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How to use Tactical Stance in Modern Warfare 3

Everything you need to know about Tactical Stance in Modern Warfare 3

A promotional image for Modern Warfare 3, showing two Operators aiming their weapons towards the camera.
Image credit: Activision

Wondering what Tactical Stance is in Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3? One of Call Of Duty: Modern Warfare 3's most notable additions to the Call of Duty franchise is Tactical Stance, a new aiming option designed for close-quarters encounters. A unique blend of ADS and hipfire, Tactical Stance can be a game-changer in multiplayer matches, but requires a fair amount of practice to use effectively.

Whether you're a level 1 newbie or a hardened veteran who simply wants to know what "Tac Stance" means in half of MW3's attachment loadouts, we've got you covered. Here's everything you need to know about Tactical Stance in Modern Warfare 3.

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How to activate Tactical Stance in Modern Warfare 3

By default, Tactical Stance is always turned on in MW3 and activates when you enter an input of ADS + Melee, which will be right click + V if you're using standard keyboard and mouse controls or LT + down on a controller.

Here's how you can adjust your Tactical Stance settings:

  1. Open up MW3's Settings, represented by a cogwheel in the menu screen.
  2. Navigate to either Keyboard & Mouse or Controller, depending on your control scheme.
  3. Select the Gameplay tab.
  4. Scroll down to Tactical Stance Activation and Tactical Stance Behaviour.
  5. For Tactical Stance Activation, you can turn Tactical Stance off entirely or adjust which input combinations turn it on. These include ADS + Melee (the default option), ADS + Armor, ADS + Alt Fire, a custom input of your choice, or double tapping ADS.
  6. For Tactical Stance Behaviour, you can choose whether Tactical Stance activates On Toggle (the default option, meaning that Tac Stance is active until you press its inputs again), On Respawn (meaning that Tac Stance remains active until death), or Once (meaning that Tac Stance stays active until you release ADS).

Of these many options, we've found it easiest to turn Tactical Stance on by double tapping ADS and keeping its behaviour On Toggle.

If you're ever confused about whether or not you're in Tactical Stance, just look at your weapon - when Tactical Stance is successfully activated, your Operator will hold their gun at a slanted angle.

It's also important to note that by default, Tactical Stance also activates while sliding, and can be combined with slide cancelling to quickly take down opponents on a confined map. For more on sliding, check out our guide on how to slide cancel in Modern Warfare 3.

Explanation & Benefits of Tactical Stance in Modern Warfare 3

To explain what Tactical Stance is, it's best to examine the two other methods of aiming in Modern Warfare 3. The first is Aim-Down-Sights, commonly abbreviated as ADS. This is when you're looking down the ironsights or optic of your weapon with a zoomed-in view. If you're playing MW3 with the default settings, ADS activates when you right click on a mouse or hit LT on a controller. It provides the best precision aiming with a tight crosshair, but your movement drops to a crawl while in ADS stance.

An image showing ADS aiming in Modern Warfare 3's firing range. We zoom in on a target, giving us a precise shot but slowing movement severely.
Image credit: Rock Paper Shotgun/Activision

At the other end of the spectrum, you've got hipfire aiming, which occurs when you simply press the fire input, which by default is left click on the mouse and RT on a controller. Your movement is unimpeded while hipfire aiming, and it's useful for frenetic close-combat when you need to sprint and don't have time to ADS. However, aiming is erratic thanks to a much wider crosshair, and depending on how stressful your close-combat encounter is, your bullets may spray everywhere and miss the mark entirely.

An image showing hipfire aiming in Modern Warfare 3's firing range. We can move completely unimpeded, but our crosshair is very large.
Image credit: Rock Paper Shotgun/Activision

Tactical Stance combines the best of both worlds, providing decent mobility while avoiding a wide bullet spray. When your Operator holds their weapon in Tactical Stance at a slant, your crosshair will be larger than it is in ADS but tighter than it is in hipfire. You'll also be able to walk around while aiming, and while some spread will occur when you shoot, you're far more likely to hit the mark than you are when firing from the hip.

An image showing Tactical Stance aiming in Modern Warfare 3's firing range. The gun is held at a slant, giving us a tight crosshair but also allowing for free movement.
Image credit: Rock Paper Shotgun/Activision

Thanks to this new "in-between" stance, there's a lot more flexibility in Modern Warfare 3 when it comes to finding a gun that works for you. No longer are you confined to maximising ADS when customising your firearm - now you can select attachments that boost Tac Stance and go for a hyper mobile, run-and-gun loadout that's attuned to tight spaces. If you're the sort of player who often finds themselves entering buildings and running into surprise assailant, try keeping Tactical Stance activated on a regular basis. This will give you well-balanced speed and accuracy in claustrophobic conditions, and it just might ensure that you stay alive instead of becoming another player's killstreak material.

That's all for our rundown on Tactical Stance. If you want to study up on guns or attachments to complement your aiming and movement style, see our guide to the best guns in MW3, as well as our list of the best loadouts in Modern Warfare 3. We also have a comprehensive guide to weapon stats in Modern Warfare 3 if you want to compare each gun's damage output.

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Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3 (2023)

PS4, PS5, Xbox One, Xbox Series X/S, PC

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Jeremy Blum avatar

Jeremy Blum

Guides Writer

Jeremy is a Guides Writer at RPS. When he isn't living out his childhood dream of writing strategy guides, he enjoys rediscovering retro stuff, fiddling with his Steam Deck, and serving as a forever Game Master.