You are here: REDWOLF > Home

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.

Top Tech's Pneumatic Blowback MP5A5
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.

Top Tech's Pneumatic Blowback MP5A5

The Traditional Isosceles stance is most often seen at shooting ranges, whilst it works well there it does not provide the maneuverability and flexibility required by defensive shooters and Airsoft skirmishers.



Top Tech's Pneumatic Blowback MP5A5 The Modern Isosceles is an aggressive look stance providing a stable platform which allows the shooter to move in a hurry when needed. In Modern Isosceles, the shoulders are forward of the hips and the hips are forward of the knee and lower legs with both knees being slightly flexed.

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.

Top Tech's Pneumatic Blowback MP5A5
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.

Top Tech's Pneumatic Blowback MP5A5

Remember to keep your elbows pointed down and tucked close to the body. As the Weaver stance works best when bladed to the target, those who are wearing body armor may find it an issue where this stance will expose your sides and your unprotected armpit to the target.




Cross dominance may be an issue in the Weaver stance, shooters who are right-handed but left-eyed, or left-handed but right-eyed may find that the Weaver stance works well during slow firing, but upon engaging quick moving targets or when shooting under duress. Due to the angle needed to wield a gun in the Weaver stance, a cross dominant shooter may do better using another stance.

Chapman (Modified Weaver)
Named after another shooter who greatly influenced the styles of hand-gunners today, Ray Chapman adopted Weaver's push-pull stance and then changed it slightly. Chapman uses the same push-pull tension which defines the Weaver stance but instead of both elbows being bent, the gun-side elbow is held in a straight position and locked. Assuming a right handed shooter, the right arm is extended straight out whilst the left elbow remains in a flexed position whilst pulling back to provide tension.

Top Tech's Pneumatic Blowback MP5A5
Assuming a right handed shooter using the Chapman (or Modified Weaver) stance, the right arm is extended straight out whilst the left elbow remains in a flexed position whilst pulling back to provide tension. In Chapman as in Weaver, the flexed elbow should be flexed downward instead of pointed out to the side.

Top Tech's Pneumatic Blowback MP5A5

Because the ideal Chapman stance requires the shooter to aim directly down the shooter's dominant arm, cross-dominance remains as a minor issue in Chapman as well as in Weaver.



Occasionally you will find a left-eyed person who shoots right-handed Chapman by resting their head on the bicep of their dominant arm and using the arm as a rifle stock. This may work well on the range, but it is not recommended for use when on the field as it cuts the shooter's field of view to a very narrow area; preventing the shooter from seeing additional targets or friendlies coming to support.

Tactical Footwork
In the case of footwork, think 'small steps' when shooting. Small steps enable you to move smoothly whilst minimizing head and muzzle bounce, thus translating to a more stable shooting platform and more accurate rounds on the target.

Moving Forward

When moving forward you should adopt the "Heel-to-Toe" step; with your knees slightly flexed and your body leaning forward slightly in an aggressive posture, you should be able to feel your weight being distributed evenly on the balls of your feet. This also allows you to pivot very quickly in any direction.

Top Tech's Pneumatic Blowback MP5A5

Use a "Heel-to-Toe" step when moving forward. Smaller steps make for a more stable shooting platform.






Moving Rearward
When moving to the rear, it is always a good idea a get a throw a quick glimpse over your shoulder to note any obstacles between you and your destination. A quick glance is usually all you will need for your mind's-eye to help you navigate around obstacles behind you without having you to constantly glance behind.

Even though you are moving to your rear, your weight should still be forward on the balls of your feet. As you move, drag the ball of your foot on the ground with each step; this will ensure your heel is up (in case your mind's-eye lied to you) allowing you to feel any obstacles behind you prior to committing your full body weight onto your heel. If your heel is down, you'll most likely trip over an obstacle or bang into a wall with your full body weight.

Top Tech's Pneumatic Blowback MP5A5

"Dragging the Toe" as you move to the rear will ensure your heel is up if you were to bump into an obstacle.






Moving Laterally
Lateral movement is generally accomplished by stepping first with the foot that corresponds to the direction of movement. This is essential to avoid crossing or entangling your legs and literally tripping over your own feet.

We at Redwolf Airsoft hope that this has been both educational and helpful in helping you determine what shooting stance you will use. If you have any questions or comments, please do not hesitate to contact