Question of the Day: What’s Your Stance on Stances?

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“The most notable feature of the CAR [Center Axis Relock] system is its unique firing stance and the ability for dynamic movement for the shooter,” the Wikipedia hive mind reports. “All firing positions are based on a ‘bladed’ stance, or more commonly referred to in the Law Enforcement world as the ‘Field Interview Stance’ to which means the shooter stands at a 90-degree angle to the target, with their non-dominant arm’s shoulder facing the target. In addition, all four positions involve keeping the firearm very close to the torso compared to other shooting stances, and in all but one, the weapon is held canted slightly to one side (approximately 30–45 degrees) rather than vertically. The system also employs the technique of using the opposite eye of the gun hand, (left hand right eye and vice versa).” I’m an Isoceles guy myself. You?

comments

  1. avatar matt says:

    If you look thru the Wikipedia history, you can see someone deleting criticisms of the stance.

    And what exactly is the point of this? Shooting with your non-dominate eye increases your maneuverability? wut?

  2. avatar bontai Joe says:

    Back when I was shooting bullseye matches, it was right hand extended with the pistol and left hand in my pocket. For any other kind of shooting I prefer the isosceles. I never really got comfortable with the push-pull thing of the true Weaver stance. Now-a-days, I always use two hands only because I don’t have three to use.

  3. avatar Joe says:

    Yeah. I’m definitely a Weaver stance guy.

    I would think this tacticool stance results in a lot of limp-wrist malfunctions, especially with polymer pistols, with the strong arm being so bent.

    1. avatar ThePowerofCheese says:

      I would have to say its more of a problem of weak arms and wrists. I own a HK USP40 and a Ruger LCP.. I have never shot with my arms locked out.. I have had zero issues.

  4. avatar Eric says:

    Stance is completely determined by the situation.

    Standing in one place in a self defense shooting it a great way to get shot/stabbed or otherwise damaged.

    Target in front of me, two or one handed. Target to my right to right rear, one (right) handed. Target to my left or left rear: CAR.

    Target shooting: Weaver

    Bulls eye contest: One handed pistol marksmanship stance.

  5. avatar JoshinGA says:

    What the hell did I just watch?

  6. avatar Chris Dumm says:

    Explain how this could possibly make me a better shooter?

    Tilted guns often don’t shoot to their point of aim, and they also block out more of the upper portion of the target. And marginal/dirty guns can be more prone to jam if their ejectors are working directly against gravity.

    Shooting with the non-dominant eye is deliberately handicapping yourself, by ignoring your body’s natural eye dominance. Why do it unless your dominant eye is injured or blocked by something?

  7. avatar Duwain Whitis says:

    This is also known as the semi-gangsta stance.

  8. avatar Hal says:

    Isosceles only.

  9. avatar A. Lee says:

    Alright, knowing TTAG, this is supposed to be a softball to be hit out of the park with a giant bitchy-snark bat.

    But CAR is actually a good stance, easy to learn and shoot out of. It’s not meant for range shooting. It’s not going to be the fastest or most accurate stance. It’s meant to be a functional stance that you can move and shoot out of in close quarters. Isn’t Farago always banging on about practicing movement? This stance is good for movement. You can also shoot while sitting, or in a car. I’m a rightie who is left-eye dominant, so that probably helps too.

    Since you’re elbows are bent, you’re going to need to handle the recoil with muscles. So what? It’s not like we’re shooting a .44 revolver. If you can’t tame a 9mm semi-auto, maybe you need to hit the gym. Because your muscles are tensed-up when you shoot, you will have muscle twitches effecting your aim. Switch to a different stance past 7m.

  10. avatar Ralph says:

    For snubbies and target pistols, one handed works best for me, bladed or not. Otherwise, Weaver. I can’t shoot Iso for sh!t. For you, whatever works is good. Pay attention to your own body and it will tell you the way it wants to shoot.

  11. avatar Jwhite says:

    If you’re standing still, or in the same spot as you where when you where accosted, mugged, shot at, whatever… You’re an easy target to shoot. Get off the line of fire (“Get off the X”), position yourself for a shot, check surroundings and begin to move to cover. Use concealment if at all possible. Wash, rinse, repeat, engagement permitting and God willing.

    If you’re wearing body armor, it’s probably a better idea to keep your plates perpendicular to your adversaries muzzle, but that isn’t always possible. I believe that’s where the traditional isosceles stance comes from.

    You should get a chance to practice moving while shooting.
    You could find a stairwell somewhere safe, and bring a 5lb weight with you. Move up the stairs while holding the 5lb weight in front of you, and dont look down at the stairs. Wear shin guards the first half dozen times you’re gonna need them. Also, if you want to mix it up a bit, every other flight of stairs you can post a math problem on the wall, solve the problem prior to continuing and yell out the answer to a buddy who’s timing you. The math problem should be big enough to where you can read it between flights (15-20ft away whatever).

    I think I got that from http://tgace.com/ – Good guy, good site, lot’s of good reading.

  12. avatar Bob says:

    I think I know that guy. He looks and moves like one of my instructors at Front Sight firearms academy when I took a course there in January.

    Notice that his first shots are non-sighted from the low ready position. This allows him to take his first shot from the holster as quickly as possible when the distance is not too large (which could save you from being a gunshot victim in a gun fight.)

    This is very similar to, if not exactly like, the stance taught at Front Sight, but they call it a modified weaver stance. It takes a little getting used to (as learning any new stance would), but it works quite well, especially in self-defense situations.

    1. avatar Bob says:

      I looked at it more closely. That is definitely NOT the Front Sight stance. CAR is much different. Hard to see the differences in the first video, because it happens very fast. Take the jump to some of the other videos about CAR, where they hold the stance longer, especially the close-in CAR stance, and the differences are very obvious.

  13. avatar irock359 says:

    I was wondering when you guys were going to take on C.A.R. Personally, it seems foreign to me. I can see the upsides if you are having to engage a target in a confined space, but I have never been able to master it. It makes sense, you present a much smaller silhouette to the target but moving in using the stance is cumbersome.

    Here is a more dynamic video. If you are moving left-right, the system works, however forward or backward movement is awkward and I found it hard to maintain a sight picture on my target.

    1. avatar jwm says:

      if the bg is as close as that film suggests, i’m not taking the time to bring my pistol up to a 2 handed hold and lining the sights up. 1 handed punch and fire while moving sideways to avoid the rush and using the left hand to fend him off.

  14. avatar Plumbump says:

    The stance I had slapped into me back in kickboxing, with a lil more weight on my left leg, I couldn’t change it if I tried. .. Some have and failed

  15. avatar LeftShooter says:

    When I’m training newbies, I adhere to the Ralph Rule (above). “Pay attention to your own body and it will tell you the way it wants to shoot.” In other words, I just tell them to shoot and we only make modifications as necessary. (BTW, most step to the line in basic Isosceles form.)

    As for me, I use geometry! (Isosceles).

    1. avatar Ralph says:

      LeftShooter, that’s the way I teach, too. I show the students the various stances and have them experiment (dry fire only) to see how they feel about each. When they make a choice as to what feels best, I try to dial in their presentation. The ones that chose well always seem to shoot well. Funny thing, though. The ones who can’t decide what feels best, or who change their minds, have a lot of trouble becoming proficient shooters.

      The main thing is, there’s no “one stance to rule them all.”

  16. avatar Gregg says:

    What if your enemy is three inches in front of you, what do you do then? Curl into a ball? Or do you put your 9mm through him?

  17. avatar Bob says:

    To answer the original Question of the Day: What’s your stance on Stances?

    I don’t think your choice of stance is that important. I definitely won’t tell you that your chosen stance is bad, if it is working for you.

    Try two or three different stances (each one for a few hours), then pick the one that works best for you. If your focus is only on target shooting at the range, then the isoceles stance may be best for you, because it provides the most stability. I’ve found that using the isoceles stance for any extended time causes sore muscles and twitching for me, so isoceles doesn’t work for me even when I’m doing stationary target shooting. Other stances may work better for you depending on what feels comfortable and what types of shooting you’re interseted in.

    My focus is on self-defense at home and on the street. So I’m looking for a stance that feels natural, that I can get into quickly from the holster (to shoot the bad guy before he shoots me), that allows me to move freely, and that gives me “combat accuracy” out to about 10 yards. I have found that something in between a weaver and modified weaver stance works best for me. YMMV.

    In fact, when focusing on self-defense (and a few other focuses also), your stance is such a small part of your total skills package. For self-defense:
    – You need to be able to draw from the holster consistently and very quickly (about 1 second is pretty fast).
    – You need to practice getting into a ready position where your gun is drawn, but not pointing at a target. Both from the holster and from the firing position.
    – You need to practice getting into a position for firing your gun. Maybe one position for very quick close-in shooting, and another or slightly different position for farther away targets. The position for farther targets is probably slower, but allows you to be more accurate.
    – You need to work at quickly moving between the different positions, and you need to work on moving into cover/concealment or even moving around just to make it harder for the bad guy to hit a moving target.
    – You also need to practice some of the decision-point skills. For example, occasionally practice drawing to the shooting position, but not shooting, because the bad guy stopped his threatening behavior. How do you explain to a jury that he dropped the knife when he saw you were drawing your gun, but your muscle memory shot him anyway?

    The stance is important only if it works (or doesn’t work) within the framework of all the other skills and mindset. I think excessive concentration and discussion of “stance” is counter-productive, because it distracts from other more important topics.

    Discussion?…

  18. avatar Jose says:

    I used a modified CAR stance for some time(was taught to me by a Sheriff (SWAT) instructor) and found it to be very accurate for the first shot. Front sight picture is excellent and more importantly, the elbow of your weak arm is firmly against your rib cage. This provides a sort of monopod effect for your weak hand and makes the handgun very still. It also keeps the handgun close in where it is much harder far on opponent to grab.

    After a lot of experimentation this year I am now using a modified weaver stance. My emphasis this year has been on speed for follow up shots. The problem for me using the CAR system is recoil with light guns in .40 or larger caliber. While the first shot is still very accurate the follow up shots are not so much as when using a modified weaver. It’s not that the recoil using the CAR system is unmanageable. The problem is that for me the front sight does not move straight up and down, making sight acquisition harder for follow up shots.

    I also changed my grip this year where I now form an equal pressure “V” like vise with both the back of my palms in contact with the rear of the gun’s grip. No “push-pull” for me – the pull part increases recoil. I love this grip and can’t see how it could get any better.

    This said, in a close encounter of the wrong kind I might revert to the CAR just because I used it for such long time.

    J.

  19. avatar G.R. Mead says:

    Speaking from a martial standpoint (doing it now 25+ years) “stance” is a training tool ONLY — to teach body stability, working from static to dynamically balanced control in a variety of postures, and ultimately– in any posture.

    In traditional Japanese arts the end goal of all “stances” (kamae) is to move toward mu-gamae the “stance of no-stance.”

    FWIW. Shooting is just like swords: learn to shoot – or cut – from any given position.

  20. avatar PWolf says:

    I was privileged to take Paul Castle’s CAR instructor course before he died. He was a great Britt who had adopted America, and had been to and taught at shooting schools all over the world, including the FBI Academy at Quantico.

    Simply put, it works. I have been through four different “stances” over the course of my life – starting with one hand extended, then isosceles, then Weaver, now CAR – and for me, this is by far the best. It is simple, intuitive, and very easy to teach first time shooters.

    Paul explains it here: http://www.sabretactical.com/html/center_axis_relock__car_.html

    You are working with your body’s natural movement. The front sight is at reading distance and your firing hand wrist is straight for reduced felt recoil. The reason it looks “gangsta” is because you are keeping your wrist straight and slightly canted because you drop you head to look at the sight through off-hand eye – left eye when shooting right handed and right eyed when shooting left handed – keeping both eyes open (doesn’t feel natural, was the hardest thing that I had to change, but one learned, becomes natural).

    You can draw and shoot from the “high” position without aiming and be quite fast and accurate up to 15 feet. From five to ten feet I can draw, shoot, and will put ten shots center of mass into a man sized target in less than three seconds. (Certain NY LEO could certainly have used that training).

    One of the greatest strengths is that it is quite effective when shooting from the seated position, i.e. from a car. And it is just as effective left or right handed. (See the Jeff Johnsgaard above shooting from the chair both left and right handed.) The police officer who shot the chimp that the woman had as a pet that went on a rampage a couple of years ago was trained in CAR and killed the animal when he was attacked through his driver’s side window while seated in his patrol car. (Try shooting Weaver or Isosceles out of the passenger side of a car.)

    Where do most gunfights occur? How often are you going to be able to set up in a Weaver or Isosceles stance in a gunfight? At close quarters, you can punch with your handgun and retention is enhanced. Inside five feet this is the stance that you want to use. And since you need to practice like you will most likely have to fight, look into it. As said, “‘stance’ is a training tool”. Try it, you’ll like it.

  21. avatar KR says:

    Weaver? How 1970s of you. Every school in the country, except for the C-A-R guy and maybe Clint Smith and Scott Reitz, all teach the modern Isoceles. You might look into it, since, I dunno, every single competitor that shoots IPSC and IDPA uses it, and the FBI academy and DEA academy and the SEALS and FLETC all teach it, and the people that use it out-shoot pretty much everyone on the planet using it, in every competition format that exists, except bullseye, where it’s not allowed. It’s worth learning for that reason alone.

    Those that have studied human reactions under stress – Bruce Siddle, Tony Blauer, many others, all find that under stress we punch both arms out all the way, which puts you in an isoceles position whether you want to be or not. Siddle’s book “Sharpening the Warrior’s Edge” discusses an FBI study that found that agents trained to shoot Weaver failed to use that technique in real gunfights, so it’s possible that the technique you’ve chosen may not be compatible with basic human instincts. Whoops.

    You can have a beautiful textbook stance and grip, by whatever method you like, and still miss when you yank the trigger and/or fail to align the sights. Whether it’s in competition, training or combat, 99.999% of the misses result from trigger & sights failure, not a failure to have the proper stance.

    1. avatar Robert Farago says:

      Holy moly! I meant to write Isoceles. D’oh! Thanks for the heads-up. I swear.

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