Why The Weaver Stance Should Not Be Discredited

Why The Weaver Stance Should Not Be Discredited
The Leatherslap competition led Jack Weaver to develop his namesake stance. Prior to that, there was a lot more missing than hitting at Leatherslap. (That's Jeff Cooper peering out from the hay bale behind Weaver.)

It seems like everyone who tries to sell something these days needs a gimmick. This is no less true of shooting instructors than of designers of iPhone apps. A new technique is seized upon, and suddenly everything that went before is dismissed as hopelessly dated, if not downright hazardous.

The latest victim of this trend is the Weaver stance: the venerable two-handed hold used in practical handgun shooting. The favorite stance du jour is the so-called "isosceles," or triangle, in which the shooter plants both feet firmly apart, sticks both arms straight out, and grips the gun like sure death. Some IPSC matches were won with it, so it became de rigueur not only for IPSC and the like, but also for practical training for self-defense. Anyone now who prints a photo of someone using the old Weaver stance is sure to get a raft of nasty emails.

Recently, I wrote a piece for Shooting Times about teaching a friend of mine to shoot a handgun for defense purposes. Chris is a petite lady in her early 50s and has a few hand problems to deal with, including arthritis from years of martial-arts training. Someone had tried to teach her the isosceles, and she found it unworkable. I switched her to the Weaver, which was comfortable for her and allowed her to handle the gun properly. The response from the self-appointed experts was predictable, insisting the isosceles is the only "proper" way to hold a handgun.

Weaver-Stance-2
The Weaver Stance

Why the Weaver Works So Well


Well, I beg to differ. I've shot both the Weaver and the isosceles, and I do not believe the isosceles is a good stance for real-life combat situations, any more than a trap stance is good training for driven grouse or that firing a .458 off a bench prepares you for buffalo in the long grass. Certainly, it is not as natural and flexible as the Weaver, no matter how many IPSC hot-shots have used it to win matches.


Before Jack Weaver came along, handgunners had tried various methods of two-handed shooting. Weaver ingeniously took the age-old human "prepare to fight" position and adapted it. The Weaver is, essentially, the stance used by boxers. It is also the stance used by top wingshooters on wild birds. A right-handed shooter stands with the left foot forward, feet about 18 inches apart, body angled, weight on the balls of the feet, but mostly on the forward foot. The shooter is leaning into it, eyes focused like a wolf on a caribou.

This boxing stance is the most natural human fighting position. Modern attempts to discredit it as being "outdated" have proven misguided, as witness an aging Floyd Mayweather's almost laughable demolition of MMA Conor McGregor last August.

The isosceles is praised as a "rigid platform," but in most tactical situations rigidity is not nearly as useful as flexibility. You never know what you'll be faced with. You might be carrying a child on one arm and have to shoot one-handed. You could be on the ground, shooting under a car, or having to shoot around the corner of a building. Once you learn the Weaver stance, you can adapt its principles to almost any situation.

In case anyone is wondering, I shoot using the Weaver occasionally, but mostly I practice handgunning one-handed- usually the old Bullseye stance, but also instinctive shooting with the gun pushed out in front and reaction shooting from different angles. After 50 or 100 rounds Bullseye-style, hitting a target with the Weaver is a breeze.


Sometimes at the range, I'll watch guys using the isosceles. Usually, their goal is to spray a full mag downrange in as short a time as possible. Occasionally, they hit the target. Mostly they don't. They do make a lot of noise, and they sure look fierce practicing their pump-action isosceles point. Personally, I prefer to hit the target when I squeeze the trigger. And by the way, I had my money on Floyd Mayweather.

GET THE NEWSLETTER Join the List and Never Miss a Thing.

Recommended Articles

See More Recommendations

Popular Videos

Tactical Solutions Introduces New X-Ring Takedown SBR Rifle

Tactical Solutions Introduces New X-Ring Takedown SBR Rifle

Keith Feeley of Tactical Solutions sat down with Michael Bane at SHOT Show 2018 to talk about the new X-Ring Takedown SBR .22LR rifle.

The Future Of Special Operations Small Arms

The Future Of Special Operations Small Arms

We're taking a look at what the Army's Elite Units are using for service rifles and what the future of SOCOM sniping looks like.

All About .300 Blackout

All About .300 Blackout

The .300 Blackout is here to stay, and we take some time to look at new technology surrounding this cartridge. Next, we pit subsonic rivals against each other before stretching the legs of this CQB round out to 600 yards from a short 9-inch barrel.

The Glock 21

The Glock 21

Frank and Tony from Gallery of Guns spice up the Glock test using their non-dominant hands.

See More Popular Videos

Trending Articles

Like situational ethics, standards of accuracy vary according to circumstances. How-To

Accuracy: It's All Relative

Terry Wieland - May 09, 2019

Like situational ethics, standards of accuracy vary according to circumstances.

Shooting Times editor Joel Hutchcroft provides a comprehensive list of ideal Father's Day gifts. Accessories

Shooting Times Father's Day 2019 Gift Guide

Joel J. Hutchcroft - May 07, 2019

Shooting Times editor Joel Hutchcroft provides a comprehensive list of ideal Father's Day...

Improved bullet ballistic coefficients lead to greater performance and accuracy downrange without upping blast and recoil. Here's why. How-To

Improved Ballistics a Key to Accurate Long-Range Shooting

Rick Jamison

Improved bullet ballistic coefficients lead to greater performance and accuracy downrange...

The new striker-fired STR-9 9mm semiautomatic pistol from Stoeger Industries is reliable, ergonomic, accurate, and priced right. Handguns

Stoeger STR-9 Review

Joel J. Hutchcroft - May 17, 2019

The new striker-fired STR-9 9mm semiautomatic pistol from Stoeger Industries is reliable,...

See More Trending Articles

More How-To

With today's barrels, powders, and bore products, copper fouling isn't nearly the time-consuming problem it used to be. How-To

Coping with Copper Fouling

John Barsness - April 18, 2019

With today's barrels, powders, and bore products, copper fouling isn't nearly the...

The author, David Kenik, is not an attorney and this article is not legal advice. The following is How-To

Can You Shoot an Unarmed Attacker?

David Kenik - July 08, 2015

The author, David Kenik, is not an attorney and this article is not legal advice. The...

We all experience it. If you're the kind of guy that's reading this, you know what I mean: the sleepless nights with caliber options floating through your mind; the hungry feeling as you drive past your favorite sporting goods store; the developing interest in a new-to-you aspect of shooting. How-To

10 Signs It's Time to Buy a New Gun

Joseph von Benedikt - June 09, 2015

We all experience it. If you're the kind of guy that's reading this, you know what I mean: the...

Regular readers of Shooting Times know that I often get questions from fellow readers. One that I How-To

Accurizing the Model 1911

Reid Coffield - November 30, 2016

Regular readers of Shooting Times know that I often get questions from fellow readers. One...

See More How-To

GET THE MAGAZINE Subscribe & Save

Digital Now Included!

SUBSCRIBE NOW

Give a Gift   |   Subscriber Services

PREVIEW THIS MONTH'S ISSUE

GET THE NEWSLETTER Join the List and Never Miss a Thing.

Get Digital Access.

All Shooting Times subscribers now have digital access to their magazine content. This means you have the option to read your magazine on most popular phones and tablets.

To get started, click the link below to visit mymagnow.com and learn how to access your digital magazine.

Get Digital Access

Not a Subscriber?
Subscribe Now