Competitive Shooting

How To Use a Shooting Rest

rifle on shooting rest

As a shooter and writer, I test many firearms. Some are pretty accurate, others are not, and accuracy is always relative to the type of firearm tested.

Sometimes I like to compare one firearm to the other. When you do this, it is best to eliminate human error as much as possible.

This is when the shooting rest comes into play. Firing from a benchrest begins awkwardly for some, for others it is second nature.

It is good to be able to fire the rifle off-hand and to understand off-hand firing positions using a sling.

But then, we also have to learn how to fire from a solid benchrest and eliminate human error.

Checking one load against the other for absolute accuracy and sighting in a rifle scope demand that we eliminate human error as much as possible.

I use the MTM K-Zone rifle and pistol rest. This is a versatile, well thought out, well made and very useful rest.

Below is what MTM says about their rest.

K-Zone Shooting Rest Features

  • K-Zone Shooting Rest is a fully-adjustable rugged rifle and handgun shooting rest
  • Precision-dialed screw pedestal adjusts forearm level for exact positioning.
  • Front and rear shooting pads are made of non-marring rubber
  • Handgun pad can be adjusted for different sized pistols and removed for sporting rifle style firearms
  • Heavy-weight performance with lightweight design; Weighs four pounds; Made in USA

Assembly and Use

The MTM K-Zone rest arrived in a cardboard box. Assembly is easy. I am a fan of well-designed and well-written instructions with plenty of images!

It is simple enough to take the rest apart for storage.

The rest is easily adjusted for various rifle lengths, and it is also useful for handguns by using the supplied handgun pad.

The handgun pad also opens to store range gear such as cleaning rods and tools to adjust scopes and sights.

It only weighs four pounds. This makes it easy enough to transport. If desired, there is room to add weight if you are using a hard-kicking rifle.

If you get into the .30-06 class, perhaps a bit of weight for additional stability is desirable. The rest is plenty rugged for most chores.

The telescoping rear section features good adjustment and the rest is comfortable to use. There is nothing loose about the K-Zone rest.

Sometimes I use an old blanket over a wooden bench at a public range to make shooting more comfortable.

The geometry of the K-Zone rest makes shooting comfortable and easy enough.

When you get comfortable, you may want to place a small bag (a shooting bag filled with sand) at the toe of the stock to keep it level.

You may need this and you may not.

rifle on shooting rest
The MTM K-Zone is perhaps the single most versatile rest offered by MTM.

Shooting Rest Positioning

When you are ready to fire, carefully place the rifle forend in the groove of the rest.

Don’t put the hand under the rifle and then brace the rifle on the hand.

This will be uncomfortable and not nearly as accurate as a proper braced position.

You will shoot better than off-hand probably, but not as well as a true braced firing position if you use the non-dominant hand.

I use the benchrest to take the place of the support hand. I use the brace to carefully support the barrel, but don’t place the barrel on the rest.

Use the forend. Then I put the rifle hard into my shoulder and curl the support hand up and around my body, not touching the rifle.

The benchrest takes the place of the support side hand.

Man shooting rifle at range
Getting into the proper firing position means a lot. A rolled-up range bag works ok, but not as well as a solid purpose-designed benchrest.

Proper Eye Relief

Relax and properly align the sights or the scope reticule. Get a good aim and carefully press the trigger to the rear.

You will have a good understanding of rifle accuracy by using the proper technique and keeping the support hand folded and using good trigger control.

I sometimes see folks get way too close to the scope. The scope should be set for proper eye relief.

If you get too close to the scope, you are going to get a knock on the eyebrow and it isn’t pleasant.

Neither should you keep your eye so far back that you squint to look into the scope. You will not be doing that in the field.

The proper offset or eye relief is when you have a full field of view in the rifle scope.

AR-15 and ammo
With a good combination of ammunition and a first-class rifle, accuracy is just a step away!

Off-Hand Placement

When firing, keep the rifle held smoothly, not in a death grip, just firm, not too tight — allow the rifle to recoil and move to the rear smoothly.

Line the sights up properly and press the trigger smoothly straight to the rear.

Your rifle may not yet be sighted in, but you should be making a small group on the target.

This group will then be moved to the point of aim as you adjust your sights.

The end result will be high accuracy and confidence in your rifle.

revolver on shooting rest
The author has used the Bullshooters rest with excellent results.

Handgun Usage

Sighting a handgun in is different from the rifle. That is another reason I like the K-Zone shooting rest. It is easily adaptable to firing handguns.

There are also specialty rests specifically for handguns. The Bullshooters is among these. When using a handgun rest, the drill is a bit different.

Rest the barrel or the dust cover against the inverted V of the firing rest.

Get a solid two-hand hold and carefully press the trigger to obtain accuracy results.

For many years, we have been taught to fire from a solid braced barricade firing position.

While this works well for personal defense training, a solid fixture will get the measure of handgun accuracy.

Shooting rests are a great boon to modern shooters. They are affordable and everyone should own a good example.

What is your favorite shooting rest? Let us know in the comments section below!

About the Author:

Bob Campbell

Bob Campbell’s primary qualification is a lifelong love of firearms, writing, and scholarship. He holds a degree in Criminal Justice but is an autodidact in matters important to his readers. Campbell considers unarmed skills the first line of defense and the handgun the last resort. (He gets it honest- his uncle Jerry Campbell is in the Boxer’s Hall of Fame.)

Campbell has authored well over 6,000 articles columns and reviews and fourteen books for major publishers including Gun Digest, Skyhorse and Paladin Press. Campbell served as a peace officer and security professional and has made hundreds of arrests and been injured on the job more than once.

He has written curriculum on the university level, served as a lead missionary, and is desperately in love with Joyce. He is training his grandchildren not to be snowflakes. At an age when many are thinking of retirement, Bob is working a 60-hour week and awaits being taken up in a whirlwind many years in the future.

Published in
Black Belt Magazine
Combat Handguns
Rifle Magazine
Gun Digest
Gun World
Tactical World
SWAT Magazine
American Gunsmith
Gun Tests Magazine
Women and Guns
The Journal Voice of American Law Enforcement
Police Magazine
Law Enforcement Technology
The Firearms Instructor
Tactical World
Concealed Carry Magazine
Concealed Carry Handguns

Books published

Holsters for Combat and Concealed Carry
The 1911 Automatic Pistol
The Handgun in Personal Defense
The Illustrated Guide to Handgun Skills
The Hunter and the Hunted
The Gun Digest Book of Personal Defense
The Gun Digest Book of the 1911
The Gun Digest Book of the 1911 second edition
Dealing with the Great Ammunition Shortage
Commando Gunsmithing
The Ultimate Book of Gunfighting
Preppers Guide to Rifles
Preppers Guide to Shotguns
The Accurate Handgun
The Mission of Cheaper Than Dirt!'s blog, The Shooter's Log, is to provide information—not opinions—to our customers and the shooting community. We want you, our readers, to be able to make informed decisions. The information provided here does not represent the views of Cheaper Than Dirt!

1 Comment;

  1. I realized that after many years of reading about accuracy results from a rest, I never knew what a handgun rest even looked like!. Thank you Bob, Great article.

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