Shooting a gun – while standing still without facing incoming fire – isn’t complicated. There are four basic components: sight picture, stance (which includes grip), breathing and trigger control. That’s a bit like saying playing the blues isn’t complicated. While a non-musicians can learn the three-chord blues progression in minutes the blues takes a lifetime to master. To begin the journey to firearms mastery, a new shooter needs to learn the four rules of gun safety. After that, there’s an important principle to keep in mind, one that will save you time and money and help you avoid frustration . . .
Any bad habit you develop will take a thousand rounds to “unlearn.” To re-program yourself to shoot correctly, instinctively. And that’s the goal: to shoot properly without thinking about it. So you can concentrate on other skills, such as, I dunno, hitting the target. Or learning to shoot accurately on the move, which is critical to armed self-defense.
I repeat: if you start shooting with a lousy stance like the girl above, it will take you a thousand rounds to completely eradicate your natural desire to lean away from the gun like it’s got rabies. (Which is why it’s best to start with a low-caliber gun with minimal recoil.) The more you shoot with an incorrect stance, grip, breathing pattern or trigger technique (i.e., “slapping” the trigger), the more deeply ingrained the habit becomes.
Which means you really need expert instruction from the word go. Not to put too fine a point on it, don’t learn to shoot with anyone who isn’t an expert instructor.
When it comes to a “proper” shooting stance, it becomes a little more complicated.
There are two basic shooting stances: isosceles and weaver. The video above explains the difference between the two – and shows you how something that seems dead simple is extremely difficult to master. Here’s the problem: both stances have their adherents and detractors. An expert instructor will favor one or the other. Again, if you start with one, switching to the other will take a good thousand rounds to “correct.” So . . .
You should discuss the pros and cons of the isosceles and weaver stances with your teacher, who should know the pros and cons of both. If you teacher responds to your questions about stance – or grip, breathing and trigger control – with “trust me, I know what I’m doing” or “because I said so,” wrong teacher. A good instructor will tell you what to do when shooting and why you need to do it.
Your shooting stance is no more of less important than the other shooting basics. Yes, you can be an excellent shooter with any stance – a lot of pro shooters adopt what looks like a fully erect posture – but the trick to mastering your shooting is to make it as easy as possible to shoot the gun properly. No matter which way you go, trust me, shooting well is a lot harder than it first appears. Wait, did I just say that? You know what I mean . . .