Lessons from the Range

Defensive Shooting Stance

Recently, I was running a movement drill on a square range, at the seven-yard line. I would give commands to move: left, right, front, and back. The student’s job was to aggressively move, and get off the X (the spot they were standing) and engage their target with however many rounds they deemed necessary. The students were moving as if their lives depended on it. At every pause, they waited in anticipation for the next direction to be called. I boomed, “Right!” As the shooters slid into position and finished getting their rounds off, my co-instructor Derek, yelled, “Stop!” We took a look at the shooters stances, and tasked them to do the same. They took a look at their footing and something drastically changed; they all had found their natural fighting stance. Their feet were wide apart, knees bent, shoulders rolled forward, and crouching slightly.

The movement and threat of bumping into each other forced the shooters into a much more aggressive stance than they started with. This was achieved by taking the training wheels off and adding dynamic movement.

When we started our day with a safety briefing, at Fox Den Solutions, with owner, Steven Morrell. Steve made it clear that while the class was filled with professionals and we consider them peers, what we were doing was serious business. Someone added, “we’re not baking cupcakes here, gentlemen.”

Yet when the shooters set up on the firing line, the stances were very relaxed. Some used isosceles, others modified isosceles, and even a random Weaver or two. That changed quickly, with the whole group adopting aggressive fighting stances once they knew they had to not only shoot, but move as well. A light bulb went off for a lot of people at that moment and we didn’t have to “sell” the technique. We added aggressive movement and the shooters adjusted their stance from an administrative posture to a a stance they would use when expecting dynamic action.
Along my journey, I have heard more than one firearms instructor say, that stance is not important, just get comfortable. That is fine, if we are training bullseye type shooting, but defensive shooting is another animal altogether. Defensive shooting is for all the marbles, and there is almost always some type of movement involved. That movement could be someone pushing you, movement to cover, creating distance, breaking from a clinch or entanglement, or for a variety of other reasons. The thing is, fighting and shooting are intertwined when it comes to armed engagements and there should be one stance for all of your engagements. Find your proper footing and get after it, after all, we’re not baking cupcakes here.