Best Defensive Shotgun Stance for You

One of the most important things when shooting a shotgun is finding right shotgun stance. Adopting the right shooting stance could mean the difference between hitting your target and missing your mark completely.

You may have a natural stance that may work for the first shot. But if it’s not stable enough, you will easily get shoved out of position by your shotgun’s recoil. That means your next shot could be a dud, and nobody wants that.

So, what is the best way to shoulder a shotgun? The answer to that question lies between two key major shotgun shooting techniques: the tactical/combat stance and the hybrid bladed shooting stance.

The Best Shotgun Stance

The tactical stance is mostly used in combat by the military, while the hybrid stance is common among three-gunners.

The Combat Stance

shotgun stance

Stand with your feet apart and both shoulders squarely facing the target. The butt pad should rest on the inside of your shoulder, and you should try to bring it a little bit closer to your sternum. That will allow you to absorb the recoil quickly and move to the next shot.

With your weight on the balls of your feet, lean forward. Keep your stronger side’s elbow tucked in to make your profile as small as possible. That’s right for right-handed people and left for left-hand people.

Extend your support hand to the fore-end for a firm grip. You should maintain a short stock of 12.5 inches to make it easier for you to wield your gun.

If you have ever trained to shoot a pistol, you will notice that the combat stance is similar to the way you would shoot a handgun.

One of the advantages of the combat stance is that it allows you to quickly lock on a target without having to assume a complicated posture. With this stance, you can drive to the target easily without worrying too much about the position of your legs.


  • First and foremost, it’s more suited to relatively strong individuals who can take a considerable amount of recoil without being shoved backward.
  • Secondly, it trains you to attack targets while moving towards them, which wouldn’t be wise for a typical home defender who is not wearing any protective armor.
  • Lastly, the placement of the buttstock near the center of the chest alters the relationship between the stock and the shooter’s eye. That makes it more suitable for tall people who can easily align their heads with the barrel’s rib for more accurate shots.

The Hybrid Bladed Shooting Stance

shotgun stance

Common among three-gun shooters, this one is all about shooting fast and accurately. Proponents of the hybrid bladed shooting stance are very different than the tactical stance in several areas. One of the differences is the stock size. Unlike the tactical stance, which demands a short stock, the hybrid stance requires you to use a full-sized stock.

To get into the hybrid bladed shooting stance, shift your weight forward. Bend your knee to assume a natural, quartered posture. You should also have your shoulders slightly bladed to allow you to aim and shoot your shotgun instinctively.

Advantages and disadvantages of this position

The hybrid bladed stance has a couple of advantages. Firstly, it feels more natural to a typical shotgun shooter compared to the tactical stance. Secondly, it trains users to perceive, assess, and act fast, which is key in winning a gunfight.

The only disadvantage of the hybrid stance is that you have to be well-trained to use it. It is not a stance that an amateur shooter should attempt without guidance. Especially if you are still getting used to absorbing your shotgun’s recoil.

Choosing the Most Appropriate Position for You

If you ask a military shooter, they will certainly tell you that the best position to shoot a shotgun is the combat stance. They’ll say the hybrid stance is only suited for competitive shooting.

On the other hand, a three-gunner will swear that the combat stance is too slow and ineffective for defending yourself, especially if you’re not wearing protective clothing.

There is really no such thing as the best shooting stance. Every shooter has his or her preference. As such, you should give both positions a try and settle on what feels not only natural but also comfortable for you. As a general rule, always shoot in a stance that gives you the best control, balance, and an unimpeded swing when you take your shot.

One more tip, don’t forget to get the most appropriate shotgun for you — it is just as important as how you stand.

Dakota R.

My name is Dakota, Since I was a little boy, hunting has been my favorite things to do. Being outdoors meant I got to spend more one on one time with my father. I've learned so much from my dad over the years, and I hope you can learn and enjoy following my blog!

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