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How to Assume the Low-Prone Unsupported 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.

Prior to doing this,  the Paratrooper has set their sling as we demonstrated in last week’s video. This ensures the standard sling is in the optimal configuration for a sling wrap.

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. This does two things: First, it allows the Paratrooper a position that relies on bone support as opposed to muscle support, giving this variation of prone unsupported more stability for a longer period of time. Second, it creates a broad base to your prone unsupported creating a tripod-like effect with the firing elbow, non-firing elbow and magazine. I want to reiterate that resting our magazine on the ground does not induce malfunctions; faulty magazines do.

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 situation permits, and places the non-firing arm through the sling from the optic-side down. They then wrap the non-firing arm from ‘out to in’ one time only.

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 low prone unsupported position. Once the firer understands the basics of assuming the Prone unsupported, they can assume it more rapidly without having to roll off to the side.

Keep in mind, applying tension to a non-free-floated barrel that is not using iron sights can ‘pull’ your round off target in the direction of the sling wrap. The best way of determining if you are doing this is to shoot known-distance from the prone unsupported with a sling wrap after zeroing without it, and see what happens to your shot group.

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 prone unsupported firing position with the magazine off the ground.

#weaponsmastery #wrapthatsling

Raymond Miller
Raymond Miller is the former Small Arms Master Gunner of the 82nd Airborne Division. He is leveraging his operational experience training soldiers in Weapons Mastery to address Human Systems Integration issues for the United States Army.

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