it in because you want a solid spot to aim at. Tack this on a wall and get about 15-18 feet away from the target and take up a prone position. Place your front sight on the target and close your eyes, breathe deeply 4 times. Now open your eyes and look at where your front sight it. That is your current NPA. To adjust simply move your trunk a few degrees to the right or left until the same exercise shows the front sight on the target.

Breathing. Breathing is an integral part of shooting. If you are taking nice deep breaths then your blood is well oxygenated, if you breathe shallowly then you will have to breathe more for the same effect. Why is it important to have oxygenated blood? because you are going to deprive it of oxygen for a few seconds while you are preparing to pull the trigger. As you watch the front sight wander over your target you will notice that breathing has a great impact on where it goes. To stop it from moving you have to stop your body and that means holding your breath. Now there is too much of a good thing and you should not hold your breath for long or your body will begin to tremble in response. EXERCISE: In the position from your NPA exercise you will be breathing at the same time so lets add the 2 together. take 3 solid breaths while watching the front sight wander over your target. on the 3rd breath let it approximately 2/3rds of the way out and hold it. If your target is centered up in your sights then begin to squeeze the trigger. The optimum time to hold your breath is between 4-8 seconds. Any more than this and your body will respond by twitching a little. It is very subtle but trust me its there. If you cannot line up the shot by 8 seconds in then release the rest of your breath and begin the exercise again. In actual practice you do not need to breathe 3 times but by training your body to do it the release and hold will become second nature.

Trigger Control. This is part of knowing your weapon. Use the pad of the tip of your trigger finger as it will help you pull the trigger straight to the rear and not slightly to the side, allowing the rifle to wobble. Squeeze the trigger, DO NOT JERK IT. What matters is consistency. The same pull every time will make your shots more accurate. A lot of people will say that you should be suprised by the rifle going off. I feel that if you know when your rifle is going off then it will be in the right place on the target. If you flinch then you must train yourself not to! By knowing when the trigger breaks you can consistantly apply pressure and have the sights lined up when the trigger breaks. If you know your rifle and you practice dry firing it to become a better marksman then you are going to learn where the damn trigger breaks and what you should be doing when it happens.

Follow Through. When the hammer drops on your rifle a chain of events start to happen that will correlate to your accuracy. The hammer itself dropping will wobble your rifle. When the primer ignites the powder charge Newtons 3rd law of motion comes into play. Every action has an equal and opposite reaction. The rifle will begin pushing back into your shoulder and the muzzle will begin to move. it is up to you to hold the rifle on target until the round has left the barrel. Easy you say? EXERCISE: You are in the exercise position you are now familiar with. Since we are breathing and we have a good NPA lets add something else. Pulling the trigger and following through. Add all of the above elements together and when the hammer falls keep your damn eye open and watch where the front sight is after the trigger is pulled.

Snapping In. When we add all of these things together in any of the above positions it is called "Snapping In" or dry fire practice. This is used to create muscle memory so your body repeats the motions the same. Do it slowly because if you are trying to rush through you might well miss something and then will be practicing the wrong thing. If you do this for 15 minutes a day I can almost guarantee you that your shooting will improve. I have yet to see someone who it does not work on.This is a necessary evil of becoming a better shot in this age of high priced ammo. It is free and only requires you and a rifle. I do this in my living room as you can see from the pictures and I aim at a target that I pin to the neighbors wall. The blue magazine in my rifle is without a follower or spring and it is used to insure that there are no loaded rounds near the rifle, CHECK AND RECHECK YOUR RIFLE BEFORE DOING THIS. If your rifle leaves your sight such as going to the bathroom, check the damn thing again when you come back. Negligent discharges are looked upon poorly in most municipalities.


Sight Picture. On an AR-15 rifle we are blessed with target sights that have lots of adjustment and can be zeroed easily. I will not go into zeroing the rifle here as there are numerous places that information can be had. What I am going to do is talk about sight picture. The sight picture is what you see when you look through the rear sight. You will notice that around the fringes of the rear sight there is a little haze when you focus on the front sight.(This part is important. this is your focus point whatever you are doing.) Centering the front sight in the center of this haze is your zero and it is rare that 2 people will have the same zero. There are a number of different reasons for this. Some of it has to do with your eyesight and some has to do with where your cheek is on the stock. Suffice it to say that once you are zeroed you shouldnt let other people dick around with it unless you have the original zero marked and can go back to it at will.

Sight Picture Part 2. What your sight picture should look like. There are differing schools of thought on this. I will give you both of them. #1 the 6 o'clock hold. This means placing the top of your front sight on the bottom of the black portion of the target. It works well for known distance shooting at circles. #2 Center hold. This means placing your front sight in the center of the black portion of the target. That is sometimes not quite as accurate on targets because you are contrasting black on black. However if you are transitioning to something else like...a man. They are not going to have a large black circle on their chest and be standing at 100 yards.(You probably wont be taking the time to set up a proper prone position either)

Cheek Weld. This is a little more problematic. There are different places that your head wants to naturally lay when you are in different positions. Some people say that you should put your nose to the charging handle. What if you have a short nose? Then your eyeball will be right inside the rear aperture and your accuracy may suffer. The problem with holding a zero is if you move where your cheek weld is between shots you may have a different zero when you look back through the sights. You will personally have to experiment with a way to hold the rifle that you can get a good and consistant cheek weld. What the cheek weld must have is a solid hold on the stock in a specified place and you must use the same one every time!"

596 Posts
Part 3:

"Chapter 6 Random Musings.

I enjoyed writing this and I hope you will find it useful to you in your search to become a better shot. Not everything in here is the gospel truth for everyone and I am sure this will be flamed by some and enjoyed by others. I have done my best to give you a short and to the point product that you can come back to and practice time after time.

Accuracy is consistancy, nothing more and nothing less. With an out of the box AR from most of todays manufacturers you will be able to get usable groups. How you achieve those groups is to shoot the same every time. Work on gettin into and out of the positions shown until you are so comfortable with them that they are second nature. Practice dry fire drills with regularity and I promise you will become a better shot.

I am motivated to be the best shot possible whenever I can because #1 ammo is pricey and #2 I like pie...which is not as costly as ammo but I go through more of it.

On recoil, Learn to love recoil. It is not something to be feared from any rifle and it will most certainly not hurt unless you are shooting a 45-70 with 500 grain bullets at 2000 fps. If you fear recoil and find yourself flinching then you need to do what is called the Ball and Dummy drill(Blatantly stolen from Fred). Lay on the line in a prone position and do the entire chain from position to follow through. You will need a friend who will take the rifle from you between rounds and either load a round in the chamber or leave it empty. You will not know and your form will improve considerably after about 15 minutes of dry firing with a round or 4 thrown in for fun.

In this age of Eotechs and Aimpoints we sometimes lose sight of the fact that when all the trappings are stripped away from the rifle it is a simple machine with iron sights meant to place rounds on target to deadly effect. The optics add to that ability but if you build a foundation of basics then the rest will fall into place and those optics will be even more efficient. If you break an aimpoint you can still be a force to be reconed with. You have a BUIS on that thing dont you? Use it and enjoy.

If you took this post to mean that you, as someone who uses optics to improve your ability to hit a target are somewhat inferior to people who use iron sights then you took it the wrong way.

This is the creed of a Marine Rifleman but I think it is interchangeable for anyone who wants to be a rifleman and may not have the ability or the youth to become a Marine but would damn well stand up and be a patriot if called upon to do so. With the important part in red. How you get there is up to you. Good shooting.

This is my rifle. There are many like it, but this one is mine. It is my life. I must master it as I must master my life. Without me my rifle is useless. Without my rifle, I am useless. I must fire my rifle true. I must shoot straighter than the enemy who is trying to kill me. I must shoot him before he shoots me. I will. My rifle and I know that what counts in war is not the rounds we fire, the noise of our burst, or the smoke we make. We know that it is the hits that count. We will hit.

My rifle is human, even as I am human, because it is my life. Thus, I will learn it as a brother. I will learn its weaknesses, its strengths, its parts, its accessories, its sights and its barrel. I will keep my rifle clean and ready, even as I am clean and ready. We will become part of each other.

Before God I swear this creed. My rifle and I are the defenders of my country. We are the masters of our enemy. We are the saviors of my life.

So be it, until victory is America's and there is no enemy."

1,498 Posts
wow cool pics I did a practical rifle course today and they drilled up on a modified Prone and man am i sore.

Im not sure why they called it a modified prone it was more so a modified kneeling.

Twist your back leg right, Etend your front leg forward and basically side bend until your elbow touches your leg and your rifle is about 8" off the ground aimed sideways.

man about an hour of that and i can hardly walk up the stairs of the club house.

thank good we did it after the match portion of the session. which i think i did pretty well in only had one procedural and most of my hits were in the zero catagory. my worst grouping was a 2 im pretty anxious to see how i did.
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