The Weaver stance is a shooting technique for handguns. It was developed by Los Angeles County Deputy Sheriff Jack Weaver during freestyle pistol competition in Southern California during the late 1950s.
The Weaver stance has two main components.
- The first component is a two-handed technique in which the dominant hand holds the pistol or revolver while the support hand wraps around the dominant hand. The dominant arm's elbow is slightly bent while the support elbow is noticeably bent straight down. The shooter pushes forward with his/her dominant hand while the support hand exerts rearward pressure. The resultant isometric tension is intended to lessen and control muzzle flip when the firearm is fired.
- The second component is the positioning of the feet in a walking stance, with the off-side foot ahead of the strong-side foot. A right-handed person will have the right foot angled out to approximately forty-five degrees to the side and to the rear at shoulder length. Most of the weight will be on the forward foot, with the forward knee slightly bent and the rear leg straight. The shooter's upper torso should be leaning forward at the hips, putting the shoulders just over the forward foot. The rear foot will help catch the force of recoil, as well as allow for rapid changes in position. A left-handed person would reverse the footing.
The Modern Technique of the Pistol
The Weaver stance is one of four components of the "Modern Technique of the Pistol" developed by Jeff Cooper. The others are a large-caliber handgun, the flash sight picture, and the compressed surprise break.
The Weaver stance was developed in 1959 by pistol shooter and deputy sheriff Jack Weaver, a range officer at the L.A. County Sheriff's Mira Loma pistol range. At the time, Weaver was competing in Jeff Cooper's "Leatherslap" matches: quick draw, man-on-man competition in which two shooters vied to pop twelve 18" wide balloons set up 21 feet away, whichever shooter burst all the balloons first winning the bout. Weaver developed his technique as a way to draw a handgun quickly to eye level and use the weapon's sights to aim more accurately, and immediately began winning against opponents predominantly using unsighted "hip shooting" techniques.
The Weaver technique was dubbed "the Weaver Stance" by gun writer and firearms instructor Jeff Cooper. Cooper widely publicized the Weaver stance in several of his books, as well as in articles published in the then-fledgling Guns & Ammo magazine. When Cooper started the American Pistol Institute firearms training school, now the Gunsite Training Center, in 1977, his modern technique of the pistol was built around a somewhat formalized "Classic Weaver Stance". Due to Cooper's influence, the Weaver stance became very popular among firearm professionals and enthusiasts. Though in competition and special operations work today it has been largely supplanted by a modified isosceles stance, it still remains a popular technique among many shooters.
- Although the Weaver Stance was originally designed for pistols, it can be applied to virtually any type of firearm. However, the main principles of the stance must still be applied (support foot rear at shoulder length with support foot at forty-five degrees while support hand supports the weight of the firearm). This technique has many variations including stances with the support hand carrying a flashlight, knife, baton or other item.
- Although this firearm technique is still popular among shooting enthusiasts and firearm professionals, it is currently considered an outdated technique by many current firearm instructors that favor the Universal Shooting Stance and/or the Isosceles Stance.