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Phillip Velayo

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Phillip Velayo is a 10-year Marine Corps veteran having served his whole career in the Scout Sniper community. During his time, Phillip completed 4 overseas deployments and served in all billets available to a Scout Sniper, to include Scout Sniper Team Leader, Chief Scout Sniper, and Scout Sniper Instructor.


Phillip spent his last 3 years of service as the Primary Marksmanship Instructor for the 1st Mar Div Scout Sniper Course. Upon exiting the Marine Corps, Phillip was the Lead Instructor and Training Director for Gunwerks' Long Range University for 2 years. Velayo is currently an instructor for Modern Day Sniper.


Phillip is also well known as a nationally ranked precision rifle competitor in the Precision Rifle Series and National Rifle League circuits, having placed in the top 10 in the 2018 season and winning the 2018 Precision Rifle Series Finale match.


Mechanics of the Support Hand on the Tripod

One factor that is common to all shooting positions whether you’re shooting in the prone, from a bench, or sitting/kneeling/standing on a tripod is the placement of the support hand. These factors are responsible for both stability and comfort for the shooter. I believe the support hand has several purposes, especially in the prone where it controls your rear bag, fine tune aiming of the rifle and helps maintain your rifle to shoulder connection.

When shooting off a tripod as front support, those mechanics slightly changed where you are relying on your support hand to stabilize your shooting position and support your upper body behind the rifle. Nevertheless, the support hand is a function of your shooting position and shooting mechanics. I utilize my support hand, when shooting off a tripod, by also controlling the ball head mechanics and lever to attach my rifle if I am using the ARCA system. This allows me to adjust the tension/friction of the ball head until I get my stability where I want it, without sacrificing control of the rifle. By purposing my support hand to adjust the ball head or ARCA lever, I can keep my firing hand on the grip area and by the firing controls and that way I am not trying to reach over the top of my rifle to make adjustments to the ballhead or tripod.

Depending on the size of the target and it’s orientation, I’ll either keep my support hand on the tension lever for the Anvil 30 or put my hand on the opposite leg to help with recoil management and my upper body stability.

Next time you’re at the range, experiment with how your support hand functions and what it does to assist your stability and comfort of your shooting position. Try it in all three positions, standing, kneeling and sitting to see if you run your support hand the same in all those positions or if they vary depending on the use!

Thanks for reading and keep your face on the gun!

Phillip Velayo