Offhand Rifle Shooting Tips with Patrick Kelley

Patrick Kelley, Champion shooter extraordinaire and member of Team Defender, takes a moment to offer and explain some offhand rifle shooting tips in this quick 3 minute video.

As Patrick explains, offhand shooting can ruin scores in competitions like 3-Gun and High Power. His method of approach shooting takes a little practice but can make you a much better shooter and greatly improve your scores.

Watch Offhand Rifle Shooting Tips with Patrick E. Kelley:

Did you learn anything? Are you going to give approach shooting a try next time you shoot? Let us know what you think below.

18 Comments On This Article

  1. I’d like to know,why 7:00??? & If I’m left handed should I use 5:00??… I like the technique though! Seems like I could have better success than trying to hold still on the target!

    • I believe the nearly vertical path helps eliminate the “infinity” shaped pattern normally seen while holding on a static target. It creates both sideways and upward pressure which drives the point of aim in a straight line, breaking the shot as you cross the target. I also think you should be able to do it from either direction but as a south paw myself, I believe it would be easier for us to start from 5:00 and drive up and left with our support hand rather than pulling to the right.

    • @James if you look through you’re sights while holding on a target you should notice that you will “sway” naturally in a figure eight or something close to that (it will be very slight and almost unnoticeable but it is there) as you line up the shot. By starting at 7 and purposefully swaying up and to the right (in this case) you almost automatically overcome that “natural sway” of 8 and therefore this should make your shots more accurate.
      As far as being a lefty and using the 5 o’clock position I can’t say because I’m not a southpaw but it does make sense to me.
      I hope I explained the technique correctly for you and you understood my meaning.
      Good Luck my friend

  2. Impressed. This sure is different from what the USMC range instructor taught us at Camp Matthews in 1957. At 77, and with some muscle tremor, I believe this technique will fit with my increasing inability to hold a steady bead, but allow me to use that movement to my advantage. Thanks.

  3. 7 oclock works for a right hander since your breath control naturally (Natural Point of Aim) pushes the muzzle high and right.

  4. Cool indeed…say, you weren’t the same guy I saw polishing the floor of one of the ranges with a power buffer last week, were you? That was some great technique, too…very shiny!

  5. I will definitely give it a shot! See what I did there?! Seems closely related to how sometimes it seems easier to hit a moving Target than to hold steady on a stationary one. Deliberate movement eliminates involuntary movement. You’re essentially turning a stationary target into a moving Target traveling from the 7:00 edge to the 1:00 edge. Genius!

  6. Breaking a shot while deliberately moving the gun is a technique that was widely used by the Schuetzen shooters in the last half of the nineteenth century, and the first decade of the 20th century. They were absolute masters of the offhand position. This type of shooting was widely practiced by German and Swiss immigrants, and nearly died out completely during the anti-German-anything hysteria during The Great War. Those shooters used palm rests, hooked buttplates, and perch-belly stocks, but the idea of deliberately driving the gun and breaking the shot before the sight picture reaches the center of the target is the same.

  7. This is the reason people can break so many skeet targets. It’s much easier to move the gun in a straight line, as in chasing a clay target, than it is to hold it precisely still. The timing is similar but instead of breaking the shot after passing the target you do it when you get to it.