I’ve been looking at some of the videos you linked for the USAMU Small Arms Championships. I noticed in particular that the prone pistol shooters did not have a uniform position. Some appeared to be “roll over prone,” some used flat-on-chest and two elbows, what I will call the prone isosceles .

Why no uniformity? The “roll over prone” allows the shooter to use the ground as a rest, thereby greatly stabilizing the pistol for more precise aiming … nice for longer ranges. This position also moves the pistol’s sights farther away from the face, allowing more refined sight picture. Finally, this position puts the head lower, and therefore less vulnerable to incoming hits.

I’ve worked with a lot of folks “who cannot be retrained” and they will not change from the prone isosceles. But the other position is, to my way of thinking, far superior.

Your thoughts?

– John Tate

The rules for this particular event require certain shots fired prone, even if it doesn’t make sense to go prone in the first place. At Parks range where this was held, the firing line is lower than the target line and the targets are posted in frames five feet off the ground. At 25 yards, many people (me included) can’t get into roll over prone and elevate the muzzle high enough to get on target while having an aiming eye still behind the sights. Other ranges where these sorts of events are held have similar issues.

The targets we use (AMU E-type EIC target as used in this event or a Commonwealth Figure 11) typically have a four-inch five ring and anyone in a position to win these events can typically shoot groups that size standing unsupported at 25 yards. In these events, prone is being used because the rules require it, not to increase stability and hit potential.

Roll over prone is better and I’d use it at these events if the terrain/target set up made it possible, but I’ve found that usually isn’t the case.

Yes, I wish these matches didn’t have odd issues like this. For whatever reason, the AMU (and other military match course of fire designers) sometimes manage to create some courses of fire I don’t always agree with. Until various competitor suggestions to change this are implemented, rather than complain about why it isn’t realistic/tactical/practical/whatever, I just accept the challenge as presented and train to meet it. It doesn’t hurt my feelings too much because the USAR Marksmanship Program often has me on orders to compete and teach things like this. Not a bad gig if you can get it!