The excitement and challenge of wide open competition was what led Jack Weaver to develop the Weaver Stance, with the sole purpose of winning Jeff Cooper’s “Leatherslap” competition in Big Bear, California. In Cooper’s own words, “It began in 1956 at Big Bear when I set up the first Leatherslap. As far as I know, it was the first match of its kind held anywhere in the world. It was unrestricted as to technique, as to weapon, as to caliber, as to holster, as to profession. It was a straight quick-draw match — just draw and hit a target at seven yards.”
At that time everyone shot from the hip or one-handed from the shoulder, which is a loosely defined style know as “point shooting.” This worked well on television, but in real life competition things are different. According to Jack, sometimes “what started out as serious business soon produced gales of laughter from the spectators as most of the shooters blazed away…” Then “with guns empty and all 12 rounds gone but the 18 inch balloons still standing, they had a problem: load one round and take aim or load six and blaze away again.”
By the time the 1959 Leatherslap rolled around Jack had realized that “a pretty quick hit was better than a lightening-fast miss,” and decided to bring the pistol up using both hands and actually aim it rather than simply point and shoot. Quoting Cooper again, “Jack walloped us all — and decisively — using a six inch Smith K-38. He was very quick and he did not miss. And, of course, he shot from the Weaver Stance, which was, and is, the way to go.”
As the world of practical pistol shooting evolved, more complicated contests were developed and it was discovered that when speed was not quite as important as it was in a “Leatherslap,” the Weaver Stance worked even better. In time, everyone began using it.
In 1982, the Weaver Stance received what may be the ultimate endorsement. Jack received a letter from James D. McKenzie, then assistant director of the FBI, which had just completed a year long survey of handgun shooting techniques. (Click on the letter photo to see a larger readable PDF image. *Please Note: You must have Adobe’s free Acrobat Reader to view PDF documents (available by clicking here, if needed)
John H. “Jack” Weaver died at his home in Carson City, Nevada on April 7th 2009. He was born in Southgate, California on November 1st 1928. On behalf of the entire Weaver family I would like to thank everyone who ordered posters and sent e-mails, letters, books, videos, artworks, awards and department patches to him and we want you to know that you helped make the last years of his life very fullfilling.
Sincerely, Alan Weaver
VAYA CON DIOS BIG DADDY