It’s very common in the firearms community to obsess over the shooting stance. Some shooting instructors will be extremely specific with their stance. Feet have to be two inches beyond shoulder width apart, six inches forward and back, bent forward at a fifteen degree angle, and perfectly squared up with the target. Shooters need to have one foot forward slightly, no wait, feet must be squared perfectly to the target… that’s leaning too far forward – that’s not leaning far enough forward. You get the idea.

The problem with this obsession is rather simple. Other than a shooting bay with a single unmoving target, where does a shooter have the time to get into such a perfect stance?

A good shooting stance needs to be something quick to get into, and versatile enough to be used in a variety of situations.

Take a look at this video of John Vlieger taking the High Overall Win at the 2017 Walther Area 4 Championship. His base stance is consistent, but notice how often he’s shooting from a lean, while moving, while barely settling into a shooting position, or pivoting between targets.

If you’ve seen many of Active Self Protection’s video analysis of self defense shootings, you’d see that self defensive shootings have a very wide variety to the positions defenders are put in. They very rarely have the opportunity to take an extremely specific shooting stance.

This is why our shooting stance needs to be quick to get in and out of and very adaptable.

The versatile shooting stance

HaleyStrategic gives us an excellent quick tip on an extremely simple shooting stance that can be used if you’re leaning around a corner, moving while shooting, pivoting between multiple targets, or whatever may be thrown at you as long as you’re on your feet.

Not only does this slight lean forward work great for shooting handguns, but it works as is for carbine style rifle shooting.

Good shooting technique can be used in more than one discipline or situation.

Don’t just watch a video, dry fire practice

Watching a YouTube video about shooting technique is a great place to start. But being fast and consistent requires more work than watching a two minute and eight second video. Dry fire practice is critical to building “muscle memory” so proper shooting stance doesn’t require dedicated thought. When a self defense situation begins, or the buzzer goes off at a shooting competition, you won’t have time to remember, “am I in the correct shooting stance?”

Dedicate a few dry fire sessions to practicing the proper shooting stance. Start from the low ready or the holster, in a relaxed position. Then take two steps forward and assume the shooting stance. Mix it up with turning and assuming the stance, or stepping sideways and assuming the stance.

Getting into a proper shooting stance needs to be quick and smooth no matter which direction you’re moving from or to.