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Using the Tactical Combat Fighting Stance

Using the Tactical Combat Fighting Stance

Officers practice the Tactical Combat Fighting Stance. (Photo: APC)

By: Arthur Randolph, APCLLC Training Consultant

What is the best stance for officers in the field to work from that gives the most options in the most situations they may face while on duty? Debated and discussed often and especially during firearms training, it comes down to what they were taught and its compatibility to basic body functions under stress. Deciding what to present to students can be a challenge as well. Long standing training standards have focused on score based, distance specific courses. The courses lend themselves to stances that accomplish high score but are not readily transferable to the actual environment officers work in once they leave the range. While most range operations focus on a down range only target area, the street demands the 360 mindset. The tactics and techniques we as instructors teach our personnel need to be in line with the street, not the range.

At the range, I watch what the officers do on the line related to stances, how well they perform tasks and what is the overall outcome. Were they able to shoot accurately? Did they remain aware of the surrounding areas, move smoothly between positions or points of cover, and how fast did they get tired when covering threats for an extended period of time. Although the isosceles stance is an easy platform to shoot from, I would not want to hold a rifle or shotgun from the stance after 10 minutes.

The APCLLC staff use the, Tactical Combat Fighting Stance™ (TCFS™). The goal has been working a stance that can apply to firearms or less lethal force options, and uses natural body motions. The stance focuses on 4 elements:

1. Tactical: A well thought out plan. Going out on the streets with a “wing it” mindset gives the advantage to an adversary in a confrontation.

2. Combat: Armed confrontations are a reality of law enforcement that can occur in any community at any time.

3. Fighting: Force options to overcome resistance or repel a physical assault.

4. Stance: A body posture as a platform to apply tactics and techniques.

The stance is structured with the operator’s strong side foot half a step back from the support side foot. The knees are bent slightly to lower the body’s center of gravity, the upper body is bent forward at the hips which balances the upper body and improves long arm or side arm presentation, or empty hand movement. The end result is a stance that is stable 360 degrees. There are several advantages with the stance. The officer is facing the primary threat area but retains mobility to change direction rapidly. The stance is transferable in that it is applicable to long arm, side arm, or empty hand tactics. A lowered center of gravity helps absorb the recoil from a weapon being fired. There is greater stability if someone were to bump or shove the officer from a side or from behind, and the ability to maintain position for longer periods of time with less fatigue.

Teaching the stance like anything else can be a challenge and especially when introducing a new technique to officers who have done something the same way for a long time. We recognize that this is a way but not the only way. Presenting to officers from this point of view removes a perception of arrogance or being a “know it all” type instructor. Encourage them to test and compare this stance to what has been used in the past. Have an instructor or a participant take other stances. Push from different directions to test overall stability. With arms extended push down or back on the hands to simulate the recoil of a weapon. During each demonstration, watch for how much movement there is. How easily can the participant drop to a low position while staying focused on a target? At the end of the day take out on the road what works best for each.

For many of us, seeing is believing. At a recent course for firearms instructors, I found just explaining the stance and talking participants through it wasn’t connecting with all of them. I asked one of the participants to help to demonstrate the stance with me. I had him face me, and stand off center. He placed his support side forearm across my chest and was asked to adjust his posture to counter my weight as I leaned into his arm. In a few seconds he had moved into the TCFS™ without further instruction. The stance now made sense and he could compare it to what he had been doing in the past.

Further proof that the stance was workable in a wide range of situations came with the courses of fire that where conducted. Since they were not static but included various challenges from shooting on the move to multiple positions, each participant had substantial time to evaluate for themselves. The end result was a better prepared officer.

As I stated in the beginning, this is a way not the only way. It is a fluid stance that works in many situations and conditions. From empty hand to long arms the stance is a solid platform to work from.

  • Total_force_logo_max50


    about 3 years ago


    The IDF has always taught this stance.

  • 58956_103609476369996_101644229899854_25142_5016185_n_max50


    over 3 years ago


    To all of you who have commented; Thank you! I am getting back to Police Link and see the article can still stimulate thinking which was and is the focus. The opinions and suggestions in it were forged out of experience training on the range and seeing what was really happening on the street. Whatever you apply in the way of tactics ask your self will it work on terms the real world presents. I am still actively involved in training with APC LLC (website is now ) , learning as well as instructing. Comments here or contacting me directly is always welcome.

  • 13_max50


    over 3 years ago


    I've used that tactical combat stance during building clearing and dynamic room searches and even on the firearms qualifying it works great and i have more mobility and can hold my ground alot better then standing straight up like before.

  • Photo_user_blank_big


    over 3 years ago


    I figured it would be some type of side-way stance, in order to make one's self a smaller target? I guess i was wrong. Great info though.

  • Cope_ad_max50


    over 3 years ago


    Good info. This is a very good platform, we use it here, Started with our ERT and is being taught to every Deputy. Performance on the range ( not talking about just scores here) was visibly improved. We still have a few that haven't quite let go of the old Weaver stance. It works. As you said it's not the only, but it sure is a good way.

  • Lgfp1322100-authentic-ogre-shrek-2-poster_max50


    over 3 years ago


    there is a move by many Dept"s to goto this style. Its about time t o be tactical sound. Good article.

  • Me_n_hannah_max50


    over 3 years ago


    i have to say that some of the instructors in the academy want you to stand their way. i think it is important for the shooter to find a stance which is comfortable for him or her. i know for myself personally i can not do as well if i am not comfortable.

  • Dscn0045_max50


    over 3 years ago


    It sounds like a good idea for the field.

  • Thin_blue_line_max50


    over 3 years ago


    This is a textbook HK stance for the MP5. Phil Singleton has been teaching this for years and still teaches it. Adding a new term like TCFS doesn't make it new. Anyone who shoots an automatic weapon should be familar with this stance.

  • Evil_max50


    almost 4 years ago


    Nothing is perfect. Deciding what to teach is not difficult at all. Teach everything you can and discuss/demonstrate the advantages and disadvantages of what you teach. They take what they learn and adapt it to suit them. You cannot teach one technquie or latest greatest tacticool concept and expect everyone to be able to preform well with it. Its naive and its stupid to thing it can be done

  • Joe_max50


    almost 4 years ago


    As commented by others here "nothing is new" relates to much of what we see in Law Enforcement and it applies here as well. As I always say "Empty hands first and last". You are empty handed in the beginning meaning you don't go around with your gun drawn all the time, and you are empty handed after you have cuffed him and escort him in.
    We train our agents to be able to strike or draw from the stance they shoot at (very similiar to what is described here). However, one still has to move from the neutral/Interview/fighting stance to a shooting stance while drawing the weapon. If an officer walks up to a subject in a "shooting" stance it would A:) be very awkward, B:) be very confrontational. Be that as it may, if your strenght lies in a 360 degree flip kick to the face then stand how you must. I do appreciate the fact it points out that this is only "A" Way not "the" Way.

  • Aaa_max50


    almost 4 years ago


    Old gold is still valuable. Over a lot of years I have adapted portions of several pistol combat actions that have served me well. The one thing that never changes is one item that never changes. The value of practice, practice, practice.

  • Lapd_detective_badge_max50


    almost 4 years ago


    Funny. When I came on 20+ years that is what we were taught. Then Weaver. Now we are back to it agian.

  • Half_dome_yosemite_national_park_max50


    almost 4 years ago


    Old Old news....

  • __65_or_so_max50


    almost 4 years ago


    I believe this is the stance they taught me in the early 70's. Then they got away from it. so now it comes back. Like all good things.

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