Some recent images from boot camp and a Marine shooting a simulator in Australia depict an obscure shooting grip not officially taught by any Marine Corps program of instruction.
The images show a recruit at Parris Island, South Carolina, and a Marine in Darwin, Australia, shooting in the standing and prone respectively, but holding the rifle in a manner not commonly done by Marines undergoing marksmanship training across the school houses.
The images were posted to Facebook and the Defense Department’s imagery website known as DVIDS. Stars and Stripes reporter Chad Garland posted the images on Twitter sparking a conversation in a thread discussing the strange grip.
Marine Corps Times reached out to Marine Corps Combat Development Command to inquire whether the Corps had adopted a new shooting grip or stance in its program of instruction across the recruit depots and the fleet.
“The grip you saw is not part of any of our doctrine (Marksmanship Order) and not part of any of our POIs (Combat Marksmanship Coaches – CMC courses),” MCCDC said in an emailed statement.
“Most likely, the Marine is either trying a different position on his own or something they may have learned from civilian competitive shooting competitions,” MCCDC explained.
The strange rifle grip appears to be used in competition shooting, but it’s best suited for the standing position and not the prone.
A former member of the Marine Corps Shooting Team told Marine Corps Times that the technique has been taught within the Corps’ shooting team. The MCST participates in a number of shooting competitions throughout the year.
Images posted to the MCST’s Facebook page depict variations of the grip while in the standing position.
“It is used by many in the standing position for competition. Everyone is built differently, and each shooting position is unique for everyone. If it gives him a stable platform, it’s worth it,” the former MCST member said.
The shooting grip and position helps keep the support arm elbow tucked into the chest while in the standing, which helps provide support and stability for the shooter.
“It does keep the arm tucked in nicely in the standing,” the former MCST member said. “I’ve seen some crazy positions throughout the years. Many don’t work well.”
MCCDC told Marine Corps Times that the Marine Corps order does support a shooter using this particular grip and stance.
Rifle coaches at Parris Island are teaching according to the marksmanship program order. “Personal grips may vary as long as they abide by said order,” MCCDC said.
Shawn Snow is the senior reporter for Marine Corps Times and a Marine Corps veteran.