COMBAT: Stance

Discussion in 'Training & Safety' started by EagleSix, May 14, 2007.

  1. EagleSix

    EagleSix New Member

    I’m curious what stance other members here prefer. Although I have my own opinion founded in experience, study and experimentation, I’m always open for learning. I'm an instructor, but before that I'm a student. I teach when I have a student, but I myself am always a student. Firm in my belief of proven principals, but always with an open mind, ears and eyes!
    20 years ago the Weaver stance was the professionals choice and more recently it appears the Isosceles stance is most popular. However both of these most likely are more in reference to the manor in which we handle the gun.

    The Weaver stance advocates a body posture utilizing angles to manipulate muscles against muscle in an attempt to create isometric pressure to capture the gun providing better recoil control and overall sighting and firing control.

    The Isosceles stance is a more natural and relaxed position offering quicker target acquisition and more rapid student skills progression.

    Of course there is more to each position than a simple paragraph and I would imagine there are 50-100 different other stances based on these two. Each of these and most all of the variations I have studied are really designed to provide a solid platform for the upper body to more effectively address the target. A good goal grounded (no pun intended) in the logic that a steady hold provides more accuracy. I can’t argue with that.

    But I am more interested in the stance itself, as in the feet and legs, not necessarily the rest of the anatomy puzzle, but how to you stand and why. What foot placement do you use and how does this benefit your fighting style in combat?

  2. allmons

    allmons New Member

    I'm Ambidextrous -

    Right handed I use Weaver; left handed I can hit and control better with isosceles. I know, it's weird! But it works for me.

  3. EagleSix

    EagleSix New Member


    I have found that not uncommon. I have observed that most of my students while shooting two handed, using the Weaver stance shooting with their primary hand, will take a more Isosceles stance when shooting with their support hand. And it is most prevalent for students who are same side handed and dominance. For example a student who prefers the Weaver stance who is right handed and their dominate eye is their right, will most likely adopt a more Isosceles stance when shifting to using their left hand as the primary gun hand.

  4. ChrisMoore

    ChrisMoore New Member

    Hi EagleSix.

    I shoot in the Isosceles...well, a combat Isosceles anyway with the weakside foot slightest ahead (3"-6") of the strongside foot. I haven't used the weaver stance for years now although that is what we were taught when I first entered law enforcement. I found that when I had to move I was transitioning to the Isosceles anyway so I began shooting in the Isosceles.

    Now we are being taught (and we are teaching) the Combat Isosceles for law enforcement and military applications, especially in a CQB environment. It allows maximum use of your body armor and works great with movement.

    I just recently completed a Tactical Team Instructor course with Operators from 5th and 19th Group SF and we went through various shooting and tactical drills utilizing the Combat Isosceles with both our primary and secondary weapons and I can honestly say it works great.


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  5. sixgunner

    sixgunner New Member

    I have had many firearms instructors tell me that no matter what you practice you will end up shooting isosceles in a real encounter. Supposedly the FBI did a study where they watched 100s of actual engagements and in every one both good and bad guy shot from the isosceles stance. At that time none of their agents were trained to shoot that way but "instinct" took over. When I target shoot I use a modified weaver when I am practicing with my carry gun I shoot isosceles. Arguably this is not the smartest plan but so far my results with both stances have improved and that makes me happy.
  6. Jay

    Jay New Member

    I use and teach a modified Weaver stance. I also teach the isosceles. It's mostly a matter of preference.

    I shoot right-handed...... the toe of my right foot is even with the heel of my left foot, and my feet are outside of shoulder width apart. This is more comfortable for me, and is more stable. If you assume an isosceles stance and have someone bump your hands while you pretend to hold a pistol, your toes will come up...... front-to-back stability isn't as solid for me, as the modified Weaver.

    You weren't as concerned with other anatomy issues, but here's a couple anyway...... :eek:

    With the isosceles, the centerline of the bore is between my arms....... forcing my wrists to work harder under recoil. (in my opinion) In my modified Weaver, the bore is inline with my wrist, forearm, and elbow, and recoil is much less of an issue. (for me)

    That's the nice thing about this hobby, you can pick what suits you. It's really a personal preference, or everyone would be shooting the same way. :)
  7. ranger_sxt

    ranger_sxt New Member

    I tend to teach both, and let the student use whatever works best for them.

    I usually shoot in the "modern" Isosceles.
  8. JoeLee

    JoeLee Guest

    The Clint Eastwood stance,AKA the determined stance.
  9. jeepcreep927

    jeepcreep927 Active Member

    I have focused more on Isosceles both as an instructor and as a student based on all of the things mentioned above. Practically speaking, it is more natural, more stable, maximizes movement options and allows body armor to be used as it was intended. Both from an accuracy standpoint as well as a tactical standpoint, I have not found any pros to using the weaver. The thought that the Weaver minimizes your profile doesn't seem to be much of a selling point for me.
  10. matt g

    matt g Guest

    When I shoot, it will almost look like I'm shooting a rifle. I stand 45 degrees to the target, with my elbows relaxed. It's all *** backwards, but I can consistently hit a 6 inch steel at 50 yards with a short barreled .45 ACP.
  11. Bidah

    Bidah New Member

    I tend to vary between the Combat Isosceles and regular Isosceles, depending on what I am doing. The more I move, the more that I tend to lean towards regular. I was taught this style many years ago by an old Marine in the family, who had used it in Korea and SE Asia.

  12. M500

    M500 Guest

    My initial training (and practice) was, upper body square to the target (Isoscoles) and lower body 45 degrees knees slightly flexed (Horse Stance). I guess you call that "combat Isoscoles"... After some slightly more advanced training - move&shoot, kneeling / prone / obstacles, etc., I stopped caring about body position and try to "focus" (pun) on sight picture.
    What are you training for? Consistent repetition to train muscle memory is a good and useful thing, especially if it provides quickness to ACCURACY. Under stress you will revert to that habit reflexively, whether the stress is competition or combat.
    I personally don't train to stand like Alan Ladd in the middle of the street at High Noon. (If that movie is too old for you, think Marshall Dillon.) Maybe I'm missing something and should reaffirm the basics - thank you for your example of self-examination. :cool:
  13. robocop10mm

    robocop10mm Lifetime Supporting Member Lifetime Supporter


    +1 on the body armor observation. I have shot weaver for many years and am trying to reteach myself to shoot isoscoles. HK smg school taught me a variation of the isoscoles that stresses flexing the abs and rolling the shoulders forward. Recoil is all but negated. I can empty an entire mag from an MP-5 into a 2" circle at 15 yards and keep 5 shot bursts from a Thompson SMG in a pie plate at 75 yards. M-16 full auto is like a Laser, almost one hole 3 shot bursts at 25 yards.
  14. pioneer461

    pioneer461 New Member

    Well golly, that is all well and good if you are talking about target shooting, where no one is shooting back at you. If shots are fired and you are standing still long enough to get the proper angle on your elbow and wrist, you are dead meat. There is a rule of thumb that says we fight as we train. That is true. Your first instinct should be to find and use cover and / or concealment.

    In addition to the nice discussion about Weaver, Isosceles, or whatever, it would also be a good idea to train while laying on your back, or single handed and single off-hand, while laying on your back, or prone. Single hand with a flash light, or holding onto a person you are trying to protect. Simulate and train shooting with your off hand, because your strong hand has been taken out. Practice reloading one handed. Practice clearing drills one handed. In a prolonged gun fight (very rare) there is a great possibility that your hands will become slippery with blood. I wouldn't recommend practicing with slippery hands, but I would try to mentally prepare for that.

    I'm of the school of thought that says each shooter should practice with the grip that he or she gets the best performance with. Iso or Weaver, or something in between, but to not get locked into that being the only way you can shoot.
  15. capttrqueen

    capttrqueen Guest

    I let the 75 officers that I train use whatever stance works best for them. The main thing that I look at is this, "Does the stance that they are using allow them to transition from their weapon to another force option without having to readjust their feet?"

    Our officers range from their mid 20's to their mid 60's in age. I have guys who have had no actual police experience to those who have retired with over 20 years service and are using this as a "second" retirement job. I have officers who have been in combat situations and then have those who have never even held a weapon before the come to my range. Because my officers are so varied I've got to keep most everything I do very simple.

    The KISS principle works for me.
  16. robocop10mm

    robocop10mm Lifetime Supporting Member Lifetime Supporter


    The discussion on cover is quite appropriate. For years we had right hand, left hand barricade parts of the commission course. All this taught was that a 2x4 is cover. We all know a 2x4 will not even slow down a .22 but that was the subliminal message sent.
    I made 18"X18"X48" "Barricades" out of 2x4's and plywood and covered them with scrap vinyl flooring that had a stone or brick look. There are a lot of masonry mailboxes around here that are excellent cover. The officers now look for real cover not concealment.

    Training should be as realistic as possible. One handed shooting, one handed reloads, clearing jams (both one and two handed) as well as shooting from unusual positions such as flat on your back and sitting in a car should be incorporated as much as possible.

    Just getting some people to hit the target can be a challenge. Practice is good, realistic practice is better.
  17. JeffWard

    JeffWard New Member

    Modified Weaver all the way...

    1) I don't wear body armor... 99.9% of us don't. And I'd like to present as small a target as possible.
    2) I grew up shooting rifles. Left foot forward, weight forward, left elbow under.
    3) I'm an athlete. I throw a football that way, a baseball that way, I finish a golf swing that way... Left foot forward, weight forward.

    I "almost" lock out my right arm, aligning all the bones with the barrel.
    My left elbow is low, tucked, and my left hand is pulling back HARD on my grip fingers. My right hand is pushing HARD forward and high on the grip, to control recoil and re-acquire sights. My left biceps and right triceps take the hit, to manage muzzle flip. Bot thumbs forward, left stacked on right.
    Left knee is slightly bent, and 75% of my weight is on it. My right foot is back, roughly 45 degrees from the line of sight.

    It feels "athletic" to me, and natural. I can move and shoot, like a left corner-back, in football. I can advance, or I can drop-step, but my torso is always positioned to shoot.

    If I have to go left handed, my body goes even MORE clockwise, and I shoot straight extended, target-style. Tough, right-eye-dominant, but it feels most natural.

    I think in a gun fight, your body's natural response will be a balance of flight or fight, protecting itself from a hit, why maintaining an aggressive posture... IF you have the upper hand.

    Squaring up isosceles would make me feel more exposed. I'm a big target... 6'4" and 240lbs.

    I also practice A LOT one handed. There will be many instances in the real world of a gunfight, that your weak hand will be quite busy... protecting others, moving things, opening doors, and getting back up off the ground!!!

    I feel that what stance you use punching paper at the range, is completely irrelevant when the chips are down. I'm not squaring up with anyone, letting out half a breath, holding, and squeezing progressively until the trigger breaks... I'm dumping 14 rounds of 230gr ACP firepower out of my XD into your center of mass, from whatever position I have to. THEN... I'll figure out how to stand for mag number 2...

  18. MostlyGenius

    MostlyGenius Guest

    Stances are situational

    I don't see much point in getting too dogmatic about a stance. The bullet strikes where the sights are aligned when the shot breaks.

    Stances are training platforms. You need to start from something to learn sight alignment, sight picture, trigger press, and follow through.

    In defensive shooting you should be moving (which makes any stance kind of moot.) or utilizing cover which will ultimately dictate what position you will be in.