Today went better, much better. I finally got my Turner sling adjusted to a useful setting. In a previous post, a reader by the name ‘newbie’ recommended getting a RS-1 sling from RifleSlinger over at Art of the Rifle Blog (check the links on the left). I had seen these before, but hadn’t looked very closely at them. As I looked at the site, I noticed that they seem to lack the traditional ‘cincher’ on the arm that I’ve come to associate with slung up rifle shooting. It’s just a big open loop. Noting this, I adjusted my Turner sling to be somewhat similar, with a large open loop that I can stick my arm through relatively quickly and go from there. Success! Backing the keeper off a bit has a side benefit of also controlling the extra slack from adjusting the sling to the closer swivels.
Today I practiced dry firing from the kneeling, squatting, open leg, and crossed ankle position. I continue to find that I vastly prefer squatting to kneeling. In previous readings, it seems that many people have problems holding the squatting position. Chalk it up to good knees or a fitness program that focuses on keeping mobility in my legs (I can’t claim youth anymore), but I find the position very comfortable. With one exception during dry fire, every shot was very stable and the crosshairs remained steady enough to be repeatable on each shot. Kneeling, on the other hand, continues to be uncomfortable.
With kneeling, my biggest issue seems to be what to do with my right foot. The most common position seems to be balancing the ball of the foot on the ground and placing the right glute muscle on the heel. However, I must have abnormally large hamstring muscles, as I still have an inch or two gap between my heel and my glute when I’m fully pressed down. Now, I am doing this barefoot, so boots may make a difference. But for practicing today, I found it much more comfortable to extend my foot out behind me, with the top of the foot stretched and flat against the floor. This flexion helped me come down and sit on the upward facing heel. I don’t know if regular footwear would make this position possible, though. In any case, once I figured out this position, my shots became much more steady as I wasn’t fighting my balance or uncomfortable twisting in the ankle.
Both sitting positions, open leg and cross ankle, also seemed much more steady than previous days. I’m still working on things, but I am starting to see the stability difference between positions. Before this, everything was unstable enough that I couldn’t really tell.
Tomorrow will finally be my first range trip. I still don’t have a plan for what my shooting test will be under stress. But I will at least be able to put up some targets and see how my practice is paying off.