How To Stand Correctly When Firing Different Weapons

Did you know that if you stand incorrectly while firing a weapon, you could not only negatively impact your accuracy, but potentially injure yourself as well? Just as you’re aware of how to properly hold a gun in your hands, you should also be aware of how the rest of your body provides support and stability for your aim. Here’s what you should know about how to stand correctly when firing different weapons.

Weaver Stance

The Weaver stance is one of the most popular pistol shooting stances, but it also works for long guns. It was developed by Sheriff Jack Weaver, a Los Angeles County Deputy. To get into this stance, stand straight forward with your feet a little wider than hip distance apart. Then, bring your supporting leg (usually the left, or “weak” leg) forward approximately 8 to 10 inches while keeping your toes pointed at your target. Turn your strong side (usually the right side) toes turned approximately 45 degrees outward. This looks a lot like a boxing stance.

Hold the gun in your strong-side hand with the elbow unlocked (slightly bent) and slightly angled outward. Your strong shoulder should be raised up slightly, while your weak shoulder dips downward and toward your target. Your supporting arm should be bent at 45 degrees downward and brought forward to support the pistol’s grip.  The idea behind this stance is to achieve a sort of “push-pull” effect on the pistol, which can help you recover quickly from recoil.

Isosceles Stance

The Isosceles stance is the most straightforward of all the shooting stances, but it’s only effective with handguns. It derives its name from the fact that your body resembles an isosceles triangle when you enact this position correctly.

To get into this stance, stand facing your target with your knees bent and slightly more than hip-width apart. Hinge slightly forward at the waist so your energy is in a forward direction to help you combat recoil. Extend both arms out in front of you, with your strong hand around the grip and your weak hand supporting your strong hand. When you’re in this position, your pistol should be held out at the centerline of your body.  Some people recommend bending your elbows slightly, while others recommend locking the elbows out. Try both to see which one offers the most comfort and control for you.

The Isosceles stance isn’t the most effective at controlling recoil, and it’s not the most supportive stance. However, it’s one of the most natural positions people tend to get into when firing a weapon. Therefore, it’s wise to practice it and make sure you know how to perform it quickly and correctly.

Strong-Hand Retention Stance

If you’re ever in a position where you need to defend your life from an up-close assailant, the strong-hand retention stance may be your best option. It allows you to prevent your assailant from taking your firearm from you. To get into this position, hold the elbow of your firing arm close to your body, with your firing hand no further ahead of your stomach than a few inches.

Bend your supporting arm and hold your supporting hand against your chest so it is out of the way of the gun muzzle. In this position, you can also use it to defend yourself as needed. Foot placement is flexible in this stance, since you’ll likely be taking evasive movements to try to get away from your assailant. Make sure your elbow is glued to the side of your body and the gun is pointing straight forward at your assailant.

Some of these stances may be easier for you to perform than others. It’s a good idea to practice all of them until you find the stance that comes most naturally to you. Do you have a favorite shooting stance that's not mentioned here? Let us know in the comments!

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Christopher Paulk - October 18, 2020 Reply

Some pictures of the stances would be awesome as well

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