When it comes to firearms training we should all practice from a variety of positions. Most of us practice from the standing, and maybe even the kneeling if the range allows it. Something that is often overlooked is fighting from the ground. The most important term in gunfighting is fighting. It should never be forgotten that gunfights are rapidly moving, always evolving scenarios. Finding yourself on the ground in a gunfight is a very real possibility. Enough so that dedicating some of your firearms training time to it should be a priority.

Why on the Ground?

You could hit the ground for a variety of reasons. It may be a smart tactical decision overall. That may be where the only cover is. I’ve personally clung to the ground quite a few times to return fire to Timmy Taliban. You could be knocked down for a variety of reasons. There is always the active shooter scenario where a mob of people knocks you down. You could be ambushed in the streets, and taken to the ground. Simply put, there are enough scenarios you can find yourself on the ground to warrant training for it. Firearms training should always move past the square range. 

Firearms Training on the ground

Being on the ground is a different world, and everything is slightly different. Proper firearms training on the ground will encompass the following in every position

  • Drawing from the holster on the Ground
  • Reloading on the ground
  • Dry Firing from the Ground
  • Live Firing from the ground (If possible)
  • Clearing Malfunctions from the ground
  • One Handed / Weak handed engagements

The above should be practiced in each position.

Traditional Prone

Like standing and kneeling, firearm training on the ground has a variety of different techniques and ideas. If you are on the on the ground to use cover then you are best served on your stomach, in a traditional prone position. This allows you to rest your elbows on the floor and steady your shot. Being on your belly makes it possible to hide the majority of your body while retaining a comfortable position. This position is easy to roll from if necessary, and very easy to get up from.

Traditional Prone
Traditional Prone

Back to Ground

Most likely this is the position you will find yourself if knocked down. Rolling to your back presents you with the widest field of view of all positions. You can engage easily to your left and right, and directly in front of you. This position also allows an easy draw, reload, and fix malfunctions. In this position, your back is to the ground and you are doing a sit-up to lift your back off the ground and take a shot. This position allows you to react rapidly and engage targets in front and to the sides.

Firearms Training
From the back – Into Action

Side Left or Right

If knocked down on your side in an engagement I suggest rolling to back or stomach if possible. However, some situations may make laying in a sideways position necessary to maximize cover and concealment. Depending on which side you’re dominant and which side you’re laying on, drawing and reloading can be difficult. Your legs should not be stacked on top of each. They should be slightly kicked outwards to the front and rear. This allows you to remain a stable platform for firing your weapon.

Firearms training
On the Side

Getting Up

It’s great that you can fight from the ground, but it’s important you take the time to learn to get the hell back up. Getting up while holding a firearm in a safe and effective manner can be difficult. By safe I mean following the four rules as much as possible. This includes finger off the trigger and avoiding pointing the weapon at yourself and other innocent people.

Being effective while standing means keeping your weapon and your eyes orientated towards the bad guy. At the same time, you want to move rapidly and get to your feet and to cover as fast as possible.

How to
Throughout these drills, your goal should be to keep the weapon pointed at a target, with your eyes on the target. When practicing this a simple paper target is an excellent frame of reference to remind yourself to maintain visual on the target. These can actually be good drills to put into a workout, the up and down nature makes them breathtaking when done for speed. At the same time, keep your weapon pointed down range while rushing up. 

Traditional prone

Lift yourself up to your knees. Keep the weapon pointed down range with one hand, as the other helps you get up. Bring one of your knees up and put yourself into a kneeling position. Reassess the threat from the kneeling if you have cover. If not, come completely to your feet and find cover.

Getting Up
Getting Up 1
Getting Up 2
Getting Up 2


On Your Back

Do a forward rock or a full sit up. Place your nondominant hand on the ground behind you. Shoot your nondominant leg behind and under you and push up with dominant leg until you can kneel. Then move to a standing position while assuming full control of your weapon with both hands.

Firearms Training
From the back to standing
From the back
From the back
From back to standing
From back to standing
Always on Target
Always on Target

On Your Sides?

I suggest rolling your stomach or back and getting up from there.

Ground Fighting

Ground fighting with a gun can suck. You lose a lot of maneuverability. However, it can happen, more so if you are knocked to the ground during an engagement. You want at least some familiarity with these positions before you find yourself on the wrong side of gravity.