Why Your Shooting Stance Matters

August 16, 2016 2 Comments

Why Your Shooting Stance Matters

This article was originally posted on policeone.com.

There are a few different philosophies about shooting stance and technique in gunfight training. One is the idea that “there is no stance in a gunfight; you are running, moving, ducking, avoiding, etc. and you won’t be able to assume one.” Another common philosophy is to “do whatever comes natural to you” since there won’t be any time to get into a particular position.

When an idea or belief jeopardizes safety or puts individuals at risk, I feel I have a duty to comment. This is one of those situations.

The Science of Reactive Shooting

When driving your vehicle, whether on road or off, high speed or not, the suspension of your car matters. Similarly, how your tires interact with the road surface to create friction is also important. We recognize from our personal experiences and from the experience of others that suspension and tires matter.

In shooting, your platform is your suspension and your grip is the tires on your car. If you wish to be an efficient shooter, then you need to learn more about driving your gun.

There are three major forces at work when shooting: gravity, momentum, and recoil. Gravity is a constant. Regardless of whether you are standing still, running, dodging, ducking or weaving , gravity is working on you–no matter how stressful the situation. When you are moving, up, down, forward, backwards and/or sideways, momentum comes into play. Recoil energy comes into play when firing the weapon.

How you interact with these three forces will determine how efficient you will be and, ultimately, how well you can shoot–in a gunfight or otherwise. Learning how to gunfight means starting with the basics and working from there. If you can’t shoot well when standing still, then things aren’t likely to improve when you “go dynamic.”

Stance and Platform

A stance is simply a position. Standing, kneeling, prone, sitting, squatting, or whatever you do all qualify. Take that position and start moving and it becomes a platform.

A skilled hand-to-hand fighter can punch, kick, throw, or manipulate an opponent from almost any position he finds himself in. While it may seem that he has no stance when things are fast and furious, a closer examination shows that he is using his position, leverage, momentum and balance and putting his center of gravity to good use to control his delivery of attack.

Similarly, a skilled shooter learns to use position, center of gravity, and specificity of effort to hit precisely and rapidly under all conditions and positions. Adapt this to the gunfight environment and you have a very capable fighter.

Stance Determines Center of Gravity

It’s not about where you put your feet; it’s where you put your balance and center of gravity and how you manage recoil energy. If you are not effectively able to manage this energy, you will not shoot well.

Like your car, the better the suspension and the tires, the better performance you will have. Being able to avoid attack, rapidly counterattack, change positions, or simply deliver good hits fast all require a proper suspension.

Racing cars and reactive shooting both require a higher level of knowledge, skill, training, and experience in order to be successful. The shooting platform is not a basic skill. It is an integral part of any lethal force encounter involving a firearm. Understanding and using it efficiently is an essential part of lethal force training.


Ron Avery, co-founder

Tactical Performance Center

2 Responses


January 13, 2017

Well said, sir. On the topic of suspension, what is your take on instructors teaching shooting on the move techniques? Specifically, the “just walk as you normally would…” Thanks in advance!

Andy Wood
Andy Wood

August 16, 2016

Very, very well worded and thought out article. Really enjoyed it and totally agree with you.
GM Limited

Leave a comment