By  Eve Flanigan

A proper stance has you leaning into the gun, body square to the target and arms straight.

A proper stance has you leaning into the gun, body square to the target and arms straight.

Too many YouTube videos show the effects of shooters’ insufficient support of high-recoil handguns. Unfortunately, most of those videos are of women whose mates or friends didn’t know or care enough to provide instruction on technique, and the result is a scared shooter at best or an injured one at worst.

Stance is the first of the seven fundamentals of marksmanship, and it’s one of the most misunderstood. There are schools and instructors that still teach the so-called Weaver stance or one of its many variants—shooting with the gun-side shoulder and hip angled away from the target, and the support-side elbow clearly bent. But today most instructors teach the isosceles stance, in which the shooter faces the target squarely or close to squarely, with both arms extended.

Both stances work, but in your own efforts don’t sweat the small details and instead focus on this: Good stance capitalizes on posture and joints to minimize the effects of recoil.

With philosophy out of the way, here’s an overview of the most common stance problem I’ve come to expect among female shooters, especially new ones. While men also sometimes make this error, females tend to have worse outcomes in terms of hitting the target.

Here we will assume the new shooter is using the straightforward isosceles stance. As she raises the sights to be on target, she leans waaaaay back, as if to get the gun as far away from her face as possible. This bend in the spine will soon exhaust the shooter, but more immediately, when firing multiple shots, the bullet impacts will start edging north of what she intended as this backward leaning posture

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