The proper stance is one of the first fundamentals new shooters must learn. The Weaver stance and the Isosceles stance are the most popular. As a new shooter, you will want to train in a stance that works best for you. Depending on what you are training for, one stance may help more than the other.
If you are looking at training seriously for self-defense. It is likely you will want to train in a stance that mimics what a person does naturally. That would be the Isosceles stance.
Natural Reaction and the Isosceles stance
A person’s natural reaction is to bend their knees and do a slight crouch with their hands out in front of them and face the attacker. This has been shown in many police videos and others where the person reacted without time to prepare a response.
The trainer in the photo obviously has a gun on him and is preparing to fire. He was showing the body’s natural reaction when being startled by being yelled at. Repeatedly, when researched, it was found that even during an attack people reacted the same way. Certain trainers used this information and decided that the best way to train would be to incorporate what the body does naturally. As a result, more trainers have now started to encourage the Isosceles stance in their self-defense training.
Why is a proper stance so important?
The proper stance is what you use to balance your body. The recoil from the gun is going to push your upper body back the faster you shoot. If your stance has you leaning into your shots then it is more likely that you will stay on target. If you are being pushed back your shots will likely start to rise as you shoot.
Of course, if you are shooting slow and taking the time to re-adjust you won’t see as much movement or your shots being spread as far apart. In self-defense shooting, you need to be able to place as many shots on target as quickly as you can to stop the threat. If you are in a stance that requires you to re-adjust or be off balance in some way, you will be giving the attacker more time to get to you.
It is very important that you use a proper stance when doing all of your practice. During high-stress situations, you will likely revert to your lowest point of training. That is why it is so important to train all the basics repeatedly. You will need to train your brain to do everything without thinking. There will not be time to think about what to do when in a high-stress situation. Training in a proper stance will be crucial when training your body.
Increasing the odds with the Isosceles stand and the Weaver Stance
When you are balanced, you increase your odds of landing more shots on target. In the Isosceles stance and the Weaver Stance, your feet are shoulder-width apart and you leaning forward so that your nose is over your toes. You are very firm in your stance. Think of it as you are locked in and braced for impact. The recoil of the gun is absorbed by your arms and body.
The most natural stance is the one that your body will do naturally when startled. From there it will take less time to draw your gun and be on target. The goal of self-defense shooting is to stop the attacker while staying alive. If the attacker reaches you or has time to shoot while you are trying to do something unnatural. You would have already lost.
You won’t always be able to get in a proper stance in a self-defense situation. As a result, you should train each aspect of shooting so if one thing is off, everything else still works. For example, you may have to shoot, one-handed, on the ground, crouched, at weird angles, or standing 3 ft from your attacker. The proper stance is one key to all the other elements. The Weaver stance is used more when you have time to prepare your reaction. Where the Isosceles is your body’s natural reaction to an ambush.
The Proper isosceles stance will consist of placing both arms in a triangle. Your arms are straight forward. Your knees will be slightly bent, while you lean forward. It is important to note, you are not leaning so far forward that you feel like you are falling. Your nose should be lined up over your toes. All your weight should be on the balls of your feet. This is the most natural stance for bracing your self. Think of it as if someone was charging at you. You would likely put both hands out in front of your body, crouch slightly, and lean forward bracing for the impact.
The Weaver stance is more like a boxer stance. Your arms are out in front but your non-dominate hand is lower and bent more. The dominant leg is back farther while you lean forward onto the balls of your feet. Your nose should still be over your forward foot.
The weaver stance was invented by Jack Weaver for competition shooting. Some shooters will actually raise their non-dominant arm so that it is slightly higher than the other arm to apply more pressure to the top of their grip. In both the weaver stance and the isosceles stance, your gun will likely be directly in front of your dominant eye(covered in my learning to aim article).
If you feel relaxed and loose when training, then you are not training to defend your life. Whether dry fire practice or live fire practice your training needs to be the same. It is highly unlikely you will ever need to use a gun in self-defense, but if you bought it for that purpose than you need to train for it. The Isosceles stance and the Weaver stance are both widely used. However, the Isosceles is being taught a lot more in self-defense training, these days. Due to the body’s natural reaction and the seconds, it can save.