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How should I hold the pistol?

Discussion in 'Tactics and Training' started by Stupid, Jun 15, 2013.

  1. Stupid


    Oct 26, 2005
    I am trying to learn how to shoot fast. What I find out is that every time the gun recoils, it tends to jump in my hands, forcing me to readjust my grip after the recoil.

    I watched some video of speed shooters. Their hands seem to recoil along with the gun and they simply pull the trigger after each recoil.

    What am I doing wrong? Not holding the gun tight enough?
  2. 4Rules


    Mar 11, 2012

  3. 4Rules


    Mar 11, 2012
    [ame=""]Rogers Shooting Gloves - YouTube[/ame]
  4. One component is just how much friction there is on the gun's grips and other handling surfaces. This is why you'll see so many out there who "stipple" their polymer-framed guns, get extra gripping surfaces cut into their slides, and/or apply "grip-tape." to certain areas. Depending on just how your gun fits you, a grip reduction or other such customization can also be of tremendous help.

    [ As an aside: gloves. Yes, they can be extremely useful, however, you'll need to use them in-context. A police/military shooter may always have gloves on - but as a legal concealed-carry citizen, you need to really look at your everyday dress and see just how often you'll be wearing gloves, as well as what kind of gloves you'll be wearing. Not only can gloves help with manipulations, they can also hinder manipulations, and if you looked at some noted military/LE trainers, you'll notice that they've adapted certain techniques specifically for those who wear gloves all the time. As a civilian, if you're not going to always be wearing gloves or may only wear certain types of gloves at certain times, I would recommend that you train the way you usually dress. ]

    There is definitely also a component of raw strength in the mix. I've had the opportunity to train with a few top shooters, and to a man (so far, they've only been men), their grip strength have all been most impressive. Vogel recommends that you work up your training so that you are at least able to close a #2 Captains of Crush grip trainer.

    The final component of the question is technique.

    Most currently favor the "thumbs forward" technique, as with proper execution, the positioning of the support/reaction/weak hand thumb is indicative of having achieved some form of "wrist lock" with that hand, which thus gives physical abutment against the recoil "flip." However, this is not the end-all and be-all - and even within the "thumbs forward" technique itself, you'll see quite a bit of variation as to how various top shooters execute the technique: that there is no "by Hoyle."

    With the "thumbs forward" grip, have a look at the following resources:

    The Combat Grip

    ^ This is perhaps one of the best articles written about the modern "thumbs-forward" grip, and it shows you how several different top-tier shooters have adapted this style of grip into their own unique variants. Keeping this article in-mind, watch the following YouTube videos [​IMG]

    [ame=""]Pistol Shooting: The Ultimate Grip, Stance & Presentation. - YouTube[/ame]

    ^ That's D.R.Middlebrooks's Fist/Fire grip technique, which is a variation of the modern thumbs-forward grip. Overlook the fact that it sounds like a mini-commercial and just look at the physics of his presentation. Note that what's fighting muzzle flip is the strength of the support/reaction/"weak" hand's pinky, locked around the base of the pistol or even the magazine base-pad - and that the tremendous ulnar deviation of the wrist is simply an anatomic skeletal way to achieve that lock (note that in this following thread, Middlebrooks, whose screen-name is DRM, talks about how it is also possible to achieve this anatomic lock-out of the wrist via tendon/muscle tension, as per several of the shooters detailed in the above-referenced Handguns article: Proper Grip & Recoil Managment).


    ^ This is ssdsurf's YouTube presentation on the modern thumbs-forward grip. It's a three part series, and is geared towards the newer pistol shooter. It's worth watching the entire set, despite the length. [ Edited to add: I pulled this reply from one of my previous replies to another shooter here at GT, and I now can't find surf's channel on YouTube ??? ]

    Grip is most related to recoil control.

    Get a good enough grip on the gun, and your shooting partner or instructor can literally put his/her finger on the trigger - or even use a chopstick or a screwdriver - and jerk off rounds as fast as they can, and you'll still keep EVERY shot in an 8 or even 6-inch diameter circle on a target that's 7 yards away. This is actually a drill that some instructors will do with intermediate-to-advanced pistol shooters, to demonstrate specifically how important the grip is, and how much you can get away with, with respect to trigger control (or the lack thereof), at certain distances and under certain time pressures.

    Once you've got your grip down - and this should automatically fix your "tightening fingers" problem, in terms of your 7-to-8-o'clock "push" - you can then work trigger control with more diligence (since your grip deficiencies can potentially mask the finer trigger control issues). This recent thread should help you get started:

    What is wrong with my grip?

    ^ Note for that particular shooter, his troubles were not really so much grip related as they were trigger related, and a combination of dry-fire practice ("balance the spent case" drills), the live-fire "ball and dummy" drill, as well as the Haley/Avery "TriggerStripe Drill" made a noted improvement in his shooting. [​IMG]

    Best of luck! [​IMG]
    Last edited: Jun 15, 2013
  5. Stupid


    Oct 26, 2005
    How tight am I supposed to hold? Certainly not knuckle white. How about balance between the two hands?
  6. ranger1968


    Mar 23, 2009
    Stupid, self -teaching pistol technique is a really tough proposition;

    My advice is for you to find a competent professional instructor, spend a little money, and get some formal training;

    The money you spend is an investment in your skills, and you will be much better of than trying figure it out for yourself watching Youtube videos and using trial and error;

    Some things, it's worth paying a pro to give you some lessons.....this is one of those things.
  7. Joshhtn

    Joshhtn The eBay Guy Silver Member

    Mar 31, 2009
    Middle Tennessee
    Add some kind of grip tape (Talon Grips for example) to aid in grip... Practice, practice, practice.
    Last edited: Jun 15, 2013
  8. OhioGlock90


    Sep 1, 2011
    Columbus Ohio
    What you want to do is hold the gun side ways with one hand, with the other hand holding up your pants. That should do the trick.

    Posted using Outdoor Hub Campfire
  9. [ame=""]Matt Steele Outdoors (3) Shooting Grip Essentials - YouTube[/ame]

    ^ Matt Steele FTW! :rofl:


    ^ This, +1.

    There's always a trade-off.

    While far from impossible to self-teach, it's going to take time and ammo.

    When ammo used to be relatively affordable, it was time - particularly paid range time - that was the killer.

    Now that ammo is much more expensive and much harder to source, that's often the limiting factor.

    Paying a professional instructor for his/her time and wisdom is an excellent idea.

    In virtually all other forms of sporting endeavor, one-on-one instruction is common at the top tier. For some reason, that's lost when it comes to shooting. That's always confused me.

    Getting some good instruction not only benefits the beginner, but can also tremendously help even the most experienced shooters.

    That said:

    Yes and no.

    Like I said in the outlinks, there are some situations for which an absolutely crushing grip is not only necessary, but can also produce excellent results.

    However, usually, this is far from the best way to extract best accuracy/precision, as it usually will induce some level of muscle tremor as well as will result in accelerated fatigue.

    There's really no magic: you simply want to hold the gun as securely as possible to mitigate recoil, while leaving your trigger finger the dexterity it needs in order to properly execute its full stroke through the trigger path - to, as Avery said, "finish flat." What this means is that your shooting/strong hand will necessarily not be gripping at its full strength (try gripping at full strength, and see how difficult it is to execute a trigger press!), however to say that it's something like a 60/40 or 70/30 split between the support/firing hands, I feel, is to place an unrealistic expectation on a shooter, as we're not robots, and it's hard to judge such percentages, particularly under stress.
  10. [​IMG]
    Last edited: Jun 15, 2013
  11. countrygun


    Mar 9, 2012
    That is the truth of it. Asking on the internet is like saying "My leg hurts, what's wrong with it" and expecting a correct diagnosis. An instructor observing and correcting is worth far more than free advice on the "net".

    Wile the advice you have gotten may be good, it also may be immaterial to your issues. For all anyone knows at this point you could be shooting a single action .44 magnum with smooth Faux-ivory grips or a Ruger MKIII with Hogue finger groove grips. Obviously two different issues at play.
  12. HeadHunter

    HeadHunter Millennium Member

    Jul 26, 1999
    Oddly enough, I just wrote an article about it.

    Link to full article.