Is Anyone Still Using the Weaver Stance?

My shooting stance got the job done, but it still earned the rod of correction from an instructor. “Pull your weak-side arm in a little. Elbow pointing down now. Flex the strong side arm a little. There.”

Noticing the pained expression on my face as I tried to aim using the position demanded, my teacher laughed. “Yeah, the Weaver kind of sucks, doesn’t it?” she said, shaking her head as she turned to attend to another student.

In turning so abruptly, she missed my arched eyebrow.

The class was the Massad Ayoob Group’s MAG-20 Range course, offered by NG Investigations in Ocala, Florida (review forthcoming.) It definitely was not Gunsite Academy, the originator of the Modern Technique of the Pistol, a big part of which was the Weaver Stance; strong side foot in the back, knees unlocked, bladed torso, weak arm bent sharply downward, strong arm straight but with unlocked elbow, isometric push-pull grip on the pistol.

It was also a place where I’d spent a week during Obama’s first term, taking their fundamental fighting course, Pistol 250. Certainly I should know what I’m doing when it came to a Weaver stance, right? But it wasn’t ego that prompted the raised eyebrow, it was the fact that I’d received almost the same corrective during my Gunsite training.

Apparently, a week in the desert hadn’t changed the fact that I still wanted to have my strong arm locked — a modified Weaver at best, or a “Chapman” stance, as Ayoob preferred to call it, after the late teacher and competitive shooter.

This off-the-cuff correction from the Florida trainer started me on the road to a small epiphany — one which a smarter and more self-aware shooter would’ve reached much earlier.

Up to this point, I’d had over 150 hours of instruction on gun fighting, but all of it had come either at Gunsite itself, or schools founded by veterans of the academy and professors of the Modern Technique (some going back to “Orange Gunsite”.)

I’m far from being an operational operator, of course, but I’m also not at the back of the pack when it comes to shooting fundamentals. Still, I hadn’t questioned the Weaver stance — even though I clearly fell out of it and into a more “modified” stance when I didn’t have an instructor breathing down my neck.

Also, it wasn’t clear to me that my shooting suffered significantly when this happened. Quite the opposite; like a self-conscious golf player, when I start worrying about stance, the worse I perform. When I simply stay in the moment…good things happen.

So it’s time for me to revisit the issue. When I returned to Motown, I started thinking a bit more about stances and talking to people who’d been there, done that.

Massad Ayoob’s namesake school teaches Weaver, Chapman, and the Isosceles stances to its students, but clearly prefers Isosceles as a general default stance. The Weaver, Mas writes his 1984 book, Stressfire,

…tends to fall apart under extreme stress. With those conditions prevailing, the essential boxer’s stance cannot always be achieved. Without moving the feet, one finds the ability to traverse is extremely limited — to 90 degrees or even less for some people.

Under stress, with exaggerated gross strength movement and loss of coordination, the strong arm tends to overpower the weak arm, sending the Weaver shooter’s bullets high left if he’s right handed. The exaggerated push-pull of the technique also increases muscle tremor.

Raising of the weak elbow allows greater traverse but unlocks the hold, reducing accuracy for most people. Finally, the sharply edgeways stance exposes an armored-officer’s unprotected whole or upper side to the opposing gunfire.

(And, as one of my fellow MAG-20 students–also a firearms instructor–observed: a hit to a bladed torso is more likely to cause a fight-stopping injury against you than a single hit to a full frontal chest, simply because more organs are lined up for the round to strike.)

Mas isn’t the only one who is skeptical of Weaver. He’s joined in that by the famous (infamous?) Gabe Suarez.

In 2004 or 2005 we had a Force On Force class…the first one, in Las Vegas. I set guys up facing each other at five yards. Armed with Airsoft pistol analogs to their real weapons, and suitably protected with face masks, I told them to “GO”. This simulated a true gunfight to a far greater degree than any range exercise these men had ever seen before.

We had extremely accomplished Modern Technique guys totally change their perspectives on gunfighting [afterward]. We had “Combat Masters” from Taylor’s and Front Sight get their asses handed to them by first time attendees, school teachers, doctors, and students who understood what we were teaching….

[I]n proactive shooting there is no need for the dynamics of the Weaver stance with a moderately developed upper body and hand strength. All one has to do is look at what the world’s champion shooters use and you will not find Weaver stances there.

Often times what is needed is simply getting the weapon out quickly and punching it forward, working the trigger as you do so. Watch a force on force event and you will not see any Weaver or isosceles stances. You will see a great deal of one handed shooting.

If that wasn’t enough, the celebrated competition shooter (and fellow Louisianan,) Jerry Miculek agrees.

Jerry says:

I shoot a basic Isosceles stance, pretty much square to the target… If I was going to shoot a Weaver stance — which we all did back in the day when we didn’t know anything — you pretty much have to blade into the target. Push with this hand, pull with that hand [the isometric grip.]

They were trying to get more control over the handgun, but they went about it the wrong way. The thing about opposing forces, it sounds really good until you screw it up. So if you have a little bit less technique pushing and pulling, you get weird oscillations on the front sight, and it’s not repeatable…. It’s not worthy of your time.

When I learn that Mas, Gabe, and Jerry are on the same page about anything related to shooting, I pay close attention, even if it’s for different reasons.

Seeking counsel, I spoke with a friend from Georgia who’s done far more firearms training in and out of uniform than me. Stance is important when learning the fundamentals, he said. Afterward, “you proceed to point shooting and getting off the X.” He suggested I continue my education…with Suarez, whose classes he endorsed.

Sure, I’ve criticized some of the things Suarez has said in the past, but I just might take him up on that suggestion.  The reason is simple: I’ve let myself get in a comfort zone when it comes to training. It’s time to shake things up. And say what you will about him, Suarez knows a thing or two about gunfighting.

Am I trashing Gunsite, the Weaver or the Modern Technique here?

Far from it. It was a fantastic place to start, and whatever skill I have in shooting and gunfighting I owe to its originators and instructors. I don’t, however, learn form for form’s sake, but rather to an end, and here that end is: winning a gunfight which can’t otherwise be avoided.

I still have much to learn, after all. And it’s time for me to get out of the comfort zone. It’s time to try trainers from different schools, whether it’s Suarez, Ayoob, or someone else.

[Hat tip: Zachomega @, whose question, “When did the Weaver stance die?” started me on this path.]


  1. avatar Jay in Florida says:

    Me. Its more. Comfortable.But I will use the isoceles at the Range cause I’m lazy.

  2. avatar Dcj says:

    Guilty as charged, but watching Miculek online has shown me the error of my ways so onto relearning my basic stance.

    1. avatar Clark Kent says:

      Jerry shoots for fun/money at targets that don’t shoot back. Kind of like listening to a Catholic priest about marriage advice.

  3. avatar Whoreson Beast says:

    “Do you breathe in or out on your backswing?”

    Put that in your fellow competitors head early, and you’ll close him out 10 up with 8 to play.

    1. Or slice his Achilles. He’ll push everything to the right. He’ll give up the game.

  4. avatar Evey259 says:

    I prefer isosceles for measured, conscious range training, but I always seem to fall into a modified weaver if I get lazy. The large majority of combat situations rely on speed and violence of action (the surprise is usually taken out and given to the other party since most defensive gun uses are just that, defensive,) and technique doesn’t seem to matter quite as much at first glance. Still, having the necessary fundamentals to fall back on is likely an immeasurably important skill set to have.

    1. avatar Cliff H says:

      Surprise is still in play. A guy who has the drop on you but hasn’t shot you yet is NOT expecting that you are going to draw and fire. His reaction time to your aggressive move, especially if you get off of the X at the same time, is just as significant here as it is with the disarm techniques you see martial artists use. I don’t remember the actual delay from recognizing motion to reacting to motion, but it is not insignificant. I saw a video many years ago where a man was given a pistol, loaded, cocked, finger on the trigger, with instructions to fire as soon as he detected the threat. His opponent (not in line of fire) drew his pistol, fired, and re-holstered before the first guy could pull the trigger.

      If the bad guy is not expecting a response you have the advantage of defeating his reaction time while he processes the fact that you are not being docile and are not willing to stand in front of his muzzle while you do it.

  5. avatar Pete says:

    Two hands? Yech, nope. I took up shooting as an adult and had been driving a standard for years, so was used to not two-handing the wheel. One handing the gun feels more natural.

    1. avatar Clark Kent says:

      ‘Natural’ to you and Sheriff Matt Dillon. Anyone else?

      1. avatar Pete says:

        Olympic athetes and WWII-era and earlier users 😛

  6. avatar HandyDan says:

    Weaver for me. I’m more comfortable and practiced with it.

    1. avatar Kenneth G Maiden says:

      Same here. To me, it just feels better. Everyone is diffrent, use what works for YOU. Screw the experts that mostly want to make some money off ya.

      1. avatar Mikial says:

        Now that is something I can agree with. It boils down to how well you can shoot from any position, and more than that, can you move and shoot at the same time. All these stances imply that you are stationary and have time to get into a perfect stance before you pull the trigger. You are not going to be able to do that in a real life situation.

      2. avatar kdBrake says:

        The weaver just feels more natural to me and squaring up feels a little forced.

  7. avatar greg says:

    The Weaver stance presents a smaller target. That’s important if someone is shooting back at you.

    1. avatar jwtaylor says:

      That’s only true if your opponent is standing still, and they get a say in that.

      1. avatar Richard Steven Hack says:

        If they move, you pivot. Same result.

    2. avatar Cliff H says:

      As mentioned in the article, and as explained to me in my tactical pistol class by the former SEAL instructor:

      All other considerations aside, if your target is shooting back (unlike competition) you present less of your vital organs to gunfire with the isosceles than the Weaver. Full front you present only the spine and your heart. Hits anywhere else, especially through and through, can be survived and you can even keep fighting so long as they do not hit your heart directly or sever your spine. From the Weaver you are presenting your body sideways and although the cross-section is smaller ANY HIT will penetrate at least as deep as your heart, major blood vessels in front of your spine, or your spine, any of which will at minimum incapacitate you and will much more likely be fatal.

      If you are shooting at an uncomplaining paper or steel target, use what works for you. If the target objects to being shot at and returns fire, isosceles is not only better and faster, it is more survivable if you are hit. Oh, one more thing, train as you intend to fight.

      1. avatar Greg says:

        Ok, let’s go with the idea that in the isosceles stance you present fewer vital organs as a target. You still present a broader/easier target to hit. So you get hit in a non-vital area and your opponent has just broken your ooda-loop. Then he kills you. No thanks. I’m going to present as small a target as possible.

        1. Aim small miss small

      2. avatar Rick says:

        > train as you intend to fight.

        So I should train *not at all*, since that’s how I intend to fight…but petty jokes aside, I sure hope that if I ever need to participate in a gunfight I’ll be crouched behind cover, not standing out in the open like a Hollywood cowboy. As such, the differences between open standing stances are irrelevant.

  8. avatar anonymoose says:

    I tend to use the Chapman because I’m left-eyed. I’m just not tacticool enough.

    1. avatar Kenneth G Maiden says:

      Get some tats, grow a little scruffy beard, and wear tacti pants n shirts. Your shooting will improve 1000%. Oh almost forgot, tacti hat and paracord bracelet is a must too.

      1. avatar Mikial says:

        You left out the 6 hours a day in the gym doing curls so that your biceps stretch the fabric of your UnderArmor super tight compression T-shirt.

  9. avatar kenneth says:

    And me. The thing about weaver is; everybody does it wrong, but none will admit it. The push pull motion should be very slight, just enough to help control the recoil. The larger the recoil, the more strength one should use. But everybody pretends they’re shooting a S&W .500, and then blames the stance!
    The weak arm should be only slightly bent and the strong foot only SLIGHTLY behind the other.
    “But never more than the toe of the weak foot” -Cooper
    So many teach put your weak foot 18 inches in front and turn sideways. And then when that’s not comfortable they blame the stance because they do it wrong. How very human-like.

  10. avatar former water walker says:

    I’ll go with Jerry. Years ago I actually hurt my elbow trying to copy a rigid elbow lock. Which ain’t good after 40years of weightlifting and powerlifting…

  11. avatar uncommon_sense says:

    I guess it just boils down to this simple question: should you use the same stance and posture for a gunfight that you would use for a fist fight?

    I can tell you from a LOT of experience sparring in martial arts, the “bladed” or Weaver stance seems to be the best starting stance. It gives you the most and fastest options to move forward, backward, or sideways … as well as the most and fastest options to block, punch, or kick.

    Given that moving seems to be paramount in all fights — including gunfights — I would think that the Weaver stance is the optimum starting point. Notice that I emphasized “starting point”. The instant that the fight changes and you have to move for whatever reason, the Weaver stance is no longer a consideration.

    And we haven’t even discussed how your first move in a gunfight could very well be blocking/deflecting your attacker’s punch, kick, stab, or draw. That is another compelling reason to promptly assume the Weaver stance at the first hint that an attack is possible.

    1. avatar Evan says:

      I was thinking the same thing. If you want trained instincts to take over, why not use the same fighting stance consistently. Plus, I find movement from isosceles awkward unless my knees are very bent.

    2. avatar Gov. William J Le Petomane says:

      This is my philosophy as well. Most DGUs occur at very close range. You’re first objective may well be to protect your weapon while holding back your assailant. The Weaver, or a modified Weaver places you in a position to pull your weapon back while bracing yourself with your weak arm. Then, stick it his ribs and pull the trig ger. On the other hand, if you need to move your aim to the strong side, you should be comfortable switching to the isosceles as it’s much faster than shuffling your feet (and the inverse applies as well). And on the third hand, I think if you need to make a long range or very well aimed shot, I think the Weaver/modified Weaver is steadier.

    3. avatar Chiefton says:

      Spot on. 3 – 7 yards is the distance of most armed encounters. The last time I saw a boxer standing square to his opponent in a fight, he was quickly laying on his back.

  12. avatar ActionPhysicalMan says:

    The guy I shoot with every week does. I myself don’t really have a stance, I shoot from lots of stances and moving. In the Twin Cities area I have to pay $700 a year for a membership at a range that will let me do that.

    1. avatar Dante says:

      What range do you shoot at in the Twin Cities that allows you to practice that? I can’t find any that are willing to do anything other than statically shoot – slowly – at a paper target.

  13. avatar Gilbert says:

    Natural point of aim – definitely is not the Weaver stance

    1. avatar Clark Kent says:

      I feel the same about the isosceles stance. Put that in your pipe and smoke it.

  14. avatar Big E says:

    Why, oh why can’t some group of dirt-bags try to abuse Jerry on some lonely street?! How much fun would it be to watch him mow down 6 thugs in less than half a second?

    1. avatar Shallnot BeInfringed says:

      Naww, Jerry’s smart – he’d double-tap each of ’em, so that would require a reload… whew, this is gonna take a while! By the time he dropped all 6, it would take what – 1.3 seconds, maybe? 🙂

      1. avatar Jeep1967 says:

        Jerry would probably double tap center mass then finish with a headshot, and it would still probably take him less than 2 seconds 😛

  15. avatar Cknarf says:

    Isosceles feels best to me. I feel it helps me manage recoil more effectively. Nice and sturdy stance, that feels much more natural.

    1. avatar Clark Kent says:

      Sure; if you are female. Males are best served by the Weaver stance. There; I fixed it for you.

  16. avatar RockOnHellChild says:

    You use the same stance you would in fight… all good fighters just stand there right?

    Oh wait, no, you should be moving around in a fight… so just use whatever works for you in the moment. And hit the target, everything else is for show.

  17. avatar Chris Mallory says:

    Weaver or modified Weaver for me. I have damage to my left shoulder and isoceles does not work for me.

  18. avatar Shire-man says:

    I feel like I’m far removed from stances. For the last couple of decades it’s been all about movement, cover, malfunctions, reloads, striking and screaming communication.

    If I see a local-ish class pop up covering the fundies I’ll give it a go. Maybe crawling again will improve my running.

    1. avatar Clark Kent says:

      Can you hit anything?

  19. avatar Timothy says:

    Jerry Miculek also talks about the Weaver creating a sort of rainbow as you twist from side to side. His stance is geared to competitions rather than gunfighting. Some of it will cross over though. The Weaver stance will hinder your ability to see and aim at and move to intercept targets over your weak shoulder. Now, I know that Jerry’s targets on the range won’t act the same as threats in real life and a DGU will be different than a 3 gun comp.

    I am far more likely to shoot in a competition than in a DGU, so regardless of which stance is better for combat (looks like a bit of a disagreement there), I took Jerry’s advice. I don’t want to practice two different stances.

  20. avatar Anon in CT says:

    I find a modified (ok, sloppy) Weaver feels natural for quick, defensive-type shooting at short distances. For more deliberate, longer-range shooting, a carefully placed isosceles works better.

  21. avatar Shwiggie says:

    Weaver comes more naturally, and it took a lot of conscious effort to get myself to default into isosceles.

  22. avatar Timothy says:

    Jerry Miculek’s advice is geared towards competition shooters. He points out that transitioning from left to right using the Weaver creates a sort of rainbow in your natural point of aim. He also points out that when blading your body for the Weaver, you limit your ability to engage targets on your weak side.

    Now, a DGU is different than a competition, but some of that Jerry’s points will still translate. Regardless of what stance is “best” (hint: there’s a fair bit of disagreement), I’m far more likely to compete than fire my weapon defensively. So I took Jerry’s advice. I don’t want to learn multiple stances and try to keep them separate in my mind.

    1. avatar Clark Kent says:

      Hate to burst your bubble, but the Weaver stance was developed for self defense shooting, not competition. When Jerry puts on a uniform and deals with targets that shoot back I will listen to him about the correct shooting stance.

      1. avatar Joe says:

        Jerry didn’t have to suck off the sweet teats of the American tax payer…he’s actually got a marketable skill.

  23. avatar Tony HObart says:

    So who ever said that you should feel a particular way when shooting? I feel more comfortable this way or that way has no bearing on success.

    Brian Enos and Robbie Leatham crushed everybody trying to use the old dead weaver stance by a power. Jerry knows more about shooting then everybody on this thread combined and has no time for what does not work. He has also lived through all of this nonsense. Stance is the least important thing out of the 4 things that have to happen to shoot well. Trigger press is the most important, sight alignment is the next most important and grip can correct quite a few bad trigger press moments if applied correctly. Weaver blows out 2 of the 4 in grip and stance but more so on the stance side. Get over it, it is dead but shoot how you want just dont try to defend it.

  24. avatar Sam I Am says:

    Is all this concern over “stance” mostly about bullseye shooting, where you are more focused on the 10-ring, than rapidly hitting the vitals area? Seems there are so many shootings (defensive and otherwise) accomplished by “untrained”, free-wheeling, ad hoc shooters that are successful.

    1. avatar Militant Centrist says:

      You don’t have to be very good or very thoughtful about technique to land one shot out of 17 at contact range.

      1. avatar Sam I Am says:

        Is adopting or promoting some specific stance the critical factor in winning a gunfight? When my friends invite me to the range, I generally stand however feels comfortable with whatever gun we are using. No one has mentioned I use, or do not use, a specific “stance”. Is this another complication to be overcome in getting to becoming an armed citizen?

  25. avatar MarkPA says:

    I agree with the OP. After attending a reputable training program I was excoriated by the instructor for thoroughly fouling up the Weaver stance. (This, notwithstanding, I scored 2’nd best in the qualification and no nicks for safety infractions.) Thoroughly soured me on both Weaver and this instructor.

    More generally, we PotG ought to thoroughly critique the techniques we are being taught by our instructors – and, especially, the BEST of our instructors. How is the state-of-the-art in self-defense training to advance if our instructors – especially our best – are IMMUNE from critique?

    There are lots of sub-communities among PotG. Cops. Amateur competitors. Operators in battlefields who EXPECT to be in gunfights. Oh, yes; almost forgot. There is the ordinary Jack/Jill who has a 1/10 chance of using a gun for self-defense once-in-a-lifetime.

    If our 2A is to survive it will not be by the ballot-box votes of all the “top-guns” in the PotG community. If it survives it will be on the votes of the ordinary Jack/Jill who carries for self-defense notwithstanding that s/he has a very low probability of ever needing to draw a gun in anger. Do we care about culturing this demographic? Our answer has an important impact on our success in growing the gun-rights community of voters.

    In such courses as – for example – NRA’s Personal Protection Outside the Home – we ought to concentrate on those FEW things that a student will take-away from the class, retain, and be able to exploit 10 years later should the occasion arise. And, do so successfully, withOUT much (if any) practice in the intervening years. That first course might be the ONLY course that student ever takes. If s/he practices at all, whatever it is that s/he practices ought to be the few things that would likely be most important in 10 years.

    Certainly we should encourage the new student to take the 2’nd and possibly 3’rd course in a series. Some will; most won’t.

    The more experienced you – gentle reader – are the more appalled you may be at my viewpoint. Tom, Dick and Mary have 10, 100, and 1000 hours of training respectively. Dick tells Tom that he isn’t qualified to carry a gun until he has another 90 hours of expensive training. Mary tells Dick he needs another 900 hours.

    At the same time, Mary insists that she is 100% committed to Con-Carry. PotG, we don’t have our story straight.

    Do the Anti’s have a point? Do civilians carrying guns need to be trained and qualified to some minimal standard before they can be trusted to carry responsibly in public? What might that minimal standard be? 10/100/1000 hours? Does it include perfecting the Weaver stance? Thumb-placement for both revolver and semi-auto for 2-handed shooting? Left as well as right-handed shooting?

    Logically, I “get” the arguments for Con-Carry. Politically, if we are to persuade voters to advance the Right-to-Bear-Arms we had better re-evaluate our stance on the minimal training/testing/qualification requirement to carry responsibly. The Anti’s can logically argue that the Con-Carry advocate believes that ZERO training will suffice. (I’m not here to debate this point; but, it’s an aspect of the political battlefield.)

    Simultaneously, we need to be sure that our curriculum concentrates – FIRST – on those things an AMATEUR can implement to save her life without much (if any) practice. LAST on the list should be anything of debate-able value which requires diligent training and regular practice if it is to be used effectively.

  26. avatar Specialist38 says:

    I do. I bring the pistol up to my eye level and weaver is most natural – Ok modified weaver – not locked but not bent as much as Col Cooper.

    If I go isosceles, The gun is in front of my nose, not my right eye. This makes me “turtle-in” with my head down and canted slightly to address the sights.

    I also practice one-handed both dominate and weak side.

    Does my stance change depending on what I’m shooting and how I’m moving? Yep.

    But the weaver is where I start.

  27. avatar John Boch says:

    Is Anyone Still Using the Weaver Stance?

    Apparently a few people. I see it once in a blue moon in my students (usually the older ones) and on rare occasion one of them can shoot with it. In which case, I tell them to keep doing what they are doing.

    I don’t teach it to newbies because the Isosceles position complements what the body naturally does in a body alarm situation. Yes, as an earlier contributor noted, Weaver works nicely to complement what you do after you’ve had a bunch of training in Martial arts. However, that describes about what? Maybe .01% of the US population?


    PS: If I “post up”, I shoot in Isosceles. If I’m moving, it may be Chapman, Weaver or Isosceles or some permutation thereof. It doesn’t matter so long as I’m placing hits on target.

  28. avatar Jonathan - Houston says:

    Meh. Weaver works great for me. Besides, I’m always exceptionally skeptical of anyone who comes along claiming that everything we’ve ever known is wrong.

    To be sure, there are genuine examples of that and progress always entails destroying, or at least modifying, what’s come before it. Still, there are innumerable false prophets out there across every field of human endeavor. Many times the new “discovery” serves only to make obsolete their previous product so they can make a new sale.

    If a new or retread idea sounds plausible and isn’t too costly to test out, then go for it. If it works for you, cool. Just don’t worry too much that everything you know or have been doing is automatically worthless just because someone breathlessly declares it so.

  29. avatar Tom of Toms says:

    Grip > Stance

  30. avatar Ralph says:

    It’s stupid to debate which stance is better.

    Let’s have a smart conversation instead — like which is the best caliber. That’s always a winner.

    And while you’re at it, try shooting your rifle from an isosceles stance instead of a bladed stance. Go ahead. I’ll wait.

  31. avatar C.S. says:

    I’m going to stir things up.

    Isosceles makes the most sense when using traditional sights for sight picture. However it can’t really be a good idea to hold a weapon as far away from your body as possible, there’s simply no good biomechanics. With advances in optics, I think holding the gun close to the body makes much more sense

    So, bring back Central Axis Relock? Maybe Paul Castle was a genius after all, or perhaps he was just cross eye dominant.

  32. avatar Richard Steven Hack says:

    This “organs lined up” only counts if you get hit. Armor or no armor, the first rule is “Don’t get hit.” That’s why cops tend to draw their guns early to cover a suspicious person – they don’t want to lose the initiator’s advantage.

    The rule is: Shoot first. Get your retaliation in first. Cheat.

    Criticism of the Weaver on grounds of negative effects on aiming might be on point. But it’s also true that a lot of bad people have been killed by shooters using a Weaver stance done corrctly OR “loosely”.

    Everyone wants to “play the odds” on bullet capacity. But how many times are you going to go up against a bad guy who actually has a fraction of the training you’ve had? And then again, a recent study shows cops get killed by bad guys who simply know how to shoot straight within 15 feet, without any significant training. So who cares if your Weaver is “sloppy”?

    This isn’t to say that you shouldn’t try to get a stance right. Nothing wrong with trying to a certain degree. It’s obsessing over it that’s incorrect. Under stress you’re highly unlikely to assume the correct position. Look at any martial arts competition. Do those techniques actually used look CORRECT? Almost never.

    Some martial arts teachers are very strict on stance. Others, not so much. Spending your time worrying about every fraction of an inch or slightly less tense specific muscle in learning a stance is counterproductive. Everyone’s body is different. The only thing a stance does is enable certain specific effects. As long as those effects are more or less present in how you do the stance, the niggly details don’t matter and are highly unlikely to affect the outcome of a confrontation compared to many other more important conflict principles.

  33. avatar syzito says:

    In a “real” life and death situation when you only have seconds to respond and your antagonist is only a few feet away stance will not matter.Where your feet are will not cross your mind and neither will the way you shoot.You don’t have time for that and live. In over 70% of the time you will point and shoot one handed and you will never see your sights,again you will not have the time and live. Stance and how you hold your weapon is for target practice not real life.

  34. avatar Boba Fett says:

    My dad taught me the Weaver stance, which I used up until I was 30. I was deployed at the time, and made an impromptu trip to the range with two SF guys that had been attached to my unit. Apparently those guys can just go shooting whenever the hell they feel like it, with no PPE, save for ear plugs. Anyway, they did not like my Weaver stance. They taught me isosceles, which I adopted basically because I was a black beret Fobbit, and who was I to turn down tactical advice from two SF guys?

    I’ve been using it ever since, but I’ve never been 100% comfortable with isosceles. To this day, it still feels a little weird.

    1. avatar Clark Kent says:

      Trust the force, grasshopper. The Weaver is calling you back……

  35. avatar Joe R. says:

    I was taught to use the Weaver in the military. I think it works-ish. Yes, you can get the shakes if you hold on target too long (even if holding lightly enough as prescribed), but you will learn to break the shot when you have it.

    I defer to the shooting wizards mentioned, and to each his or her own.

  36. avatar TRUBRIT says:

    I was taught it in the 80’s when shooting IPSC, before the race guns and ‘competition’ loads. We all shot .45s and this helped control recoil double tapping and transitioning on multiple targets. Funny how the Weaver stance transitioned from the Isosceles stance as it was deemed to be too square and not good for controlling recoil in large caliber pistols. I was also doing Karate at the time so understood the fist, wrist and arm angles and the use of the right leg if you are right handed. Absorbing shock and the laws of physics, equal and opposite reaction etc etc.
    When shooting the Weaver correctly the wrist is in line with the arm and the shock travels freely back and down. With the Isosceles grip the wrist does not align. With a 9mm being easier to shoot than a .45 or 10mm, not a problem. Experienced shooters as mentioned above can pick up anything and can control the pistol and be accurate. The Weaver is not for all, and yes the back foot is only slightly to the rear. As in a Karate stance this allows you to pivot and turn in all directions quickly and efficiently, including moving off the X. The current favored stance is a modified Isosceles as the original had both feet in line side to side and spread out more than shoulder width apart.
    For me and my body type, the Weaver is comfortable and I get the hits with my Kimber 1911 in 10mm. Most important with any stance is that you turn and transition on targets using your hips not your shoulders. The power comes from the hips.
    Just my 2cents.

    1. avatar kenneth says:

      Your two cents is more like a pound. I’d say you are dead on target. fire at will…
      (Also a martial artist. 30+years. I also understand body mechanics. I used to shoot isosceles until attending Gunsite Raven when it was still called that. As soon as I was shown the weaver my shooting got much faster. Not more accurate, just quicker.)

  37. avatar Nanashi says:

    Honestly, I feel Jerry Miculek’s instructional videos on his own channel are pretty bad. The ones with him on the NSSF channel are great, but the ones on his own channel are prone to showing off over instruction and are fairly hard to follow (and would be even worse for a novice).

  38. avatar Herehere says:

    This is beyond stupid tacticoolsness. Shoot what feels natural to you, whether it is a fashion someone has arbitrarily named or not. Oh boy oh boy what did people do before they had “instructors” to teach them everything? Also, if you have to abruptly draw on someone, you won’t have the time to assume any particular stance, or even time to worry about it.

  39. avatar Al Booth says:

    The only stance I used. Trained in in starting in 1981 as an LEO, then trained under Chuck Taylor and John Farnam. Never saw the need to change. The guns I use have changed (sometimes), but not the stance.

  40. avatar Dcj says:

    Guilty as charged but watching Miculek

  41. avatar Oliver says:

    Offhand! Its called a handgun, not a hands-gun?

  42. avatar The Armed Cleric says:

    No! I don’t even teach it. I briefly talk about it on my slideshow presentation but in the range I don’t use it. Most of my students find it uncomfortable and I think is not practical in a life or death situation.

    1. avatar Clark Kent says:

      Then you must not care about your students. Your ignorance may be bliss but theirs could be lethal. Where did you get your teaching credentials; Sears & Roebuck?

  43. avatar Kaban says:

    We had “Combat Masters” from Taylor’s and Front Sight get their asses handed to them by first time attendees, school teachers, doctors, and students who understood what we were teaching….

    Ah, Real Karate. A deadly system, that enables newbies to beat the hell out of seasoned gym rats with hundreds of ring bouts. Thick, familiar, undying stench of Systema bullshit 🙂

    (I know, I know, everyone have to keep an open mind; and me’s by no means expert in defensive pistolcraft. However, the whole tactical scene is so identical to martial art community with its blobs sticking to gurus of either art of marketing…)

    Now, regarding bladed vs front shooting stance. A person, being target, stands (preferrably moves) swept by cone of probable bullet trajectories. Laws of probability guarantee that most bullets will fly close to the axis of the cone. Gaussian hat, all that stuff that dumbasses like me forget and thus fail to build a career at Top500 IT company.

    So Bob stands in front/Isosceles. His centerline is highly probable to catch most possible hits, while his flanks absorb some more. Bob’s centerline is spine, certain arteries and heart. Centerline hit = grave injury or death. But rest of target he presents is liver, etc., and while some Tier 0 guys in Wiley X shades and latest tac pants may shrug the hits off, Bob, having no SEAL experience, has little hope. Any hit will distract him with impact and severe pain, and following bullets makes his survival even more problematic.

    Jack adopts bladed stance and swept with same cone of trajectories. He presents virtually same centerline targets and will, being shot in heart, spine etc., succumb just the same. But that smaller portion of possible bullets that’ll graze or hit Bob’s flanks will miss Jack.

    Now, me might discuss other aspects. E.g. Bob and Jack sport similar body armors with good front plating and poor side portection. Or Bob, by virtue of some inherent qualities of isosceles, is faster on gun and thus there is much less chance he will be shot upon, nullifiying any statistical disadvantage. Or maybe – even better – Bob can move faster, and shoot more accurately on the move than Jack.

    But the whole “presents organs” argument should be carefully laid out, and proven by reputable survival statistics if available. From probability standpoint, turning square to opposing party just gives them same vital targets – head, throat, spine, heart, arteries, plus some more space of your body that, when hit, will hinder you.

  44. Yeah. Everyone in Hollywood

  45. avatar David says:

    For years and years and years – but I find it less necessary the weaker the cartridge. A 9mm or .38 Special? Isosceles is no problem. A full house .357 mag, .45ACP, or even stronger? The Weaver is going to control that muzzle much better and reduce dwell time – for most shooters at least.

    As for what you revert to? Your training is what I’ve found. That was in my younger days. Now that I’m older, weaker, slower, and fire lesser cartridges more friendly to the joints, I find the Isosceles more comfortable. Not to say the Isosceles is a lesser stance, it just works better under different situations.

    1. I see as much if not more muzzle rise with Weaver grip and stance compared to an isosceles. As a matter of fact, I hear many people defend the Weaver stance for harder recoiling guns just because of the ability to “give” with the recoil.
      Catch my video rapidly shooting a 12 gauge square to the target and not having to drop step. The gun has me rocking on uneven ground as the weight shifts back and forth from heels to toes yet I keep it all within the length of my size twelves.

  46. avatar Hank says:

    I don’t practice a stance. I draw and shoot as fast and accurate as I can, one or two handed, strong or weak hand. Stances are for target shooting or hunting.

  47. avatar tsbhoa.p.jr says:

    only when i’m using the squatty potty.

    1. avatar greg says:

      I use isosceles when I poop.

  48. avatar fteter says:

    Geez, I think I’ve tried every freaking stance in the book…and a few besides. But I always keep coming back to what one instructor calls a “Power Isosceles”…classic Isosceles, but with the strong foot draw back a little. Had no idea that it had a name…I was just doing what felt best to me. But the name sounds tacticool, don’t you think? So let’s go with that.

    I tried the Weaver. Lord knows I tried. And tried. And tried. All the TV cops shoot Weaver, so how can it not be the best option? I found it to be incredibly uncomfortable and couldn’t hit squat with it. I admire the folks that can pull it off, but it’s not for me.

    As for one-handed shooting, I’ve had good results with a Power Point Stance. Learned about it from an instructor and I’ve grown into it. Must be something about the word “Power” in the stance name that clicks with me 🙂

  49. avatar Bleep bloop says:

    My girlfriend’s dad does it and it make me cringe to watch. He was a sheriff on the Cape for almost 20 years so I think that was how he got trained back in the day.

  50. avatar Tony says:

    I personally prefer the modified Isosceles or Weaver; some call it a fighting, boxer or tactical stance because it feels more natural to me.

  51. avatar Old Region Fan says:

    Wow I feel dumber for spending the time I did thinking about this ! What’s next, The proper shoe strings and how they are laced will aid in side to side movement during stress by causing less friction and movement inside the shoe ?
    The point is to move ! a lot and often Practice moving……often

  52. avatar Malcolm says:

    I use whichever stance gives less possibility of recognition by the surveillance cameras…

      1. avatar Malcolm says:

        You can’t troll me man, I have Tinfoil…

        PS : Sorry to hear about your speech impediment

  53. avatar OrangeIsTheNewBlack says:

    Put yourself behind cover and engage a target that is perpendicular to the vertical edge of the barricade–you’re probably shooting isosceles.

    Transition to a target that is 45 degrees to the vertical edge of the barricade–you’re probably shooting Weaver.

    Sure, you could mix up your positioning to maintain one stance or the other if it were IDPA, but real world covers will not always be that accommodating.

    Point being–if better tactical shooting is your end goal, focusing on “the correct” stance is inherently limiting

  54. avatar Chiefton says:

    I learned the Weaver stance when I first became a police officer (pre vest era). The entire idea of the stance was to protect your sidearm while speaking and approaching individuals. Awareness was always stressed about this. Too many times I have seen videos of officers square to their “suspects” or not being aware of where their sidearm was in relation to the “suspect” and then either getting into a wrestling match over the exposed sidearm or in worse case scenarios being shot with their own gun or even losing their lives. Jerry is the greatest shooter I have ever seen. He has been blessed with an incredible talent and has shot maybe 2 – 3 million rounds while enhancing his skills. Most of us do not have that luxury. Most shootings take place within 3 to 7 yards. You are in close combat. Through very rehearsed training, a person can hold off an assault with their off hand and draw from a Weaver stance a fire from the hip while protecting yourself and your firearm. This is not true from the Squared up position. I could go on and on about the benefits of both of these shooting styles and the reasons one is better than the other but I do not shoot competition and train for self defense. I train both ways. The majority of my training is for self defense though and I will use the Weaver for that.

  55. avatar Marc says:

    I believe that I use a version of the Weaver stance. No one taught it to me it just seems natural for me and how I look down the sights (again no training), or at least that is how I saw it being done over the years. My dad showed me how to shoot one handed standing sideways, but that was not to my liking, not sure if he learned it in the military or on his own.
    I was thinking that it does not matter how someone stands as long as it accomplishes the task you need it to, and I don’t think One stance fits All Circumstances, people should probably be flexible.
    But as Mr. Paulsen, he is not operator and indeed most everyone in the world are not, so if you practice one stance often enough you will probably become proficient at it. Other than some competition rule or something, does it really matter?
    That said, Paulsen did mention a point that, for me, makes me rethink how to stand:
    “A hit to a bladed torso is more likely to cause a fight-stopping injury against you than a single hit to a full frontal chest, simply because more organs are lined up for the round to strike”
    Given that idea, I think I will, in general, practice other stances.

  56. avatar Asdf says:

    I shoot weaver, as the isoc triangle feels like being a hunched over caveman.

  57. avatar Mikial says:

    People can dis Gabe Suarez all they want, but the guy is a gun fighter not a competition instructor. The stuff he teaches makes sense. Yeah, I’ve read all the blurb about his supposed disgrace because he taught a pistol class while on disability from his PD for an injury. Big deal.

    He teaches what makes sense. I did DoD security contracts in Iraq for 2 1/2 years, and after that trips to lots of other garden spots around the world. If you stand still in a rigid stance, you die. Simple as that. Learn the basic stances so that you can become comfortable with shooting from a variety of positions, and then modify them to allow you to shoot while in motion so that if you are suddenly stuck in a situation where you are at short range with nothing but a handgun, you can be the one who walks always form the encounter while the other guy is motionless on the ground.

  58. avatar RetroG says:

    If you want to move, an isosceles or what is known in martial arts as a horse stance, is not what you want to start in, as it is way too slow to move out of. It also isn’t stable to forces coming from the front, unless you take a step back. A Weaver or “boxer’s stance” (what is known as a front stance, sort of, in martial arts) is the best for movement and good for resisting forces from both front and sides. These are observations and personal experience from 20+ years of martial arts. Competition is always different from the reality on the streets.

    1. avatar Kaban says:

      There is just one wee problem – when it comes to mobility, martial artist and shooter might have different goals. In fact they may have orthogonal goals.

      Pugilists cultivate legwork, because it enables, among other things, to quickly close or break the distance. It is fundamentally important capability, because your weapons are relatively short objects attached to your body (no, not that object). All those kiba-dachis (training stances, btw, with almost nonexistent tactical application) fail to provide user with ability to bring your weapons to opponent, and to avoid opponent’s weapon. In addition to exposing that object.

      But pistol fight is a place where no one cares if you are 2 or 4 meters away. Damn hard to jump out of bullet’s range. It is lateral movement that provides better chance to avoid getting shot. Moving sideways (preferrably to some cover) quickly is next best thing (to being behind cover already), and there is absolutely no reason to postulate that Isosceles is inherently inferiour to Weaver in terms of mobility.

  59. Seems to me that 90% of the comments in favor of the Weaver stance point to the position of the feet.
    I like to call it the Weaver grip because I don’t give a flying fuck where the feet are. You should be proficient in shooting while on your ass. The thing that sets the Weaver apart from the Icosoles is arm position more than feet position.
    I think people that prefer Weaver are more comfortable with it because it feels like a rifle position.
    I prefer the Icosoles grip (stance be damned) for better control of the handgun. Both hands and arms work together rather than the push, pull of the Weaver.

  60. avatar Dayne says:

    I friend of mine who is a firearms instructor, told my wife as long as she could shoot safely and consistently she could use any stance she wanted to. But at the end of the day if she wasn’t using isosceles, she was doing it wrong. This was echoed later by a fellow a the range who admitted that weaver might be more accurate for target shooting but was a poor choice for personal defense.

    Grass or astroturf, revolvers or semi’s, people have differences of opinions – sometimes VEHEMENT differences. I just believe that shooting is about form rather than science. I understand that isosceles gives one better peripheral view, but in all cases that isn’t necessarily a bonus. You can express an opinion, and make logical arguments, but, to borrow from my friend, at the end of the day, any of it can be wrong.

    Me, I practice both isosceles and weaver, but it just seems like weaver is more natural, and I do shoot more accurately this way. Weaver is not obsolete, nor is it without purpose. Though I have no data to support it, my belief is that law enforcement is more likely to use weaver when the bad guy isn’t in plain view, i.e. clearing a room. I think many of us probably don’t embrace the push-pull aspect of the weaver grip. I don’t seem to, and I don’t recognize it affecting my accuracy – that said, I don’t shoot anything bigger than 9mm, so push-pull might be mandatory if firing, say, .45 or 10mm.

    So it could be argued that the stance used might be dependent on why you have a firearm. If it is for personal defense, then yeah, maybe one should practice practice practice the isosceles. But if you’re just putting holes in paper, use what you want. But whatever is finally chosen, the value of the choice is in being able to duplicate accurate results. For even if you’re just a plinker, you never know when that tin can will be a bad guy.

    But I’m just a guy with an opinion!

  61. avatar AFGus says:

    My philosophy is you should shoot the stance that feels most natural and allows you to be the most accurate. No matter how many times I’ve tried practicing the Weaver stance, I am never as accurate as when I use the Isosceles. It also feels more natural for “me” to have my strong side foot slightly in front of the weak side foot. As far as how much of your body is being presented, I believe it’s more important to practice getting off the X than which stance presents a smaller target.

    In short, practice different stances, then primarily go with what works best for “you”. All situations are going to be different, so you should be familiar with different techniques, but once again, your primary personal training should be what is best for “you”. Also, many people (myself included) have been involved in accidents in the past that resulted in severely broken bones, especially in areas such as the wrist, elbow, etc. which once healed do not allow movement quite the way you had prior to the injury. That can make certain stances uncomfortable, and for me personally is the reason that I have trouble with the Weaver stance.

  62. avatar Russ H says:

    Specifying stances that MUST be done a particular way is ridiculous. For 90% of shooters being balanced, comfortable and safe is all I teach – if they can hit the target that is their stance. Tactical shooters are different – their upper body should be square with the target along with being able to move in all directions (along with being balanced, comfortable and safe). KISS.

    1. avatar AFGus says:

      Well stated Russ!

  63. avatar Jon Wilder says:

    Screw isosceles. Seriously…nothing looks more amateur than that stance. Plus it makes you look like you’re afraid of your gun.

    I’m sure lots of you will say “Who cares how you look in a gun fight?”. Trust me when I say…attackers can tell if you really know what you’re doing with a gun just by the stance you use, and isosceles speaks to high heavens that you are inexperienced with and afraid of your gun and thus are no match for them.

    I’m not sure when instructors started pushing that stance on new shooters, but it’s seriously a bad habit.

    Jack Weaver knew what he was doing. That stance worked. He dominated the southern California pistol matches that were the forerunner to IPSC using that self-discovered stance. It’s worked all these years and it bears the appearance of strength and experience. Why are we getting away from it?

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