Bite The Bullet
Selecting The Most Comfortable Shooting Stance (2009-04-14)
In Airsoft skirmishing as well as during real life encounters, the objective is simple. Kill the other man without him killing you. Or as the Director of the Lethal Force Institute, Massad F. Ayoob states:
'The object is not to take them with you but to send them on ahead'
The objective of this Bite The Bullet article is not to tell you which stance you should adopt, instead it will teach you the fundamentals of each stance to allow you the option of switching stances on the fly.
In this Bite The Bullet article you will become familiarized with the 3 most prolifically used stances in the world today whether it be used by men and women in the military, law enforcement officers, self defense courses, and IPSC shooters; The Isosceles, Weaver, and Chapman Stance. There are literally dozens of variations for each of the 3 most common stances; the reason is because each person differs from the next. What works for you might not work for the next person, but if an individual's basic body shape is similar to yours, it's possible that the same basic stance will work for you. Take note however as their body is not identical to yours, you may need to tweak the stance a bit to make it your Stance.
The chances are that most of the time when you are shooting you'd be either running, crouched behind something or ducking for cover but that doesn't mean you're 'not using a stance'. Every time you shoot your body has already positioned itself into a stance, remember a stance is a term used to refer to your body position when shooting. Regardless of how you're standing your arms will be holding the gun in a certain position; most likely the position in which you practice most often.
The Isosceles stance is named for the triangular shape produced by the shooter's arms and body. Whilst the Isosceles stance has been around for years, it only became popularized when 2 shooters, Brian Enos and Rob Leatham started using it to win IPSC competitions in the early 1980s.
|In the Isosceles stance, the arms are straight and the gun is positioned directly in front of the shooter producing the triangular shape given this position its name|
There are 2 variants of the Isosceles stance. In traditional Isosceles, the feet are parallel and pointed towards the target with the knees being straight or very slightly flexed whilst the body remains in an upright position.
In Modern Isosceles, the feet are roughly shoulder-width apart with the gun-side foot closer to the target that the off-side foot. The knees are flexed to maintain balance whilst the entire body leans slightly towards the target. The shoulders are closer to the target than the hips and the hips are more forward than the knees. The shoulders are rotated forward, and the head instead of being upright is hunkered down in a vulture like position down behind the sights. This give the body a much more aggressive forward appearance and enables the shooter to move quickly when necessary.
When shooting at targets to the left or right of your body, imagine your entire upper body to be like the gun turret of a tank. Pivot your entire upper body smoothly to present to the new target. The Isosceles stance works well for those who have eye dominance issues because the gun can be aligned with either eye in the center position. The biggest weakness of the Isosceles stance is that the gun tends to bounce as the shooter moves, the ideal solution to this would be learning to move smoothly (will be discussed further on in this article), and also learning how to easily transition between Isosceles, Chapman, and Weaver stances depending on the type of shooting being done.
The Weaver stance is named after Jack Weaver, a Deputy Sheriff in the 1950's when he began standing this way in shooting competitions. The young Jeff Cooper quickly adopted Jack Weaver's shooting stance and later popularized it in his shooting school, Gunsite.
|In the Weaver stance the body is bladed sideways in relation to the target with the shooting side to the rear. The elbows are flexed and pointed downwards with the strong-side arm slightly straighter than the weak-side arm.|
In the Weaver stance the body is bladed sideways in relation to the target with the shooting side to the rear. The elbows are flexed and pointed downwards with the strong-side arm slightly straighter than the weak-side arm. The shooter pushes out with the gun hand whilst pulling back with the weak hand thus producing a push-pull tension which is the main characteristic of the Weaver Stance; The Weaver stance can be held close to your body, or extended in front of your body. To engage targets to the sides, simply bend your elbows to bring the gun around.