How To Aim A Rifle Like A Pro

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Learning how to aim a rifle is a skill every rifle owner should have. Besides helping you make accurate shots, it also makes shooting enjoyable and painless.

Check out these foolproof pointers.

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Surefire Tips on How to Aim a Rifle Like a Pro

Click here to jump to the instructographic.

1. Master a Steady Position

A shooter looks through a telescopic sight How to aim a rifle SS

Soldiers who pass marksmanship in the army have to master how to hold a rifle steady enough to keep the sighting straight that not even a hammer can shake it. By mastering this fundamental steadying technique, you can hold your sights steady no matter what.

To perfect your steady position, practice different positions to see what works best and is comfortable for you. Remember that your dominant hand is always your firing hand.

Tip: As with hands, dominant eyes also play a vital role in learning how to aim a rifle. Shoulder-fired weapons especially need to be aligned with your dominant eye. This also applies to cross-dominant shooters.

2. Use Your Non-Firing Hand to Steady Your Hand Grip

The man is shooting with a shotgun How to aim a rifle SS

The non-shooting hand steadies the ball in a basketball, which your non-firing hand should do for your rifle. The best way to do this is by resting your rifle in the V of your forefingers and thumb. Keep your grip light and wrist straight while naturally curling your fingers around the rifle.


  • Most of your rifle's support comes from your firing hand and your position
  • Always keep your non-firing hand away from ejected shells as well as the rifle's action

3. Firmly Hold the Rifle Butt In the Pocket of Your Firing Shoulder

Young man took aim with your sniper rifle How to aim a rifle SS

Steady your rifle's butt against your shoulder. Don't confuse this for the collarbone or the fleshy part of your armpit. Holding it firmly in your shoulder pocket ensures that recoil is absorbed by your entire body instead of snapping into your shoulder, causing inaccurate shots and pain.

RELATED: Top 10 Best Home Defense Rifles 2021

4. Use Your Firing Hand for the Pistol Grip

Girl with Turkish 12 gauge rifle How to aim a rifle SS

Photo By Sergey Kamshylin /

Rifles will either offer you a tapered shotgun-style grip or a full pistol grip. Regardless of the grip type, your grip should be firmer than your non-firing hand. Essentially, it should feel like a business handshake with a backward pull to firmly pull back the rifle into your shoulder.

Doing this prevents the rifle from moving when you pull the trigger, as it can mess up your accuracy.

Note: Your trigger finger should always be straight. Only curl it around the trigger when you're ready to fire. You can use it to grip the stock when it is not resting on the trigger guard.

5. Your Elbows Should Stay Down and In

Man on the hunt How to aim a rifle SS

Your elbows will always be positioned differently depending on whether you are standing, seated or prone. However, all positions need your elbows to stay below your rifle to support the weight.

Tip: It should feel like gravity is pulling your elbows downwards towards your hips.

6. Ease Your Neck and Allow Your Cheek to Fall on the Stock Naturally

Armed guy shooting with rifle How to aim a rifle SS

You can achieve the ‘cheek to stock weld' on some rifles by moving your nose to the charging handle. An in-tune cheek-to-stock weld ensures that your eye naturally aligns to the sight. And that you don't need to use any peripheral vision to aim.

7. Allow Your Body to Relax

Man is aiming with rifle How to aim a rifle SS

With proper technique, relaxing your body and assuming a calm breathing rhythm should be a walk in the park. Your grip on the rifle should be firm but without tension.

Muscles tire, which is why getting comfortable and relaxed is your best chance to make accurate shots.

Here’s an instructographic guide. Don’t forget to download, save, or share this handy instructographic for reference:

How To Aim A Rifle Like A Pro_v3

There you have gun lovers. Learning how to aim a rifle will come in handy when out hunting or defending your home during an invasion.

The best part is, with some practice, acquiring the proper aiming technique will become next to nature for you, especially when you know what positions are comfortable for you.

How would you describe your aim?

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