Firing From Cover: Secrets of Barricade Shooting

By Michelle Cerino
Posted in #Skills
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Firing From Cover: Secrets of Barricade Shooting

October 26th, 2019

4 minute read

Often, during competition shooting, a match designer sets a barricade somewhere within a stage. As a competitor, it’s important to know how to shoot from various ports and steps. For successful barricade shooting, a shooter must build a sturdy shooting platform for the firearm. 

The Barricade

Although there are numerous barricade designs, they all contain various ports and steps. One of the most common designs is the Viking Tactics (VTAC) Barricade, which is what I used for the following demonstrations. Note: An UNLOADED Springfield SAINT Victor was used in all the photos.

The C-Clamp

One of the easiest ways we (at Cerino Consulting & Training Group) teach to mount the rifle to the port or step is with a C-clamp effect. I try to get a few fingers over the top of the hand guard while my thumb wraps around the bottom (creating a “C”).

Then, I grasp the surface I’m shooting from with my other fingers, clamping the hand guard into it as tightly as possible. I try to C-clamp into the corner of a port or step for even contact. 

Building a Shooting Platform

For the most stable shooting from any type of barricade (or other object) with a rifle, it’s important to create the most points of contact possible. Also, depending on the barricade’s stability, I may either push into it, or pull on it. 


When approaching a barricade where I must shoot from an upper step, I first get square to the barricade. My feet are flat on the ground and I push into the barricade as much as possible. With my support hand, I find the easiest way to C-clamp the hand guard to a surface. 


Depending on the height of the area I need to shoot from, I may choose to kneel on either one or two knees. If the height is low enough, my first choice is to kneel on my front knee. This is the knee on the same side as my support hand, the one that holds the hand guard. I get my rear foot flat to the ground and use my rear thigh to support my rear elbow. When possible, I also try to sit on the foot of my front knee to add more points of contact. 

If the surface is too high for one knee, I then go two knees down. This is like standing, with my body square to the target, but I’m on my knees. Again, pushing into the barricade helps with stability. 

Other Rifle Shooting Tips

Don’t rest your barrel on the surface you are shooting from. Your bullets will not impact where you expect. Instead, the bullet will impact in the opposite direction of where the barrel is touching. 

Keep your fingers away from the muzzle brake. I’ve witnessed what happens when someone placed his thumb close to the blast. The gasses coming out are extremely powerful. It was not pretty. 

If you end up in a position that doesn’t seem stable, take a moment to adjust yourself. Don’t waste time struggling and making up shots that don’t hit the target.

Real World Barricade

Some may think shooting from a barricade is just part of competition shooting…I beg to differ. For those who are hunters, the same concepts apply to trees, branches, logs and any other objects you may shoot from in the woods. And then there are also self-defense situations or the zombie apocalypse. 

Editor’s Note: This article was shared with us by Women’s Outdoor News.

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Springfield Armory® recommends you seek qualified and competent training from a certified instructor prior to handling any firearm and be sure to read your owner’s manual. These articles and videos are considered to be suggestions and not recommendations from Springfield Armory. The views and opinions expressed on this website are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the views and opinions of Springfield Armory.

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Michelle Cerino

Michelle Cerino

Michelle Cerino is the managing editor at Women’s Outdoor News and author of Gear Up, sponsored by Springfield Armory and Princess Gunslinger. She also freelances for other industry magazines including Combat Handguns, Person Defense World and New Pioneer Magazine. Michelle is the president of Cerino Consulting and Training Group LLC, a firearms training company she built with her husband Chris in 2011. They instruct both civilians and law enforcement. Her path in the firearms and outdoors industries is ever progressing. She is writing, hunting, competing and doing contract work for major manufacturers. Michelle is a proud Life Member of the NRA, and also belongs to NSSF, AG&AG and ILEETA.

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