When you get a new gun, the mantra is to get some training with it. You might want to do it on your own, teaching yourself at the range, but without any experience, you might want to go another way. This way leads you to shooting classes. Of course, these are not necessarily only for new shooters. Shooting is a perishable skill and needs to be practiced to be kept. Also, the more classes you attend, the more things you get to know. However, sometimes the question arises, if all of these things are really always so helpful as they are made out to be.

Often, shooting classes start with teaching you the right stance. Which one is the right one, might be different depending on your experience. However, without any experience and depending on the trainers, chances are that it is the Weaver Stance.

Now, looking at the Weaver Stance, it has quite some advantages. Compare it to the old one handed shooting in single action of the haydays of the revolver and the advantages become quite obvious. In the Weaver Stance you hold the gun with two hands, and you use two different forces to keep it under control. In theory, this allows you good recoil management for the first as well as follow up shots.

Theory, as many of us might have learnt, is not always the same as practice, and this applies also to the Weaver Stance. Now, you do not have to take my word for it. Just take a look at Jerry Miculek. He is a real first class celebrity when it comes to revolver shooting. Does he use the good, old Weaver? Now. He is a practitioner, and he uses the Isosceles Stance.

However, it is not only Jerry Miculek. Look at other competition shooters, and you will see, that the Weaver Stance is not necessarily well liked between them. Now, this begs the question, why Weaver is still taught.

This all goes back to the Gunsite Academy and the Orange Gunsite before that. Do not get me wrong. The Weaver Stance does have his advantages and the work of the Gunsite Academy is great. However, sometimes, newer developments just take over old lessons.

Most of today`s firearm instructors have gone through the old school and learnt the Weaver Stance. Going on the be instructors themselve, they pass on their knowledge, and this is the good, old Weaver. But that does not mean that there were no other developments in this area.

Massad Ayoob and the classes in his name also teach the Weaver Stance. However, in these classes, you also learn another version of this stance, the Chapman, but the Isosceles Stance gets the most attention. How did this come to be?

Massad Ayoob describes in his book “Stressfire” that the Weaver Stance cannot be attained flawlessly in the stress of a real self-defense shooting. In such a moment, the strong arm will simply take the lead and thereby shift the point of impact. Also, as in the Weaver Stance a push-pull force is used, it puts stress on the muscles that cost it the dexterity necessary to actually point exactly where you want to hit. This means, you might have problems getting the gun on target and hold it there for follow up shots if you are aiming for the head, for example. Not only that, wherever you aim, you will actually hit higher and more to the side of your weak arm.

The point of Massad Ayoob is actually pretty easy to understand. Think about yourself when you started to learn to drive a car or motorcycle. At the beginning, you just focus on getting this thing under control. You have great difficulty seeing and understanding your surroundings, let alone navigating to a place you might want to go. This stress you felt in that moment will be vastly exaggerated when you are holding a gun and try to aim at an assailant that will overpower you if you fail to hit him.

The latter was proven by Gabe Suarez as far as it was possible within the constraints of training. No, he did not have people shoot at each other using different stances and look who remains standing, or let`s rather say, not completely like this. He did have a class following the Force on Force approach. The participants used Airsoft pistols and protection gear and simulated a gunfight at a distance of five yards. Here, masters in shooting techniques with the Weaver Stance got their behinds handed to them by beginners. How was this possible?

The point is pretty simple and is also explained by Jerry Miculek. At the beginning, when the Weaver Stance was taught, nothing better was known. Later on, when other stances came to prominence, it was still taught as a matter of the trainers being trained in them. Apart from that, it does make sense to teach new students the correct technique.

However, once you are not a novice anymore, you might want to use your experience in actually sending led downrange to do so in a way in wich you personally are able to do it accurately. You should not focus on the technical details of the Weaver Stance but move as you can and have to in order to aim comfortably. Your body knows how he needs to move in order to achieve the hits you desire. You do not survive a gunfight by concentrating on the exact technique, and if your elbow is in the right angle, right position and moves freely or is locked. You win a gunfight by hitting the other one faster and down him before he does this to you.

This does not mean to have no stance at all and move as you wish. You are not supposed to dance while shooting. It just means that you might opt for another stance, like the Isosceles Stance, or you change the Weaver to the Chapman Stance or just to your taste.

It is a matter of being able to shoot where you want reliably. However, it would be too easy if the whole thing ends there. There is one more point you want to wrap your head around that was also noticed by Massad Ayoob. Turning your weak side forward towards an assailant, you present him your body with all your vital organs needle put in a row. One hit to your side can than just pass through them one after another and reliably down you. If you use the Isosceles Stance, your body shows its front. Any hit here can do considerable less damage to your body. However, you present a wider target and are easier to hit. As you can see, there is a downside to everything.

So, what is your take from that? Do not focus too much if your arms are in the right position and your body at the perfect angle. Pay much more attention to aiming and hitting. Let your body find the right position that allows you to point the gun where you need to point it and to keep it under control. Start with the technicalities when you are a beginner, but move to something more once you know what you are talking about.

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