Why do Indian soldiers wear their guns much lower than their American counterparts?
Indian Army has been operating in CI/CT, jungle, CQB for almost 3 decades now. That has resulted in a tactical need for soldiers to be ready to fire more from hip position than always an aimed shot. American soldiers’ tactics deviate more towards ‘Aim and Fire’. Keeping the rifle high makes it much easier to bring the aiming sights to eyes and even faster. Whereas in Indian scenario, preparedness to fire a burst in general direction is a bigger need.
Operating in jungles and mountains, if your rifle is high, it will keep banging against your chin or helmet as you bend while climbing up. Even blocks your view while coming down. Hence you have to keep it below to allow the upper body to bend properly and not block the view while descending
Strange but true, a lot of it is due to the rifles we used couple of decades ago. 7.62 mm SLR. The slings we had were canvas and no adjustment possibility on length of sling. It would fix best and toughest only on its far ends. Thats how soldiers in 80s and early 90s carried. Same training has been going on from one generation to next. Even though the weapons changed, the drill did not. At local levels, units operating adjust to environment. But more or less, default carriage of weapons stays the same as taught in military academies and training schools.
In addition, I have few more observations on it. Before that I would like to clear that I am not familiar with American Army. What every I know is from movies like “Black Hawk Down”, “Green Zone” etc…
But as far as I can predict the reason why American soldiers carry their rifle close to their chest is their armory jackets. Their armory jackets are loaded with ammo and carrying gun lower to that will delay in getting in to firing position. Also one more reason I can think here is M16 rifle has binocular, torch and sometime a laser for better target shoot. This additional things makes rifle heavy and if you carry it lower will again delay the position to fire. So as per understanding, carrying gun closer to chest will give them advantage of quick firing position.
Also in below images it is clearly visible that their armory jacket helps them to hold their gun.
In case of Indian Soldiers, their armory jackets are lit’l slim and they usually carry ammo in cargo pockets. The rifle also plays an important role here. Insas or Ak47 rifle are heavier than M16 and holding them close to chest for hours is very difficult.