Establishing A Firm Shooting Foundation

By author of Guns and Camo

Establishing a firm shooting foundation is essential for consistent shooting success. (John Hafner photo)

I’m back from a two-day stay at the SAAM course in Texas. And I can’t say enough good things about their training. The quality of the instruction, the skills and attitudes of the instructors and staff, the range facilities, and the accommodations were all first class. I’ll be revealing some of the things I learned, blog by blog. Let’s start with the first lesson, what they call “Building the House.” 

This concept is the process of establishing a solid foundation—from which to take our shot—using whatever methods and materials we have available. How stable the house should be depends on how difficult the shot is and how much time is available for setting up. Things like shooting sticks, bipods, backpacks, and jackets can be used to build the house alongside objects we find in the field.   

Most shooters understand that vertical support is important to stabilizing a rifle. Whether it is using a bipod to support the rifle’s forend, or resting the gun across a tree limb, vertical support is golden. On the flip side, many hunters and shooters neglect horizontal stability. To keep the rifle true, we must support ourselves on both horizontal and vertical planes. 

Darren LaSorte establishes a solid foundation before busting a target. (Keith Wood photo)Supporting the horizontal plane almost always involves finding a place to brace your strong-side elbow. A pack, knee, shoulder, or tree—it doesn’t matter what you use, so long as you build a solid foundation for your rifle. 

Darren LaSorte, from NRA’s NOIR, uses a fast but stable shooting position that he claims to have invented. The school actually calls it the “Modified LaSorte.” Starting from the ground, we see his bottom rests on his foot instead of floating in the air. His right knee supports his elbow, and the shooting sticks supports the rifle. It takes virtually no time to assume this type of position. A practiced shooter can use it effectively out to 300 yards or more. 

Take the time now to learn how to build your house with the things you take to the field. There’s little time to think about getting steady when a buck or a bull is walking toward the tree line.