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Proper grip

Discussion in 'Tactics and Training' started by Forty-eight, Jan 31, 2010.

  1. Forty-eight


    May 7, 2009
    Pinewood, SC
    I am in the process of setting up some proper firearms training, but I recently saw something on TV that worked for me, and I wondered if it is the right thing to do.
    As someone untrained, I tend to try and emulate what I see the knowledgable people do, so over the years I have developed my own grip, based on what I see people in the know doing. I use a two hand grip, with both thumbs pointing forward. I am right handed, and so I pull the trigger with my right index finger. I recently saw on one of the TV gun instruction shows, someone teaching a class, mentioned for a shooter to keep his left arm straight, and a slight bend in the right arm. I had been doing the opposit, keeping the right arm straight and a slight bend in the left arm.
    After hearing the correction, I pulled out my gun with the Crimson Trace laser and compared both methods. I wasn't shooting, only holding the laser on a far away target and noting the steadiness of the dot. It did seem that I was able to hold steadier with the left arm straight.
    I thought about it, and it made sense - the trigger pull could cause unwanted movement in the arm, causing the gun to be less steady.
    Sorry for the long post, but is there any truth to my uninformed deduction?

  2. There is the first issue, IMO. If you are untrained, go find somebody who is trained and get some training yourself. There are a number of ways to present the firearm, with each addressing different issues or needs. A good basic block of instruction will go a long way toward setting you on the right path.
  3. Forty-eight


    May 7, 2009
    Pinewood, SC
    Please note that my very first statement indicated that I am in the process of setting up a training class. I merely posed the question to satisfy my curiosity, not to suffice as training.
    I realize there are several ways to present a firearm, that is why I stated that I was right handed, using two hands, with both thumbs pointed forward.
    Don't worry, I'm not planning on using the answer I get here to base my firearms handling on. So there is no issue, I just wanted to know if there was anything to keeping the trigger finger arm bent at the elbow.
    Last edited: Feb 1, 2010
  4. Sam Spade

    Sam Spade Staff Member Lifetime Member

    May 4, 2003
    Obviously, or you wouldn't have been steadier.

    However----what you've found that lets you steady in a square-on training set up isn't automatically what's going to answer the problem when one or both of you are moving, or when you're trying to shoot somewhere other than on your centerline. Use it where it works, but don't cling to it.
  5. Jedburgh


    Sep 2, 2009
    North Georgia
    I hate to use a golf analogy, but the concept of grip is equally elusive for both sports. Just like in golf, other shooters are quick to point out what the "right" grip looks like. And just like in golf, you need to find a grip that is comfortable, repeatable, and allows you to perform to your maximum potential.

    There are folks who advocate locking out both elbows because it's a known point. You can always lock them out the same because locking them out is a bone/joint thing and not a muscle memory thing. There are an equal number who continue to advocate the push/pull weaver-style grip (with the support arm bent slightly).

    To me, firing a handgun is like any other sport. The shooter needs to adopt a fairly natural, athletic stance. Similar to throwing horseshoes and shooting a foul shot in basketball. Knees bent, relaxed and focused. In short, your grip should allow you to shoot quickly and accurately.

    It should also be neutral enough to adapt to changing situations (you're moving, target's moving, firing from the prone, kneeling, using barricades, etc). If you learn a really rigid style of shooting, keep up with the pace of a gunfight will be difficult. You need a grip and stance that are natural for you so that you can employ good fundamentals during high stress.

    Shoot me a pm if you need additional info.

  6. And note that my point indicates that you are asking a question that IMO cannot be adequately answered on a forum like this. As Sam points out there are issues besides "is this steady" that need to be looked at. There are a number of things that can enhance steadines that might be contra-indicated for your actual needs, or you may be doing a version of a hold incorrectly therefore deciding if another hold/grip is steadier would be based on invalid information, etc.
    Last edited: Feb 1, 2010
  7. PhoneCop

    PhoneCop TeleDetective

    Jan 6, 2005
    San Antonio, TX
    The best grip for you is the grip that works best for you. Strangely we don't all have exactly the same sized hands, with the same grip strength, shooting the same gun. (The list is actually more complicated than that but if suffices for a start.)

    Since hands, strength and guns differ I opine that it is wrong to dogmatically state that this grip or that grip is the proper way to grip the hand gun. What is best for me may not be what's best for you or someone else.

    And, this only addresses grip (wrists to finger-tips).

    You were actually asking about grip:
    (which is also called Thumbs Forward and probably looks something like this...


    though not exactly because those are not your hands)

    And, stance:
    I had not heard of this stance. I would love to see a link to the information or other reference.

    I show students a number of different grips (and stance), encourage them to try them and ultimate choose what works best. I advocate the thumbs forward grip and isoceles, but that may not what works best for them.

    However, this

    I can not agree with. If you think about it, the trigger pull is the trigger pull. You are inducing energy into the gun which done improperly can cause the sights (and therefor the the barrel) to move off the target. I can not see how a bent right arm would aid in controlling wobble created by manipulating the trigger.
    Last edited: Feb 1, 2010
  8. Gallium

    Gallium CLM

    Mar 26, 2003

    Some of the absolute best advice I've ever seen on GT. Listen to this person - he knows what shooting's all about.

  9. fredj338


    Dec 22, 2004
    I'm not sure that stance is even possible for a right hand shooter? I shoot modifed weaver, & try to teach it, but like JedB & Phonecop, not all stances fit all shooters. Not even all grips fit all shooters. Keep in mind the shooting hand does all the work & the support hand does just that. The more you allow the support hand to influence your grip, the worse your shooting is likely to be.
  10. Gallium

    Gallium CLM

    Mar 26, 2003
    Yes, it's possible for a righty (I do not shoot, nor advocate shooting like this).

    All my shooting hand does is : work the trigger finger, and keep the sights aligned/oriented on target. Really. That's mostly it right there.

    Personally, I think stance and grip are grossly over-rated. It really don't matter in the long run, on the firing line, or in the heat of the battle what kind of grip or position you use. Use what works.

    :cool: :beer:

  11. fredj338


    Dec 22, 2004
    I agree, use what works. I think it does matter quite a bit though. Small changes in grip & stance can help or hurt.
    AS to that odd stance mentioned, I can't even get into a position where my shooting arm bent & my support arm is straight, except maybe turning to my extreme right to engage a target (right handed).:dunno:
  12. Gallium

    Gallium CLM

    Mar 26, 2003
    Hi Fred,

    Reason why I say use what works is, for example, I had a guy in a class who'd had some nerves and tissue removed from his shoulder.

  13. Steel Head

    Steel Head Tactical Cat

    Jan 1, 2010
    A cat box in WA
    I've found that as long as I have a consitant grip I do ok no matter How my arms are bent/locked
    I have BAD elbows and shoulders from bike wrecks(and youthful stupidity)
    and it actually hurts me to lock out my elbows-I shoot best as of now with equaly bent arms
    As long as my hands look like this[​IMG]
    and my index finger is placed on trigger to promote straight pull
    I do OK
    Some day I'm gonna find a good shooting coach as I've found profesional instruction always seems to pan out
  14. HK Dan

    HK Dan

    Mar 27, 2008
    Jed, Drew--I agree with you both whole-heartedly.

    1) I too believe that stance is overrated for defensive pistol craft. You're probably going to be running, leaning around something, or shooting from retention anyway. All of that "Weaver v Isosolese" horse squeeze becomes irrelevent anyway.

    2) I firmly believe Brian Enos (about this): You can never learn to shoot. You can only learn about shooting. If you aren't changing up what you do and seeking improvement constantly, you aren't acting up to your potential. Performance is the yardstick--if it works for you, do it.

    3) I prefer Jed and Mr. Enos' advice. Shoot neutral and relaxed when you can. In a defensive situation, it ain't gonna happen, but at an IDPA or USPSA match? hey, it works.

    As a competitive shooter of some experience, I've gotta say--this has me scratching my head. I've never heard that bit of advice given. I don't know why it would make you more steady. That said, if, impirically, it does--use it.

  15. ecmills

    ecmills I shoot guns.

    Oct 8, 2004
    Memphis, TN
    Locking your elbows out in isosceles is going to transmit more of the recoil into your shoulders, and take the elbows out of the equation when it comes into absorbing that force.

    Ever tried playing with the angle of your elbows when bent? Angle them sharply downward (like in weaver)... versus almost straight outward (like hugging a fat man)... and you can dramatically affect the way the gun handles with just that one variable.

    You can see in my avatar, that I shoot with them pretty far outward (not angled down much). That's just something that's gradually developed over time as I worked on my grip and getting the front sight to track as purely vertical (no sideways/diagonal momvement) as possible.
  16. swotivated


    Apr 14, 2009
    ecmills avatar picture is a great example of the elbows locked out method. I like it because you're firing from the exact same position each time you pull the trigger. If you need to turn or move, just twist your hips or move your feet to get where you need to go. Your upper body stays fixed like the cannon turret on a tank. You're eyes, shoulders, arms, hands, and weapon stay fixed in the exact same relative positions.

    As an added bonus, if you're wearing body armor, this position ensures you stay squared off on your target which increases the surface area of armor you're presenting to the target.

    There are some situations (close in fights especially) where this position is totally useless, but I'm convinced it's the best baseline pistol grip/stance.
  17. Mr. Blandings

    Mr. Blandings

    Jun 20, 2001

    The "left arm straight, right arm slightly bent" grip you describe sounds like D. R. Middlebrooks FIST-Fire technique.

    Mr. Middlebrooks used to post rather extensively here at Glocktalk, but like so many other professional instructors I believe he grew tired of being sniped by folks who wanted to pick apart his information.

    He runs his own forum which can be found with a Google search.
  18. ecmills

    ecmills I shoot guns.

    Oct 8, 2004
    Memphis, TN
    My elbows are bent.

    But they're not bent *DOWN*

    Re-read my post. My elbows are about 4"-6" futher apart than they would be with the elbows locked. But they're not angled downward like you're used to seeing with a rifle or weaver-pistol-shooter - they point outward like you're giving a very fat man a hug.

    Take an isosceles stance with your elbows locked, then pull the gun back into your face about an inch. That's where I usually live during a match.
  19. Max1775

    Max1775 Marine Infidel

    Oct 1, 2009
    Helotes, Texas
    I shoot two different styles depending on the situation. I am right handed and often shoot a fully extended modified weaver style for most situations because I feel it gives me more lateral aiming movement. For precision range shooting I prefer a squared off stance for the stability.