DOES YOUR SHOOTING STANCE MATTER?

May 2, 2018

 

Sure it does. There is no end to the number of techniques out there to help you improve your marksmanship. Building the proper shooting stance whether you are shooting a rifle or a pistol is a key component in being able to shoot accurately and with confidence.

What is the proper shooting stance? The stance is the base around which the rest of the shooting fundamentals revolve. A weak or unstable stance or base of operations easily transfers upwards through the rest of the shooters body and will negatively impact your shooting performance.

I never really knew this until I read an article on the history of Shooting Stances and found that there are a wide variety of shooting stances. Here are the most common:

The Weaver stance was developed I the 1950’s by a Los Angeles County Deputy Sherriff named Jack Weaver.

How it’s done: The shooter faces the target at an angle with their feet diagonal to each other, shoulder width apart, and toes facing forward. The non-dominant leg is positioned forward of the dominant leg, with the shooter’s weight balanced between rear and front legs ,which helps to ensure that the shooter isn’t leaning backward. The arms are bent with the firing arm slightly straighter than the support arm, and the elbows of both arms pointed downward. The shooting hand “pushes” forward, while the support hand “pulls” back, strengthening the shooter’s front-to-rear grip on the pistol.

Advantages of Use: Good self-defense stance because by angling your body, you present a small target for your attacker.

Disadvantages of Use: If your left ye is opposite your dominant hand or vice-versa, you have to strain you head near your dominant hand shoulder to align you gun sight with your eye.

The Chapman stance was developed by a California competition shooter named Ray Chapman.

How it’s done: the Chapman stance is very similar to the Weaver stance. The only difference is the positioning of the arms. With the Chapman stance, the shooting arm is fully extended, with the support arm bent (elbow pointed downward).

Advantages of Use: Allowing the shooter to use their shooting arm as a “stock” by forming a cheek weld on their upper arm, which allows for improved sight alignment for cross-dominant shooters. Having the firing arm extended allows the shooter to resist the force of recoil better and the bent support arm allows for improved aim stability when using the push/pull grip component of the stance.

Disadvantages of Use: The need for the shooter to adjust their head over their firing shoulder adds undue stress to the shooter’s neck muscles, and any time the body is forced in an unnatural position, aim can be impaired, stability decreased, and the shooter fatigues quicker when shooting for long periods of time.

The Isosceles stance has been around forever by professional competition shooters Rob Leatham and Brian Enos made it popular in the 80’s.

How it’s done: In this stance, the shooter stands with feet aligned, toes pointed toward the target, about shoulder width apart, and the arms are fully extended. Some variations involve incorporating bends in the knees and arms (with elbows pointed downward).

Advantages of Use: It allows the shooter to use their innate accuracy to quickly aim the firearm by “pointing” it. This allows a shooter to aim without extra consideration for eye or hand dominance. The bent-knee isosceles variant also lowers the shooter’s center of gravity, which increases the stability of their stance.

Disadvantages of use: with regard to self defense application, standing with one’s chest directly facing the attacker presents said assailant with a wider target.

How do you know which stance to use? It all depends on the application. In many self-defense situations, the shooting stance will be whatever is appropriate for you to be able to survive an attack. Different styles of target shooting like shooting a bullseye at the range vs. competition shooting will require different type of stances as well. So the short answer to the question is that there is no ONE stance to use for every situation. So practice several types of stances and choose what seems to work best for you.

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