Rifle Basics

Shooting Basics

This section highlights the main components of rifle biathlon shooting. That includes the following items:      

  1. Safety
  2. Eye/Hand dominance
  3. Positioning
  4. Sight picture​
  5. Breath control
  6. Trigger squeeze
  7. Follow through ​
  8. Zeroing a Rifle

Review the safety protocol on page 1. This is always the first thing that new students should learn and it’s important to go over these rules with shooters before every shooting session and reinforce them as needed.

Eye/Hand Dominance

Right hand vs Left hand – most students will express a strong preference for shooting right or left handed. A few won’t be sure. In that case, you can help them choose which side to shoot on by checking their EYE DOMINANCE. Every athlete has one eye that is dominant and that will dictate which side they should shoot on. Eye dominance is almost always more important than handedness. To check for eye dominance, use WikiHow’s quick 5-step guide.

Basic Body Positioning

When you get into prone (lying down) shooting position, you will be on your stomach, with your body angled a little to the left of the line to the target, as shown in the picture below. (This assumes you are right-handed.) Your spine should be straight and shoulders square with your spine. Your legs should be comfortably spread in a “V.” 

Sight Picture

Biathlon rifles use a “peep” sight. For right handed shooters, place your right cheek firmly on the cheek piece with your ‘dominant’ eye positioned directly behind the rear sight and roughly an inch or two back from the eyecup as shown. 

Breath Control

Take deep relaxed breaths while you’re getting set up; don’t hold your breath or hyperventilate. When you are ready to shoot, exhale to the natural ‘bottom’ of your breath, pause on the target, and squeeze the trigger.

Trigger Squeeze

When you fire, gently squeeze the trigger. Do not jerk.

Follow Through

Once you squeeze the trigger, keep the barrel pointed at the target for a short interval. This helps you hit the target consistently. 

Zeroing an Infrared Laser Rifle

​It’s important that rifles are zeroed before each session and/or when the distance between target and rifle are changed. The zeroing process confirms that the gun sights are properly aligned with the barrel so that shots hit where the shooter intends them to. Follow the steps below to quickly zero the rifles. 

  1. Have an experienced shooter take 5 consistent shots off a prone rest.
  2. Look at the location of the ‘group’ on the computer monitor. If it is in the center of the target, take 5 more shots to confirm.
  3. If the first group is not centered, you will adjust the target using the windage (Left/Right) and elevation (Up/Down) dials located on the rear sight.
  4. First decide which direction your group needs to move in order to be centered. In the group below, you need to move DOWN and RIGHT.
  5. Make an adjustment. In this case the rough adjustment would be 10 clicks DOWN and 5 RIGHT. Shoot again.
  6. Repeat this process until the group is relatively centered and then you can begin games or competitions.

Adjusting Target Size

The computer automatically detects and adjusts for how far away the target is from the rifle, keeping the relative size of the target constant. However, it is possible to adjust the target size larger or smaller to force shooters to be more accurate or to set an easier mark for newer shooters. Target size is in a range between 1(largest) and 10 (smallest). In the image below the target is set to 5. To adjust target size: 

1. Push the ‘back’ arrow to expose the menu and then hit the ‘back’ arrow again to expose the ‘Shooting Settings.’ 

2. Scroll down to ‘Hit Limit’ and then use the left and right arrows to adjust target size. When you have scrolled to the correct size, hit the ‘ESC’ butto twice to return to the main shooting menu.