Marksmanship: Back to the Basics

February 18, 2013  
Categories: Learnin'

Marksmanship FUNDAMENTALS: back to the basics. Wherein the Mad Duo brings you some guest pontification from Marshall Bowen of .308 Ghillies.

One of our minions on the job in Africa.


fun·da·men·tal serving as, or being an essential part of, a foundation or basis; basic; underlying: fundamental principles; the fundamental structure.

This is VERY important when it comes to marksmanship. It doesn’t matter if you are shooting a target 5m away or a target 1,000m away. You MUST remember and apply the basic fundamentals of marksmanship.



1)      BONE SUPPORT – The weight of the weapon should be supported by bone instead of muscle when possible. Muscle fatigues whereas bone does not. This also applies to your cheek-weld. Make sure your cheek bone and the buttstock are making as much contact as possible. This limits the amount of movement when you fire. If you’re doing it correctly it should be slightly uncomfortable. You will get used to it.

2)      MUSCULAR RELAXATION – This will help you hold a steady point of aim and greatly increase your accuracy. If you are not using good bone support you will not have muscular relaxation. When your muscles are tense it will cause excessive movement in your rifle and your aim.

3)      NATURAL POINT OF AIM – This is where the rifle naturally rests in relation to your target. When you are in your shooting position and aimed in on your target, close your eyes, take a few deep breaths, and relax as much as possible. When you open your eyes, your point of aim should be where it was before you closed your eyes. Since the rifle becomes an extension of your body it might be necessary for you to adjust the position of the rifle until you achieve your natural point of aim. Once you achieve this you must make sure you hold your position in relation to the target in order to maintain your natural point of aim.











The next time you go to the range, try and make a checklist of everything you do as you get into your shooting position. For example,

1.      Drop down on both knees.

2.      Lower the rest of your body to place the buttstock into the pocket of your shoulder.

3.      Pull rifle into shoulder with non-shooting hand and maintain sufficient pressure.

4.      Place firing hand into preferred position.

5.      Find proper cheek-weld and eye relief.

The list above is just an example, create your own.

The best long range shooters did not get to where they are today by skipping the fundamentals of marksmanship. The only way to improve your shooting skills is to get out on the range and push your skills to the limit. Just make sure you don’t push the fundamentals aside.

-Marshall Bowen

About the author: Marshall Bowen is, as you might have expected, a former military shooter (providing ballistic surgery and threat reduction in the USMC). He curently works in and provides instruction to PMSCs and assorted other personnel working the sharp end and is an instructor for our brothers-in-arms over at Greenside Training.


Common sense isn’t always terribly common, and sometimes we worry so much about the high speed low drag stuff we forget about the high drag building blocks everything else is built on. If you have something to add, or a topic you’d like to wax didactic about (grunts: didactic), drop us a line at breachbangclear (at) Yes, gmail. We should have our own (at) accounts but we’re Luddites. Deal with it.

But we digress.

If you want to take a crack at writing for us like Peter Nealan, Mike Kupari, Freddy Osuna, Kim Heath, Ellen Pucciarelli, Marshall Bowen and all our bad ass minions and assorted other righteous shooters with something to share then let us know.

Go check out .308 Ghillies on Facebook and let ’em know Breach-Bang-Clear sent you.


Mad Duo, Breach-Bang-CLEAR!


Get banged on the regular, sign up for the newsletter!

Mad Duo

Mad Duo

About the Author


Submit a Comment

Buy Me a Coffee at

Popular Articles

PSA Uppers, Lowers, Optics and More! 4th of July.
Celebrate July. Buy more, save more. Up to 30% off. Forloh.
Lone Wolf DAWN. Parts for Sig Sauer P365 30% off. back Breach-Bang-Clear

Find what’s in stock, and where, and compare prices. 

⚠️ Some hyperlinks in this article may contain affiliate links. If you use them to make a purchase, we will receive a small commission at no additional cost to you. It’s just one way to Back the Bang. #backthebang 

Get Patched In

Wretched Minion Patch