Tiger McKee

Shootrite Firearms Academy

Isosceles vs. Modified Weaver

9mm vs. .45, point shooting vs. aimed fire, Glock vs. whatever – these are a few of the great debates of our time. Along with these, and others, is the debate over whether you shoot using your arms in an isosceles position, which has both arms straight out in front of you, forming a “V” between the arms and chest, or the modified Weaver, where the strong arm is almost straight and the support arm is bent at the elbow.

Jack Weaver was one of the original shooters of the “Leatherslap” competitions that Jeff Cooper ran in California back in the 1950’s in Big Bear, California. Weaver developed his own style of firing, and as Jeff Cooper stated, “He showed us the way.” Cooper modified Weaver’s arm and hand positions to form what today is known as the Modified Weaver technique. The key to this technique is that the strong arm pushes forward, with slight pressure, while the support arm, bent at the elbow, and pulls back with the same amount of pressure. This isometric pressure allows you to recover from the recoil quicker, getting follow-up shots on target faster.

Eventually the Leatherslap matches became known as the South West Combat Pistol League, which lead to the International Practical Shooting Confederation, and then the USPSA. Along the way the highly modified pistols, holsters specially designed for competitive use, and other gear began to become common in the quest for winning. In this environment the Isosceles position, where both arms are held straight out in front of you with the body squared up to the target, rapidly gain popularity.

Which method you should shoot with depends on a lot of factors. When teaching a new student, I find that I get better results with them if I teach them the Modified Weaver. For a student with previous experience, who uses the Isosceles, I don’t try to change them, as long as they are getting hits on the target. To me, what really counts is hitting the target, not the position you use.

In combat you’ll fire from whatever position works at the time. All the pristine stuff we do on the square range goes out the window during the dynamics of actual combat. Working around the side of cover will change the technique you shoot from. With thick body armor wrapped around your body your position will change. You may even be firing from one hand, and maybe using the weak hand because the strong arm or hand is injured.

The key is to learn to fire your weapon from a variety of positions, so you’ll have the technique you need as dictated by the situation. What ultimately matters is that when you press off the shot you hit with predictable results. As I like to say, “do whatever is needed to get the hit.” If you’re not hitting the threat you’re not ending the fight. That’s the end of the debate in my


September 19, 2010 - Posted by | Auto Pistol

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