Fix Your Shooting Stance! Important Thoughts on Weaver vs Isosceles

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What’s the best shooting stance for a gunfight?

Would you rather be poor and blind or rich and a Kardashian? That’s really the same as asking, would you rather use a Weaver shooting stance in a gunfight or an Isosceles stance in a gunfight? The answer is both choices suck — or are, at the very least, less than ideal.

The reason is the choices you have are both unnatural and unreal.  In a gunfight, especially at contact range, the thoughts running through your brain won’t be my feet need to be in this position and my shoulders at that angle and my arms bent to this degree but rather holy shit I need to shoot this crazy s.o.b. right now!!!

Consequently, your stance requires a lot less thought than your average Cabela’s gun-counter ninja tells you. All a “shooting stance” needs to do is position your body weight to control recoil and keep you mobile.

That last part is critical and something that few “experts” mention. Mobility. Chance are if you don’t move or can’t move when the bullets start flying you will be dead. Holding still during an engagement is by far the outlier, particularly when handguns are involved.

Here is the recipe for a “proper” stance: Stand up. Look at your target. Pretend it is going to punch you. Pull your gun out. Shoot. End of story.

Isosceles is characterized by having your shoulders squared with your hips and feet.

And your arms extended. It gets its name, unsurprisingly from the Isosceles triangle.

A shooting stance is a learner’s permit while you’re learning to drive. That’s all. It gives you a baseline and a point of reference as you learn the real rules of the road.

I would encourage you to watch a video of a USPSA or IDPA pistol champion and tell me what stance he or she uses. Answer: None of the above. If he or she won the match, odds are pretty good that almost all of his or her shooting was done on the move.

In a Weaver position, one foot is offset and the shoulders are bladed.

Proponents of the Weaver like it because it presents less surface area to the attacker.

The best advice I can give, don’t over think it. Project your weight slightly forward like a wrestler, and keep your feet in a spot that keeps you mobile. And as soon as you can, progress to shooting on the move.

Or you can just be a “big dog” and shoot one handed. After all, the origin of a “handgun” was a firearm that could be shot with one hand. On another note, the military taught one-handed shooting until the ’70s.

And in case you were wondering, all the shooting in this video was done with the SIG P320 X-Five. She’s one sweet piece! Word on the street is that NOW is the best time to buy one! Shop GunsAmerica to pick up yours today. You’ll love this gun!

{ 19 comments… add one }
  • Erick September 5, 2017, 5:11 pm

    Some people dislike the isosceles triangle stance b/c it does in fact present more of the body compared to the weaver style (but not much more). There is a good reason for this stance though: body armor. When wearing a vest (w/ armor), the shooter “presents” his body in full, so that the front plate is facing the enemy/attacker (perpendicular). If the person were to angle his body, as in a weaver stance, this exposes his side, which may be unarmored. Even with side armor, it’s usually 6×6 or 6×8 plates/soft armor – not a very large surface area. The armpit is typically exposed and a critical zone. The isosceles triangle stance presents the larger front plate (usually 10×12 or larger), while minimizing the chance of rounds hitting unarmored areas of the body like the sides, under armpits, etc.

    Naturally, if one wasn’t wearing armor, then the weaver style would probably be the way to go (smaller/thinner silhouette).

    Good article!

  • Roger September 3, 2017, 11:00 am

    Jerry Miculek says to stand square to the target and look forward using the Isoceles stance, regardless of target shooting, or self defense. So who’s to argue with him?

  • KevlarMEUSOC1911 September 1, 2017, 12:49 pm

    Clay as a fellow misguided child of Uncle Sam love your work and have nothing but the highest of respect for you being a 0326 and 0317 Marine then a SOF soldier are very hard accomplishments but brother we got to get you some Nasal spray I bet you drove alot of guys in your unit crazy. Just messing with you nothing but respect and love for you Semper Fi!!!

  • Tripwire September 1, 2017, 12:29 pm

    I agree with Clay in the sense of not thinking you have to get in a certain “pose” to shoot. Learn to get off the X, move and shoot or as it was called in the Corps “Fire and maneuver”. One of the very best posted a really good video on this and not stealing Clay’s thunder I’m posting it for those who haven’t seen it.
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ChSazF41q-s

  • Big John September 1, 2017, 11:22 am

    Clay, Although you’re not as old a “has been” as I, here’s a refresher on the Weaver Stance: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=se3W-kV6d9g

  • Russ H. September 1, 2017, 10:55 am

    Finally, someone else agrees. I\’ve been teaching \”if you shoot best and hit what you\’re aiming at by standing on one foot shoot that way\” method for years. A proper \”stance\” is such BS.

  • Joseph Cruz September 1, 2017, 10:47 am

    The “Natural Stance” he refers to is nothing more than what was called the “Modified Weaver” of the late ’70’s/early ’80’s.
    Ro Gal and Clay Hamann have it right – nothing new here.

  • W.P. Zeller September 1, 2017, 10:31 am

    There’s no substitute for science. Get to the range, use a timer, try two or three different (but shortish) distances.
    A lot of the speculation you see will disappear.
    For example, two summers ago I set out to get reasonably proficient with the P226. I expended about a thousand rounds over a couple of months on it. (I’m regularly a 1911 shooter and do and see a lot of USPSA competiton. I mean, a lot.)
    I was actually a bit surprised by the results, and then replicated them with my normal 1911.
    I always thought one-hand, arm extended was the fastest close-range technique. Wrong. Unless you’re at near-contact distance, two hands and a solid, aggressive, “turtle” isosceles is faster for the first shot, and much faster for the second and third, if you want A-zone hits.
    I still work on one-handed shooting since the possibility of having the other occupied elsewhere is considerable, but:
    Speed in gunfights is absolutely critical, and you will get more with being squared up and using both hands.
    Get a timer and see for yourself.

  • Tenbones September 1, 2017, 9:38 am

    Good, practical, common sense video. In a CCW, life or death situation, you’d better be comfortable shooting from any position, in daylight and in dark!

  • Tom Hammond September 1, 2017, 8:23 am

    Actually, the article is right on-point. Most gun ranges and even organizations like IDPA have it all wrong. Most new owners of handguns and many lifelong firearm owners get it wrong too. Isosceles is a ridiculous shooting platform for anything but target shooting. Most situations involving use of deadly force happen at 2 to 3 yards, so why do I want to put my gun within my attacker’s reach?

    Yet ‘for safety’ reasons, if your local range allows holster draw, it is always from strong side, never crossdraw. Why? Only when using the ridiculous Isosceles position is a strong side holster draw safer. When using a modified Weaver or C.A.R. stance (both of which are much more realistic in a hostile situation), a crossdraw holster keeps the muzzle pointed at the target (windage, left to right), and all you need to do is raise the barrel to the target. Whereas a strong side (safer?) draw has you pulling your gun from holster on your hip that is away from the target to bring it 180 degrees across your body (muzzle pointed at ground while unholstering) then finally raising the muzzle after the gun has done a complete semi-circle around your body.

    A gunfight is a fight. You don’t unholster unless there is a threat to human life brought on by violent actions of another. If the conditions warrant use of deadly force, then it must be approached as a fight – a fight that you must win at all costs. You never square your feet and hips to an opponent in a fight. You drop one leg back and face your opponent at a 45 to 75 degree angle. The same should always apply when you draw your firearm in a defensive situation. Crossdraw puts your firearm in a much better position (less movement to get on target and less chance of unintentionally sweeping muzzle in vicinity of bystanders).

    Information in this article needs to be more widespread so people (including range owners, shooting organizations, etc…) start moving away from the modern standard of strong side carry and isosceles stance and basing their policies on more realistic practices.

    My opinion, but I am a former USMC Infantryman and current NRA Certified Instructor and Maryland QHIC Handgun Instructor.

    • mel September 2, 2017, 9:57 pm

      because the Isosceles is a power stance. arms extended to provide a solid platform to soak up much recoil and rapid fire. superior to the Weaver which uses one straight arm to take the recoil, transmitted to the rear foot; you present less of a target, you are ready to move, but because of the one-sided stance you can’t turn very far to address threats from the off side.

      you cannot manage high recoil and rapid fire without stiff-arming it. you need extended arms and locked elbows to do that.

      sure you may find yourself in a situation where you don’t want to extend your arms and get disarmed. that will result in a compromise.

  • Zorro September 1, 2017, 7:31 am

    You need to loose some weight TubbyBoy …

    • BW September 1, 2017, 10:21 am

      Really, body shaming? I hope you mature some before you get into high school!

    • Tripwire September 1, 2017, 12:17 pm

      Yea Zorro has a thing about Clay, Always something nasty..Me thinks he has a thing for Clay. Grow up kid, get out of mommy’s basement.

    • Willie-O September 3, 2017, 1:12 pm

      I hate stooping to your level with the name calling, but you’re a prick. Comments like yours usually stem from the fact that you have a body-issue of your own. The fact that you found it necessary to attack someone about their size, would indicate that you have a size-related problem with your body. Maybe you have a ji-normous head or possibly a teenie-tiny little…..oh well, you can figure it out on your own.

  • Ro Gal September 1, 2017, 6:45 am

    What the hell is he talking about? Why would I be smoking a cigarette, and can I legally use the Weaver stance without body armor in my state? Move along folks…nothing new here. One of the rare and least informative videos I’ve seen on GA/

  • Ellison Rodgers September 1, 2017, 3:21 am

    To ensure a proper isosceles stance I duct tape a draftsmans’ 60° triangle to my nose, with the triangle base resting on my upper lip, then align my arms. I square my feet and push my hips back into a field poop position, also known as the forest dump. Periodically, I wag my head retardedly side to side. All who see this stance, fear me.

  • Clay L Hamann August 30, 2017, 10:24 pm

    What you are calling the modern technique is so close to the Weaver you should feel guilty about possible plagiarism. Nothing new there.

    • Thomas August 31, 2017, 12:16 pm

      It actually looks like a more natural Isosceles. Weaver is typically one arm bent, one arm straight, body slightly bladed to the target. The stance Clay is promoting allows one to rotate the hips, which can quickly move the upper body do deal with threats down range, as well as manage recoil.

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