4 Points of Contact: How to Hold an AR-15

Whether you call it a Modern Sporting Rifle, a "black gun" or an AR-15, there's one best way to wield it.

posted on August 9, 2022

Full-sized modern sporting rifles—also known as MSRs, black guns and AR-15s—may appear to be more complex to handle than pistols are, but that's not exactly true. What is true is that in order to properly hold your MSR, you must establish four "points of contact" with the gun instead of two. The good news is that doing so is much easier than you may think. The even-better news is that those extra two points of contact give you more control, better accuracy and (probably) better comfort, too. 

In this episode of Smith & Wesson's GUNSMARTS series, you'll learn what we mean by "points of contact," which is simply the places where your body touches the gun. When you're shooting a handgun, you should only have two points of contact—each of your hands on the pistol's grip. When you're shooting any kind of rifle (not just an MSR), you'll need to have four. That's where your dominant or trigger hand touches, where your support hand touches, where the gun's buttstock rests on your shoulder and where your cheek touches the stock. 

As instructor Ken Scott emphasizes, there are three key things to remember when practicing your grip: safety, safety and safety. (OK, what we mean by that is that you must keep your finger outside the trigger guard at all times, remove all ammunition from the room and keep the firearm pointed in a safe direction.) Once you have it mastered, you're well on your way to discovering just how accurate and easy to shoot AR-15s are!


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