Handguns: Take A Stand

Stance – A person’s body position while shooting.

How police officers stand when firing their weapons is important. And most academies teach a couple of positions, the isosceles stance and the Weaver stance.

In the isosceles stance the shooter stands square to his target with both feet planted firmly on the ground. The stance in the left photo is great for accuracy, but in the right photo the shooter has assumed a better position, a combat-type stance used by police officers. Bending the knees helps to absorb recoil, which allows the shooter to quickly “get back on target.” And getting that barrel back on target is important, especially during a rapid-fire shootout scenario.

To really take advantage of this stance the shooter should position both feet shoulder width apart with the gun side leg slightly to the rear. The arms should be straight out in front with the elbows locked. This accomplishes two things. One: the outstretched arms serve as a counterbalance to offset the weight of the gun that’s so far away from the body. Two: positioning one foot slightly to the rear helps to increase recoil absorption.

The isosceles stance is also the best stance for providing the maximize coverage provided by body armor.

The Weaver stance (above) is achieved by standing at about a 45 degree angle to the target with the elbows bent slightly. The trick to this popular stance is to achieve a proper grip on the weapon. There absolutely must be a push-pull effect going on. The gun hand should be pushing away from the body and the support hand should be pulling toward the shooter. And the pushing and pulling actions must be of equal force!

The support side elbow should be held close to the body and pointed down, not stuck out to the side like a bird ready to take flight. These actions stabilize the weapon for maximum accuracy. Pushing more than pulling (or opposite force) can cause shots to go wild).

There is a drawback to this stance and that’s the possibility of taking fire in the exposed areas that body armor doesn’t cover (under the arm). However, most new armor provides excellent protection.

Neither of these stances is the right stance. Shooters should simply choose which is most comfortable to them and practice it. Because one thing’s for sure, the stance you practice is the stance you’ll go to automatically when the bullets start flying.

Shooting times photos

1 reply
  1. Dave Swords
    Dave Swords says:

    Hi, Lee.

    Just a comment on the Weaver stance, which is the way I was trained in 1978.

    The stance pictured is more exaggerated that I was trained. Basically, my stance is almost a straight-facing stance with the right foot about 8 inches behind the left (for a right handed shooter) and the upper body turned accordingly. The left leg wasn’t bent that much.

    The most important thing to create with the shifting of the shoulders is, as you alluded, the push-pull of the grip on the weapon, which locks the gun in place.

    Of course, people would vary their stance, as long as the basics are covered.

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