High Prone Supported Position

For Tactics, Techniques and Procedures Thursday, we’re going to be continuing our discussion about how to set up your standard-issue sling to provide more support. Many Paratroopers do not know how to use the sling to provide a stable firing platform. This is important, as the unsupported positions are generally where our Paratroopers have the most challenges in the standard qualification.

In order to achieve a stable position in the prone unsupported, we have to get our center of gravity as low as possible. The best way to do that is to rest our magazine on the ground. If that cannot be achieved, based off the terrain, or limitations of soldier physiology, then the soldier should go with a high prone unsupported position. The Paratrooper needs to remember two things: First, they must assume a position that relies on bone and sling support as opposed to muscle support, this provides more stability for a longer period of time. Second, the Paratrooper should invert the non-firing elbow so as to provide bone support for the weapon.

The sling wrap is incorporated to this position by wrapping around the non-firing arm. The Paratrooper rolls off to their non-firing side if time, and the tactical position permits, and places the non-firing arm through the sling from the optic-side down.

If the Paratrooper is wearing body armor, the buttstock can be tucked into the collar of the body armor. This prevents the stock from rolling off of a buckle or cable in the body armor, and ensures the buttstock is planted solidly in the pocket of the Paratrooper’s shoulder. This obviously depends on if the tactical situation permits the time to incorporate this into your position.

If there is too much tension on the sling, the Paratrooper can loosen it by moving their non-firing hand towards the muzzle. If the Paratrooper needs more tension on the sling, they can tighten it by pulling their hand in towards the magazine well.

This video demonstrates the process I go through to coach a new firer into a high prone unsupported position. Once the firer understands the basics of assuming this position, they can assume it more rapidly without having to roll off to the side.

So to sum up, the standard sling can be used to incorporate support in an unsupported firing position. Learning this will help provide our Paratroopers stability for their unsupported positions, which is historically their weakest positions in the standard rifle qualification table. Next week, we will continue this discussion as we address how to assume a kneeling unsupported firing position.


Raymond Miller
82nd Airborne Division Small Arms Master Gunner: primary weapons trainer, force modernization for individual weapons, and range liason for the 82nd.


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