Weaver, Chapman, Isosceles.

There is much talk on the Internets about choosing your Stance and that you should train that Stance.  I think this is wrong.  Obviously everyone will have their favorites and will argue them.  But I think we need to learn them all.

I find Weaver is good for shorter range work, Iso for intermediate or fast action, and Chapman for longer range work.  I don’t think I can use just one for all defensive scenarios.   And I think training only one is doing a disservice to yourself or your students if you’re a Trainer.

During the MAG-40 Class last week, Massad Ayoob teaches his students these three basic Stances.  I teach them as well.  While I’ve never really thought about it much I looked at the people who were shooting best in these stances.  For the most part, it was the big burly guys tended to shoot Weaver the best or said they preferred it.  Most everyone else liked or shot better with the other classic stances.  At the 15 yard line, everyone shoots 6 rounds from Each of the Stances, but gives the Female Shooters the option of not using the Weaver.

A Spy using the classic Weaver Stance.

If we’re teaching a method that only big strong dudes who can overpower the stance, then it doesn’t work for everyone.  I used to shoot Weaver all the time but found that I do better with the others.  So why are we even still teaching Weaver?  Isn’t this now Archaic to the point we should only think of it in terms of Black and White photos and the FBI Crouch and just shake our heads and comfort ourselves with our opinion that we are so vastly superior now days?

No, not really.  Because like much in the Gun Community, everything has it’s place.  And Weaver is still a very valid Stance to Learn and strive to Master.

If you are standing near a Stranger, in the Field Interview position, a couple feet away, Gun Side away from the Stranger… You are set up for a Weaver Stance in case you have to go to Guns on the Stranger. There’s one very good reason.  And you’ll find that you take this stance quite readily.  I’ve never talked to a Cop that I didn’t know that initially addressed me from a position ready to go Iso on me.  Because form a Martial Arts standpoint, it would be completely wrong.
Let’s say you are in your car.  Your Torso is not a Turret that will allow you to go Iso by traversing at your waste.  If you can, I’d like to see that.  Take the car out of it.  Let’s say you are in a Wheel Chair and something happens to the Left or Right of you.  Or just sitting in a Cafe.  If you have to go to guns quickly, you may not be able to stand up, spread your feet and stick your arms out to full extension.
These are just a couple cases where you pretty much have no other option than to use the Weaver.  Sure, you could then move into your other Stances, but the initial action response is from Weaver.  And wouldn’t it be nice to End the hostilities right then and there?

So for you Dedicated Chapmans and Isos… You still need to Train with the Weaver Stances.

27 thoughts on “Weaver, Chapman, Isosceles.”

  1. “A Spy using the classic Weaver Stance.”

    Looks more like “cup and saucer” stance to me Og…

    1. Cup and Saucer Grip… Weaver Stance.

      Spies are notoriously bad shots anyway. Bunch of bitchy little girls.

  2. I couldnt agree more, learn the different ways of doing it. There is no new way under the sun that I know of, just proper circumstances of shooter and situation. I can show you pictures from the Fitzgerald’s “Shooting” in 1930 with a guy shooting nearly textbook Weaver. Likewise there are pictures of OSS guys shooting what appears to be textbook Iso in 1943. Hearing the “my kung-fu is better than your kung-fu” is tiresome. I have feeling about what is most useful the majority of the time(which I will keep to myself to prevent sidelining the post), but they are all worth learning.

  3. I started off with Weaver, and to be honest… it is damn hard for me to change.
    I DO make it a point to work on Iso whenever I go to the range.
    I had not heard of Chapman till rather recently… and was surprised to find out that it was THAT I was using rather than classic Weaver.
    I just ended up doing what worked best for me, and it turns out that it was something that was an acknowledged and taught form.
    I will continue to work on Iso, but in times of need… I default to the Chapman.


  4. As an “old dude”, 30 or so years of muscle memory are hard to break, I end up shooting weaver whenever I don’t force myself to use another stance.

  5. If your goal is continual improvement, you will learn every technique available for that art or craft.
    Unfortunately, most people in most arts or crafts are more interested in posturing and douchebaggery.

  6. Is it realistic to expect one to be able to stand up from a wheelchair in any circumstance?

    1. Ngilbert –
      I’ve known many people who use a wheelchair for mobility assistance. They can walk, albeit somewhat unsteadily, or very slowly. The wheelchair gives them a stable platform that is usually faster for them to get around in, but by no means are they absolutely chained to it.

  7. I really don’t like the Chapman Stance, but it’s mostly because of an old shoulder injury. For the most part I shoot Iso, followed by Weaver for closer quarters or when engaging targets to the left when moving forward.

    I’ve never been one to train in only one method. I also add the CAR technique for certain situations, and at least half of my shooting is done one-handed.

    You gotta know everything and be comfortable with it, just in case life demands you adapt your technique to the situation rather than the other way around.

    1. I see the utility of CAR, but looking at videos of it it, it is really hard to restrain my inner dickhead. I really want to make fun of it.

  8. Pincus champions iso and I understand why but I can’t bring myself to lock my elbows when shooting. I would have been a big, burly guy but the genetics didn’t work out.

  9. The best form is both no form and all forms. Do what you need to do to make the shot.

  10. I believe that with the evolution of techniques (remember the old WWI & WWII pics of people shooting with 1 hand or the old LE deep crouch & shoot the revolver w/1 hand) it isn’t advantagous to be learning all of the techniques and typically when one encounters a high stress situation they will more than likely default to either 1 or even some non-technique in the heat of the moment. For me personally I try to keep it simple stupid and I’m confident that if I have to whip it out I can get the job done…even if I’m in my power wheelchair. (Yes I do practice my draw from in it)

  11. The shoulder injury keeps me from being able to “lock back” the dominant hand shoulder for Chapman. Ogre gave me a pass last week, but I still find a benefit in the locked arm.
    Practice, practice, practice…
    After watching the Ogre go to a crouch with his knee looking like a Macy’s
    Parade Balloon, I gotta keep trying.

  12. Early in my career, I had the Weaver crammed down my throat by a binch of fanboys. I eventually changed to Isosceles, however, I still have to fight the urge to go to Weaver, which I hate.

    As a Cop, I prefer Isosceles. I present more of my armor to the threat. Weaver still opens up some of the underarm gap. I prefer the stability of Isosceles to the Weaver. I prefer the increased mobility potential with Isosceles.

    Too many of the “techniques” that came out of the ’80s and ’90s were the product of the rush of the post ’70s grab at professionalism. Everyone and their brother were putting their name on “new” techniques, and marketing it. Those that got in on it early, like Ayoob, Chapman, Weaver, etc, made a name and money.

    We have, as educated, experienced and professional fighters, progressed beyond that. We have no-nonsense people now, like Pat Rogers, and others, that have the experience and skills to think further ahead and move beyond the basics. I don’t care for guys like Pincus, Yeager, etc. And, while Ayoob is undoubtedly skilled, and very knowledgeable, I find it hard to not cock an eyebrow when listening to a man that is a part-time cop, with no combat experience, from a small town in Maine. Especially when I have 21 years street and training experience as a Cop, 4 combat tours, and have, as an LEO, used deadly force on another human being, beyond the battlefield.

    Recent times have spawned a number of skilled, relevant, experienced face-shooters. The gun-rag studs of the ’90s need to bow out. Times have changed and we have learned a lot. Take your royalties and retire.

    1. You’ve never taken a class from Ayoob, I take it? The man is a Scholar of the use of lethal force. Watching him shoot in the lane right next to mine… His skills have not diminished. The man is a WEALTH of knowledge with much more to teach.
      I hope he’s teaching for another 20 years.
      There are other trainers out there that need to retire. But that is a whole other topic that I aint posting about.

      1. I’m just saying, being a scholar will only get you so far. Practical, relevant, real life experience is the next logical step. Anyone that considers themself to be the end-all expert on a subject, without the requisite experience, is making a mistake. I recall an online discussion involving Pincus and his lack of experiences. He was very defensive, and, argued that practical experience (combat or gunfighting) didn’t matter. How would he know? However, a number of instructors that DID have it disagreed. That experience gives you a perspective that those that don’t have it can’t understand.

        Like I said, Ayoob is skilled and knowledgeable, but, there are many others out there that have more to offer.

  13. I showed two young women the basics of pistol shooting a few weeks ago.
    One had shot rifles before, one had never fired a gun.

    I showed them Weaver and Iso stances. I was interested to find that one picked Weaver and one Iso. Also noticed that the taller, slimmer woman chose Weaver saying it felt better.

    Both hit dead center on a IPSC type target set at about seven feet with their first pistol shot
    ever. Gun was a .22 S&W M&P.

  14. You’ve never taken a class from Ayoob,…The man is a WEALTH of knowledge…

    Likely very true but he is also so profane that the very air around him turns blue to the point you can’t see him on the stage. But still I grew as an LE reading his stuff and taking alot of the safety stuff to heart.

    1. He’s really toned down the cussing these days. Buy yeah, he used to be one Salty Dog. But one that I feel is the one every Gunslinger needs to listen to because he’s the SOURCE that most other Trainers use, even if they don’t realize it, when it comes to After The Shooting.

  15. Instructors should, as a minimum, learn about, but not necessarily practice or train to use, various techniques. An understanding of the benefits and disadvantages of each will only help that instructor to be a better trainer. Probably more important, though, is for an instructor to have the ability to think beyond the basics, and analyze problems and apply solutions to those problems. I know instructors that don’t have the skill to do that, and they simply parrot what came out of the manuals they used in instructor school. Others attempt to improve techniques, and, if their ideas work well, implement them, and if they don’t, scrap them and move on.

    Nobody is the end-all in the practice of gun-fighting. There is always something new to learn, and practice. Study plus experience gives the strongest base, in my opinion.

  16. I would also note that in a firearms retention posture, it is arguably faster and easier to draw and fire from a Weaver stance than an isoceles.

    1. If you are so close to a subject that you are taking a bladed stance, such as in a street contact in LE, then, in my experience, if the bad guy makes his move, you are better off using your close combat skills and personal weapons to disable him, rather than trying to draw in a clench, or, back out/retreat and draw. Sometimes, the gun isn’t the right tool when in close.

      1. I would agree with that in large part. But the exception is that your (and by that, I mean my) options may be limited in this regard do to some laws/regulations depending on area and agency/company as well as training and policy.

  17. Things got so bad for awhile my agency routinely taught contact shooting: draw, grab the right wrist with the left hand (so left elbow is pointed outward over the gun) and using the point of the left elbow (if you were R handed) to space the shot (i.e. keep the suspect away fare enough) and keep the slide from being pushed out of battery (Glocks) and doing double and triple taps. Did it with blanks at one course and even with hearing protection it was apparent that the after math would be nasty (think powder burns) no matter what…but you would be alive and its saved at least one of us so far…

  18. I started with weaver, then was fully trained in ISO. Now my natural stance is a modified weaver. I keep my body armor towards the bad guy ala ISO! But stance is weaver. It eorks great while on the move and room clearing.

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