Steadiest Binocular Hold

A bowhunting friend showed me this style nearly 40 years ago.  As far as I’m concerned, there is no other suitable way to hold a binocular.  It has multiple benefits. 
Most people wrap a hand around each barrel, bring up their binocular and stick their elbows straight out.  That’s unsteady and swiftly tiring.
Give yourself some brace points to get the steadiest short-term and long-term hold when using binoculars.  Here’s what to do:
  • Hold binocular barrels against the base of your thumb and palm.
    • You may find it easier and more comfortable to turn the outside of your hands in a bit, which will lessen the contact with the inner part of your hand below your index fingers.
    • Benefit from this is that you will still have a solid grip on the binocular barrels AND your second fingers will be free to turn the focusing knob.
  • Brace your thumbs under your cheekbones, pushing up slightly to help solidify the anchor.
  • Brace your index fingers above your eyebrow ridges, pushing down slightly to help solidify the anchor.
  • By slightly flexing index fingers and thumbs, you can easily position the binocular at the proper distance from your eyes.
    • IMPORTANT NOTE:  If you wear glasses, DO NOT push the rubber exit pupil rings against your glasses.  Be sure they do not contact your glasses lenses.  Contact between rubber eyecups and glasses lenses anywhere there is sand blowing will etch circles into your glasses lenses, even when sand is blown so lightly you won’t notice it. This is a particular problem in the West.
  • Keep your elbows in and, if possible, brace your upper arms and elbows against your chest.
This style of binocular holding lets you scan the landscape a long time without tiring and produces a steadier hold, thus minimizing eyestrain.

Glenn Helgeland has been an outdoor writer, editor, photographer and magazine and book editor since long before the digital age, back when black-and-white photos in print form were common. Now grown older and increasingly feeble, with decreasing vision clarity, he gladly latches onto all equipment use techniques, such as holding binoculars in the best way possible, to keep his outdoor experiences at top quality. Learn more at

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