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What is Tactical Stance in Modern Warfare 3, and how do you use it?

How to customize the new aiming option in MW3

A soldier holding a weapon in Modern Warfare 3 Image: Activision

Tactical Stance is a new aiming option for Call of Duty first introduced in Modern Warfare 3.

Also known as “Tac-Stance,” it’s designed for close-quarters encounters to offer the best of hip-fire and aiming down sights.

Though Tactical Stance is enabled by default, the controls and default behavior might not be to your liking — which is where this guide for how to find and use Tactical Stance in Modern Warfare 3 comes in handy.


What is Tactical Stance in Modern Warfare 3?

Described as the “perfect middle-ground between hip-fire and aiming down sights” by developer Activision, Tactical Stance provides improved mobility speed and visibility over looking down a scope, while avoiding the wide bullet spray of firing from the hip.

It’s best used at close distances, allowing you to react to an enemy’s presence faster and with more precision than the other two aiming options.

The tell-tale sign you are aiming with Tactical Stance is the weapon will be at a slanted angle, with a tighter crosshair appearing on screen.

Here’s what aiming with Tactical Stance look like:

Aiming a weapon with Tactical Stance.
Aiming with Tactical Stance.
Image: Activision via Polygon

Compare this to ADS, or aiming down sights:

Aiming a weapon down sights.
Aiming down sights (ADS).
Image: Activision via Polygon

And to regular hip fire:

Aiming a weapon with hip fire.
Aiming with hip fire.
Image: Activision via Polygon

What the above screens don’t show is the mobility difference, allowing you to walk and aim faster than the ADS’s slow inching forward.


How to enable Tactical Stance and change Tactical Stance controls in MW3

By default, Tactical Stance will activate while sliding, or by aiming with the left trigger and pressing down on the D-Pad when using a controller.

To change Tactical Stance controls, go to Settings (press the “menu” or three line “burger” button on a controller), then select Controller.

Opening the Settings menu during a match in Modern Warfare 3 Image: Activision via Polygon

From here, tab over to the Gameplay section, then scroll all the way down to Combat Behaviors.

Here is where you will see two Tactical Stance options: Tactical Stance Activation and Tactical Stance Behavior.

A menu showing Tactical Stance Activation in Modern Warfare 3. Image: Activision via Polygon

For Tactical Stance Activation — essentially the controls — you have five options:

  • Off
  • ADS + Sprint (left trigger and clicking in the left stick by default)
  • ADS + Melee (left trigger and clicking in the right stick by default)
  • ADS + Down Button (left trigger and down on the D-Pad by default)
  • Double-tap ADS (left trigger twice by default)

As for Tactical Stance Behavior, this dictates whether it’s on a toggle (enabled until disabled), On Respawn (enabled until your next death), or Once (enabled until you stop aiming).

A menu showing Tactical Stance Behavior in Modern Warfare 3. Image: Activision via Polygon

For me, I found double-tap ADS the most natural method of switching to Tactical Stance, as I didn’t have to move my thumb to the D-Pad — though I can see one of the two stick click methods also being preferable over time. If you’re not sure yourself, it’s well worth experimenting with the various options and seeing what works for you.

While you continue to get to grips with multiplayer, you can learn more about the Vault Edition’s battle pass and our pick of the best guns.

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