A Historical Perspective - On The Weaver Stance

Gabe Suarez

Suarez International USA
A Historical Perspective - On The Weaver Stance

In the of the late fifties and early sixties there was a sport called fast draw. It involved western-based "pistoleros' fast drawing and bursting balloon with the unburnt powder of their cartridge blanks. It also involved a walk and draw of sorts where two participants got to draw against each other again with blanks. The winner was the one who was the fastest and there was no regard for hits.

This was the era of the Hollywood westerns ala Bonanza, Gunsmoke, etc., and the Hollywood episodes played a big part in these events. Life imitates art...as it were.

I recall a story that Audie Murphy was once challenged by a fast draw artists publicly. Murphy was a western star of the era, but also a proven and blooded veteran. The reply was "with real ammo...anytime".

In any case...when Cooper began the Bear Valley Gunslingers, he in essence replicated the fast draw event, but with the shooters shooting against each other on balloons at 7 yards. The edges between a winner and loser was a scant second of quarters of seconds. Most shooters used some sort of point shooting from the "hip" as was popular in the era. Hits at the involved distance weren't so good apparently.

Let's remember first of all that this was simply a fast draw event requiring hits, and that the targets were not 3 yards away, but farther out at 7 yards and beyond

Cooper being a scholarly type watched the winners...much in the same way we watch those who tend to prevail in our force on force drills, and began to pick out characteristics of a "winning style".

Jack Weaver was unusual in that he fired from eye level and with two hands on the gun. Why was never recorded as far as I know. I will say this from personal experience. Having been near sighted prior to Lasik I shot from a very Weaver-like position when I needed to use the sights. Why? I simply could not see them if I locked out. Now that I have perfect vision, I have gravitated to a more locked out position when that type of shooting is required. Whether that was the case with Weaver we will never know.

In an interview some years later he noted that most of the hip shooters tended to miuss at 7 yards, and that he developed this posture specifically for that competition.

In any case, Cooper noted that Weaver tended to be successful so he selected Weaver's position as a focal point in the Modern Technique.

Now I will say a few things that are personal observations. Modern technique devotees assume they will always have the initiative in the fight...often times stopping the other man before he even gets going. They also assume that a single or pair of shots will stop their adversary, and prevent him from firing. The possibility of return fire is ignored and the shooter stands erect and shoots carefully. And most of all, the shooter is training a system that was developed for expected man vs. man shootoffs against a distant target (distant in relation to the "inside 15 feet" interval we know most fights take place in).

Arrive at your own conclusions. What we know today.

We know that the higher percentage of individual fights will be reactive in nature and that in these cases the bad guy has already begun the attack. Clearly we would like to be preemptive but this is often not possible in the urban gunfight scenario.

We know that no handgun is omnipotent. We have first hand knowledge of men shot with shotgun slugs still being combative. Thus we do not place undue confidence because we are shooting a "45". We expect a failure to stop and we expect return fire.

We know, again from personal experience and from observing countless evolutions of force on force drills, that unless one moves off the enemy's aim, he very likely will be shot. Likewise we know that moving off the bad guy's aim will likely keep us safe from his gunfire. Knowing that is better to NOT GET SHOT, than to shoot well, we train moving "Off The X" as a crucial part of the Fourth Generation of Pistol Technique.

We know that maintaining a Weaver or Isosceles, or a CAR or really any sort of pistol stance at the outset of the fight in a reactive event, while moving off the X is simply not possible. When we began the force on force drills I was derided by all the Modern Technique crowd for having "left the fold". I challenged them to show up to any FOF class and pull of a perfect pair from concealment and not get shot. No one has done so. All quickly realize to stand is to die to move is to live. Thus the issue of stance is moot in Fourth Generation Training.

We also know that we need to develop broad skills, but prioritize the more likely needed skill sets. While being able to hit a 180 meter gong is a cool thing, being able to do it in an eye blink at 5 yards is much more likely to be required. When we query FOF students about what sort of sight picture they used, the majority of answers are something like "meat and metal", or the pistol in peripheral vision while focusing on the adversary. I have yet to hear anyone say "I saw a perfect flash sight picture with the front sight perfectly level with the rear sight". So we examine and integrate the threat focused point shooting skills of the old crowd.

The objective is simple. Kill the other man without him killing you. That is the purpose of the pistol and we need not elaborate on it further. Any shooting system has that as its goal...and in essence prepares and points the student toward that goal. The late martial arts legend Bruce Lee once described his JKD system as a finger pointing at the moon. The student should not focus so hard on the finger that he misses the heavenly glory.

It is the same for the pistol.

Gabe Suarez

One Source Tactical
Suarez International USA
Christian Warrior Ministries

Matthew 10:34 Think not that I am come to
send peace on earth: I came not to send peace,
but a sword.

Lateral movement is our friend

Lateral movement saves lives. It moves you off the pointy end of the gun and causes your opponent to rethink his game. It buys valuable milliseconds for reloading and living. It allows for some very lively dance steps in the pistol on pistol game of life.

If you have a proper shooting form, You are not using cover concealment and movement properly.
The objective is simple. Kill the other man without him killing you.

I guess this pretty much sums it up. I remember reading the statement in one of Ayoob's books. "The object is not to take them with you but to send them on ahead".
move your butt!!!

it can and does save lives. when i was at the police academy, we watched a dash cam video of a Texas DPS officer who demonstrated this. the officer had pulled a vehicle over when all of a sudden 4 guys exited the back seat rapidly with weapons drawn. at that point, lead started flying . the officer turned around,drew his weapon and fired on the run with the gun upside down and behind him as he ran back to the patrol unit for cover and concealment . by then the driver was out and shooting.the Dps officer took out 3 of them and locals showed up to help him finish these bastards off.the DPS officer moved and lived, even though he had been hit at least twice.bad guys kept doing the ghetto dance and got dropped.lesson: move your booty!

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