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Old June 13, 2001, 09:48 AM   #1
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Is the Weaver stance outdated?

I've been having some interesting conversations lately with folks about shooting stances. It seems like there is a push in various shooting schools/academies to get away from the Weaver or modified Weaver shooting stance. (Please no one tell Col. Cooper )

Some of the reasons I’ve heard are the weaver stance requires fine motor skills, where the Isosceles, or what some call the shoulder point shooting technique, do not. Then there’s the classic example of using an Isosceles type stance with your body squared to the target you are limiting the exposure of your sides to the opponent. This comes into play specially with LE where there may be a gap in the body armor on the sides or under the arm pits.

Allegedly supposedly there have been articles written of late where reviews of actual defensive shooting video have shown the shooter, be it LE or civilian, tend to lock both arms straight out, the same as in the Isosceles.

Personally I consider myself to be a weaver stance shooter. But (thankfully) never having gotten into a real gunfight I don’t know for certain whether I would use this stance or not. If I did get into a shooting situation I probably wouldn’t remember what shooting position I was in anyway.

So my point and questions are:
Has anyone else seen a trend to get away from the weaver shooting stance?
If so, what is the alternative being taught? (Are we going back to the old FBI “Crouch”? – Hope not)
Is the weaver stance something that requires fine motor skills? (I don’t see how)
Is the weaver stance still a valid shooting position for defensive shooting? (Absolutely)
Am I opening up a can of worms here?

Thoughts, Opinions?


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Old June 13, 2001, 01:49 PM   #2
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Any accurate, rapid shooting requires well honed "fine motor skills" That's why those who care practice....a lot.

Fore n aft stability sucks in the isosceles stance..Much better from the Weaver or most variations thereoff.

I think there would be little difference in side exposure.

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Old June 13, 2001, 09:20 PM   #3
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Gee, let me think.... sort of. The way I see it, show me one
competitive shooter that has won any shooting match of worth consistantly in the last ten years shooting weaver stance and I will eat my hat. No foward or aft stability my a##. I dont know who showed you, but they showed ya wrong. That being said, I believe we should approach shooting stances the same way a martial artist approachs his. Each stance has a valid usage depending upon the dynamics if the situation. For instance,
I find it much easier to shoot around cover with my strong side using weaver. If I am in the clear I find modern technique kicks but as far as fast accurate fire is concerned. Some people with different physiques will find modern technique uncofortable. Like anything else it just takes practice. To each his own I suppose...
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Old June 13, 2001, 10:48 PM   #4
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The context in which I posed the question may not be clear. I'm asking strictly from a standpoint of preparing for an actual defensive shooting. i.e. doing "real world" training. Speciffically from a LE point of view. Not preparing for any of the various "gun games".


You say "Each stance has a valid usage depending upon the dynamics if the situation" In my opinion there isn't any time to evaluate which stance you'll use if there is a confrontation in which deadly force will have to be used and there was no warning. You'll do what you have trained to do (IMHO). It seems pretty simple. If you practice shooting weaver you shoot weaver, if you practice Isosceles you shoot in that position. Oversimplified..maybe..that's why I'm getting opinions.

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Old June 14, 2001, 04:33 AM   #5
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I have noticed that I use some kind of modified Weaver whenever I shoot 2handed. It's simply the stance that I naturally get into after a draw.

I haven't had any formal training when it comes to using both hands (just a little training for target shooting, bullseye, one hand). I started shooting more or less Isoceles, but now I always have my left arm bent...
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Old June 14, 2001, 08:17 AM   #6
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Having tried both, I've come to the conclusion that (for me) the MDI is the superior stance for almost every application. I find that shooting Isoceles allows me to attenuate recoil better, provides a wider range of movement without shifting my legs, and helps me get the gun on target faster.

As to fore and aft stability, the Isoceles stance, as I understand it, applies only from the waist up. You can be doing anything you want with your legs (running, leaning over, etc.) I usually lean forward a bit and put more weight on my forward leg, to help keep my balance.

As always, YMMV. Train, and use what works.

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Old June 14, 2001, 12:05 PM   #7
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I've been told that it's much easier to walk or run in the Isosceles compared to the Weaver.

Maybe I've missed it but I can't recall many martial arts where folks face each other squarely, as opposed to being bladed - like the Weaver
Years ago, I was taught by a Shotokan karate instructor that the general rule was "Squared to attack, bladed to defend". FWIW.
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Old June 14, 2001, 05:55 PM   #8
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Edited to correct reference to Isosceles in the last paragraph.

I'll consider the pro-isosceles argument more seriously when:

A. We have data on how many of those isoscles shooters in surveillance videos were:
1) actually trained in Weaver; and
2) individuals who practiced at least three times per year, fast shooting, using their duty weapon (or equivalent).


B. At least three of the nation's top-ten shooters demonstrate the difference in performance between the two techniques.

I would prefer B. data from at least two different standard exercises, fired at least four times each over two days, with the shooters alternating which technique they use for the first string.

The competitions data is NOT compelling, because the rarified world of top performers may be populated by people who just happen to personally *prefer* the Isosceles and therefore practice with it more and therefore perform better with it.

Thus, the gun rag discussions are little more than idle conversation to me.
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Last edited by Cheapo; June 14, 2001 at 06:30 PM.
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Old June 17, 2001, 01:30 AM   #9
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I've been away from these boards for a long time... and you guys are still going strong!

I do agree that LE officers go Isoceles in 'real' situations - haven't seen one that employs Weaver without giving conscious effort.

Weaver outdated?

IMHO, no shooting stance can be outdated if it works for the shooter that practices it. You may be inclined to practise Isoceles if it works naturally for you, some other people like the Weaver better, because it is more comfortable for them. It depends on the shooter's tastes, but the most important thing is: pick a stance and practice it a lot.


Maybe I've missed it but I can't recall many martial arts where folks face each other squarely, as opposed to being bladed - like the Weaver.
The style that I practise teaches the upper body to be squared onto the opponent, and the feet to be staggered. I shoot handguns using both arms straight, but my footing is always staggered, because I was trained to stand like that during combat.
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Old June 19, 2001, 04:41 AM   #10
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SamH got at something I was just thinking about as well. Why do we need to pair upper body positioning with lower the same way every time? "Stances", as the shooter understands them, appear to be divided into two distinct sectors: upper and lower body. Is there really any reason you can't shoot Weaver squared, or MDI in a left lead? Or even a right lead--how many of us think about shooting with our right foot forward? Seems like it might happen in real life.

When I'm sparring, I evaluate stance based on position and stability on a case-by-case basis. And "evaluate" probably isn't the best word. I just do it without thinking, 'cause I've done it a lot of times.

Now, I guess I've got a few questions.

First, does anyone still argue that either MDI or Weaver offers demonstrably superior recoil control over the other?

Second, it seems to me like the respective arm positions of Weaver and Isosceles offer different advantages, and might even both be used in a single scenario.

Take, for example, firing at targets arranged in an arc, from a seated position. Weaver feels especially suited to bent-torso shots on the left-hand side--for example, engaging targets far to the left when seated. From that position, we might shift to Isosceles, addressing the forward targets. In addition, transitioning between the different shoulder positions required by the two stances gives a nice "pushing the doorbell" index coming into the isosceles, as opposed to swinging and stopping. Continuing the swing through this arc, what arm position allows the least awkward body position for engaging targets far to the right? If we're just in a chair, perhaps we can swing up to a standing position, and do what we like. However, sitting in a vehicle would prevent this. Once I saw a young competitive shooter doing something called "reverse Weaver". Looked strange--strong arm cocked, support arm extended--but perhaps it has its place. In this scenario, it might be employed to provide coverage of the last slice in our 180 degree arc.

Fluidity of stance, in other words. Not that I'm really arguing for this, but it's what I've been thinking about lately when I practice.
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Old June 19, 2001, 04:11 PM   #11
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Would you be willing to take on Clint Smith or Jeff Cooper in a gun fight?

You might be able to argue various aspects of MI versus Weaver but you're not likely to see a practical difference if you put in sufficient practice with either.
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Old June 19, 2001, 06:07 PM   #12
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The arguments over stance are ridiculous, in my opinion. Some people prefer one or the other, but in the end it's all where you put the front sight, not how you bend your arms. Some folks just can't get into the isoceles because they're too large, while others prefer it because they are long and stringy in build.

Use whatever you want. As long as you can hit the target I promise I won't say anything.
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Old June 20, 2001, 03:41 AM   #13
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Shooting to the right

To Mort:

Hi there!
In regards to shooting to the right. I'm assuming that you're right handed? If so, may I give you humble suggestion:
When firing to the extreme right (ie. more than 45 degrees off centre), it might be advisable to abandon the two-handed grip, and go for a single-handed shot. If you're left-eye dominant, there might be a slight problem, but right-eye dominant shooters should be able to achieve good results when shooting to the extreme right with a single-handed grip. Just make sure to keep the neck and spine as upright as possible, and avoid slouching the shoulders.

Just a 2 cents suggestion.

BTW everyone: it's a discussion, not an argument.
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Old June 20, 2001, 05:34 AM   #14
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Yeah, I'm right-handed. And actually, I'm cross-dominant as well, which does provide some unique challenges. In general, I agree that abandoning a two-handed hold might be the way to go for extreme right-handers in that situation.
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Old June 20, 2001, 04:12 PM   #15
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Here is my theory and experience on Isoceles, and why I teach it.

I figure most deadly force encouonters will be at close range (lets say 3-10 yrds), and take about 2-3 seconds. (maybe up to 7 seconds) , and you may not be totaly prepared or ready for it.
I figure your heart rate jumps to 20000.... beats a sec. gross motor skills kick in, and you either draw and fight, or turn and run.

NOW, in a perfect world, you'll move to cover, draw, take up your "fighting" stance, focus on the front sight(fine motor skill), and squeeeeeeze the trigger. bullseye!

Now put yourself in this situation ( or watch videos of 'two hand grip' shoot-outs) I believe you'll square up to the target, probably look directly at the threat, lock both arms out , and empty your mag.!( or hopefully fire a few rounds)

Dont get me wrong, I think the "Weaver" stance is great for punching holes in paper at 25 yrds, or encountering a deadly force situation when your prepared for it and/or sitting behind cover.

When most competition shooters and tactical teams use the isoceles stance to shoot, move,and clear buildings, there is probably a good reason.

All this from an x-"weaver" shooter!

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Old June 20, 2001, 07:20 PM   #16
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There's a guy in the Northwest collecting surveillance videos of (I guess mostly officer-involved) shootings. But I don't think we can watch them without paying bigbucks.

Anyone know where I can go to see for myself?

Anyone have a timeline of X, Y, and Z agencies teach isosceles years xxxx- through yyyy, then weaver years.... and so forth?

IIRC, the old days of police PPC were purely isosceles, but the "Modern Technique" was pioneered with Weaver.

I'm not even sure that we can find many surveillance tapes of goodguy shooters who were trained in Weaver!!!
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Old June 21, 2001, 04:06 AM   #17
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You know, it just occurred to me that the argument that cops fall back on the Isosceles in a stressful situation is kind of flawed because the sample group consists mostly of people who don't shoot very much.
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Old June 21, 2001, 12:10 PM   #18
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Sorry for showing my lack of knowledge but what's an "MDI" stance as referenced above?......something...something Isosceles maybe?

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Old June 21, 2001, 04:10 PM   #19
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BINGO!!!! You've hit precisely on _one_ of the reasons why I find most arguments on this topic to be clues pointing towards Isoscoles being better...but those clues are NOT conclusive.
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Old June 21, 2001, 07:45 PM   #20
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"I've been told that it's much easier to walk or run in the Isosceles compared to the Weaver. " -- Matt VDW

Are you sure you don't have that backward? I find it much harder to move naturally in the Isosceles as opposed to the Weaver. I use the Isosceles when shooting from a static postion beyond 7 yards with my .22 for the enhanced stability, but I prefer the mobility of the Weaver for any self-defense situation I can think of. Obviously, others here feel differently.
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Old June 22, 2001, 10:26 AM   #21
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there is a lot of good and bad information here!!!
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Old July 2, 2001, 08:32 AM   #22
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IMHO the weaver is much better for defense. Especially a nice tight weaver. You could probably have your gun kicked in a tight weaver and maintain control. In isoceles, you would be lucky to find your gun after a struggle. Also, IMHO recoil control is better in weaver. That may just be me, though. Ask any ergonomist and they will tell you that you are stronger and more precise in a weaver stance. Hell watch yourself reload or wrestle the lid off a twist top beer. Are you in a modified weaver or isoceles. I thought so. Don't let shooting myth determine your stance.

Action shooters use isoceles and do well. I don't have a good rebuttle except it may be easier to index to the locked elbow position and recoil seems minimal for them. A few differences:
1) Nobody is beating on them while they shoot.
2) Cover is not so important when nobody is shooting back.
3) Loads are not typically as hot(recoilwise) as +P hollowpoints used for defense. Yes power factor is high, but bullets are usually the lightest available for the caliber.
4) Emotions are in check when shooting.

That said. . .Don't work like mad to develop a new stance when the old one works for you.
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Old November 30, 2001, 01:46 AM   #23
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Show me a boxer who fights from anything but a weaver style stance. Besides that, your a terribly big target when in the Iso. stance. When I start shooting fast and moving I naturaly go into a low weaver stance. Arms tucked in, head down, both elbows bent (left more so), left foot front, torso and hips bladed, bent sharply forward at the waist and knees. Remover the gun and you have a sprinter at about 2 steps out of the blocks. Thats just what comes out natural to me..and thats the key. If your body does one thing naturaly, develope and hone it to your benifit instead of trying to learn something new and unnatural.
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Old November 30, 2001, 02:49 PM   #24
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One thing I haven't really seen mentioned is that the choice of stance is less important than performing the chosen stance properly. As mentioned, the square-to-target point shooting stance may be instinctive but otherwise it's crap. I see so many guys standing up straight, feet together, almost leaning backwards to counterbalance their guns. I don't care what stance you use, but at least do it right.

An Isosceles should have the feet bladed fairly wide apart to maintain balance (less so with Weaver, but still bladed). Knees should be bent. More weight should be on the forward foot to counter recoil. With Weaver, make sure you have the isometric push-pull between the arms, and with Isosceles push the shoulders forward (in front of hips) and lock the elbows. The Chapman/modified Weaver is somewhere in the middle.

Quick check: look at your stance in a mirror without holding a gun. Do you look ready to kill, or like you're going to fall over?
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Old November 30, 2001, 05:07 PM   #25
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Isosceles VS Weaver

It has been my experiance that the weaver stance flows more easily than a Isosceles stance. It feels like the stance for firing a rifle offhand.

Since I was shooting rifle for 10 years before I starting with a pistol, it just feels natural. Is the point of the Isosceles stance tor train people who have NEVER fired a gun?
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