Training: Ramp up your pistol skills with rollover prone (VIDEO)

Prone—it’s a preferred firing position for rife shooting, but a technique not many pistol carriers practice. In this video, we’ll take a look at “rollover” prone, a method that can help you prevail in defensive, target shooting, or hunting situations.

Why rollover prone?  Here are a few benefits:

    • Using the earth as a support for the firearm, or alternatively, the hand supporting it, offers unparalled stability for precise shot placement at longer distances—so long as terrain features aren’t blocking your line of sight.
    • Animals, both the four- and two-legged variety, expect to see humans as a vertical image. Being in prone makes a shooter difficult to visually discern.
    • Being comfortable with shooting from the ground expands opportunities to take cover. For example, a car tire makes a great bullet-stopping shield. But, defending yourself or another from beneath the undercarriage is a skill honed by practice in some variant of prone.
    • Shooting pistol from military, or flat-on-the-belly prone, is fatiguing and soon painful to the spinal column.  Rollover prone prevents accuracy issues related to breath, since the chest is off the ground.  It also offers breathability and mobility for shooters clad in body armor.

Rollover prone, left side, as done by a right-handed shooter. Note the bottom of the grip resting on the ground for stability. (Photo: Team HB)

In an ideal setting, getting into prone is a step-by-step process that places the shooter in a comfortable, entirely supported position. Knowing textbook technique for rollover prone provides a good basis for choosing any compromises while not sacrificing safety. Here are the steps to safely get into and out of this position. Instructions in italics are safety considerations not to be overlooked.

      1. Position yourself a person-width to the left (right-handed shooter) or right (left handed shooter) of the normal, straight-ahead firing position. Turn 45 degrees in the direction of the target.
      2. Draw the pistol before either dropping to both knees or, for people with joint issues, taking a big step with the support-side foot, placing the foot in front of your center.
      3. Keeping the muzzle pointed downrange with finger off trigger, place your support-side hand on the ground, supporting yourself as you kick both legs out behind you, still at 45 degrees in relation to the target.
      4. Cross your support-side leg over the other. Be sure your grounded foot isn’t rested on the toe where it can wobble.
      5. As your legs extend behind you, the firing-hand arm extends toward the target, resting on the ground.
      6. Lay your firing-side cheek on the bicep of that arm. The butt of the pistol grip should be on the ground. Prone starts feeling comfortable now.
      7. Wrap your support side hand around your firing hand in a proper firing grip, and align the sights on target. If all looks good, fire. The feeling of pushing gently forward with the firing arm, while pulling back to yourself with the other, will aid in managing recoil for follow-up shots.
      8. If the target is too high to get a sight picture, don’t lift the gun. Ease your support hand downward, keeping it in contact with the ground, until the minimum height required to see your sights on target is achieved.
      9. To rise from prone, repeat this process in reverse, being careful to keep your finger off the trigger and muzzle in front of your entire body, especially your face! When practicing for defensive encounters, scan the environment as you rise. Reholster after you’ve stood up completely and have confirmed the area is clear. If an injury or arthritis keeps you from rising with a two-handed grip, gently lay the gun on the ground, muzzle downrange, rise, and pick It up when you have your bearings.

Method 1 – Moving from a double knee kneel to prone. (Photo: Team HB)


Method 2 – Starting in a single knee kneel. (Photo: Team HB)


No matter how awkward the movements are between standing and prone ALWAYS keep the muzzle forward of the body. (Photo: Team HB)


Rising with equal weight on both feet and scanning the environment. (Photo: Team HB)

In addition to the practical reasons to add rollover prone to your training routine, when done well, it’s FUN! Go slowly, step-by-step at first, with a buddy to monitor muzzle and finger safety. Once you have the technique perfected, a good challenge is to add speed, always with safe technique!

I hope you’ll add this great technique to your skill set. Handing firearms is not a risk-free activity. Neither nor I bear any responsibility for unintended consequences of your practice.

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