The So-Called “Weaver” Stance Predates The “New”    Technique

 ANYONE wanting to learn combat handgun shooting need only acquire a copy of Rex Applegate’s WWII Classic Kill or Get Killed. It contains the most complete, fully illustrated description of all aspects of the mechanics of the method. Fairbairn’s Shooting to Live is the seminal work on combat handgun shooting, but as a complete learning text there is nothing that compares with Applegate’s treatment of the subject.

Rex Applegate was Fairbairn’s student. Fairbairn was British, and the father of practical handgun shooting. During WWII he was seconded to the American OSS as a close combat instructor. Fairbairn trained the British Commandos, the agents of the SOE, and secret intelligence operatives of MI6, as well as FBI agents. He had also trained U.S. marines who were stationed in China. After learning Fairbairn’s unarmed and armed doctrine (which had its beginnings in Shanghai during the early 1900’s, where it proved itself incredibly effective by the Shanghai Municipal Police), Applegate expanded upon the subject and became Fairbairn’s opposite number in the United States. Fairbairn’s wartime hand-to-hand system was radically different from his formerly-taught Defendu, but his handgun method —— already proven hands down to be supremely practical and effective —— was imparted to the allied forces when WWII broke out.

While the core and key to combat handgun shooting is point shooting, this does not exhaust the teachings of those prominent advocates of point shooting during the second world war. Despite the erroneous nonsense so often advocated and widely believed by the True Believers in the “new technique”, Fairbairn, Applegate —— and all of us, today who continue to teach the method, ALSO teach and advocate the use of deliberate, use-of-the-sights firing and, if it suits the shooter when time, distance, and light permit this option, the employment of two-handed gripping and sighted aiming of the weapon. Not only is this true, it is verifiable that the type of grip espoused latterly by Jeff Cooper and his friends as being the one “invented” by Jack Weaver when he appears to have replicated that two-hand grip and stance first described, pictured, and advocated by Fitzgerald in his Classic, Shooting, was known, taught, and provided as an option when two-hand shooting was feasible, by the WWII combat masters.

You need only obtain a copy of Fitzgerald’s book Shooting and in it you will see a big photograph of what many today refer to as the “Weaver stance”.

But specifically —— to prove that the two-hand shooting grip integral to the so-called “Weaver”(Fitzgerald?) stance” was obviously taught by Rex Applegate during the second world war —— look at the illustration on Page 145 in the 1976 Paladin Press reprint of this Classic.  Look carefully at the two-hand grip examples. There are three of them. Check the one on the bottom. That is identical with the two-hand grip which (we believe) Sheriff Jack Weaver rediscovered during the shooting contests at Big Bear Lake in the 1950’s. (Note: We certainly do not mean to imply that Jack Weaver “copied” this shooting position, and knowingly allowed Cooper to recast it as some sort of “new” thing. No, he probably just hit upon it in trying to find ways to win contests in which distances permitted or necessitated use of the handgun’s sights. Nor, to be as fair as possible, do we wish to suggest that Cooper was aware of the fact that this “new” shooting position had already been long established in the preceding decade, by then Capt. Rex Applegate, who actually taught it as an option for the shooters that he trained (and he trained 10,000) when those rare instances occurred during which the handgun’s sights and deliberate two-hand gripping-and-aiming were feasible.

Ninety-seven to ninety-eight percent of deadly encounters where a handgun is used occur at distances between combatants not exceeding about 20 feet! At least 50% occur within a range of FIVE feet. But the fathers of point shooting (and their “offspring”, like ourself,  who are carrying it into the 21st century) have not neglected to prepare individuals for distance work, where time and light allow for using the handgun’s sights. This is clearly unusual, uncommon, rare, and —— frankly —— unlikely. Still, that two to three percent of the time the shooter needs to have a method available to him that will not fail. That method was fully developed, wrung out, proven in war, and taught long before any competition technique-masquerading-as-a-combat technique, came along.

Don’t spend close to or more than $2,000. to learn how to use a handgun in combat. We teach it inside of four or five lessons. And if you can read you can have the whole system for the price of a copy of Kill or Get Killed.

Note: During WWII the material now available as an open source in Kill or Get Killed was presented in a then classified Document by Applegate, titled Handgun Offense. What Kill or Get Killed presents is an expanded version of that Document —— along with solid gold regarding knife fighting, use of the stick, and unarmed combat, as well as half a dozen other subjects!