Proper Field Carries Cradle - Two-handed - Trail - Sling - Elbow - Shoulder

6 types of Field Carries

There are several ways to carry a firearm while hunting. Any time you take a firearm afield, it should be carried in one of six positions. Safe muzzle control governs the appropriate carrying position to use in any given situation.

All positions gun carry
  1. Cradle Carry
  2. Shoulder Carry
  3. Trail Carry
  4. Sling Carry
  5. Elbow Carry
  6. Two-Handed Carry


  • Keep muzzle pointed in a safe direction
  • Keep fingers outside trigger guard
  • Ensure the safety is on

Cradle Carry

Cradle carry

A good position to use when standing point or waiting for your hunting companions to approach. Safe to use when your partners are ahead or behind you, never on the side where the muzzle is pointed.

Shoulder Carry

Shoulder carry

This is the most hazardous field carry because this method gives us the least control over the weapon if we fall. The shoulder carry is best used when a hunter is walking alone. Do not use this carry if someone is behind you or if you are walking through difficult terrain.

It is your responsibility to develop and practice safe habits so that you are comfortable and safe with other hunters. Insist that your companions do the same or refuse to hunt with them.

Trail Carry

Trail carry

If a hunting party is traveling in single file, only the lead person should use the trail carry. This one-handed carry provides the least control in the event of a fall or other problems. Never use this carry if someone is walking ahead of you.

Sling Carry

Sling carry

Big game hunters find a sling very helpful to carry and shoot a firearm accurately from the off-hand position. Sling carry is not recommended in difficult terrain. On such occasions, the rifle should be held in your hands for complete muzzle control.

Elbow Carry

Elbow carry

A safe method when walking in a field or through grassland. Safe to use when others are behind or to your side, but not when they are in front of you.

Two-handed Carry

Two-handed carry

The shooter has good muzzle control with this carry, and is ready to shoulder the firearm quickly. This is an excellent carry for working upland bird cover. The two-handed provides the best control, especially in dense vegetation or overgrown areas, or when you need to fire quickly. It is also one of the safest ways to carry a firearm and the best. Never use it when someone is on the same side that the muzzle is pointed.