NOVEMBER 30, 2023

Skill Set Classics by Tiger McKee: Fighting Stance

Editor: Today’s classic is from our March 23 2011 Edition.

Fighting with firearms requires stability, mobility, and flexibility. Stability is essential to shooting accurately. The more accuracy required the more stable your platform has to be. Mobility is required to create distance, move to cover, or get a clear angle of attack. It’s also a good idea to present the threat with a moving target as opposed to you just standing stationary. We need flexibility because what you do and when you do it are dictated by the situation, which is fluid, constantly changing. For fighting we need a combative stance.

For consistency my fighting stance is the same regardless of whether I’m fighting with empty hands, edged weapon, striking tool, my handgun or carbine. My feet are shoulder width apart, with the left foot pointing at the target. The right foot is a little farther back and pointing slightly outward. The knees are bent, and I have about sixty percent of my weight to the left foot.

This stance allows me to move in any direction, as dictated by situation, and with the proper technique the ability to move and shoot at the same time. The aggressive nature of the stance reduces the possibility of losing balance if someone pushes or strikes me, and it has my body’s mass helping me to recover from recoil of a firearm, providing quicker follow up shots as necessary.

As with all aspects of fighting your job, through practice and repetition, is to figure out what stance works for you. Then always remember that in a fight you may not be able to obtain a perfect fighting stance. Practice using different positions so you’re not trying to figure out something new in the middle of a confrontation.

The combative stance is also critical to our mental attitude. We know the mind tells the body what to do, but the body influences what and how the mind is operating. An aggressive physical posture helps us mentally stay plugged into the fight. Try this: Stand up and assume an aggressive fighting stance and see if -- mentally -- your attitude doesn’t change.

It’s also important to remember that the majority of our communication with others is non-verbal, our physical appearance. When the threat sees you confidently assume a combative stance it may change the way they are thinking, maybe enough that they decide to break contact. Then again it may not, so make sure you’re ready to back up the stance with the skills needed.

As I like to say, “It ain’t gotta be pretty, it just has to work.” This is especially true when it comes to the combative stance and defeating your opponent.

— Tiger McKee


Editor’s Note – for fans of the revolver, the Massad Ayoob Group announced a MAG Revolver Class in Live Oak, FL, Feb. 22-23, 2024. Mas will be teaching the course. Details are here. Get in while you can. Also, registrations are rapidly filling for the Pat Rogers Memorial Revolver Round-Up at Gunsite, November 23 – 25, 2024. Like this year, the PRMRR features a variety of instructors and instructional opportunities – an experience not to be missed. Find information here. No one’s saying revolvers are taking over, but they’re a long way from dying out. – RG.