If we are to question the "prefect stance' Shouldn't we also question the "perfect grip"?
This is a discussion on The Perfect Stance: Does it matter in Self Defense? within the Concealed Carry Issues & Discussions forums, part of the Defensive Carry Discussions category; Baseball pitcher delivery = NRA 50' slowfire. Shortstop throw to first = Defensive shot. Both take lots of training and practice but are totally different ...
Baseball pitcher delivery = NRA 50' slowfire.
Shortstop throw to first = Defensive shot.
Both take lots of training and practice but are totally different animals.
If we are to question the "prefect stance' Shouldn't we also question the "perfect grip"?
I think this is one of the great things about shooting IDPA---you aren't taking every shot from a fixed, perfect stance. Particularly once you start going to sanctioned matches, you can get some really interesting setups. Even if you find yourself in a stage that doesn't make a compelling defensive scenario, you will get practice taking shots prone, kneeling, from "cars" (sometimes even from real cars---look up video from 2009 Nationals), one leg, underneath barriers, and so on.
For me, although I was never seriously into martial arts, I did take American Kenpo for several years when I was younger, and I think that shooting, like karate and many other sports, is about being able to balance yourself despite the position, rather than because of it. Knowing the correct stance is a starting point, but not the end---it lets you know what balance feels like so you can find out in whatever position is required.
(For those with some engineering or physics background, a 'proper' stance is a stable equilibrium, one you can stay in for extended periods of time. But your, ah, interesting shots need to be taken from an unstable equilibrium, one you can find and hold just long enough to take the shot before moving to the next position.)
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In the Defensive Pistol courses/instruction that I have received, the books I have read on Defensive Pistol/Self Defense with a pistol, the least thing mentioned is stance.
One of my respected instructors said: "If your shooting stance is good, you're probably not moving fast enough or using cover correcty".. If you are not behind cover or concealment when the gunfight starts, you should be moving toward it, or at least, moving off the line of attack as quickly as you are able. This in itself does not lend to the practicing of your stance.
I do agree, for new shooters, that establishing proper stance, grip, trigger control, and sight picture are of paramount importance in gaining the basics of control of your weapon and shot placement. However, as one continues to train for "self defense" purposes, much less emphasis, if any, is put on proper stance. Train Train Train...JMO
Sometimes in life you have to stand your ground. It's a hard lesson to learn and even most adults don't get it, but in the end only I can be responsible for my life. If faced with any type of adversity, only I can overcome it. Waiting for someone else to take responsibility is a long fruitless wait.
I haven't had to draw my pistol, but I have had to defend myself, and as an urban EMT, there were several occasions where I suddenly found myself needing to disarm someone who had presented a weapon. Although each situation was unique, I did find that I relied on fundamentals from training, to some degree, each time.No battle plan ever survives with certainty beyond first contact with the enemy. - Helmuth Karl Bernhard, Graf von Moltke
In Dave's Taxonomy, when learning a complex skill or set of skills, one goes through five major stages of learning. It is also a cyclic process whenever we incorporate new skills into our repertoir. This process doesn't necessarily take long, though it can, and sometimes happens very rapidly. Sometimes, they may occur almost simultaneously.
Imitation. This is where the beginner starts - using what one already knows, talking with others, watching others do it, and imitating what they describe or do. Performance is usually low in quality, with a lot of trial and error, and improvement is modest, at best. In our terms, this would be like watching someone else grip a pistol without understanding what the arms are doing, how strong the grip really is, where breathing fits, knowing about cross dominance and sighting, or what it means to become a stable platform. We don't shoot well, because we our understanding is superficial and without foundation.
Manipulation. This is also sometimes referred to as "guided response" or mechanical learning. This is the advancing beginner. Someone who is practicing, reading books, taking beginning classes, following instruction and learning fundamentals. At this stage, one is developing mechanical skill, becoming technically competent, but not yet inspired. It still involves imitation and trial and error, but it also includes following instruction, study and practice. Improvement is in fits and starts, as one gains insights into the fundamentals. In our terms, this might be like learning the fundamentals and starting to put them together, not always successfully, but with definite improvement. Consistent application of the fundamentals is the goal. Learned techniques and responses become habitual, with increasing confidence and operational proficiency.
Precision. With increased confidence and proficiency comes the process of refining, reducing errors, developing more precision. This is the intermediate student. With the fundamentals in hand and becoming habit, the effort shifts to developing speed and accuracy, combining fundamental skills into complex movement patterns. In our terms, this is developing a faster, more fluid draw. Moving from center-of-mass to shot placement. Improving reload speed. Developing target discrimination skills, and improved accuracy on moving targets, etc. Combining individual skills into complex sets of movements, developing tactical proficiency. Performance often reaches a plateau, here, with a lot of effort in training and practice becoming necessary for incremental improvement. The majority of people stop by this level of skill, because the additional effort to improve beyond this level isn't worth it, to them.
Articulation. This is the advanced student. Articulation of the skills is about taking complex movement patterns and assembling them into a coordinated series of actions with fluidity and internal consistency. Proficiency is expressed through quick, accurate and well-coordinated performance, refining tactics. With speed and accuracy in hand, the focus shifts to developing and improving economy of motion. What was habit becomes performance without hesitation, and internalized to the point that it starts becoming automatic. As conscious habit becomes internalized, the ability to adapt technique to fit special circumstances emerges and becomes easier. With operational and tactical proficiency in hand, the focus becomes strategic.
Naturalization. This is mastery. The skill almost becomes a natural extension and expression of the person. At this level, fundamentals are so ingrained that very little thought is required. Movement is fluid, without wasted motion, and to the beginner, appears effortless. With habit having become automatic, adaptation becomes automatic and an extension of execution. Proficiency is expressed through origination - the development of new training and techniques to address specific situations, and to move the practice forward.
Before somebody picks this apart, the theory doesn't really matter except as an illustration of one approach to explaining how we learn psychomotor skillsets, like defensive pistol. There are other taxonomies of learning, some simpler and some more elaborate. R. H. Dave's is one I find useful. Do people develop tactics and strategy as beginners? Sure they do, but they are simplistic and evolve as one masters the fundamentals. Learning is a continuum and everyone learns a little differently. Some are very methodical. Others make intuitive leaps.
In your example of the person blaming stance for inaccuracy, I think it is important whether they are analyzing to improve, or using it as an excuse for remaining where they are, skillwise. Analyzing that there was a problem with stance may be valid, whether the stance was conventional or unconventional.
Every stance is a shooter's stance. But if the shooter hasn't internalized the importance of a solid, stable platform and the importance of stance in recoil management and accuracy, then dealing with unconventional situations and practice becomes much more difficult. In most cases, I think the fundamentals need to be mastered, first. If a person hasn't mastered the basics, I think they are setting themselves up for failure.
And yes, assuming that someone can, in fact, shoot well from a conventional stance, but cannot outside of that comfort zone, then they do need to step outside of that and become more proficient in unconventional situations, but it won't happen until they want to.
We are told that fine motor skills go out the window in an adrenaline-flooded, stressful situation. In my own experience, I'd say that psychomotor skills that we haven't internalized go out the window, and we fall back on what we have practiced enought to internalize - the skills we don't have to think about.
We practice trigger control, but studies indicate that we average about 20 lbs pull under stress. Should we actually practice trigger control? Yes. If we internalize trigger control, we will have it under stress. If we don't, we won't, and our accuracy will suffer tremendously. Perhaps we should practice mashing the trigger, instead. Somehow, I don't think so.
We practice stance, but should we also practice non-stance? Perhaps some, but how much can we realistically do? By definition, these are unpredictable situations we are training ourselves to deal with. By your logic, if we practice for certain unconventional situations, what will happen when we find ourselves in a situation we haven't trained for? I think we gain most by internalizing the fundamental concept of becoming a solid, stable platform, starting with the conventional and branching out to the unconventional, because then we can adapt to the situation that presents itself, regardless of the position we find ourselves in, and we will make the best decisions we can under the circumstances.
A good question. I apologize for the long-winded reply.
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I doubt that I really need to elaborate on this.
During training though, I have kicked some some legs to open their stance.
I guess you might say we train FBI style, not cowboy, only two handed.
Legs spread apart comfortably, knees bent slightly leaning forward but not off balance.
Three balanced fairly quick shots. Stand back and try again.
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My instructor told us if you are drawing your weapon you better be moving, hopefully to cover. Wish I had a place to put it into practice. I don't think the indoor range would let me run up and down the lanes picking off paper BG's.
In a SD you should be moving off of the X while firing. I use a stance to keep up the basics of marksmanship. however, I also practice shooting from other positions as well. I bring a tarp to throw on the ground and will practice shooting from my back, upside down, laying on my side, etc. The real world positions you might find yourself in that you can't practice at a square range.
I think the importance of stance increases with distance.
Shooting a small target at 25 yards, I think it makes a big difference.
Shooting for minute of bad guy at halitosis distance? I don't think it matters a whit for the level of accuracy needed.
Battle Plan (n) - a list of things that aren't going to happen if you are attacked.
Blame it on Sixto - now that is a viable plan.
Learning to shoot again : Starting Over
I think the shooting STANCE is the platform for learning how to shoot to develop and master the mechanics of shooting. One of the most important part of shooting is trigger control, if you do everything perfect Aim/grip/sight aliment/stance... pulling/jerking/finger placement of the trigger will cause you to be off target.
As a shooter develops and moves to defensive tactics or combat/tactical shooting, everything about target shooting becomes irrelevant except for trigger control, it has to be maintain.
Everything does start with the STANCE.
My Teacher, with a capital T, SouthNarc, says of stances: "A stance is a moment in time. A stance is a moment in time." He says the second sentence slower than the first, for emphasis.
I also recommend Massad Ayoob's book, _Stressfire_, which I believe is still in print. He shows how stance changes as one traverses, if unable to freely move one's feet, and how to REALLY traverse seamlessly from one stance to another. Keep in mind that on uneven or broken terrain, moving one's feet, whether to change stance or "get off the X," may be problematic. Some of the force-on-force gun school cowboys, who decry "square range" shooting, practice getting off the X only on nice, flat ground.
Edited to add: FWIW, I have only fired one shot in self-defense, but I have pointed my guns at MANY folks and possible threats.
This reminds me of when I started bowhunting. First came hours and hours of perfect stance practice, I then entered bowhunter outdoor tournaments where you had to be able to touch the position stake with any part of your body. You could use any position as long as you could touch the stake with any part of the body. The shots were realistic to hunting situations, crouching, kneeling, sitting, leaning, either foot forward, twisted etc. You get the picture. The scores always dropped rapidly proportional to the stance difficulty. But, I always considered this realistic practice for western archery elk and deer hunting. These tournaments along with my own practice helped me tag a few animals.
Point being: you aren't always in a perfect position to shoot, you shoot when you have to so practice from all positions. I can understand new shooters using the excuse that their stance was a little off affected the scores but for experienced shooters should be able to score from multiple positions.