Woman takes lessons in shooting with a handgun on the shooting range

3 Shooting Stances 

Isosceles Stance

The isosceles stance is formed when the shooter’s arms stick out from the chest to make an isosceles triangle. Two of the three sides of an isosceles triangle are the same length – obviously those “sides” are the arms, in this case. The shooter is pointing toward the target directly with feet at shoulder-width distance and with toes also toward the target.  Arms outstretch, torso bends forward, knees also bend slightly, and the pistol is located at the center of the chest. 

Because you are facing the target directly, this might feel like a normal, natural stance. Isosceles Stance is a go-to for many shooters during competition because they can easily maneuver to a variety of targets and it can accommodate either eye dominances.

Weaver Stance

L.A. County Sheriff Jack Weaver implemented this shooting body position in the 1950s. The shooter stands at a slight angle to the target with bent arms, non-dominant leg forward, and a lean toward the target (often referred to as “nose over toes”). Toes aim toward the target with the dominant arm straight and supporting arm bent. Shooter pushes slightly with dominant/shooting arm and pulls back slightly with the supporting arm, which is called the push-pull method and helps seemingly lessen the recoil. The feet aren’t at the same spot linearly, so you might feel more balanced with this staggered stance. 

Modified Weaver Stance (Chapman Stance)

Modified Weaver Stance or Chapman Stance was made popular by a competitive shooter named Ray Chapman. It is very similar to the Weaver Stance except that the dominant/shooting arm is locked out and the support arm is bent downwards. Because the arm is fully outstretched, you may be able to better handle the recoil of shooting using this position. 

The choice of stance that you’ll find you prefer will be unique to you. Trying all three will help you figure out what feels the most natural to you. 

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