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How to Hold Binoculars Still

Last Updated: 29.11.21


If your spare time often finds you exploring nature or engaging in various outdoor activities, you probably know that the gear you use can enhance or diminish your experience. Using some quality Bushnell binoculars can make a great difference when it comes to what you get to see.

Depending on the tasks you want to use a magnification device for, you will be able to choose the right model. If a spotting scope is out of your options and your hobbies call for binoculars, then getting a quality unit is not enough if you don’t use it properly. Holding binoculars still seems to be one of the most common issues users get to face.

Unfortunately, it’s not always possible to use a tripod and then binoculars are often employed for their portability, which often involves not using a tripod. However, a blurry image won’t help you much, regardless of your observation purpose. That’s why holding the binoculars still gains great importance.

In case you’re new to binocular use and you’re experiencing such problems, you might want to check out this post for a few tips that will help you keep your magnification device steady so you can view the things of interest clearly.

Use any support

As we’ve said, using a tripod may not be an option at times. If you’re into hiking, for example, and you need to limit the gear you carry as much as possible and take only the essential items, you might have to leave the tripod out in order to save space and take just the binoculars.

That doesn’t mean that there aren’t other options to provide you with the support needed to keep the binoculars steady so you can enjoy a clear image. Holding the unit for a long time will eventually get you tired hands and eliminating shaking when you reach that point might be quite of a challenge.

When that happens but you still want to go on with your hiking and wildlife observation, you might want to use whatever you find suitable near you as a support. Something solid such as a rock or a wall might help you with that.

Just place the binoculars on something that is solid and doesn’t move. When exploring outdoors, you will most probably find a large rock to use as a support for your binoculars. Some hunters and outdoor enthusiasts even recommend the use of a thick stick to keep the binoculars steady. Try this to see if you can improve the quality of what you see.


Get in a comfortable position

Depending on the activity that calls for the use of binoculars, you will have to adopt various positions. Get in a comfortable position and, if possible, use a cushion to provide you with the additional support needed to hold the binoculars still.

If you’re just nature-watching from the comfort of your home, you can employ an extendable chair. This position will provide your elbows and back with extra support. However, when you go hunting, you can only opt for a chair if you use a hunting blind.

If you’re an on-the-go hunter, then lying on the ground is a more practical solution as it will help you enjoy enhanced support for your arms. The nature of your activities, the setting, and whether you need to be quiet and remain as little visible as possible will help you decide which position is best.

Hold the binoculars properly

When it comes to holding the binoculars so you can get a still and thus clear image of your target or object of interest, it is a lot about trial and error. Trying various techniques and seeing which one works best for you are thus inevitable. Here are some of the most popular techniques for holding binoculars.

One of the most common and simplest techniques is the so-called sling technique. What you need for this is a non-stretchable strap that you should attach to the binoculars and wear it around the neck.

Make sure the strap is hanging down so you can place the arms in the loop that forms above the elbow. Once you’ve done so, hold the binoculars like you normally do and push the elbow wide open. This will get you extra stability and support.

Another effective technique for holding binoculars steady is the triangular arm brace technique. Use your first two fingers to hold the binoculars by placing them around the eyepieces and the third and fourth fingers around the prism housing. After you’ve done that, place the item to your eyes and keep your hands as if you were shielding your eyes from the sun.

By getting in this position, your head, shoulders, and neck will help your arms get locked in a triangular shape. Also, your thumbs will help you make sure there is a fixed distance between the eyepieces and your eyes.

Even if this technique may feel a bit uncomfortable at first, you will get used to it after trying it a few times. What makes this position one of the most popular ones is the enhanced stability and support it provides.

Still, this technique might not be the best one in some cases. For example, if you use large binoculars, you may want to try the double-handed hold. Just use your left hand to hold the right objective barrel and employ the triangular arm brace technique for your right hand. Your left wrist will thus support the left objective barrel.

Make sure you remove any wrist watch or bracelet before engaging in this position. To enjoy enhanced stability, you can combine this method with the rifle sling technique we’ve described above.

Of course, practice makes perfect and although you might feel a bit uncomfortable at first, these techniques will soon become second nature. You can practice them several times at home in order to be ready to get in position quickly when reaching your hunting or nature-viewing spot.

An animal you might want to see won’t wait for you until you find the position that feels right. That’s why it is better to train a bit before you go out there. You will thus avoid missing your target.

A few more tricks to improve stability

The method you employ depends on a variety of factors such as the setting of your observation, your experience, and so on. There are some more tricks to help you improve your stability when your hands are tired or you’ve hunted or hiked for a long time but you still need to enjoy a steady image.

Outdoor activities such as hiking and hunting usually stretch over hours and using the binoculars frequently or simply carrying your gear will get your hands tired. When that happens, there are great chances for your hands to shake while holding the binoculars. You need to see your target clearly, so a blurry image won’t help much.

Regardless of how you hold the binoculars, you can improve stability by supporting yourself or at least a part of yourself on something stable such as a wall. You could try sit-leaning on your car bonnet or a table or support your elbows on a gate-post if there is any near you.

As we’ve said before, some users also employ a thick stick for support and stability. In case there are buildings near you, simply lean against a wall. If you want to observe birds flying high in the sky, then reclining and sitting gain even greater importance.

Another trick to help you hold your binoculars steady is to use a wide stance when you stand and to hold your breath while gazing. When there are large binoculars involved, though, it is best to mount them in order to avoid getting tired hands and a shaky image.



Ioana Moldovan

Ioana’s professional experience in the optics field has helped her understand the value of passing her knowledge forward. Her curious personality helps her gather useful information for her readers and her goal is to make technical information fun and accessible to everyone.

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Charles Taylor
Charles Taylor
1 year ago

Here’s one way I just discovered to help hold binoculars still or to steady while following a bird in flight or an airplane. Using a baseball cap brim. Most people take their hat off, but if you leave it on and place your fingers on top of the brim with your thumbs and the binoculars on the underside of the brim and you’ll grip both together (the hat brim and the binoculars). It’s not perfect and it take practice, especially focusing, but it really does work. Protection Status