In Biathlon competitions, the two shooting positions normally approved of are Offhand Shooting Position and Prone Position. We will look into both these biathlon shooting techniques in detail.
Offhand Shooting Technique – By far the most difficult shooting technique to master. It can take months of practice to get it right and another few years to master it completely, provided you have shooting practice regularly.
Body Profile The first thing you need to master when trying offhand position is your breathing. You should be able to take slow, even breaths with exceptional consistency. Holding your breath is not advisable as your lung capacity may not be big making you catch your breath quicker and losing whatever progress you made in aiming. Stand at an angle of 45 degrees from your target, with legs about half-foot apart from each other. Stand upright and try to put the body weight on the balls of your feet. Never lean back as you may lose balance when the rifle recoils after a shot. A common mistake people do is unknowingly hold their head stiff which makes it hard to aim through the rifle scope.
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> Holding the rifle, Place the butt-end of the rifle in the shoulder pocket of your firing arm. Make sure the elbow of your non-firing arm is pointing down. Hold the rifle just firm enough to avoid sways, but avoid “death grip” as it will only exhaust you and ultimately distract you. Hold the stock firmly on the underside with your palm with the on your shoulder with the rifle pointing straight. The firing arm should be horizontal to the ground. Place the first joint of your index finger on your trigger while wrapping your hand around pistol grip, covering it from the side.
Prone Shooting Technique – Some of the fundamentals described in the aforementioned position also apply in prone position. However the butt-end of your rifle should sit slightly lower on your shoulder. The placement of your firing and non firing elbow should form a rough 30 degree horizontal angle, while making sure that both arms sufficient contact with ground so that all the weight goes down your arm and not through its sides. Apart from this your leg can be kept in two positions –
> Open legged position.In this position you need spread your legs for about a foot giving forward pressure on your elbows. Make sure the elbow placement is solid while the butt-end of the rifle sits tight on your shoulder. This position allows minimum disturbance in recoil allowing you to take multiple shots effectively.
> Bent Leg position.In this position the leg on the firing side will be pushed up towards the firing hand making the knee almost perpendicular to the body. The leg at non firing side should remain straight easing pressure from lungs, minimising pulse rate and allowing the shooter take a much better aim.
Do sufficient dry tests and ask someone to take pictures of your firing positions to help you review it later. Make sure that while the positions are sound in technique they are comfortable to your body too.
With that we conclude the two common biathlon shooting techniques.