A friend asks when this technique came about, the support arm forward . . . I see it all the time now but haven't tried it . . . S.L.
There's varying points of view about support hand placement (along side the rail or thumb-over aka 'C-Clamp') and how the support arm is positioned (elbow turned up or down). Depending on what is on the front of your rifle (lights, sights, lasers, grips) will essentially influence what position you may prefer most for shooting.
Some people find a more stable platform by shooting with the weak hand/arm extended forward, recoil management is a lot better.
Guru of CQB replies:
I first saw variations of this in the mid/early 90's, but it began to gain prominence around 2001. I personally think it came from trap and skeet shooters (what I learned to shoot as a youngster) and was modified for action rifle.
The closer your support hand is to the muzzle the more control you can exert during movement. You have "snappier" movements of the muzzle from aiming point to aiming point with less wobble and over/under correction. You also are able to control the rifle better because it's recoil movement pushes it into your shoulder at 90-degrees instead of a more acute angle which in turn causes the muzzle to rise up and away from your body. You can "drive" the gun with your firing shoulder which essentially is fighting the recoil with positive forward force.
All of these things lead to faster and more controllable "fast" shooting.
A Little Bit of History:
A “rifle” shooting historian (Old guy with cred's . . . to keep it simple) advises that the origin of the C-clamp was from the Browning Automatic Rifle, Caliber .30, M1918A2 with bipod. FM 23-15, pg 67, fig 21, Assault Fire Position.
The BAR was held in this position when assaulting so that it could be raised quickly due to the overall weight of the rifle and fired with accuracy and precision on close range targets when conducting CQB type operations. Because it is a .30 caliber with a wooden stock the recoil was a major problem and using a C-clamp hold allowed you to drive the rifle with your firing shoulder which helped to control the recoil.
While the FM does not actually show the C-clamp on page 67, I can see how this interpretation of the C-clamp from the Assault fire position would assist in using the BAR for quick aiming point targets. I have shot the BAR many times and after careful thought felt this explanation has some merit so I decided to share it here as well.
Personally, I believe the only reason you see people at the gun club shooting this way is because they watch too many You-tube videos of operators practicing CQB and they are simply mimicking what they watch. Over the last two years I have asked many people why they shoot with the C-Clamp grip and most just say “because so-in-so told me to do that”. What I have found is that it is very dependent upon the rifle length and style of shooting that you use most and what you train with.
I’m not certain about the skeet shooting method mentioned but it passes the sniff test to me . . .