Question of the Day: Pistol Shooting Stance. Weaver or Isosceles?

Over at, NRA Training Counselor Program Coordinator Andy Lander takes on one of the great debates of our time: Weaver or Isosceles? Do you shoot your pistol standing in a boxer’s stance (Weaver) or square onto the target like a tank (Isosceles? FWIW, I say . . .

when you or other innocent life face an imminent, credible threat of grievous bodily harm or death, you should be moving, not standing. Which makes one-handed shooting way more important than your two-handed stationary stance.

That said, if you have time and room to stand still and you need as much accuracy as possible — which you always do — you should adopt a stance that enables your greatest accuracy. Whatever stance that may be.

Mr. Lander takes that a step further, suggesting that shooters should master or least familiarize themselves with both stances.

As Americans we are fortunate to have the ability to learn a wide variety of techniques with the best firearms instructors this world has ever seen. I personally challenge readers to pursue learning alternative shooting techniques, as it will only enhance your abilities and understanding of defensive shooting in general.

Yeah, no. Train as you mean to fight. Pick a stance. So what’s it gonna be: Weaver, modified Weaver or Isosceles?


  1. avatar Madcapp says:

    There’s far too much “my way is the right way, there is no other way to do it, and every other way is completely wrong and is going to get you killed” BS surrounding this topic. Same thing as the narrow minded idiots that preach that striker fired is the only way to go.

    1. avatar Hank says:

      Yeah. Kinda like caliber wars.

  2. avatar ActionPhysicalMan says:

    Which ever I feel like. I mix them together too.

    1. avatar Zeke says:

      I just figured out how to gain favor with the leftists!!

      Declare that we “identify as trans-stancered!”


      1. avatar BLoving says:

        Support multicaliberism.

        1. avatar Peter says:

          Why do I need more guns? Caliber intersectionality!

        2. avatar anaxis says:

          Grokked & mnemorized.

      2. avatar TooMuch says:

        Does bi-handed sound more politically correct than ambidextrous?
        (It is definitely a setup line for a “master-baiter” joke… [old fishing joke])

      3. avatar adverse4 says:

        Yeah, but which bathroom?

  3. avatar Swarf says:


    1. avatar Snatchums says:

      That sounds like a sex position.

      1. avatar Weskyvet says:

        I think I did that on my honeymoon…

        1. avatar Creepy Hotel Owner says:

          Let me check the video… yep, you did, twice.

        2. avatar Weskyvet says:

          While you have the file open can I get another copy of the Blu Ray?

        3. avatar Mr Bad News says:

          And then you never got to do the Isosobeaver again….

        4. avatar Weskyvet says:

          Ahh you’re married too I see!!! I swear it’s a freakin trap. At first it’s all Isosobeaver and packing your lunch for you then once they got you it’s all No means NO and packing your own lunch. Women… I’m beginning to really see why Al Bundy was always so miserable.

  4. avatar 52ratcheteer says:

    I shoot competition bulls eye matches one-handed both left and right. Not sure what all the fuss is over these two-handed stances. The answer is to shoot with one hand and practice.

    1. avatar Wiregrass says:

      I know what your mean. Once you shoot bullseye for any length of time, two handed just doesn’t feel natural at all. But when I shoot two handed, I favor the Chapman Stance.

  5. avatar tiger says:

    Sigh…. Now back to the Coke vs. Pepsi and Ginger vs. Mary Ann question game. Sigh, Weaver………

    1. avatar Anon in CT says:

      Han Solo vs Indiana Jones

      1. avatar TX_Lawyer says:

        Trick question. Same character, different setting and name.

        1. avatar Don says:

          don’t forget “Deckard”

        2. avatar Snatchums says:

          I want to watch Star Wars with all of Han’s scenes dubbed in with the Indiana Jones theme now.

      2. avatar KBonLI says:

        It’s really Star Trek or Star Wars

        1. avatar TX_Lawyer says:

          I’m pretty sure it’s do or do not.

    2. avatar Jeff O. says:

      Dr. Pepper

      Mary Ann.

      …don’t care. 😉

    3. avatar Curtis in IL says:

      Mary Ann, hands down.
      Like that’s even a question.

      1. avatar Jeff O. says:

        Right?! How is Ginger vs Mary Ann even a debate?

        Although, one has to think Ginger is fairly resourceful, I mean she’s trapped on a desert island and can still pull off the completely put together look.

        Come to think of it, why could the Prof. build a radio, but couldn’t fix a hole in a boat? …If I was stuck on a island with the both of them…

        1. avatar Weskyvet says:

          Stuck on an island with Ginger and Mary Anne I don’t think I’d worry about the boat too much. Why not both Mary Anne AND Ginger, Coke AND Pepsi, Glock AND 1911, 9mm AND .45 ACP? This either or crap sucks!

        2. avatar Snatchums says:


    4. avatar BLoving says:

      Mrs.Howell just gets no respect…
      Oh, and Dr.Pepper and Crown – highball glass with three cubes of ice.

      1. avatar Jeff O. says:

        Well, there was Mr. Howell to contend with…and let’s be honest, none of us want to compete with that guy. If I recall he owned diamond mines, oil wells and all of downtown Denver.

  6. avatar little horn says:

    this again?
    you shouldn’t have a “stance” because that means you are a stationary target. therefore, stances do not matter. if you are shooting on the move, what stance is that? if you fall down and draw, what stance is that?
    the wise choice is to train to fire the gun in the exact same way no matter you position.

    1. avatar Tile Floor says:

      Couple things.

      People get too wrapped around the axle about the phrase “shooting stance.” A stance, such as Isosceles or weaver, is the base from which you adapt to different situations. For example, I can shoot on the move from the Isosceles stance. Instead of having my feet planted, they walk, but my upper body retains the same basic appearance. On my back on the ground? I still shoot with my arms and grip the isosceles way.

      Also,I would much rather be stationary shooting from cover with a smaller portion of my body exposed than shooting on the move. If I have to shoot on the way to cover I will shoot while moving, but it makes more sense to have something between you and the target than not. Ive just seen some comments already saying how they would never stand still during a gunfight, if you have a good position of cover and can fire more accurately than while moving it doesn’t make a whole lot of sense to leave it.

      Also, Isosceles seems to be better for those that wear body armor than the weaver.

  7. avatar TX_Lawyer says:

    They are both difficult when you’re drunk and naked.

    But on a more serious note, “you should be moving, not standing.” I find it is difficult to hit a moving target while moving. When shooting rabbits, I stop when they stop. When I stop, I shoot. Therefore, I think move, stop, shoot is probably the best way to hit your target while avoiding being shot. Admittedly, this is theoretical as rabbits don’t shoot back.

    God willing, I’ll never have to test any self-defense theories/opinions.

    1. avatar Joe R. says:

      “They are both difficult when you’re drunk and naked.”

      Not sure about the nekid, but drunk, ok.

      However, both will be facilitated by a shoulder holster.

      1. avatar Markarov says:

        Maybe for you, but I end up chasing the holster around like a dog chasing his tail when I’m drunk.
        When I’m nekkid, it chafes…

      2. avatar TX_Lawyer says:

        “However, both will be facilitated by a shoulder holster.”

        Joe, that’s the funniest thing I’ve seen all day.

      3. avatar TX_Lawyer says:

        Oh, yeah. I forgot to mention it’s not a drunk or naked situation; it’s an and situation.

    2. avatar Swarf says:

      I see what you did there…

      1. avatar TX_Lawyer says:

        Just as long as one person appreciates a joke, I’m happy. You appreciating it in addition to me is just icing on the cake.

  8. avatar TruthTellers says:

    Weaver. I just don’t like fully extending both arms in the triangle position.

  9. avatar Defens says:

    A “stance” is great for shooting straight ahead on a square range. ANY stance quickly falls apart once you start engaging targets to the side or even rear. Try this, with an unloaded gun or replica, choose your preferred stance and aim straight ahead.

    Now, turn your torso to the left, maintaining your stance as long as you can. At some point, your right arm will bend and your left elbow will drop. You’re in a bastardized Weaver, no matter where you started from. Now, do the same thing to the right – now you’re in a “reverse Weaver.”

    Stance is irrelevant – read Brian Enos, and learn to “float the gun.”

    1. avatar TruthTellers says:

      Based on the question asked, I prefer Weaver, but I agree with you. In a fight, you will not have a stance, you’ll have what I call a position. Best training one can take is just learn how to put the sights on target, not try to death choke the grip, and squeeze the trigger, not finger bang it like it’s their girlfriend.

  10. avatar Don says:

    They both suck really…. Center Axis Relock more or less is more natural, gives you better control and a better defensive posture. IMHO

    1. avatar Luke Yarasheski says:


      1. avatar Tile Floor says:

        A gimmick.

        1. avatar Don says:

          Not a gimmick at all, a very logical system for self defense or close quarters engagements. Don’t knock it until you’ve tried it. Not for competition or typical paper punching, but if you’re serious about being prepared for bad guys, I think you’ll like it.

    2. avatar Ken says:

      CAR?? Oh, puuulleeze!

      1. avatar Don says:

        Well there’s an intelligent retort…. now, do you have something to say positive or negative about the CAR method of gun handling?

        1. avatar Hinshelworld says:

          CAR is largely a gimmick, popularized recently by John Wick. There is a reason that no legitimate high speed military or tactical unit uses it… Seriously.

          The absolute only situation where it MAY be superior to conventional weapons manipulation techniques is the off chance that you are moving through an extremely dense crowd with a pistol.

          There are so many flaws with CAR that it’s honestly not worth the time to type out.

  11. avatar SteveO says:

    OK, for a new topic that has never, I say, NEVER been discussed and dissected before:

    9mm or .45?


    1. avatar Ralph says:

      .45-70 or .454 Casull?

  12. avatar Jonathan-Houston says:

    I self-identify as a modified Weaver stance shooter.

    Now, I don’t know exactly which bathroom that assigns me to–it’s too hard too keep up with all the latest political plumbing permutations–but it’ll have to be something that accommodates discharging while standing.

  13. avatar Sledgecrowbar says:

    I started with Weaver because it was the accepted standard at the time, but after watching Jerry Miculek explain why he shoots Isosceles, I tried it and have taken to it. Jerry said that you want your muscles to be as relaxed as possible, which I also learned way back on my high school’s rifle team, where we shot olympic-style, which goes to great lengths to make sure even your non-dominant eyelid isn’t flexed (you tape over that lens of your shooting glasses to get used to it). Shooting Isosceles has taken some getting used to, but my upper body is less stressed and my shooting has improved, I think because I can focus more on the muscles in my hands. This is not advice for everyone, I still have plenty of learning to go and this is just my experience.

    All this is good practice but in a defensive shooting situation the most important thing is making the right decision, not how well you can shoot. It is unlikely that you will have to make a trick shot in a defensive situation, as long as you can line up your sights and the outline of your threat, that covers the mechanical aspect. Whether to shoot or not is the real burden, and it’s a monster.

  14. avatar mustrum says:

    I am old enough that I was trained to pistol shoot in the 50s so I still shoot in the old dueling stance weak hand on hip body bladed to the target and strong hand extended… for me it is accurate and fast and lets me have more freedom of movement. This freedom as well as the ease of point shooting if necessary has with practice won me many belt buckles in SASS completion which for me is perfect practice as I call a Ruger Vaquaro in .45 colt as my carry gun in a shoulder holster…. as I put upwards of 3,000 rounds a year through my SAA and its clones I am very comfortable with them. I use the ruler as my carry gun as it has a modern transfer bar action which allows all 6 chambers to be filled.

  15. avatar Gman says:

    Years ago I watched one of the best U-Tube videos on learning how to shoot accurately. For once I completely agreed with everything the poster said. Stance doesn’t matter, breathing doesn’t matter, grip doesn’t matter. Being able to get off an accurate shot is all about site picture and trigger pull. Which stance you use or if you lean forward or not will not affect the accuracy of your shot. Yes, it may affect your ability to get more shots on target faster, but that first good shot does not require all that other crap so many “experts” say is vital. So I learned to just be comfortable and not worry so much about stance. Gee, my groupings got better really fast.

    1. avatar Jonathan - Houston says:

      Well, duh. Only that advice completely ignores the fact that those other variables impact sight picture and trigger pull.

      It’s almost like claiming flying is 100% safe, but only by expediently setting aside crashing as an entirely unrelated event.

  16. avatar DrewR says:

    Years of hand to hand training has me naturally default to a fighting stance or modified weaver. I shoot well, so I see no reason to fight my other training. It is also easier for me to move from a weaver style stance.

    That’s just me, though, shoot however you want.

    1. avatar Sprocket says:


      Every time some internet monkey says Weaver doesn’t facilitate movement I have to wonder if they’ve let the boxers know they’ve been doing it wrong all this time.

    2. avatar adverse4 says:

      Years of hand to hand training and I know hundreds of ways to get my ass kicked.

  17. avatar Icabod says:

    Knew a police office that investigated police involved shootings. He remarked that the officer, no matter their training, always shot one handed.

    1. avatar Curtis in IL says:

      The other hand was holding his phone. He was calling his union rep.

  18. avatar Luke Yarasheski says:

    I prefer the weaver stance when not moving. I just feel more comfortable (as a former boxer) with my feet like that. Plus for me it makes it much easier to absorb recoil. Or at least in my head it does. I wonder how much of this is psychological rather than physiological

    1. avatar KBonLI says:

      I think you have something there.Just like in golf overthinking makes for a worse golfer.

  19. avatar adverse4 says:

    I practice shooting over my shoulder while running.

  20. avatar RockOnHellChild says:

    Stance matters a great deal when doing heavy squats or taking a shit in the woods, shooting a gun, not so much…

    Learn to shoot from different positions (i.e., on your back, prone, kneeling, around cover, etc.) not from different stances.

    1. avatar adverse4 says:

      We were taught to get our stance right first then shoot back.

  21. avatar Mike says:

    In reality you’ll find yourself more in some kind of Weaver-ish position. It’s more natural.
    Isosceles is great in controlled environments. Teaching, warming up, accuracy shots, etc.

  22. avatar Ralph says:

    Chapman. But people should adopt a comfortable stance that allows them to control the gun. Weaver, Iso, Chapman, it doesn’t matter. What matters is hitting the target.

    FWIW, most shooters who claim to shoot from an Isosceles stance actually don’t. The Isosceles isn’t just an arm position, it’s a body position. Unless shooters are bending at the knees and sticking out their butts as a counterweight, they’re not using an Isosceles stance.

    Using an Isosceles stance and squaring up to the opponent is the way to go when you are wearing a vest. Without a vest, the ISO stance thoughtfully presents more of your body to the bad guy. I’m sure he will thank you after he kills you.

  23. avatar uncommon_sense says:

    Weaver stance!

    Why? Weaver stance provides:
    (1) most stable base
    (2) ability to lean forward (into recoil) farther
    (3) fastest possible movement in ALL possible directions
    (4) least exposure if you are shooting from behind cover

    The down side to isosceles: you are “flat footed” if you want to start moving forward or backward.

  24. avatar Specialist38 says:

    Weaver or modified weaver

  25. avatar tjlarson2k says:

    Practicing and mastering trigger control as well as point shooting is a better use of one’s time at the range and will help people get more rounds on a stantionary or moving target than worrying about stance.

    If you are being shot at I guarantee your natural reaction will not be to stand still in a certain stance and fire back — you will be ducking and running for cover. I’ve never come across a shooting accounting where anyone brought up their stance as significant in a firefight.

    All this aside, one’s mindset is the most important thing to train.

  26. avatar Jerry Bradley says:

    Modified Weaver due to off hand master eye. And a modified Weaver allows me to use my bicep as a cheekrest, solving the problem. And no there was no form of isosceles worked.

  27. avatar David says:

    Massad Ayoob covered this back in the 80s in his book Stressfire. You may use all 3 (or more!) depending on circumstances. And 3 gunners move and shoot and they typically use an Isosceles type stance.

  28. avatar Curtis in IL says:

    Not sure what you call it, but it’s the stance Jerry Miculek uses.

  29. avatar Curtis in IL says:

    Not sure what you call it, but it’s the stance Jerry Miculek uses.

    If you want to shoot like Jerry, you need to stand like Jerry.

  30. avatar Beavis Sinatra says:

    Isosceles or Weaver? Nope.

  31. avatar skrobie says:

    C.A.R. because if its good enough for John Wick it’s good enough for me!!!1!

    1. avatar Tacbear says:

      Some people here probably don’t know what CAR is…but this technique developed by the great Paul Castle works great for CQB! As a ex-SWAT operator I shoot mostly Isosceles (Body Armor toward threat). I transition to CAR for CQB.

  32. avatar Kenneth says:

    The Weaver is NOT sideways to the target. That is the huge mis-perception on this issue. Cooper himself always said one could lead the weak foot SLIGHTLY… IF DESIRED, but never more than the toe of the off foot. The essence of the Weaver stance is to drop the off shoulder to make the elbow bend so that the off arm can pull the gun downward. Most mistake this as standing sideways, which is NOT the proper positioning.
    One toe forward AT THE MOST. That’s it. So all the talk about weaver vs whatever are simply NOT doing the Weaver Stance.
    They just think that they are.
    Look for yourself at 29:00 – 29:20. Excuse the poor video quality, it exists today only as 30 year old video tape, whose shortcomings should be obvious. The point is still clear.
    Remember these are FUNDAMENTALS, meaning the basics.
    It is fine to disagree with what is there, but at minimum, at least do it correctly as shown before knocking it, or run the risk of betraying weakness in the very basics.
    This is true regardless of how many twitter followers, or YT subscribers, that one might have… At least show the basic fairness of doing something CORRECTLY before vilifying it.

  33. avatar Heartbreaker says:

    Modified Weaver. I’m 6′ 6″ so I have a high center of gravity, the iso stance makes me feel “tippy”.

    1. avatar Jesse Welling says:

      Bend your knees.

  34. avatar CTSwords says:

    I’ve trained years in various martial arts, so Weaver is where I tend to go naturally

  35. avatar DaveInAK says:

    If you have to think about it you are doing it wrong. Listen to a real expert. Yes, this talks about stance. Listen to the people who’s livelihood depends on doing everything as fast and accurate as possible.

  36. avatar Mmmtacos says:

    I prefer modified Weaver stance. Isosceles stance just feels too rigid for me and I don’t feel like I could mobilize from it quite as easily as I could with Weaver. With a Weaver stance I shoot just as well, it’s more natural and more natural to fall into and get out from.

  37. avatar tsbhoa.p.jr says:

    there’s a name for how i stand when i shoot. and then when i get tired and shift my feet a little then it’s called another word. i like to do this with my hat off while watching tree hockey and listening to jim cornelison.

  38. avatar Tile floor says:


  39. avatar Craig Moore says:

    For us old guys, it’s whatever doesn’t hurt so much right then.

  40. avatar CR Cobb says:

    If you are tactically tactical, then you should be able to transition between stances in a split second. The question is moot.

  41. avatar Mr Bad News says:

    Or,.. just don’t think about it too much and focus on hitting your flipping’ targets.

    Any time I hear a question like this at the range I look for a fat guy in multi-pocket vest wearing sunglasses with yellow lenses and Isotoner driving gloves.

  42. avatar Tacbear says:

    As a ex-SWAT operator I shoot mostly Isosceles (Body Armor toward threat). I transition to CAR for CQB.

  43. avatar fteter says:

    You go with what works for you. I’ve tried all three and found that a modified Isosceles works best in my case due to years of amateur boxing…dominant foot back just a tad. My oldest son uses Isosceles due to his military training. But my other three sons all shoot Weaver. My thinking is that one should try them all. So long as you don’t compromise on the fundamentals (balance in your stance, good grip on the pistol, etc.), try them all and go with what works best for you. There is no absolute right or wrong answer here.

  44. avatar gp says:

    I finally can put 10 out of 10 shots on B-3 paper at 12 yards with a P-3AT mousegun in isosceles position. So yesterday I tried one-handed retention position at two man-sized silhouettes at 2 yards. I could not believe how many I missed! So I’m practicing ALL the positions from now on.

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