Rob Pincus

Why Not to Use the Weaver Stance

Rob Pincus
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Duration:   5  mins

For defensive shooting, there’s no question that a good athletic stance, generally squared off to the target, is the better way to go. One of the most important things in defensive shooting is recoil management, so you can fire fast follow-up shots and get the threat stopped quickly.

Yet Rob Pincus sees people coming to handgun training courses wanting to use bladed stances, upright stances, stances that might be great for precision shooting or might work in areas where you’re doing limited strings of fire, but aren’t good for rapid, multiple-shot strings of fire into the high center chest area.

Why Not the Weaver Stance?

Rob is on the range with Christina, who normally shoots with an athletic stance, but Rob coaches her into using a stance that is inappropriate for defensive shooting, the Weaver stance.

The Weaver stance was very popular in the past and there are controlled circumstances under which it works well, but for shooting rapid strings of fire into the torso of a threat, the Weaver stance has several failure points. Rob and Christina demonstrate this with some shooting drills using the Weaver stance first.

How It Looks

In the Weaver stance, the strong-side leg takes a step back and the shooter’s body is bladed toward the target. Driving both arms out causes a bend in the support-side elbow, allowing for some isometric tension. Recoil management is difficult using this stance. Christina places four shots in an extreme vertical spread that is definitely not ideal for defensive shooting.

Next she takes an athletic stance with both legs parallel and the body facing the target squarely, knees slightly bent, shoulders in front of the hips. With this stance, the shooter has a lot of weight behind the gun. Christina is able to fire four rapid shots into a closed-hand sized group.

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23 Responses to “Why Not to Use the Weaver Stance”

  1. muddog15

    I'm also old enough that I was taught the weaver stance. I learned the iso stance and my shot groups improved drastically. When I was younger I was also taught to shoot with one hand instead of two.

  2. Dan Cain

    Totally disagree with this. There are numerous reasons and Rob hit on them but that's the problem. Shooter fatigue will happen from his stance and wont be able to fight or even step backward very well.

  3. Col. Phil McDaniel

    this is entirely wrong. Many shooters shoot better with the Weaver stance. Most women do NOT because of their Breast muscles push them of target after a long string. In some defensive positions it is not advisable to have the gun extended all the way out in front, it is very easy to take her gun in that position. I teach weapons and we teach to shoot with a stance and without a proper stance when necessary. We also teach Weapons retention which I think should be included in any Handgun class. .

  4. John Hansen

    In most force on force cases, stances are not all that important to shot placement. I can move around dynamically and be just fine. I shoot 12" plates at 10 to 25 yards standing still with rapid fire and do fine, I prefer the bladed stance over being squared off.

  5. patrick keating

    Short and sweet. Are they getting ready to shoot at you, or have already shot? I would want to give them as little 'target' sight picture as possible, (smaller) which would only be the weaver. Broadside makes a lot bigger target.

  6. Mike Pickle

    It is the best stance to prepare for a fight PERIOD. When you use it, if you shoot a long gun you do not have to learn a new set of techniques that actually put at least 6 groups of muscles into play therefore potentially allowing much greater opportunity to shake or quiver. It only takes one muscle to contract to pull the shot off target, I have done it when in a rest position but one far from natural. As a martial artist, you never face an attacker square if it there is anyway to avoid it. In the Weaver I teach, the body is far more relaxed even in a tense situation. I have taught students that were not able to shoot square to the target leaning forward slightly, head dropped forward, etc. The age and injuries to their bodies would not allow it. When teaching anyone to shoot, if you style cannot be adapted to fit the shooter's body and limitations, you need to keep studying positions. BTW, I have tried every position that has ever been written about in the last 40+ years. I tried isosceles, but could never get completely comfortable with it. Just saying . . .

  7. Tom B

    While this demonstration illustrates some points that are important regarding a solid stance, I don't agree with the basic statement, "Why Not To Use The Weaver Stance". I think it should be worded, "Why the Weaver Stance may not be right for you!" I use a modified Weaver stance and it works best for me, for accuracy and for rapid fire. I have one leg shorter than the other due to an accident many years ago, and the Weaver is the most comfortable and solid for me.

  8. Eldred

    My normal stance is the Weaver stance. I wasn't taught that, but it just naturally felt comfortable as it's similar to my starting stance when bowling(which I've done for YEARS). But I can see a couple of possible advantages to the ISO stance - easier to lean left while shooting around cover(I'm right handed). Easier to drop to either knee if needed. With the Weaver stance it would definitely be easier to drop to my right knee. Since I'll be trying my first competition later this month, I'll work on the ISO stance more during my range sessions, to at least become more familiar with something that may help...

  9. Gordon

    Why did the shooter not have at least one round solidly in the center of the chest when shooting from the Weaver stance? At minimum the first round should have hit center even if the stance caused vertical stringing on follow up shots.

  10. Adam S

    I have seen this instructor before and he seems competent, but loses credibility on this one. He takes a shooter trained with the combat stance, then spends 30 seconds teaching her a new stance (Weaver). Am I supposed to be surprised that she shoots significantly better using the stance that she trained in? What he should have done is taken a shooter trained in Weaver, then spend a few minutes teaching the combat stance. Then, if the shooter was better in the combat stance, he would have made his point. I am a big believer in learning as many different stances and techniques as possible from different instructors that have different philosophies. Then use the one that best fits you and the situation you are in.

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