The Evolution of the Modern Shooting Stance
By Ron Avery
The recovery time between shots is faster with the Modern Isosceles and muzzle flip is decidedly less. I attribute this to having both the arms and body weight actively involved in absorbing recoil, along with the shooting grip mentioned earlier. The Modern Isosceles, when done correctly, is so efficient in recovery that it has made obsolete some of the concepts used in the early days of IPSC. One such concept is what Jeff Cooper called the "Hammer", where the shooter would take one sight picture and fire two shots into the target at close range. With the Modern Isosceles, you literally cannot outshoot your front sight at the closer distances. It will barely lift out of the rear sight and you can track it all through the cycling of the slide and see it for the second shot. I'm talking about times that can measure less than twelve hundredths of a second between shots.
At distance, this faster recovery, along with less lateral and vertical dispersion means the shooter can engage targets faster and more precisely.
Now at this point, I hear some of the old arguments start to surface. Some advocates claim that since the body is bladed in the Weaver stance it makes you less of a target To which the flip side is, "Is it better to get shot through both lungs or just one? This argument has been around since dueling began several centuries ago and has not been satisfactorily answered to this day. Also, what about when one is wearing body armor? Turning the torso too much exposes the armpit area. I do blade my body when confronting a potentially hostile person at 2-3 yards in order to protect the gun if it is holstered. But, when you are five, ten or twenty yards away, blading is not as important a concept as natural point of aim, which allows you to get on target faster and more precisely.
I tend to find myself agreeing with former Border Patrol pistolero Bill Jordan, who, in his book, No Second Place Winner, had as a photo caption, "Quickness of erect stance could prevent your presenting any kind of target." Amen.
Far too many modern day trainers have turned a blind eye to the Modern Isosceles. In my opinion, they really don't understand how it works so they either choose to ignore it or knock it as a "gamey" technique. It was this listening to this kind of talk that held up my progress as a shooter. Remember, the Weaver stance started in competition and later proved itself in combat. The Modern Isosceles started in competition and has proven itself in gunfights as well.
In fact, there have been some studies done with law enforcement personnel, trained exclusively in the Weaver technique, going to isosceles in gunfights and training exercises. While the data is far from complete, it is interesting and should not be discounted or ignored.
The next question is, "Does it work on standard defensive handguns or just race guns? The answer is a resounding "yes"! Take a standard drill such as the classic El Presidente, where we have three targets at 10 yards approximately a yard or so apart. With back to the targets, the shooter turns and draws, fires two rounds at each target, reloads, and fires two more on each target. A good time back in the early 80's was six to eight seconds. This drill is now being shot in the mid to low four second range with standard guns. Standard guns are essentially the same equipment as those used when IPSC started.
I continue to test and evaluate Weaver vs. Modern Isosceles technique in my shooting school with students and compare notes before and after on student progress. While there are other advancements of technique such as using vision more effectively and mental conditioning techniques, almost without exception, shooters do better with the Modern Isosceles.
Does this mean the Weaver stance is dead? Absolutely not! There are a great number of shooters who have trained with the Weaver stance and simply prefer to shoot it for whatever reason.
You can greatly enhance the Weaver stance by getting the center of gravity forward a bit and bringing the arms more to the centerline of the body. This will assist in recovery and lessen dispersion.
However, for pure performance, the Modern Isosceles is tough to beat. Already, many of the elite military units, FBI/HRT personnel, law enforcement officers, special response teams, and citizens interested in self defense are taking up the Modern Isosceles.
In a gunfight, mindset is still, by far, the most important element. But, assuming that you do have a fighting mindset, if you could improve your precision hitting capability as well as your ability to deliver fight stopping hits faster and with less effort, wouldn't you be interested in learning about it?
I doubt that the debate over which is best for defensive handgunning will ever end. But speaking in terms of performance, the Modern Isosceles has an undeniable edge and is the stance of choice among the top professional shooters in the world.
Many thanks to: Ron Avery at The Practical Shooting Academy, Inc
American Handgunner Magazine