THE PUSH OF RECOIL
I routinely see a competitor's upper body move back and forth when shooting. This is caused by the force of the gun kicking / recoiling, and the constant weight shifts and corrections made by the shooter to compensate.
It is nearly impossible to shoot a sequence of shots quickly and accurately if your torso is constantly moving. Heck, it's hard enough to do when everything is perfectly still!
If you wait until you stop moving backward and then lean forward again to return your upper triangle into shooting position before you can align the sights to shoot, you will never be fast or accurate.
Last week we covered the "Upper Triangle" of a shooting stance, this post explores "Torso and Leg Positioning". Let's go.
COUNTERACT RECOIL WITH A FORWARD-BALANCED STANCE
Reducing movement and sway during recoil will allow for quicker recovery of the gun back into alignment. This can be done by improving your stance, from your shoulders to the ground.
In reality, balance is what we are talking about and it's often poorly understood from my experience.
Where is your balance when you shoot?
Positioning your torso and lower body properly to stay in a forward-balanced shooting position will go far in controlling recoil.
Can you shoot with one foot off the ground?
I'm serious. Taking a foot off the ground forces you to lean forward against the force of the gun recoiling.
Most people immediately recognize how to shift their weight and stay in balance against recoil when they go monoped. It is not easy, but is a great tool to teach yourself how to shoot in a proper position.
At first, you will only be able to fire a couple shots before you fall off balance. But with a little practice you'll soon find you can do it.
Once you master shooting in a forward-balanced position, you will be pushed and moved less by the recoil of the gun.
5 Tips To A Forward-Balanced, Recoil-Controlling Posture
- FOOT / LEG POSITION
I typically stand with my offhand side leg forward of my stronghand side leg, about hip distance apart. The distance forward will vary based on the shooter. Experiment with what you like and what allows you to remain in balance.
In reality, trying to always shoot with the perfect natural point of aim is unlikely to happen in action shooting. There are just too many variables, i.e., movement and awkward positions, to expect to end up with a perfect leg / foot position.
Focus on getting your body position correct ABOVE the hips, not so much below.
- HIP POSITION
Hips should be forward of the rear foot. If you draw a line between the centers of your feet on the ground, rarely should your hips be behind that line. Your rear end should never stick rearward of your back foot (unless shooting from a low position).
- TORSO POSITION
Your back should be straight at minimum, or arched / leaning forward preferably. Never arch your back, with shoulders rearward. Never let the gun push you to a backward-leaning position. If it does, you are not standing in an aggressive enough forward-balanced position.
- SHOULDER POSITION
Your shoulders should be in line with or forward of the hips, never behind the hips.
- LEAN INTO THE RECOIL
Be proactive against the effects of recoil instead of reacting to the recoil.
Getting the "forward pressure" is tricky. If you do it right, you often will have the feeling that you are falling forward when you stop shooting. This is OK as long as you are still in balance.
If you are heavy and relatively tall like I am, the angle with which you will lean into the gun will be less than for someone lighter and shorter. You skinny people should look way more aggressive than I do. That's ok, as it isn't a matter of mimicking what another shooter does.
It is about your balance and weight shifts.
TOP GUNS & BALANCE
At matches, I often see top competitors shooting with only one foot on the ground. They have so much weight on one foot that the second is only a "rudder", which just limits lateral rotation. They are so well balanced (forward balanced) that they no longer need to be locked to the ground.
During movement courses, speeding in and out of positions is extremely important. The "dancers" who get balanced the quickest and are lightest on their feet typically move the best and end up with the fastest times.
Experiment with these torso and leg positions and practice shooting in an aggressive, forward-weighted posture.
You will quickly realize the benefits of stance-related recoil control and hopefully begin seeing your name postured on that first page of match results.
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