Old is New: Fighting From The Standing Position

Kyle Defoor at TriggerTimeTV argues that the popular Square/Bladed stance (toes in a line facing the target) for offhand shooting is not the best position. He argues that it offers minimal extra protection and if you have to stand and shoot, its better to shoot accurately and move, than shoot poorly in an uncomfortable position.

What do you think?

Thanks to J for the tip.

Steve Johnson

Founder and Dictator-In-Chief of TFB. A passionate gun owner, a shooting enthusiast and totally tacti-uncool. Favorite first date location: any gun range. Steve can be contacted here.


  • iksnilol

    I just use a Weaver stance, never got the “bullseye” stance to work.

  • claymore

    Good points. But the old Marine in me cringes when the new crop of firearms people call their rifle a GUN over and over.

    • JumpIf NotZero

      Do you still shower with your carbine propped up against the shower too? 😉

      There is a lot more going on than semantics. I’ve seen a lot of people get handicapped by crappy stance and that effects recoil, how you move, how you reload and generally how you are going to progress as a beginner.

    • 101nomad

      They have gotten sloppy over the years about terminology Marine. Shower? What shower?


      So, how do you feel about “WEAPON SYSTEM”.

      • Steve (TFB Editor)

        Its ok as long as it comes in a custom foam case 😉

      • claymore

        That would be fine or firearm, or rifle just not GUN.

        • ThomasD

          Naval envy?

          • claymore

            LOL that would be the day anyone envies squids. But it is the perfect place for people that refer to their weapon as a gun.

    • Phreekedelic

      This is one of the things that jars a lot for some reason moving from one arena with firearms to the next. In the uk I went from shooting with cadets to some IPSA style club training and had to stop calling the rifle a “weapon”, as they like to disassociate themselves from that side of firearms (while I like to think that reminding people that it is a weapon encourages them to stay tight on safety).

      I imagine people have their reasons for the terms they use, and that a lot is just terms they are most familiar with.

  • JumpIf NotZero

    TFB needs more articles like this. The Internet needs more videos like this. Firearm owners need to take more formal training.

    As to the subject I won’t crap on anyone for stance, even though I see squared up (cop) stance and it always looks weak to me. I was taught to get into a lower stance like you’re going to fist fight or surf, works for me but that’s all it is, do what works for you. On top of that, I try and use the same stance for two handed, strong/weak handed handgun, shotgun, carbine, occasionally precision carbine if it’s under 300 or so, try to commonize if I can, so it becomes “just a thing I do” naturally.

    * type in article text, accuracy vs accurately

    • Guest

      Bullshit. No more internet selfie video pro please. Just guns.
      Extra protection? Against what?
      Yeah as you told, lower stance is everything.
      Old is new. Yeah. If there is no cover, we really shoould do dive onto the ground like wild-west gunmen or WWII soldiers.
      It’s obviously the safest, most accurate stance ever.
      Otherwise we should just fucking run for the cover.
      These are our only the best 2 stances.
      There is no time for badass style standing stance massacre against armed people.

      • Nicks87

        I agree, if you think you are going to be able to get a “proper stance” and stay static in a gun-fight you are going to get shot. Shooting while moving and shooting from cover/concealment are really your only choices. By the way, real firearms instructors get paid to teach people how to shoot. They dont do free (youtube, etc.) videos on the internet.

  • KLP

    I agree with all of his points about that style of shooting but I don’t think it’s necessarily better and more profitable to shoot from a more marksmanship type stance.

    Generally, the difference between the two stances is a spectrum of compromises, and where you want to place your compromise is up to you after you’ve tried them. One thing Defoor doesn’t mention though is that in a more bladed stance with the rifle stock higher up on the shoulder and the head up, the stock of the rifle a lot of times can affect bump into ear pro if you’re using an earmuff. In a more squared off stance with the rifle more centered in the shoulder pocket, the rifle stock will clear ear pro most of the time. YMMV but this is the experience I’ve had.

    The stance on display here though seems to be an intermediate between squared off and bladed so maybe it’ll work out. I’m going to give it a shot and see how it goes.

    • claymore

      No many people wearing ear protection in combat which he was talking about.

      • KLP

        Most people train with electronic ear protection and that’ll affect, “train how you fight.” Train with suppressors and/or ear plugs and that’ll negate that problem. Just things to think about and everyone has to choose where on the spectrum one stands.

        • claymore

          If you are training with ear protection that interferes with your rifle position then you are not training as you fight.

          • KLP

            As a matter of fact, I keep a set of ear protection near my long guns specifically for that purpose.

          • KLP

            Guess I should add that I position my stock such that it doesn’t interfere with my earmuffs.

          • claymore

            So what were all your posts about?

          • KLP

            Mostly I just wanted to give you an opportunity to sound smart 😉

            As a bonus I wanted to bring up a point that Defoor didn’t address, and many instructors don’t address outside of their classes. An added bonus of a squared off shooting position is that the rifle stock doesn’t potentially interfere with shooting muffs whereas a bladed stance may.

          • claymore

            But the whole point you are missing is this is for combat shooting not imaginary foes on the range that you need hearing protection to protect you from. LOL how’s that.

            And it gets even worse when one doesn’t just stand there like in the movies and actually takes cover or even drops to prone.

            Your ears or those precious earmuffs are going to be the last thing on your mind when someone is actually shooting back.

          • KLP

            You’re making a lot of assumptions about me and the circumstances in which I might be using a rifle in my daily life.

            I’m going to make an assumption about you. You’ve never taken a private carbine or rifle training course. Just about every instructor out there requires you to bring your own eyes and ears so your confusion about training how you fight really makes no sense, unless you’d argue these instructors, including Defoor, are teaching students in a manner that is NOT how they fight. How does that make sense?

            My point is that the stance that Defoor teaches MAY interfere with the function of shooting MUFFs.
            If you train with plugs, it’s a non-issue.
            If your face is shaped such that there is no issue, it’s a non-issue.
            If you train without ear pro at all, it’s a non-issue.
            If you train with shooting muffs and shouldering the rifle may move your ear pro around, then it’s an issue that you need to think about now rather than later.

            Like I said, you’re making assumptions on how a rifle might play into my life. As quite a civilian, at no point am I going to be without ear pro at the same time I’m holding a rifle, and if the stercus well and truly hit the fan, I do plan on keeping my electronic ears on whenever I have my rifle in my hands, likely attached to a radio (see below.) Before it hits the fan though, and I was away from my precious shooting muffs while bullets are flying at me, chances are I’ll have to engage with a handgun that has no rifle stock to worry about.

            Could you really not imagine a single scenario in which you wouldn’t want to have ear protection in the midst of rifle fire? The images below are fairly specialized circumstances. The first is an FBI SWAT team, and the second image is of CCTs. If I as a private citizen need to use a rifle, it’s also a very specialized circumstance. I hope I’ve been thorough enough. There’s nothing macho about preventably losing a body function so at least consider adding ear pro to your training regimen unless you’re an airsofter. If you play that game, natural hearing is obviously better than electronic hearing.

          • claymore

            All that and you keep missing where I said there are noise muffling systems that don’t interfere with rifle positioning.

            And that this article is for combat shooting not on the range where nobody is shooting back.

          • KLP

            If I have the wherewithal to grab my rifle to defend myself in a potential dystopian combat situation, I’m also grabbing my electronic ears which work well for me and my shooting stance and is not something that Defoor addressed.

            At this point, you’re not able to understand or are willfully ignoring everything I’m saying. Well, I sure hope one day you gain a little flexibility or imagination!

          • claymore

            LOL you don’t get it. In a REAL, not imaginary, shooting situation you willl not be thinking about grabbing your ear protection you will not have the time either. But go ahead trying to equate range shooting with real shooting situations which by your posts you have never experienced.

          • claymore

            Note I said ear protection that interferes with the position of your rifle. There are many that don’t you could try.

  • Josh

    This isn’t really old. If you see any of the tier one guys, Larry Vickers, Kyle Lamb, Pat Mac. They all shoot like this. The squared off stance has always been a fad and i’ve hated it from day one.


    Having the most effective stance on the range or in classes is a good thing, I’m not arguing against that. But I want to ask service men and women if they’ve actually had an multiple opportunities to use such stances in a firefight.
    Probably not, right? The ground is nice and flat, and the area mostly uncovered during instruction. I’d imagine in an urban environment, troops are busying shooting around corners or over objects and not worrying about correct stances. The same probably goes in a field; they’re not going to drop down on their stomaches in the optimal shooting stance and pick off targets, they’re going to crawl or sprint towards a ditch or berm and then take action.
    Is this just training your body and shooting discipline? Like learning to do kung-fu and then just resorting to regular (might I add) and more efficient kicks and punches in a real-world encounter?

  • MrSatyre

    I’m afraid I really can’t see any difference in how he is presenting himself to the target aside from feet position. He went into great detail about facing the target full on, but is still at an angle no matter where his feet are. What did I miss?

    • Rob in Katy

      I think that was the point, there is no difference so he is saying be more comfortable and don’t contort.

  • Squirreltactical

    The whole idea of squaring yourself up to the target is, a) to present your SAPI plate to your opponent, not the unarmored side of your body, which would make it easier for his bullet to hit multiple vital organs at once, and b) to facilitate moving quickly out of that shooting stance. If I blade my body by facing to the right, then need to move quickly to the left, I have to turn completely around to do it.

    • Geodkyt

      It really started with the body armor issue. Even without plates, blading to a target will create more exposure for your vital organs from the expected direction of fire (i.e., your target, who is presumeably trying to shoot you too) due to the arm hole and thinner side protection on many types of armor.

      I remember when this was listed as the PRIMARY reason cops should use Iso instead of Weaver with their handguns.

      Me, I’m not a cop, and I’m not in the sandbox — I’m HIGHLY unlikely to be wearing armor if I end up in a shooting situation. (Oh, I HAVE a vest – it’s a decertified police surplus vest I use as the top layer of the bucket of sand in my gun closet I use as a clearing barrel.)

      The two most likely situations I might have to use a gun would be:

      1. While walking around, minding my own business, in street clothes, with a CCW. No armor.

      2. O-Dark-Thirty in my house, in my underwear, with my rifle. Again, no armor.

  • dingdong


  • ding dong

    This is dogshit, he has no fucking clue…everything he said could be picked apart and he would have no rebuttle other than …”well….I’m a navy seal.” Big fucking deal. There is a science to leverage and body mechanics, that he and those that agree with him do not grasp.

  • casey

    pretty ballsy move on that first 3 rounds. would have liked to see him tell the cameraman to step to the side before firing the rifle. but that’s just me being a safety nut so all in all good vid , good article and some solid shooting tips. thanks for bringing this to my/our attention steve

  • Cymond

    FWIW, my left shoulder is messed up, so the squared-off stance is out of the question for me. My shoulder forces me to a magwell hold when I square off (plus the stock sits on my chest strangely), so a bladed stance is my best option.