A Firing Party fires a ceremonial Three-Volley salute using modern or traditional rifles (military), shotguns, or pistols (law enforcement). It is not the 21-Gun Salute, that is fired by guns (canons) and only in the Army and Navy.
The Numbers: Anywhere from three to seven members firing with a commander. The smaller amount of members on the team does not mean that more shots are fired.
The Rifles: Traditional rifles are the M1 Garand and, used most often, the M14. The reason for these two rifles being used is the charging handle. The M1903 has a bolt and is awkward to operate smoothly when loading each round. Modern rifles are the M16 and variations of it. Pump action shotguns provide a similar action as the M1 and M14 when loading the rounds.
The Stance: Neds to be solid. Do not bend at the waist and do not bend your knees. You can see both of these in the Soldiers in the picture below.
“Fires” is the keyword in the first paragraph. The team fires the Salute, it does not “shoot”. Shooting requires taking aim to hit your target. The Firing party does not have a target, it is firing blanks for the Salute and not going to hit anything.
While this is a non-standard stance for the Indiana State Police, you can see their use of shotguns for the team.
I understand the natural position of taking aim when having a rifle or shotgun in your hands a getting ready to fire the weapon. However, training must involve breaking this habit. It’s a ceremony and must be treated as such. There is a time to take aim and shoot and a time to fire. “Ready, Aim, FIRE!”
In the picture above, you can see how some of these Soldiers are taking aim while using a more modern rifle to fire the volleys.