Weaver vs. Isocoles My 2 cents

I've been hearing a lot of trashing on the Weaver stance lately.

While I understand the LE objection to it, I fail to see the reason for the vitriol around this stance.

First, for those of you that don't know, there are two distinctive types of "Weaver" stance.

1. Feet placed at 30-degree angles, shoulder-length apart, knees slightly bent, weight on the balls of your feet, with toes pointing out towards your dominant hand. (that's toes pointing to the right at 30-degree angles for most of us). -This is a "dead" stance, meaning that no one I know of outside of Front Sight teaches it.

An example, the best I could find, the one on the right is approximately correct "standard" weaver stance. I'd make some changes but it's hard to find a pic of a "dead" stance done correctly. st_staystance_2000303a3.jpg

2. The "Modified Weaver stance," with your non-dominant foot forward at about a 30-degree angle towards your dominant side, with your dominant leg behind the non-dominant at about a 75-degree angle, both knees slightly bent with the weight on the balls of your feet. -Pretty popular stance. The pic following illustrates this quite well.


When I speak of Isosceles, I'm speaking of the "Modern Isosceles" with both feet planted at roughly 10-15 degrees on either side, slightly more than shoulder-width apart, knees bent, weight on the balls of your feet. -In essence, like any bad 1970s cop show you've ever seen.


From the LE perspective, the isosceles stance provides maximum coverage with body armor. That's a very good reason to like the stance A LOT. No one wants to get shot in the torso, but if you do, it's nice to know that the only (torso) target you're presenting to your opponent is covered by body armor. Weaver of any stripe however, leaves your non-dominant side heavily exposed to an opponent, which means as a "righty," you're giving your opponent an opportunity to shoot you in the heart while avoiding most or all of your body armor.

Additionally, Weaver has been rightly criticized for making shots to your non-dominant side of more than 40 degrees or so, more difficult unless you move your feet. I agree this is a real problem whilst shooting at paper targets in line, at a RANGE, and trying not to move. But in an ACTUAL gun fight, you WANT to move. You want to move a LOT, specifically, horizontally to the guy/gal shooting back at you.

To paraphrase Col. Jeff Cooper: "If you're not shooting, you should be moving, and if you're doing neither, you should be reloading."

Well, I don't know ANY civilians not in the armed guard racket who wear body armor on a regular basis. So what's the upshot for them?

Take a look at the Modified Weaver stance (usually identified, incorrectly, as weaver). What you'll notice is that this stance is very akin to many martial arts stances and even ballet moves (don't ask how I know about the latter, it's embarrassing:)

What you'll notice is that the Modified weaver provides VERY significant resistance to being pushed. Try it for yourself. Assume a solid modified Weaver and have a friend give you a good hard shove on your chest. What you'll find, as I have found, is that the isosceles stance will see me on the ground in that instance. The Modified Weaver, on the other hand, resists the shove handily, leaving me on my feet and still ready to meet the threat.

Seeing as most civilian shootings (I'm guestimating, but I'd place it at 90% plus) happen at a distance of a few FEET, not yards, the likelihood that you WILL be shoved is pretty good.

In other words, an attacker is overwhelmingly likely to be VERY close and VERY likely to at the least attempt to shove you back, strike you in the face or go for a body shot, ALL of which are resisted mightily by the modified weaver, and with the isosceles, result in you on your back, because you have ZERO ability to resist based on body conformation, even if you're a fairly large guy. (I've put 230-pound guys on their butt doing this).

So, love to hear some thoughts on this. anyone disagree? GREAT! Tell me why I'm wrong.
Funny, I was just watching Jerry Miculek videos on the youtubes talking about grip and stance. He's got some great tips and insights (go figure). Weaver all the way. If you can't see fast, you can't shoot fast.


Worth what you are paying for it - my 2c

Isosceles is often a better choice for females due to their bone structure.

But I think everyone shoots in a "modified" stance, regardless of how it started.

The best place to work this out, what is best for you, is under some stress - like a timer or competition.

Also In the Real World, rather than at the range, it is highly unlikely you will get an ideal shooting position.
IMO be in an athletic position -

Also, there is a school of thought that you should use an fighting stance the same for fists, feet, blades, sticks, long guns and handguns. Others say be in a purpose built stance.

Use a purpose built stance if you are not in combat - that is target shooting.
If you are in combat use an athletic stance. (And the proper mindset.)
I typically train myself on multiple positions but my default is a modified weaver. I shoot a pistol much better this way.
When I'm practicing in kit I shoot the way I was taught in the infantry. Basically it's similar to an isosceles. You use a boxers stance with knees slightly bent and leaning forward at the waist with your back flexed. You should be squared off on your target.
It is just about the most uncomfortable stance ever but with practice it creates an extremely solid platform for a rifle.
Great little write-up.

I've fallen into a weaver/modified weaver mostly because I've been a competitive rifle shooter for most of my life. Going from an offhand rifle to an offhand pistol sure ends up looking a lot like the weaver stance, which is what I've adopted.

I tend not to pay too much attention to the shooting fads that get all the attention from 3-gun shooters, or tactical trainers. In fact, I give zero F's about someone's stance as long as they shoot well. Now if they don't shoot well, that's another matter entirely. (by my standards, very few people shoot well, this fact is driven home every time I go to the indoor range)


I like to have my weak side slightly leading at all times to essentially "fend" with that side/hand.. the other is drawing and killing pretty fast if necessary. no real worries
"one yard" literal hip shooting as fast as you can blink is probably good training for all
Last edited:
Funny, I was just watching Jerry Miculek videos on the youtubes talking about grip and stance. He's got some great tips and insights (go figure). Weaver all the way. If you can't see fast, you can't shoot fast.
Actually Jerry Miculek uses what he calls a "basic" isosceles stance. Here's a video with him talking about stance and grip for a semi-auto:

As for the question between modified weaver (I've always heard it called the "Chapman Stance") vs isosceles, Mr. Miculek has some comments in the video I posted that might help in understanding his position, but I don't really think there is a right answer for everybody in every situation, and from what I've experienced a proper grip on the pistol is much more important than stance for accurate fire. Me personally, I shoot mostly how I'd fight, though not with as extreme of a bladed stance. One foot slightly behind the other, feet pointed toward the target, shoulders forward, elbows straight. I guess I'm somewhere in-between isosceles and Chapman, but it seems to work fine, for me.

When I'm shooting behind myself, using a mirror, I use the isosceles.

When doing ricocheting shooting, bouncing bullets off steel and hitting balloons 30' away, I use the Weaver.

When I am not joking like the above comments, I use the a slightly modified version of the modified weaver:confused:.

They both make sense, but a slight modification of either to fit your personal profile (height, weight, vision, flexibility, etc.) makes more sense that to STRICTLY use one or the other.....


Funny, I was just watching Jerry Miculek videos on the youtubes talking about grip and stance. He's got some great tips and insights (go figure). Weaver all the way. If you can't see fast, you can't shoot fast.
I was just watching a Jerry Miculek video and he was saying Isosceles was the way to go.
Which video were you watching. Now you've got me curious.


Isosceles for me. It's a more stable, solid stance and allows maximum range of motion. It's like being on a turret - from the iso stance you can swing left or right (essentially putting you into a weaver type position at the extremes) to engage targets without changing your feets position if necessary - you have a much harder time doing that in a weaver stance. Properly done is allows your body to absorb more recoil as well - locking out both arms/wrists, the slight lean forward, bent knees creates a cushion effect.

Essentially it comes down to what you're training for - fighting or fun. If training to fight you need to be able to quickly move, turn, and engage - if you're practicing just for fun - any stance is fine.

It doesn't just apply to guns - the isosceles stance is essentially the horse stance (familiar if you're a karateka or tkd practitioner) - it is a very stable fighting stance that allows you to quickly change positions, stances, move front back or side to side, you can kick, strike, or block in a 180 degree arc from this stance. It's also one of the most natural and first to be taught to new students. In the dojang (aka dojo) we taught this stance and drilled with it quite a bit because of it's stability, comfort (compared to other stances), and the ease of chaning positions. You can go from the horse stance to the front or walking stance, to a back stance, to a "cat" stance in a flash, and it's usually no more complicated than turning your feet and hips, you can leave them in place.

If you watch a boxer - they rarely blade themselves - they engage their targets straight on because of the ability to block, strike, and move. again - the same principles for combat shooting, knife fighting, etc.

So if you're training with your gun for defensive/combative purposes - it makes sense to use a fast, stable stance to train with - and keeping your body essentially squared to your target. It gives you maximum range of motion, stability, and speed as opposed to a bladed stance like the weaver. There's a reason you don't see top IDPA/IPSC guys using weaver, there's a reason boxers/MMA fighters don't use the back stance" to fight from, and why soldiers and cops are being trained to square to the target now.

It's not so much about vitriol - it's about evolution and using the best techniques for the task at hand. Like switching from a 5 or 6 shot revolver to a 10+ shot auto, or a bolt/lever action carbine to a semi-auto. It comes down to simply using what works best for you, your body mechanics and what you like and "feels right". The beauty of choice.
either one is fine for me. for the range anyway. I know isoscoles is considered to be better combat wise, when you are engaging an unknown number of targets, but I do question the wisdom of exposing twice as much area to hit over weaver. When engaging a lone target (that shoots back), a more likely scenario, probably go for weaver, it's just the way I was trained.


I like a modified "tucked-in" weaver, or whatever you want to call it. To me it is similar to how you would hold a carbine like an AK or M4, holding that stance, and replacing it with a handgun. It keeps the weapon closer to your body which I think is realistic for home-defense and also for weapon retention in self-defense situations.

The problem I have with a lot of the "official" stances used for competition is that competition has rules. Just like with boxing or MMA, if you want to use that analogy. A real-world firefight doesn't have rules, no more than real world life-or-death hand to hand combat.

That said, obviously use what works for you. I personally just can't see myself walking around inside my house or in an alleyway with my arms stretched out fully and my handgun as far away from my body as possible.


either one is fine for me. for the range anyway. I know isoscoles is considered to be better combat wise, when you are engaging an unknown number of targets, but I do question the wisdom of exposing twice as much area to hit over weaver. When engaging a lone target (that shoots back), a more likely scenario, probably go for weaver, it's just the way I was trained.
re: exposing twice as much area

I recently read something that stuck me as awfully wise. If someone's shooting at you, you should be behind cover or moving. No standing still in a gunfight. In which case, isosceles vs. weaver is a moot point.
For me personally, it varies. In my mind I set up different scenarios. I set up my target, usually a paper plate roughly chest high off the ground. Sometimes I simply walk by, draw and fire quickly. I may be going by from left to right or right to left. Sometimes I come at it from straight ahead and move left or move right and shoot. I might also throw in being on my knees. Sometimes I move right and squat, or move left and squat all the while shooting at that paper plate. Generally it involves moving and shooting from different positions. I figure I probably won't be defending myself from ideal positions, so I don't practice that way.

That's just me, may not even be proper but I figure as long as I think about what I'm doing and why I'm doing it I may have a fighting chance if I ever need to defend myself with my firearm.

Most of my practice involves running, a tumble forward, crawling thru mud with rotten meat in it, scaling a wall, then leaping over a car hood.

I usually start when I leap over the hood.

OK, Kidding.

The above scenarios give me some ideas I should start incorporating:)


Arms Collectors of SW Washington Gun Show
Battleground Community Center
912 E Main St, Battle Ground, WA 98604, USA
Rimfire Challenge Dec 12th @ DRRC
Douglas Ridge Rifle Club
27787 OR-224, Eagle Creek, OR 97022, USA
Albany Rifle & Pistol Club (ARPC) Gun Show
Linn County Expo Center
3700 Knox Butte Rd E, Albany, OR 97322, USA


  • Adaptive Firing Solutions
    5.00 star(s)
    Adaptive Firing Solutions. A+
    5 stars does not do Adaptive Firing Solutions justice. I have done business with him multiple times and wish I could give at least 12 stars...
  • Limitless America
    5.00 star(s)
    Awesome shop
    Love this shop. Purchased a few items from them. Always have a lot of parts in stock without much markup. Purchased two cans this summer from them...
  • Gator's Custom Guns
    5.00 star(s)
    Great, old school gun shop
    The store is a treasure trove I have found magazines for H&K, Ruger and M1A's and at great prices. The staff is knowledgeable and friendly and...
    • GWS
  • HighLine Firearms
    4.00 star(s)
    great place
    nice guy, local
  • Sportsman's Warehouse - Albany
    5.00 star(s)
    Good products at good prices with friendly and knowledgeable staff!
    We like to visit the Albany location as it's closer but have been to several others and they have all been great!:D
Top Bottom