The Firing Line Forums

Go Back   The Firing Line Forums > Hogan's Alley > Tactics and Training

Reply
 
Thread Tools
Old November 29, 2008, 02:19 PM   #1
Creature
Junior member
 
Join Date: April 8, 2007
Location: Virginia
Posts: 3,769
Best stance to face an armed threat?

I did a search and came across just one other thread regarding the best body positioning when facing a threat.

The three basic pistol shooting stances that I am familiar with are the isosceles, the weaver and the modified weaver (aka Chapman) stance. I should probably also include the one-handed "traditional" shooting stance, but in this instance I will consider it a "half-weaver in reverse" position. More on that later.

I have thought about these three basic positions for some time now and have be considering the pros and cons of each with the biggest consideration being survivability. The second most important consideration being best shooting platform.

The two weaver positions require a certain amount of "blading". I have heard that the weaver stance uses the isometric "push / pull" forces provided by the arms to control and overcome recoil for faster follow up shots. In my own experimentation, I have never been able to show that it does this.

The isosceles stance has been derided as less stable, but again I haven't been able to disprove that claim based on my own experimentation. I did discover that I shoot far better from the isosceles position than from the weaver or the chapman stance.

The isosceles also easily allowed me to move either foot backwards or forwards if I chose to advance or retreat, while allowing me to move laterally simply by stepping off with either foot. The weaver stance, it seemed to me, somewhat restricted which foot I could lead off with and in what direction. This movement advantage seems to me to be quite debatable though.

In terms of survivability, my time with wearing body armor has taught me to square myself to a perceived threat as soon as possible. I soon found myself quickly turning to face a threat before I even realized I was doing it. It soon dawned on me that squaring oneself to a threat is instinctual, even without wearing body armor, and must be related to the fight or flight reflex.

One argument I have heard regarding the advantages of the Weaver stance is that it makes for a smaller target for the threat to shoot at. But it is my opinion that the chance of being hit as a result squarely facing a threat, and thereby presenting a 'wider target", is not significantly increased as much as one would think as if one had bladed towards a threat.

What did dawn on me was the potential of a bullet traveling through multiple organs if I was struck while blading a threat. If I faced a target squarely and was struck, the possibility of a bullet hitting just one organ is greatly increased.

Perhaps this is all academic and maybe it isnt, but I certainly believe it to be worthwhile to think about and to discuss.
Creature is offline  
Old November 29, 2008, 02:31 PM   #2
hogdogs
Staff In Memoriam
 
Join Date: October 31, 2007
Location: Western Florida panhandle
Posts: 11,071
I am a lefthanded person but a right handed shooter... pistols, rifles, bow, billiards you name it I shoot righty... My Defensive stance is fairly sideways ?bladed? left foot forward. what this does for me is leave my left hand where it would be boxing so i can use it as well. It puts my firearm further from BG's reach if we struggle at all.
But this just me... a redneck... I thought the weaver stance was holding the rifle to my shoulder looking thru one of their fine Optics...
Brent
hogdogs is offline  
Old November 29, 2008, 03:15 PM   #3
trublu
Member
 
Join Date: November 5, 2008
Posts: 91
I practise every way I can - one handed, two handed, weaver, isoceles, kneeling, prone etc. I think the best position to face an armed threat is from behind cover so I want to be able to shoot from there or draw and move to cover. Thats my thinking anyhow.
trublu is offline  
Old November 29, 2008, 03:16 PM   #4
Creature
Junior member
 
Join Date: April 8, 2007
Location: Virginia
Posts: 3,769
okay...let's assume your caught in the open with zero cover or concealment.
Creature is offline  
Old November 29, 2008, 03:28 PM   #5
trublu
Member
 
Join Date: November 5, 2008
Posts: 91
...ok. Like you, I shoot more accurately from the isosceles stance. But the weaver stance presents a smaller target and covers the heart with the left arm. I prefer to practise different stances rather than just one. In reality, Id just hope to be able to return fire from whatever stance.
trublu is offline  
Old November 29, 2008, 03:50 PM   #6
Creature
Junior member
 
Join Date: April 8, 2007
Location: Virginia
Posts: 3,769
Interesting point about the arm protecting the heart.

But some how, I don't see an arm doing much to stop a bullet from entering your chest unless it hits bone...which brings us back to my point in terms of whats the best protection if I have to take a hit: is it is better to face the threat squarely or on the diagonal? Does either one of these positions lend itself to a better shooting position to boot?
Creature is offline  
Old November 29, 2008, 04:18 PM   #7
wtfd661
Member
 
Join Date: November 9, 2008
Location: Indiana
Posts: 28
I also have been rethinking my stance and I have come to the conclusion that for me I would rather face the target square as it presents the most surface area of my body armor to the threat. The only drawback is that it also presents more of the pelvis area to the threat vs the modified Weaver stance (which was what I was taught originally at the academy), which could result in a very bad day. What got me rethinking was exactly what you wrote, that when I bladed it could allow a shot to enter my unprotected (or less protected) side causing considerable damage to the organs in my chest cavity, which would result in a worse day. I agree that the marginally wider target presented by squaring towards the target is more than made up by the greater presentation of the body armor.
wtfd661 is offline  
Old November 29, 2008, 04:31 PM   #8
Hard Ball
Senior Member
 
Join Date: November 28, 1999
Location: California
Posts: 3,925
I favor the isosceles stance if I have time to assume it.
__________________
"I swear to defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemeis domestic or foreign WHOMSOEVER."
Hard Ball is offline  
Old November 29, 2008, 04:33 PM   #9
Creature
Junior member
 
Join Date: April 8, 2007
Location: Virginia
Posts: 3,769
Quote:
I favor the isosceles stance if I have time to assume it.
Why?

And do you find that it take longer to get into the isosceles stance vs the weaver?
Creature is offline  
Old November 29, 2008, 04:52 PM   #10
Shane Tuttle
Staff
 
Join Date: November 28, 2005
Location: Blue Grass, IA
Posts: 8,545
Let me be clear. I'm only giving my preference and my thoughts, not what's right for everybody else.

I like the bladed angle:

1. Better protection of the organs overall.

2. Better balance/counter balance than isosceles.

3. Better fighting stance if you come in contact with the assailant. My gun in retention is tucked under my right pectoral region. The gun is also further away from the assailant. Isosceles shooters usually bring their gun to the center of their chest for retention. Not my idea of providing cover for your gun. This is an important item IMO during physical confrontation...keeping your firearm from the assailant.

4. Movement in any direction is just as easy as any other stances. I don't personally see this as a problem.

5. I don't have very good control of my firearm in isosceles. I'm just not built for it.

Quote:
But some how, I don't see an arm doing much to stop a bullet from entering your chest unless it hits bone...
Depends on how you're built. Granted, bullets will shred through soft tissue. However, the more it has to and especially if it hits bone, the chances are much greater that it will absorb quite a bit of the bullets kinetic energy before entering the chest cavity. I'm not advocating that your arm is a great use for a shield. What I am saying is it's better than staning squared up to your assailant with nothing but sternum protecting your heart.

Quote:
which brings us back to my point in terms of whats the best protection if I have to take a hit: is it is better to face the threat squarely or on the diagonal?
Bladed (diagonal) as I stated.

Quote:
Does either one of these positions lend itself to a better shooting position to boot?
This is definitely subjective. As explained earlier, it's a much better position for me. However, if you add in different coverages, injuries to self during the fight, etc., isoceles, off-hand an other positions may bode better for the given situation. That's why I still try different positions when practicing. You never know what will transpire.
__________________
If it were up to me, the word "got" would be deleted from the English language.

Posting and YOU: http://www.albinoblacksheep.com/flash/posting
Shane Tuttle is offline  
Old November 29, 2008, 04:57 PM   #11
Shane Tuttle
Staff
 
Join Date: November 28, 2005
Location: Blue Grass, IA
Posts: 8,545
Quote:
wtfd661I also have been rethinking my stance and I have come to the conclusion that for me I would rather face the target square as it presents the most surface area of my body armor to the threat.
This is a good curve ball. I have no clue as to where the body armor is placed in the jackets and where you're exposed. Also, I don't know anything about the true effectiveness of body armor of today.

My question is do you trust your life enough to some piece of technology enough to change from your natural stance that your brain automatically sets you into when a stressful situation arises?
__________________
If it were up to me, the word "got" would be deleted from the English language.

Posting and YOU: http://www.albinoblacksheep.com/flash/posting
Shane Tuttle is offline  
Old November 29, 2008, 05:11 PM   #12
Agincourt
Junior Member
 
Join Date: November 29, 2008
Location: Prescott AZ
Posts: 11
If I'm facing an armed threat I don't really want to be standing still.

I try to weed out as much variation from my training as possible. The stance I shoot in is generally the same as the stance I would fight empty handed in. Rife and pistol stance are pretty much the same. It ends up coming close to an Isoscolese stance if you want to name it something.

As far as stability goes...stability is for hitting bullseyes, in a fight you are not going to achieve target range stability. You are better off moving or behind cover rather then worrying about the stability of your stance. The gallon of adrenaline and cortisol coursing through your veins is going to make your front sight shake well beyond the ability of a good target stance to stabilize it. Move and don't get shot.
Agincourt is offline  
Old November 29, 2008, 09:00 PM   #13
wtfd661
Member
 
Join Date: November 9, 2008
Location: Indiana
Posts: 28
Quote:
My question is do you trust your life enough to some piece of technology enough to change from your natural stance that your brain automatically sets you into when a stressful situation arise
Good question, I guess my answer would be in several parts. 1st would be that there have been a lot of documented saves with body armor, but believe me when I say I completely understand what your saying cause I'm a natural doubter when technology comes into play so yea that does play a part in my thinking. 2nd you and some of the others are right as far as "natural stance" or same stance as i would assume for "interview" or physical confrontation and another factor is I've been training/working out of that stance for quite a while now so that is where some of my hesitation has come from as far as changing now.

That said I still come back to my original thoughts of when bladed I don't present the most surface area of my body armor towards the threat, so it doesn't really have a chance to work and have I presented that much more of a percentage of myself to the threat to over ride that by squaring off towards it.

I guess it still falls back to not every situation is the same and how I react will remain fluid in response to it (ie, behind cover, no cover/concealment, starting from a interview stance, moving towards/back/sideways, etc.)

Great thread (as it really is what I've been thinking about lately) I look forward to reading others opinions and thoughts.
wtfd661 is offline  
Old November 29, 2008, 09:43 PM   #14
kraigwy
Senior Member
 
Join Date: June 16, 2008
Location: Wyoming
Posts: 9,397
I remember years ago when I first started in the game, the FBI was still teaching a squat position, firing with one hand, the non shooting had held in front of the chest to "protect the heart".

I figured then "YEAH LIKE THAT IS GONNA WORK".

But to stay on topic, PRACTICE FROM EVERY ANGLE, POSITION, STANCE, known to man, then make up some more.

No two incidents are gonna be the same. Dont practice being ridged.
__________________
Kraig Stuart
CPT USAR Ret
USAMU Sniper School Oct '78
Distinguished Rifle Badge 1071
kraigwy is offline  
Old November 29, 2008, 10:25 PM   #15
Shane Tuttle
Staff
 
Join Date: November 28, 2005
Location: Blue Grass, IA
Posts: 8,545
Quote:
That said I still come back to my original thoughts of when bladed I don't present the most surface area of my body armor towards the threat, so it doesn't really have a chance to work and have I presented that much more of a percentage of myself to the threat to over ride that by squaring off towards it.
Is your body armor positioned along your left flank? Basically, does it cover from pectoral level down to, say, your waist along the side? Or do you only have plates covering your chest/gut area?
__________________
If it were up to me, the word "got" would be deleted from the English language.

Posting and YOU: http://www.albinoblacksheep.com/flash/posting
Shane Tuttle is offline  
Old November 29, 2008, 10:35 PM   #16
armsmaster270
Senior Member
 
Join Date: November 25, 2008
Location: California
Posts: 1,943
With body armor the main area for a projectile to get to you is the side via the arm hole
__________________
http://www.armsmaster.net-a.googlepages.com
http://s239.photobucket.com/albums/f...aster270/Guns/
Retired LE, M.P., Sr. M.P. Investigator F.B.I. Trained Rangemaster/Firearms Instructor & Armorer, Presently Forensic Document Examiner for D.H.S.
armsmaster270 is offline  
Old November 30, 2008, 03:11 AM   #17
troy_mclure
Senior Member
 
Join Date: November 17, 2008
Location: gulf of mexico
Posts: 2,716
if theres an armed threat im moving, no way im staying still.
and i prcctice thooting and moving too, walking sidestep, forward, backward, etc...
__________________
There is only one tactical principle which is not subject to change. It is to use the means at hand to inflict the maximum amount of wound, death, and destruction on the enemy in the minimum amount of time."
troy_mclure is offline  
Old November 30, 2008, 07:22 AM   #18
Kline605
Member
 
Join Date: November 25, 2008
Location: Midwest
Posts: 49
I was initially taught the isosceles stance and like it, but after training with some different folks, I have really come to love the natural stance. I don't believe in learning all the stances because each situation might require a different stance. When the #### hits the fan you don't want numerous choices to have to make (Hicks Law).

I am not saying the natural stance is the best stance for everyone, but I would suggest that you pick one and dial it in tight. Just food for thought though, and I admit that I am stealing this line from someone else, look at most of the top shooters in the world, got to be a reason many are using the natural stance.
Kline605 is offline  
Old November 30, 2008, 08:57 AM   #19
WC145
Senior Member
 
Join Date: October 18, 2008
Location: Downeast Maine
Posts: 1,436
My "interview stance" is the equivelant of a modified weaver, quartering, or boxer's stance with my weapon side away from the person I'm talking to. This is the same stance that I shoot both handguns and long guns from (if possible) and that I fight from. It is well balanced, presents a smaller target, and allows for fast, balanced movement in any direction. After almost 3 decades of law enforcement, bouncing, boxing, and martial arts I haven't seen anything that works better or makes me want to change. Obviously you have to practice moving and shooting from many different positions but you have to have a starting point to work from and that is mine.

I understand the current isosceles trend and the idea of presenting your body armor to an attacker vs presenting your side, which most body armor doesn't cover well. However, I can't get past the lack of balance and mobility, and intentional presentation of the largest possible target that is inherent to standing squared to an opponent.
WC145 is offline  
Old November 30, 2008, 09:03 AM   #20
Creature
Junior member
 
Join Date: April 8, 2007
Location: Virginia
Posts: 3,769
Ah! Finally!...a clear and concise counter argument to the isosceles. Thanks for your reply, WC145.

I understand your preference to "quarter". Have you trained with anyone else in the martial arts who squares up to face a threat?

Also, what is it about quartering that makes it more balanced for you?
Creature is offline  
Old November 30, 2008, 09:18 AM   #21
NRAhab
Senior Member
 
Join Date: August 20, 2005
Location: Bellevue, WA
Posts: 683
That's odd, I don't see a reference to my favorite stance for dealing with an armed threat - sprinting in the opposite direction as fast as my nikes can carry me.

I kid, I kid. I do remember when I was first taught the Weaver, and told that the "bladed" stance would present a much smaller target to any opponent; and then I was taught the isosceles and told that the squared up stance would allow me to engage my target faster, and that if I was wearing body armor that I'd be more likely to catch any incoming fire on areas that were protected.

One of the things though that I'd like to address is this statement though:

Quote:
Originally Posted by WC145
However, I can't get past the lack of balance and mobility (in isosceles)
I do have to take issue with that; as the isosceles is very balanced and stable, and is almost exactly as the stance that I boxed out of for 10 years. I also wouldn't say that it lacks mobility, since all the top game shooters uses isosceles, and they're pretty fast at getting around.

That being said, the best stance is the one from which you can effectively engage your targets in such a way that you live and they don't pose a threat.
__________________
Join the community at GunUp!
NRAhab is offline  
Old November 30, 2008, 10:15 AM   #22
WC145
Senior Member
 
Join Date: October 18, 2008
Location: Downeast Maine
Posts: 1,436
Quote:
Ah! Finally!...a clear and concise counter argument to the isosceles. Thanks for your reply, WC145.

I understand your preference to "quarter". Have you trained with anyone else in the martial arts who squares up to face a threat?

Also, what is it about quartering that makes it more balanced for you?
To my knowledge there isn't any martial art that suggests squaring yourself to a threat. Some use strong side forward, most weak side forward, but all use a stance that is bladed to some degree. I use and teach a shoulder width, approx. 45 degree stance with a slight forward weight bias on the balls of your feet. Try taking a position like this and putting your hands together in front of your chest, with your thumbs touching your sternum, and have someone push on you from the front, back, and each side. You'll find that you can maintain your balance with no glaring weak spots and that if pushed hard enough to break your balance you can easily step or pivot away from the force and reposition yourself to counter.

On the other hand, take a shoulder width squared stance and position your hands the same way and have someone push on you. You'll find that your strong from side to side but very weak front and rear and that when you are pushed off balance your natural reaction is to step into a 45 degree stance to regain your balance before you can move. Also, the isosceles stance requires you stand flat footed for balance which works against your mobility.

My take on fighting/self defense, whether it is armed or unarmed, is that you need to be very aggressive and once the threat has escalated to the point that it requires a physical or armed response from you then you pull out all the stops and take the fight to the threat, and either beat or shoot it down until it is neutralized. I like to keep things simple and be able to get the most impact from everything I do so economy of movement and effort are my goals. If I am facing someone in a quartered stance with my hands up, palms out or loosely clasped in front of me, I am presenting a non-threatening, concerned looking, "I didn't do it" image. In reality I am poised to move in any direction and to respond to any threat without having to make changes to my positioning to defend myself. I can move quickly in any direction. I can punch, kick, block, grab, throw, stab, slash, pivot, sweep, draw and fire my sidearm, or shoulder my rifle or shotgun and fire, all with minimal, if any, change to my stance.

I cannot accomplish any of that from a squared stance. I can draw and drop into an isosceles position or I can shuffle to one side or the other and my energy/strength is being directed toward the ground in order to maintain my stance and balance rather than toward the threat. It is just too weak and limiting in my opinion. Also, you are most vulnerable to, and weakest against, the most common physical attack - a straight on assault, from the front or rear, either tackling or striking.
WC145 is offline  
Old November 30, 2008, 10:31 AM   #23
Shane Tuttle
Staff
 
Join Date: November 28, 2005
Location: Blue Grass, IA
Posts: 8,545
Quote:
I do have to take issue with that; as the isosceles is very balanced and stable, and is almost exactly as the stance that I boxed out of for 10 years. I also wouldn't say that it lacks mobility, since all the top game shooters uses isosceles, and they're pretty fast at getting around.
I must respectfully disagree with the isosceles being balanced. Of all the years I've been alive, I haven't seen 1 boxer's stance with the same foot pattern as the isosceles. The only martial art that I know to even come close is Muy Tai. However, that's only their stance in distance. Once they close in, their body position is different.

Side to side mobility MAY go to isosceles, but it's negligible from my viewpoint.

Where's your foot pattern when you attempt a jab, hook, or uppercut? Where's your foot pattern when you take a hit? Isosceles is absolutely terrible in stabilizing yourself fore and aft.

Top game shooters use stances for speed, nothing else.
__________________
If it were up to me, the word "got" would be deleted from the English language.

Posting and YOU: http://www.albinoblacksheep.com/flash/posting
Shane Tuttle is offline  
Old November 30, 2008, 10:39 AM   #24
WC145
Senior Member
 
Join Date: October 18, 2008
Location: Downeast Maine
Posts: 1,436
Quote:
I do have to take issue with that; as the isosceles is very balanced and stable, and is almost exactly as the stance that I boxed out of for 10 years. I also wouldn't say that it lacks mobility, since all the top game shooters uses isosceles, and they're pretty fast at getting around.
The isosceles stance is balanced and stable as long as you're not being touched and your not trying to move against an opponent. If you stand squared against any force you are in the weakest possible position. That is why fighters are taught a lead - strength, balance, and mobility. An opponent that presents themselves in a squared stance is a gimme, they present the largest target and the weakest offense. You may have squared your shoulders to an opponent when you boxed, but did you actually square your feet as well? If so, how did you move and generate power in your punches?

I think that the term "game shooter" says almost all there is to say about their use of the isosceles position. It's easy to move and maintain your stability when your targets are not advancing on you or engaging you physically.
WC145 is offline  
Old November 30, 2008, 02:06 PM   #25
NRAhab
Senior Member
 
Join Date: August 20, 2005
Location: Bellevue, WA
Posts: 683
There also appears to be a general misconception about what the isosceles stance actually is with regards to foot placement. The feet in isosceles are not placed side by side, but the weak side foot is placed forward of the strong side foot, which gives the shooter the balance and speed that you're looking for.

To illustrate, observe the following images.



In image 1, professional MMA fighter Ryan Gruhn demonstrates the fundamental "boxing stance". Note that the fighter is squared up towards the target, with the weak side leg (for a right handed shooter) advanced and the strong side to the rear. From this position, Ryan can advance, retreat, and deliver punches and knee strikes with power and precision.



In image 2, Jim Wilson is demonstrating the "combat" or "modern" isosceles stance. Note the similarity to the MMA fighter's stance - the shooter's hips are square to the target, the weak side foot is advanced, the knees are bent - all of these are combined to give the shooter the ability to deliver fast, accurate shots, while maintaining the ability to be mobile in a hurry.
__________________
Join the community at GunUp!
NRAhab is offline  
Reply

Thread Tools

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off

Forum Jump


All times are GMT -5. The time now is 01:47 PM.


Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.7
Copyright ©2000 - 2014, vBulletin Solutions, Inc.
This site and contents, including all posts, Copyright © 1998-2014 S.W.A.T. Magazine
Copyright Complaints: Please direct DMCA Takedown Notices to the registered agent: thefiringline.com
Contact Us
Page generated in 0.15003 seconds with 7 queries