If you don’t stand for something, you won’t hit your target.
You’ve perfected your grip and have achieved the best sight alignment out there. Yet, you still can’t hit the target. You are all over the place and you find that you don’t have that strong of a shooting base. Have you checked where your feet are placed?
Stance refers to the way a shooter positions his or her body and feet to provide a solid platform for shooting and movement. There are many variations of stances out there, but they all boil down to two main stances, the Isocseles and the Weaver. Each has its own strengths and weaknesses, but they are both very useful in both competition and defensive pistol shooting. And to think they all started from just holding the gun with one hand and pointing it at an enemy and firing.
Choosing the right stance for you needs to not only provide a strong place for supporting your shooting, but it needs to be comfortable. Otherwise, you will not be able to provide the stability you need to make a clean shot. Let’s take a look at the two most popular pistol stances.
Developed in the mid 1980s by Brian Enos and Rob Leatham to win IPSC shoots, the Isosceles Stance is named after the shape of the triangle your arms form when taking this stance. Your arms should be straight out in front of you with your elbows slightly bent and the gun gripped in your hand. Your feet are placed shoulder-width apart and even with each other, like in the picture above. This is a popular stance for competition shooters as this not only allows you to rotate your upper body like the turret of a tank, it absorbs recoil using your skeleton and makes it more natural to use. However, this is not the best stance for defensive shooters as it does not provide the ability for movement easily.
The Modern Isosceles is a variation of the Isosceles Stance for defensive shooters and allows for easier movement while still providing the stability needed for accurate shots. With this stance, the shooter moves one of her feet forward, usually the weak side foot, and leans forward, putting her weight over her knees and on the balls of her feet.
Like the Isosceles Stance above, the Weaver stance was developed in competition in the late 1950s by then Los Angeles County Deputy, Jack Weaver. Until that point, most shooters used the popular one-handed stance the bullseye shooters use today. Jack was the first to use two hands while slightly turning his body for a more stable platform.
There are two components to the Weaver. First, the gun is gripped in the strong hand, and the shooting arm is pushed straight out with the elbow locked or almost locked out. Then the support arm comes up and grips the gun with the elbow bent significantly and pointed down. Then a push with the strong hand, pull with the weak hand pressure is applied to the gun to strengthen the grip on the gun.
Next, the body is bladed slightly with the weak side forward and the feet shoulder-width apart. This stance gives the shooter a good stable platform while allowing them to move as needed in a defensive situation.
Keep in mind that one stance is not better then the other. They both have their strengths and weaknesses and are applicable in any situation. Practice each stance to see if you like one or another to adopt and use for your stance.