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SilverTauron 01-20-2013 11:42 AM

Forward Stance for Women?
Every woman ive taken to the range has leaned back while shooting, in a similar fashion to this lady in the video link.

My question is this: while the women I know can make hits just fine while leaning back and find the traditional forward-stance Iscosoles position uncomfortable-"I feel like I'm falling over" said my pal's wife as of her last range visit-I see pro shooters like Jessie Abbate making hits too w/the same forward leaning stance my lady friends find uncomfortable.

Women of Calguns, what say you on the matter? Is the "women's lean" just a phase women shooters go through before adapting to the standard forward shooting position, or is it just the case that the female pro shooters are so well practiced that they're used to feeling like they're falling over all the time?

pax 01-20-2013 12:31 PM

Leaning back is generally more of a novice issue rather than a gender-specific one. It is training issue that would be corrected by an instructor. In the case of a female student, a female instructor might have been more comfortable, first to articulate the adjustments in different ways until the adjustment is achieved, or (with permission) make physical adjustments. Another interesting tool is the Coach's Eye app by TechSmith where the coach/trainer takes video of the student with smartphone or tablet, then can immediately play back and annotate to give the student a visual cue about where the correction should be. I haven't yet used Coach's Eye on the range, but have seen it used in other areas with success.

One gender-specific possibility has to do with footgear. If a woman is used to wearing heels, then leaning forward feels off-balance. (Lift up on your toes and try it! Also recall the feet of someone who wears heels all the time will get used to that position; and thus wearing flat shoes feels abnormal.) I've found that to compensate, knees should be bent and the hips tilted backward more than normal for the Iscoseles stance. "Bend your knees, stick your butt out and lean forward!"

Finally, another reason why shooters, especially older ones, lean back is due to vision changes. They are trying to get the proper sight picture. So modifications may need to be made; perhaps a prescription change, maybe change to a red dot instead of iron sights. Or, just grow longer arms!

movie zombie 01-20-2013 12:40 PM

women training women:

obviously, our bodies are shaped differently. some of us are top heavy. we're always being told to lean back and stand tall.........we are told to sit up straight. and we've learned that lesson well: of course, leaning forward feels awkward. but with the right training that includes the "why" as in this video, it can be overcome right from the get-go.

Poms&Guns 01-20-2013 12:42 PM

This is funny bc my husband and I were just talking about this a few days ago. He has been an RSO for Ladies Shoots with Second Amendment Sisters and he has had to help correct many women on their stances. I started out that way and it takes a while to feel comfortable with leaning forward. I think for some women, it has to do with background extra-curricular activities growing up. I was a dancer, diver, competitive gymnast, and high school/college cheerleader. We are taught hips forward, shoulders back, shoulders over hips over knees over toes. That is balance. Now, we have to bend legs, lean forward, for some...stick the butt out....opposite of what we have done for years. That is where practice comes in. When my hubby said to squat, I immediately squatted...into a position similar to that of a cheer squat. He just looked down and shook his I am a cheer coach...that is a squat. :) It took a while to learn a small squat and to lean forward. I think it is just a phase some women go through to learn to get used to something they are unfamiliar or uncomfortable with.

California Coordinator
Second Amendment Sisters

pax 01-20-2013 3:49 PM

Yeah, it's actually quite a subtle thing going on with the pelvic tilt. A less crude and perhaps more instructive verbal communication might be "Imagine you are going to sit down in a chair without looking behind you or using your hands. Your feet are shoulder width apart. Start that movement, then stop because the chair got moved away." Usually that stops the shoulders back thing (because now you would fall backwards) and brings them more forward, gets the pelvic tilt right (as opposed to just sticking the butt out), and the small squat. Plus, most people have had the experience of sitting in chairs, so it is familiar. For many, a connection to the familiar is comforting when trying something new and scary!

kaligaran 01-21-2013 11:06 PM

I've taught a lot of people (mostly men since most of my friends are guys) to shoot trap and skeet.

And I've learned that the heavier the firearm in comparison to the person holding it, the more they lean back to balance the weapon. So a small person will lean back more than a larger person. But almost ALWAYS it seems a new shooter leans back when trying to shoot a shotgun from my experiences.

I agree it's a novice thing more than a gender one.

Gryff 01-22-2013 1:31 AM

It is definitely a novice thing more than a gender issue since I see noob male shooters doing it all the time. One explanation for it, especially with smaller shooters, is a subconscious effort to balance the weight of the gun. Leaning back shifts more of the weight on to the torso rather than putting it all on the arms and shoulders.

daybreak 01-22-2013 6:01 PM

from my observation, it's a gender thing. Same thing with operating cameras, I notice women lean back. I've heard it's because their center of gravity is different and their upper body strength is different, so they lean back to compensate.

I did not watch the youtube video.

kaligaran 01-22-2013 8:25 PM

It really is shooter stature. Especially with novice shooters that don't know any better.
A smaller person using a large anything they hold up will lean to balance the weight. It would definitely apply to cameras or anything you hold up Since the average woman is smaller than the average man, I could see this being a common observation with the gender gap at many ranges since there aren't typically as many women.

A male's center of gravity is around chest height (again body type dependent) a female's is around the hip area (also body type dependent).

masameet 01-23-2013 9:33 AM

It's a novice thing as well as a fear thing.

I've taken two male friends who'd never shot before to the range. Both of them are over 6 feet tall, with one at about 320 pounds and the other maybe 150 pounds, and they both leaned backward even after I demonstrated proper stance.

Another time I went with a so-called veteran shooter, also over 6 feet tall and about 230 pounds, to an indoor range. For a guy who'd been shooting a while, his stance was awful -- wide open, with I think the wrong foot forward -- and he actually shot while leaning backwards. So I made some suggestions and he improved his stance. Later he got into competitive shooting, I suspect more for male comraderie rather than for precision.

Anyway I'm guessing it's more of a fear of the firearm. Think about it: Some hunk of metal that seemingly and magically explodes in the hands ... Who wouldn't be scared of such potential harm?

Once a shooter understands that the firearm will explode in his hands and not hurt him; is taught proper stance, including maybe having his instructor place a hand on his back to remind him to lean forward; and becomes comfortable with the firearm and its recoil, he'll dispense with the fear and stop leaning backward.

kittycat 01-23-2013 3:03 PM

Regardless of gender I think initially people tend to want to lean back to be away from the gun.

I have a forward stance with my feet slightly in a "figher" position. I also watched the Make Ready with Jesse Abbate (Duff) many times and I like what she says.

Last week I shot a small 3 gun stage and after watching the video I realized I need to be more aggressive.

minichnk 01-30-2013 6:48 PM

I dont think its gender specific... could be just getting use to the weight, recoil and anticipated "boom" of the gun. I know I have NO upper body strength so when I first started I was shooting heavier guns I would lean back to give myself more leverage. Also another thing you will notice is the hold..some people will hold the gun near the bottom.

Try having your students do more of a squat over emphasizing a stance could help them find a comfortable middle ground.

Another stance you can have your students try is what is being taught by civilian arms training. It seems a little scary to have the gun closer to your face but ergonomically it is very comfortable....

Xanatos 01-30-2013 7:12 PM

After spending 3 months and 15,000 rounds learning center axis relock I have come to the realization that it is really only good for very close range defensive shooting. We're talking at most 10-15 feet unless you get VERY good at it. Honestly, it's easier to just learn how to manage recoil properly than learn CAR. Tried shooting a couple stages of competition at a lower level and I still got destroyed.

minichnk 01-30-2013 7:38 PM

Just an idea on another stance option out there for beginners. Its not about being pro at it as long as they first are comfortable with the gun...and then refining what stance is best for the shooter.

BadKitty 02-10-2013 9:37 AM


Originally Posted by masameet (Post 10293789)
Anyway I'm guessing it's more of a fear of the firearm. Think about it: Some hunk of metal that seemingly and magically explodes in the hands ... Who wouldn't be scared of such potential harm?

Once a shooter understands that the firearm will explode in his hands and not hurt him; is taught proper stance, including maybe having his instructor place a hand on his back to remind him to lean forward; and becomes comfortable with the firearm and its recoil, he'll dispense with the fear and stop leaning backward.

This. My first instinct is to say that it can often be a fear of the firearm.

In my personal observations, many beginning shooters will hold the firearm out like it's a stinky diaper and some will even slightly turn their faces away from it. That seems to tell me that they're somewhat scared of the "bang!" that will occur.

I am certainly no instructor or expert shot; but, like masameet suggests, I help other novices like me by placing my hand on their backs to help them remember to stay forward and it works like a charm.


snap-dragon 02-10-2013 11:11 AM

Since I've never handled a firearm (working on that!)I shouldn't even chime in here :eek: , but as a photographer I see a definite difference in the way men and women hold the camera. The longer and heavier the lens, the more pronounced the difference becomes. It's all about finding your center.

So maybe it is similarly natural when shooting weapons? I hope to find out SOON :)

Fastattack 02-13-2013 6:50 PM

All my lady friends and family lean back way more than the guys, in my own little world. I just sent that youtube video to my wife to watch.

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