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Shooting stances

4294 Views 13 Replies 8 Participants Last post by  DBChaffin
The Weaver Stance is a two-handed technique in which the dominant hand holds the pistol or revolver and the support hand wraps around the dominant hand. The dominant arm's elbow is nearly straight while the support elbow is noticably bent straight down. The shooter pushes forward with his dominant hand while the support hand exerts rearward pressure. The resultant isometric tension is intended to lessen and control muzzle flip when the gun is fired.

Center Axis Relock
Center Axis Relock (CAR) is a shooting system primarily intended for close quarters battle invented by Paul Castle. The CAR system features a bladed stance (the shooter's weak-side shoulder facing the target), a close-to-body firearm hold, and sighted or non-sighted fire as the situation dictates. This differs from other shooting styles such as the Weaver which feature a more squared stance (i.e. facing the target more squarely) with the pistol held squarely in front of the face and some form of sighted fire.

Isosceles stance
Both arms are extended outward, with the elbows at their natural extension. This puts the axis of recoil more or less along the centerline of the body. The stance is so named because a path drawn along your extended arms and connecting your shoulders forms an isosceles triangle.

Chapman stance (mod weaver)
Chapman uses the same push-pull tension which defines the Weaver, but instead of both elbows being bent, the gun side elbow is held straight and locked in place. Assuming a right-handed shooter, the right arm is punched straight out, while the left elbow is bent and the left hand pulls back to provide tension. As a result of this change, Chapman gets its stability from both muscle and skeletal support. This makes it a little more friendly than Weaver for those who lack upper-body muscle strength.

If you pick up a handgun what stance do you go to naturally? Why? Have you tried others?

Im sure i have left out variations of each but if its not listed an you use it tell us about it.
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I shoot from a modified Isosceles stance. I say "modified" because both elbows are slightly bent rather than at natural extension. The weakside arm is somewhat straighter than the strong arm, but only slightly, and this is due to the particular grip used on the gun. Great pictures of the grip in links below, by the way, but that is for another thread. I'll dig around and try and find a picture of me shooting at some point, but Cliff's avatar picture is an example of it, as are the pictures of Rob Leatham on www.robleatham.com. Rob and Brian Enos were two of the shooters that brought this stance to prominance, beginning in the early 1980's.

The modified Isosceles stance, with some slight variations, is the most common stance in USPSA/IPSC matches, and there is a good reason for it. It is very neutral, flexible, relaxed, and handles recoil very well. I like to describe the upper body as a "turret" in this stance, because it really doesn't matter what the legs are doing. You can lean or swivel right or left, squat, shoot on the move, etc., all out of the same stance, and much easier than you can in really any other stance of which I am aware. I am a big proponent of it, but I would never say it was the only stance for everyone. It is worth giving a try though, IMHO, for anyone that hasn't already.

Some of the common variations are the height of the elbows. Dave Sevigny of Glock shoots with very high elbows. They are bent, but from the side, it almost looks like they are locked straight because they are so high. See the last picture on the main page at http://www.sevignyperformance.com/. Rodney May, meanwhile, teaches rolling the elbows down low which tightens the chest muscles. I am somewhere in the middle, more like Leatham I guess.

I previously shot from a Weaver stance and have tried the Chapman. Interestingly, the "Reverse Chapman", where the weakside arm is fully extended and locked out, the strongside arm is slightly bent, and the push/pull is done away with, is also somewhat popular and used by some competitors. I am not that familiar with the Center Axis Relock.

I know the NRA still teaches the Isosceles and Weaver, tilting toward the Weaver, and I personally think that is unfortunate. I don't think it is as consistent (the push/pull forces) nor as flexible. It is not as easy to shoot around some obstacles or shoot on the move because the weak side leg needs to be forward to keep it from being incredibly awkward (to me anyway). Finally, I don't really buy the argument in favor of reducing the frontal target area by blading to a threat. I'd rather have a single stance that I can use under almost any circumstances and can move easily in any direction while using rather than a slightly smaller frontal area but less ability to move in some directions. For LE's, their body armor generally offers better protection from a frontal shot than from the side.

As an aside, I shoot long guns from a very similar stance when possible. It is a common subgun stance, where the body is basically squared up, a la the Isosceles or Modified Isosceles, and the buttstock is moved inboard several inches towards the sternum. Both arms are bent, strong obviously more so to get to the trigger while weak is on the forearm.
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I can definitely understand the benefit of a compact "guard" or point-shoot position for really tight or confined areas and really close shots. Having watched the video though, here are my problems with the CAR stance:

1. How do you peek into a room or lean around a corner to the weakside? For example, if you are right handed and moving down a hall with a door coming up on the right or, for competition purposes, leaning out to the left side of a bianchi barricade. I can't picture it being done easily at all. Maybe I am wrong though.

2. The movement at the end of the video laterally to the right (strong side) was nice. How do you do it moving laterally left? For example, the target is "North" and you want to move "West" while engaging or keeping the gun trained on the target. You would effectively have to be backing up because of the boxer type stance, right? What about moving "Southwest" or "Northwest"?

Maybe I am missing something, but to me these are limitations of this type stance. An Isosceles or modified Isoceles is more neutral and able to twist at the hips and shoot or move in any direction. My $.02 anyway, and no offense intended. Just trying to hash this out.

SubGunFan wrote:
You don't stand the same (feet position) when shooting a handgun vs a rifle.

Beladran wrote:
unless your name is Rambo
I guess I have to disagree a bit with you guys. Well, first, what are we talking about? A large, heavy kicking rifle from a stationary position? Then yes, more of a "boxer-style" stance with weak side foot forward and bladed to the target would be what I would use.

But, if it was a sub gun or a light kicking rifle like an AR, I would "square up" more and foot position really doesn't matter as much. This enables shooting on the move and more flexibility. It's not exactly like the pistol, but pretty close. (Incidentally, I place the weakside foot very slightly forward in the modified isosceles shooting a handgun if I will only be shooting from one position, but again, it doesn't matter much how the feet are set).

Check out Daniel Horner, current USPSA Tactical Division 3-gun National Champion and AMU shooter in this video, especially from about 9-20 seconds:
[flash=425,350]http://www.youtube.com/v/arD13s85EPI" allowscriptaccess="always" allowfullscreen="true[/flash]

Sorry for the thread drift, I know the original post asked about handguns...
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Beladran wrote:
i think we need some paintball guns a shoot house and put some things to the test.
I have no doubt a lot could be learned. Heck, it would probably be pretty informative, not to mention fun, just to get a group together and shoot targets sometime with a few walls/props and discuss techniques and stances.

Doug Bowser wrote:
I think it is important for defensive shooting techniques, to learn how to shoot proficiently with either nad and two hands. My results with none hand seems to be as good as my results two handed.
I also think it is important to learn to shoot both strong and weak handed. It is tested in USPSA/IPSC matches occasionally, although the test is nothing compared to the accuracy required for the strong hand shooting in Bullseye matches. However, the speed and stress component is a factor. I shoot much better with two hands, but a lot of that is due to better recoil control and of course practice. "Better" also depends on what discipline one is shooting. I don't work on strong hand and weak hand like I should, but I do try and practice both, when I actually practice...

Bringing all of this back to the original post (really, I am), I think strong and weak hand shooting is another benefit to the Isosceles or modified Isosceles stance. You can switch to strong hand by simply dropping the weak hand and pulling it in to your chest. To switch to weakhand, simply swap the grip and pull the strong hand in to the chest. Sure, if I am shooting a long string from one position, I will put the gun hand side foot a few inches farther forward than the offside foot and tilt the gun slightly towards the off side to help with recoil control, but the stance is minimally changed and can be shot on the move in any direction just like with two hands. The Weaver and CAR would basically require complete reversal of the stance to shoot weakhanded, wouldn't they? Also, losing the "pull" force, how is the grip affected in shooting strong hand with the Weaver especially? I'm not certain of the forces applied with the weak hand in the CAR.
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