My Stance on Shooting Stances

FundamentalsPistolShootingI recently read a brief by CR Williams at his website (I Wonder Now About the Weaver (http://inshadowinlight.com/index.php/2016/02/24/i-wonder-now-about-the-weaver/)) and I thought that a personal opinion about shooting platforms (stances), even though they have been bantered about on many occasions, could reignite a few new discussions about stable shooting platforms.

On a recent trip to the range, I had the opportunity to observe shooters on the firing line as I waited my turn at bat. Those shooters who were standing most often were in the Isosceles shooting stance; body upright and not bent (or bent slightly rearward), rigid at the knees, and shoulders that may be rolled forward or as stiff as their upper body. Jerry Miculek, a world-renowned competitor, is an advocate of the isosceles stance.

Jack Weaver (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jack_Weaver) is credited with what has become known as the “Weaver stance” (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Weaver_stance) and which was blessed by Jeff Cooper. However, there are claims that the Weaver Stance existed before Jack Weaver and Jeff Cooper popularized it. There is also the “Modified Weaver” stance where the shooting arm is bent rather than locked straight out as with the “Weaver” stance. There is also the “FBI Crouch” that is a modified form of the Isosceles stance and is also known as the “Combat Stance.” Regardless, Jeff Cooper is credited with the “Modern Technique” of shooting (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Modern_technique_%28shooting%29)

When I was a LEO, I was trained in the “Weaver” technique simply because it was the fastest technique to obtain from an “Interview” stance. The APCLLC (Awareness Protective Consultants, LLC) staff use the, Tactical Combat Fighting Stance™ (TCFS) to LEOs, which is essentially the same as I was taught only it was not called that. “The stance is structured with the operator’s strong side foot half a step back from the support side foot. The knees are bent slightly to lower the body’s center of gravity, the upper body is bent forward at the hips which balances the upper body and improves long arm or side arm presentation, or empty hand movement. The end result is a stance that is stable 360 degrees. There are several advantages with the stance. The officer is facing the primary threat area but retains mobility to change direction rapidly. The stance is transferable in that it is applicable to long arm, side arm, or empty hand tactics. A lowered center of gravity helps absorb the recoil from a weapon being fired. There is greater stability if someone were to bump or shove the officer from a side or from behind, and the ability to maintain position for longer periods of time with less fatigue.” From this stance, a Weaver or Modified Weaver hold on the firearm is easily obtained. Is this a solid shooting platform? Far from it actually, but it is attuned to more real-world situations than is the Isosceles stance. The TCFS is more natural to the person (more closely resembles a fighting stance) than the Isosceles stance when faced with a combatant that is bent on taking your life. When it comes down to it, adopting and locking your self into a specific shooting stance is but a small part of the shooting experience and should actually be avoided as much as possible. That is not saying that Isosceles, Weaver, and Modified Weaver stances should be avoided, as they are probably the most stable stances available to the off-hand shooter. It is to say that flexibility and positioning is more important in a dynamic situation.

The Distance Bias: http://www.buckeyefirearms.org/distance-bias

In the study of the martial arts, the OODA (Observe, Orient, Decide, and Act) is omnipresent (learn more about the OODA Loop here: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/OODA_loop). When learning the martial art of shooting, it would make sense that the OODA loop should also be omnipresent. I was watching a GDPA (Georgia Defensive Pistol Association) match one evening at my local range. Various setup were used during the competition with each setup being torn down after each run; whereas, a new course was then setup. Each participant was provided the opportunity to view the setup, which allowed them to decide how to run the course. I thought that this was a good idea. A left-handed shooter might run the course differently from a right-handed shooter, could plan any reloads ahead of time, or decide if the course was to be run at all. In the real world; however, we don’t get to plan a course of fire ahead of time. In most cases we have to deal with what is presented to us and the OODA loop can be critical to survival.

I found that when I was competing in the Martial Arts, that observing my opponent was a critical key. I also learned that I could direct my opponents attack. If my opponent took a fighting stance in a traditional way, I would change my stance to force him to change his. If he didn’t change, or did change, his stance I knew pretty much what to do to defend and attack on my end given the knowledge of punches and kicks that I knew at the time. The decision-making process was more of, ‘if he does this, I will do this’ according to his stance and my “invitation” to him. If I held my hands high, most of the attack would be to the body and usually in a form of side, spinning back, or front kick. If I held my hands low, the attack by my opponent was usually to the head (punches and/or kicks) while attempting to get the inside position. Sometimes, I would take the offensive just to make my opponent wary of coming in to close. Sometime, I would take the defensive to invite him in. This is not to say that I was always successful and I learned my mistakes the hard way, but it was my way and I had my share of wins and that brings me to my next point – Gun Fighting KATA

GUN FIGHTING KATA

In learning the martial arts, you learn KATA (re: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kata). In learning how to shoot, you also learn KATA in the form of shooting stances (or platforms) such as; Isosceles, Weaver, and Modified Weaver. At this point, I will repeat that adopting and locking your self into a specific shooting stance is but a small part of the shooting experience and should actually be avoided as much as possible. That is not saying that Isosceles, Weaver, and Modified Weaver stances should be avoided, as they are probably the most stable stances available to the off-hand shooter. It is to say that flexibility and positioning is more important in a dynamic situation.

One of my drills is to start from a standing, strong-side, one-handed “Duelist” position, take my shots, move into a Modified Weaver, take my shots, move into an Isosceles stance, take my shots, move into a weak-side Isosceles stance (transfer the handgun from one side to the other), take my shots, move into a weak-side Modified Weaver, take my shots, and finally move into a weak-side, standing, one-handed “Duelist” position. Note that there may also be a reload during these transitions. I also run this sequence starting with the weak-side, off-hand and complete the drill on the strong side.

There is also a drill that takes me from a standing, one-handed “Duelist” position to a kneeling position and making the hand gun transitions while kneeling and while switching from one knee to the other. The sequence goes something like this: Standing, one-handed “Duelist” position and take my shots, drop to a kneeling Modified Weaver and take my shots, switch the hand gun to the other hand while moving from one knee to the other and then take my shots, move to a standing position (as quickly as possible) and complete the exercise in the one-handed “Duelist” position. Then, repeat the exercise starting with the position that I ended up in after the previous exercise, which could be strong or weak side. Again, one or more reloads may be called for (depending on the hand gun being used in the exercise). This exercise can also be used for transitions from standing, kneeling, and reverse from sitting, kneeling, to standing position in both strong side and weak side transitions.

The object is to make these transitions as smooth and coordinated as possible. There are other variations that I have run “dry” (no ammunition) and I am still in the development stage before I attempt “hot” runs. My limitation as to what I can develop is the indoor range itself and what they will allow me to do while other shooters are in the range. There were several times when I arrived early and they would allow me to rehearse my dry run before other shooters arrived. I thought that was nice of them.

FORM OVER FASHION

One of my points here is that while standing upright in your favorite shooting stance is a good thing to do, you must consider that while that particular stance is fashionable breaking that rigid stance may not be functional in a real life encounter with bad people.

You opponent may be bobbing, weaving, ducking, and hiding as much as you are. It is who can shoot best and hit their target while bobbing, weaving, ducking, and hiding that will determine the winner (if there is such a thing in a gun fight). This is one time that you don’t want to be a “stand up guy” in any sense of the term.

Begin developing your own sense of KATA when at the range, or during a “dry run” of clearing your own homestead, or even walking the mall with the wife. The practice that you put into “running the gun” just might pay off when the fertilizer impacts the ventilator. In real life, function over form wins every time.

RELATED RESOURCES:

OH, DEAR: Rob Pincus Doesn’t Understand The Weaver Position: http://bearingarms.com/bob-o/2016/05/04/oh-dear-rob-pincus-doesnt-understand-weaver-position/?utm_source=badaily&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=nl

About Taurian

Taurian is an Oath Keeper, veteran, former LEO and Defensive Tactics Instructor. Until retirement, Taurian had over forty-seven years of experience as a Technical Writer and Training Program Developer. After leaving home at the age of ten without any shoes, Taurian continues on with many years devoted to the keeping and bearing of arms.

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