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Proper grip for semi-auto

Discussion in 'GATE Self-Defense Forum' started by rmeron, May 9, 2010.

  1. Is there a proper grip for a semi-auto?I'm right handed so how do I put my left hand on the pistol in conjunction with my right?
  2. Mas Ayoob

    Mas Ayoob KoolAidAntidote Moderator

    Nov 6, 2005
    I think most instructors would agree that the firing hand should hold the pistol with the barrel in line with the long bones of the forearm, and the web of the hand very high into the grip tang.

    You'll also find almost universal agreement that both of the right-hander's thumbs should be on the left side of the pistol, to keep the support hand thumb completely clear of the slide. You'll likewise have almost unanimous agreement that the support hand should wrap around the firing hand, with the fingers of the support hand in the "grooves" between the fingers of the firing hand. The old "cup and saucer" was abandoned because it gave poor lateral stability, and because the "cup" tended to lift out of the "saucer" on recoil.

    Beyond that, we've entered Debate Country. While most instructors and current shooting champs urge you to keep the support hand's index finger BELOW the trigger guard, auto shooters from the late, great Ray Chapman to Angus Hobdell currently have won world championships as right-handers who kept their left index finger on the trigger guard.

    Thumb placement is likewise debatable, situational, and highly subjective. Thumbs curled down (Chapman style) gives the strongest grasp to the primary hand, but is uncomfortable to many. Thumbs pointed straight toward the target (Leatham/Enos grasp) is currently the most popular in IPSC, IDPA, and much of police training. Thumbs pointed upward 45 degrees makes sense with an M9 or other pistol with slide-mounted safety/decock lever, as it makes off-safing more natural and guarantees that such a pistol stays off-safe during firing. And John Farnam teaches thumbs pointed almost straight up. (As you can see, this element of auto pistol grasp leads to LONG debates.)

    Extensive range testing with YOUR gun in YOUR hands will determine what's best for YOUR current needs. A knowledgeable observer/coach will be a big help, as will videotape of you shooting, taken from both sides, to help you assess how the given grasp controls the given gun in rapid-fire recoil.

    best of luck,

  3. Mr Ayoob, Thank you for your response,as soon as I pick up my mel 30 I'm going to the range and try her out.