The Best Pistol Shooting Stance: 7 Stances To Practice At The Range

Today you’re going to learn 7 of the best pistol shooting stance which will all help improve your accuracy.

In fact, these are the exact same stances that are taught by law enforcement and military units around the world.

We’ve broken each technique down into simple steps to make them super easy to learn.

Let’s dive right in.

The Best Pistol Shooting Stance: 7 Stances To Practice At The Range

The Challenges of Pistol Shooting & Accuracy

Learning to shoot a pistol accuracy is a real skill.

We’ve all seen it in the movies where the good guy draws with a un-trembling hand and a steely look in his eye, hitting his target in the first shot.

It would be easy to think that pistol shooting is all about a stable hand.

If only it was that easy.

While grip does play a role in accuracy, to consistently achieve an accurate shot you need to look at your body positioning.

A good pistol shooting stance will see the sights wavering less and will help you recover from recoil quicker.

The Right Stance For The Right Situation

Outside of the range, handguns tend to be used in dynamic situations where environmental factors can prevent you from adopting your go-to stance, that’s why it’s critical that you drill and practice shooting from multiple stances.

Two-Handed Pistol Shooting Stance

A two handed stance is always preferable over a single handed grip.

Having two hands on your pistol offers faster sighting, helps you deal with the recoil much better and gives you a greater level of control over the weapon.

Tactical Tip: A two handed pistol grip also gives you greater security of the weapon making it less likely that someone will be able to disarm you.

A Quick Refresher

Unlike a Hollywood 90s action hero, whenever you are adopting a two-handed stance, you want to lean in to the weapon.

Shifting your bodyweight forward helps you brace against recoil and creates a more stable shooting platform.

When you lean back, your body is already slightly unbalanced.

Add to that recoil and you’re likely to have to reset your stance after each shot or even worse, have to stabilize yourself.

Know Your Hands: Strong & Support

When you shoot with a two handed grip your hands are classed as:

Strong Hand – this is the hand that grips the weapon and pulls the trigger

Support Hand – this is the hand that is used to support the other hand


Made famous by Los Angeles County Deputy Sheriff Jack Weaver, the Weaver stance is popular with law enforcement as it allows you to quickly get into the correct position and shoot tactically with easy target acquisition.

One downside to the weaver stance is that it doesn’t allow you to properly manage the recoil after taking a shot.

It also requires a little upper body strength to support the weapon while sighting.


The Chapman stance takes all that’s good with the Weaver stance and builds on it.

The two big differences in the stance are foot and arm positions.

The Chapman stance gives the shooter more recoil control and places less stress on the arms making it easier for those who lack sufficient arm strength to adopt the Weaver.

This added support does come at the expense of being able to move and acquire as tactically and as the sights are further from the eye, accuracy can be reduced.

Isosceles Stance

The Power Isosceles is fast becoming the stance taught by police forces and military units around the world.

The Power Isosceles stance gives you a good level of control over recoil and is more dynamic than the Chapman stance.

While it’s certainly dynamic and suitable for real world use, it’s still nowhere near as dynamic as the Weaver stance.

Center Axis Relock

While the stances listed above were designed for competitive shooting the Center Axis Relock (CAR) was created for combat.

Designed by Paul Castle, the Center Axis Relock is a versatile stance that keeps the weapon close your body.

As a combat focused stance, it’s quick to adopt and extremely dynamic.

While accuracy does suffer over longer ranges, it’s versatile enough to allow you to flow into an accuracy improving stance like the Isosceles Stance.

One-Handed Pistol Shooting Stances

A two handed stance is always preferable, however, in combat or real world situations it’s not always possible.

That’s why it’s crucial that you master shooting from a one-handed stance too.


While the bladed stance is no longer taught by police and military it still a great position to practice at the range.

It’s also the most accurate one-handed stance.

The biggest downside of a Bladed stance is that it’s slow.

Recovering from each shot takes time and target acquisition takes too long making it impractical for dynamic shooting.

Power Point

When speed is of the essence, you can’t go far wrong that to adopt the Power Point stance.

While not as accurate as the Bladed stance, the Power Point is quicker to get into and significantly faster in terms of target acquisition and aiming.


The Retention stance is made for self defence, particularly when an attacker is trying to disarm you.

Short range, the Retention Stance is effective, however it should only be used as a last resort.

The Bottom Line

Knowing the right stance to adopt in the right situation can affect everything including accuracy and recoil management right through to target acquisition and keeping control of your gun.

Now we’d like to hear from you:

Which of the 7 different pistol shooting stance listed above are you most comfortable shooting from and which needs practice?

Let us know by leaving a comment below right now.