When shooting a pistol, it's important to position your body in the right stance. Certain stances will enhance your ability to shoot, resulting in greater accuracy and maneuverability.
The Weaver Stance
Arguably, one of the most popular shooting stances is the Weaver. Developed by L.A. County Deputy Sheriff Jack Weaver in the late 1950s, it's characterized by a unique push-pull grip in which the shooter pushes forward with his or her shooting hand while simultaneously pulling back with the support hand.
The Weaver stance requires the feet to be spread about shoulder-width apart, with your strong leg farther back and the knees slightly bent. While gripping the gun, extend your strong arm straight out and bend your support arm. Now push forward with your strong arm and gently pull back with your support arm. By using the push-pull force, you'll have greater grip strength and stability, which is particularly important when shooting semi-automatic pistols (lack of grip strength may cause bullet jams).
But there are some drawbacks to the Weaver stance, including its inherit exposure of the shooter's armpit (non-dominant, support side). The Weaver stance requires the shooter to remain in a “bladed” position, which exposes his or her armpit. Why is this a problem? Well, for right-handed shooters, the left armpit is exposed, which is a direct pathway to the heart. Some people may have trouble moving around in the Weaver stance as well, which could prove troublesome in certain scenarios.
The Isosceles Stance
Another popular shooting stance is the Isosceles. While no one knows who exactly is responsible for inventing it, the Isosceles stance became popular during the 1980s when competitive shooter Rob Leatham began using it.
It's similar to the Weaver stance in the sense that both feet are spread shoulder-width apart, with the knees slightly bent. The key difference, however, is that your arms form an isosceles triangle in this stance (hence the name). When shooting in the Isosceles stance, you must extend your arms straight forward, using your support hand to wrap around your strong hand.
The Fighting Stance
Originally developed by the Special Forces, the Fighting stance (also known as the Tactical stance) combines element from the Weaver and Isosceles stances. It's frequently used by both military and police officers due to its mobility, accuracy, and defensive benefits.
To shoot in the Fighting stance, spread your feet about shoulder-width apart and flex your knees to allow for greater speed when moving. Your torso should be leaned slightly forwards, towards the target, with your arms extended straight out. Some shooters may prefer to use the Fighting stance with their strong foot and leg slightly in front of the other (rather than keeping them parallel to one another). Doing so improves the shooter's balance, more so than the Isosceles stance.
Which Stance is Right for You?
You really won't know which shooting stance is right for you without testing them. So the next trip you make to the shooting range, switch between the Weaver, Isosceles, and Fighting stances, taking note of your accuracy associated with each. Some people prefer the increased grip strength of the Weaver stance, whereas others prefer the solid protection offered by the Isosceles stance.