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View Full Version : "Milking the grip" vs. Firm Hold


Duxman
September 12, 2006, 09:33 AM
Combat Handgunnery (By Ayoob) tells us that one of the "lost" secrets of accurate shooting is to use a "crush grip" on your pistol. Prevents limp wristing and controls recoil.

He recommends that you grip the firearm with your strong hand as hard as you can until your fingertips turn white. And then place the weak hand and put as much palm as you can over the strong hand and grip tightly as well.

Using this grip, my shots go left and low.

Is there a way to do a "crush grip" and still do accurate shots? Am I missing something here?

Or is the traditional firm (like a good handshake grip) the proper way to hold a pistol? (Semi auto) :eek:

buzz_knox
September 12, 2006, 10:41 AM
The way I understood him was to get to the point that you start shaking, and then back the grip off to the point that it is as firm as you can get it for a long duration.

Milking the grip is when you tighten your grip as you pull the trigger due to sympathetic movement. That's what will cause the rounds to go down and left, rather than a crush grip.

Japle
September 12, 2006, 11:32 AM
I've been shooting for over 40 years and always went with the "tighter the grip the tighter the group" theory until I read Brian Enos' book.

According to the way I understand Enos, a tight grip does hold down recoil, but it also tends to prevent the gun from coming back on target. Your tight grip holds the gun in whatever position it's in, and when it's raised from recoil it just stays there until you bring it back. With a more relaxed grip, the gun bounces a little higher, but comes back on target without you having to do much to get it there.

Also, a tight grip is hard to maintain with great consistancy. As your grip varies, the way the gun moves in recoil varies, too. This messes up your timing.

The first time I tried this, I didn't have much hope that it was a good technique. Wrong! Faster splits every string. Less tension, so a smoother draw and smoother swing between targets.

YMMV.

John
Cape Canaveral

Lurper
September 12, 2006, 11:55 AM
Ayoob is a writer, not a very good shooter. If you want to learn how to shoot, learn from the masters. A loose grip works better. Your grip should be neutral - that is no undue pressure in any direction. Keeping your wrists firm and your elbows relaxed allows you to control recoil. Your whole body should be relaxed. Here is a link to a video, watch the elbows and wrists. If you page through the gallery to the still shots, you will see a sequence of still photos showing the proper grip.
http://s89.photobucket.com/albums/k223/Lurper/?action=view&current=Kimberdrills.flv

buzz_knox
September 12, 2006, 12:08 PM
Ayoob is a writer, not a very good shooter.

Do you have some evidence of this? Notwithstanding his national rankings in some sports, I've personally watched Ayoob shoot and found him to be more than a "very good shooter." So where do you get this statement from?

Lurper
September 12, 2006, 12:14 PM
I get this statement from personal knowledge. Mas is a great writer and firearms expert. His shooting skill is not on the same level as Leatham, Enos, Jarrett, Barnhart, Koenig, McLearn or any of the other top shooters in the world.

buzz_knox
September 12, 2006, 12:18 PM
His shooting skill is not on the same level as Leatham, Enos, Jarrett, Barnhart, Koenig, McLearn or any of the other top shooters in the world.

So, unless someone is a top shooter in the world, he's not a very good shooter?

Lurper
September 12, 2006, 12:29 PM
So, unless someone is a top shooter in the world, he's not a very good shooter?

That depends on your baseline I suppose. Relative to an average gun owner, yeah he is a great shooter. Relative to the names I mentioned, he is not.
More importantly, who would you choose to learn from? Someone who is a decent shooter and a great writer or someone who is or was a world or national champion?

Don't get me wrong, I like Mas and he can teach some very worthwhile tactics, mindset and theories but as far as pure shooting mechanics he is not on par with the top competitors.

buzz_knox
September 12, 2006, 01:11 PM
Don't get me wrong, I like Mas and he can teach some very worthwhile tactics, mindset and theories but as far as pure shooting mechanics he is not on par with the top competitors.

Do you slap the trigger like Leatham does?

OBIWAN
September 12, 2006, 01:24 PM
I have very little use for M.A.

But the man CAN shoot

And Lurper has once again (accidently) pointed out the difference between competition and fighting with the handgun

For all Ayoobs "issues", I would sooner turn to him to learn to fight with the handgun than the "top competitors"

Now...if I wanted to learn to compete....Lurpers list is sound

mack59
September 12, 2006, 01:54 PM
Personally, I'd rather learn from Rob Leatham who shoots iron sights consistently, but also knows how to use optics, who has won world competitions shooting optics and iron, and who has also been used by the military to train our special ops soldiers to shoot.

That is not putting down Mr. Ayoob. Mr. Leatham just has more experience and is a better shooter.

Lurper
September 12, 2006, 02:13 PM
I should probably start a new thread but,
And Lurper has once again (accidently) pointed out the difference between competition and fighting with the handgun

For all Ayoobs "issues", I would sooner turn to him to learn to fight with the handgun than the "top competitors"


There is no difference in shooting mechanics. The only difference is in tactics. If you learn how to hit the target quickly, it makes no difference whether it is in competition or not. The mechanics of shooting do not change. Only the situation and equipment change. But to say that someone who is fast and accurate in competition won't be fast and accurate in a gunfight is just not true. The process is the same no matter what the target or setting is. I understand that mindset is the #1 factor but with all else being equal common sense and logic tell you that someone who is an exceptional shooter is an exceptional shooter. Rob, Todd, McLearn, Shaw, myself and others have been sought out by the some of the most elite military and law enforcement agencies in the world. It wasn't to teach them tactics, it was to teach them the mechanics of shooting because they realize that the mechanics are the same no matter what the setting. IMHO, having been there done that, I believe that the ability to put lead on the target quickly is the most important skill to learn. The best tactics in the world do no good if you have two in the chest before you use them. They also do no good if you can't hit the broad side of a barn. For most civilians and LEO, the confrontation will be up close, fast and furious.

I get really tired of people trying to convince the less experienced shooters that there is some huge difference between being proficient at target shooting and being proficient at defending yourself. In the narrow confines of mechanics, there is no difference. As a baseline, you should strive to be able to hit an 8" plate at 10 yards in 1 second with your gun holstered and hands at your sides. This isn't possible with a few of the concealed rigs, but should be with most. If you can hit a plate at 10yds, you can hit c.o.m. just as easily. There is no difference in technique, grip or stance between what works best for shooting at paper targets or perpetrators.



Do you slap the trigger like Leatham does?

I guess that depends on how you mean that. I always chuckle when people make disparaging comments about Rob. He is human just like everyone else and has the same flaws and shortcomings, but he, Enos, Shaw, Plaxco, Barnhardt, Koenig, Jarret and many others revolutionized practical pistol shooting techniques. Rob and Brian are probably the two greatest pistol shooters in history.

rhino
September 12, 2006, 08:13 PM
Back to the crush grip ...

If you're doing it right, it should prevent "milking," not cause it. If you're already gripping pretty much as hard as you can, you can't then increase the pressure with your ring and pinkie fingers, which is what milking is and is one of the more common reasons for shooting low and low/left.

I don't think it's for everyone, but it does work well for a lot of people, especially those who have trouble with milking. You have to really do it, though, not just half way, as you'll get all the drawbacks (too much tension, slow on follow-up, etc.) and none of the advantages (i.e. stopping the tendency to milk the grip).

Blackwater OPS
September 12, 2006, 08:31 PM
Back on topic, USE WHAT WORKS BEST FOR YOU!!!!!

pax
September 12, 2006, 08:43 PM
I always figured that if I were in fear for my life, I'd probably hold onto the gun just as tightly as I could. That being the case, I practice shooting well with the "crush grip" I expect to develop under extreme stress.

If your shots are going low & left, you probably have a trigger-control issue going on -- that is, you're probably yanking the trigger rather than steadily increasing the pressure on it, and you're probably not following through properly. It's not the fault of the crush grip, but may be incidental to it.

pax

JohnKSa
September 12, 2006, 08:52 PM
While Ayoob does compete, it is my understanding that most of his teaching and advice is self-defense oriented, NOT competition oriented.

While competition teaches us some things about self-defense and can be great practice/training for self-defense situations, there are certainly various aspects of competition shooting that are not at all useful in self-defense scenarios.

I would think that in a defensive situation, absolute reliability and a technique (strong grip) that works well for a person who is highly stressed is a great approach.

Dreadnought
September 12, 2006, 09:29 PM
If your shots are going low & left, you probably have a trigger-control issue going on -- that is, you're probably yanking the trigger rather than steadily increasing the pressure on it, and you're probably not following through properly. It's not the fault of the crush grip, but may be incidental to it.
That was exactly my problem until I got my trigger pull analysed. The trigger release is just as important as the trigger pull.

BlueTrain
September 13, 2006, 06:09 AM
Concerning the differences between combat and competition shooting, some authorities caution against doing both for the reason that some habits that might be learned in competitive target shooting would be bad under combat (gunfighting) circumstances. Yet in the past, anyway, most of the better known handgun target shooters were law enforcement officers and in some agencies, it was encouraged. Personally, I think I would choose competition over combat every time.

As far a grips go for both handgun and rifle and shotgun, I suppose about every style has been used over the years, some being a little faddish. Some appear very logical and work, others appear illogical and still work (for me), while others just seem plain wrong. It doesn't look like anyone carries a rifle at port arms anymore. The police and military goes along carrying their rifle or pistol pointed down, with the arm straight (and using both hands) if the arm is a pistol. I guess that is OK but I never saw the logic of bringing the pistol UP to the target as preferable to any other method. Although I am not in law enforcement and will never be clearing a room or assaulting an enemy position, it seems to me that speed in movement toward the enemy is necessary, not this lockstep shuffle that appears to be the way to do it, with the rifle or pistol way out in front.

But what do I know?

Mas Ayoob
September 13, 2006, 07:25 PM
Interesting to watch some of the directions this thread has taken...

Lurper, degree of grasp depends on what you're going to do with the handgun. If your "mission profile" may involve moving through unknown areas in darkness where hand and/or gun may bump objects sharply -- or where an unseen hand may emerge to grab at your gun -- habituating yourself to a very firm grasp obviously makes tactical sense. It's not something you need at a match.

I'm not a full time shooter, but I do shoot competition just to keep my own skills up and as a "pressure laboratory." Law enforcement and the military have indeed learned a great deal from the top competitive shooters. I've personally had the privilege of taking classes from Rob Leatham, Frank Garcia, Jerry Miculek and others -- including John Shaw and Mike Plaxco back in the day -- and will undoubtedly do so in the future. You're right, Lurper, I don't have the skill of a Leatham or a Barnhart and never will. However, the mechanics of speed shooting must, in the real world, be tempered with the mechanics I mentioned in the first paragraph above. While all of us including myself have learned much from the great champions you mention, there's more to the defensive use of the firearm than shooting.

Rhino nailed it. Try it all, see what works for you, and adapt according to your actual, individual needs.

Lurper
September 13, 2006, 09:39 PM
Mas,
While I respect your opinion and expertise when it comes to tactics, firearms knowledge and expertise, I have to disagree. I say that with all due respect. I have spoken to you a few times back in the 80's and I have an autographed copy of your book and always enjoyed your opinions. However, when it comes to pure mechanics of shooting there is no difference between combat and competition. I have shot with all of the shooters you mentioned, taken classes from most of them (and more) and my shooting skills are of the same level. I shot the circuit for several years and was sponsored by several of the biggest names in the industry. I mention that not to beat my own drum, but to establish my bona-fides.

When it comes to tactics etc., you have forgotten more than I will ever know. But when it comes to shooting, I am comfortable and confident with what I teach and know. Having been taught to shoot Weaver by Ray Chapman, I am familiar with the (flawed) concept of trying to control the gun with strength. I'm sure you remember Ross Seyfreid? He had the strongest grip I have ever felt but even he could not control the pistol with brute force. In fact, tension in your arms and hands hinders your ability to move quickly and smoothly. My point was that regardless of what your target is, a relaxed or (as Brian Enos calls it) a neutral grip and stance is far more effective. My other point was that in many cases, the ability to put lead on the target quickly can mean the difference between winning or losing or life and death. You can shoot faster when you are relaxed.

I agree with you 100% that there is more to defensive use of a firearm than shooting. I believe I even acknowledged that in my post. That is why I stressed "within the narrow confines" of the mechanics of shooting.

Ronny
September 13, 2006, 09:41 PM
Is there a way to do a "crush grip" and still do accurate shots? Am I missing something here?

Using this grip, my shots go left and low.

I've been experimenting with this as well for many months now using both dry fire and live fire exercises and various holds and stances. I discovered it doesn't matter how hard you hold the gun. What matters is where your sights are the moment the gun fires. Not where they were when you pulled the trigger.

Think about this. When you pull the trigger, there is an instant of hang time between when the sear releases the hammer and when the firing pin actually contacts the primer. I had to really slow down and pay attention to my sight picture and I actually caught myself flinching in that instant after I pulled the trigger before the gun went bang.

If you find yourself not hitting where you are aiming. Drop your mag and dry-fire at the target a couple of times. I bet if you take a break to dry fire during a live fire exercise, you'll catch yourself with a little bit of flinching. Work that out of your system, slow down, hold the gun steady (doesn't matter if it's white-knuckle firm or not), and if you don't move those sites when the gun goes off there will be a nice hole right where you where aiming at.

Hope this helps. It worked for me; it may not work for you.

Mas Ayoob
September 13, 2006, 10:38 PM
Lurper, I understand that you can shoot better when relaxed. However, can we both agree that relaxation is not compatible with the near-death experience of shooting to survive?

The world and national champions we've both trained with were distinguished by something more than the titles they won. They were distinguished by their ability to step away from the Conventional Shooting Wisdom of the time and find their own way, that worked better for them.

Thus were born 60/40 (and 40/60) grip applications, the neutral hold, the "modern Isosceles" (arguably not an Isosceles at all), the straight thumbs grasp, "riding the link" versus Leatham's and Jarrett's "controlled slap" of the trigger, and cetera. Some of these work for some people, and not for others. Some work with light trigger guns, but not guns with heavier trigger pulls. Nothing works for every shooter with every gun in every situation.

Getting back to the hard grasp, though...

You and I both studied under Chapman, apparently, and I taught with him for several years. He was always an advocate of a firm grasp. So was Applegate. So was Jim Clark. So is Jerry Miculek today. What works for one champion does not work for EVERY champion, and what works in the arena of the given discipline does not necessarily work as well in life-threatening emergencies.

I would suggest to all reading this: try everything out there, and see what works for you and your needs. Ain't about me, ain't about Lurper, ain't about the great champions of this or any other season...in the end, it's about YOU.

Lurper, you gonna be at the IDPA Nationals in Little Rock next week? If so, look me up, and we can discuss it in a "natural environment for the topic."

Cordially,
Mas

JohnKSa
September 13, 2006, 10:45 PM
However, when it comes to pure mechanics of shooting there is no difference between combat and competition.There is a difference and it's well documented.

Watch some police shooting videos. I've seen several where the people have so much instant muscle tension from the extreme stress that they actually stop bending their knees when they walk.

Given that it's very likely that you're going to tense up considerably and lose fine motor control, it makes sense to practice with a shooting grip that's going to work well in that kind of scenario.

I'm not saying to eschew competition--and clearly neither is Ayoob. On the other hand, there are differences between competition and fighting for your life, and the way your body responds is one of the biggest differences.

Lurper
September 14, 2006, 01:34 AM
Mas,
Thanks for the invitation, but I am pretty disenchanted with IDPA so I won't be there. However, the next time you are out near God's country (AZ) let me know. I would welcome the opportunity to talk with you.

In response to your post and John Ska (and shamelessly hijacking the thread):
So much of what we believe comes from personal experience. In my experience, I have not lost motor control nor become extremely tense nor shakey during high stress situations (including armed confrontations). So, I don't believe that those things happen. Also, one of my early mentors (don't know if you remember him) Roger Burgess pretty much said the same thing about his shooting. In fact, now that I think about it most of the guys I know that have been involved in shootings never even mentioned those things. But you have tons more expertise in that area. What has happened to me every time is I go into the zone just like when I am shooting a match. Time compresses and I was focused on what was happening in front of me. I credit that to training to the point that handling the firearm was first nature.

I won't belabor the grip topic any more, I don't think we are going to change each others opinion. I know that it works for me and for everyone I have taught it to over the last 20 years, so that is my reality. BTW, I trained with Chapman in the 80's, Roger Forceville was his assistant instructor. Ray was married to Beverly and they had a crazy Rhodesian Ridgeback that used to attack my shoes. Anyway, Roger Forceville now lives out here and I see him at the range often. Small world.

Mas Ayoob
September 14, 2006, 02:00 AM
Lurper, tell Roger I said Hi. Hope you weren't in the shoes when Cowboy went after them.

Dunno who you are or where in AZ you are, but will be in Tombstone next month, if you're anywhere nearby, maybe we can connect and talk shop.

Been an interesting thread...:-)

springmom
September 14, 2006, 07:26 AM
I am not a national champion at anything, nor do I play one on TV. I guarantee you Rob Leatham has never heard of me and if he had, he'd sleep well not worrying about a one of his titles. I'm just a mom, a "hobbyist" at shooting, and I train as best I can for self defense. All that said, THIS comment-

In my experience, I have not lost motor control nor become extremely tense nor shakey during high stress situations (including armed confrontations). So, I don't believe that those things happen

caught my attention. Because it didn't happen to YOU, it doesn't HAPPEN? Your experience is normative to you, but it stops at YOUR skin. You don't have a flood of adrenaline in high stress? Good for you, but that is not the definitive normal response to danger. So your grip on your firearm when in armed confrontation may be more idiosyncratic than the norm.

Or maybe there are lots of people who are cool as cucumbers and relaxed in a firefight, I don't know. But to say it doesn't exist because it doesn't happen to you seems a bit odd.

Springmom

BlueTrain
September 14, 2006, 07:41 AM
Well, cool and relaxed are not the same thing. You can certainly be cool under stress but are very unlikely to be relaxed. I suspect that in many situations more people than not simply do nothing, provided they themselves are not in grave risk at the moment, like if something heavy were about to fall on them. In other words, there are serious situations when something needs to be done but the situation is not such that most, if not all, of the people seeing the situation are in any danger themselves. So most people do nothing except stand and watch. I am referring to something like when a person is accidentally injured. Maybe, just maybe, someone will offer to help. It is usually more complicated than that but you get the idea.

There can also be stressful situations, gun related, in which you are in no danger at all. That is what competition is about. Sure enough, if you watch any kind of action-oriented shooting competition, including plain old bowling pin shooting, and you will see what might be call stress-induced failures to act properly. That is a clumsy way to put it but the point is, there is stress in competion and having to deal with it might be a good training tool for the real thing. I might point out that it can also show the limitations of tricked out firearms that might be a bad thing to carry to a gunfight. Ever see a gun fail to fire in a competion--in this day and age?

Lurper
September 14, 2006, 09:51 AM
Springmom,

You're right. I don't dismiss that it happens to others, I'm simply saying that in my experience and from the experience of a handful of friends it doesn't happen. Since it is a matter of perception I could be way off. But I don't believe I am. The fact that it didn't happen to me or my friends is no more indicative of what the norm is than saying it happens to everyone. My main point was that I believed it was the fact that I was well trained with my firearm that action was automatic, so there was no time for anything else. No concious thought. I fired 500 rounds a day 5 days a week and traveled the circuit shooting matches every weekend. I also had a range in my backyard. My secondary point was that if you train enough (mental training as well - not just on the range), you can overcome what some claim is a natural response.

This isn't the first time (nor 1001st) I have had this conversation. It is one of many questiosn I have wrestled with over the years. So many of our beliefs come from life experience. I believe that proper mental training enables people to accomplish extraordinary feats. I also believe that everyone can be taught to shoot on the same level as Rob.

Just my opinion, doesn't mean it's the gospel to anyone except me. I am passionate about shooting because it changed my life and was my entire life for many years. I am also reasonable enough to change my opinion if I am shown otherwise. But in the 20+ years I have been shooting, my opinion on this topic hasn't changed since I switched from shooting Weaver/Chapman style to shooting "natural" style.

Dux, sorry to hijack your thread (so many times).

Duxman
September 14, 2006, 11:23 AM
Lurper no problem.

The advice you and the rest of the folks gave here is terrific. You can hijack anytime.

Blackwater OPS
September 14, 2006, 01:31 PM
There is a big difference between a well lit safe range where no one wants to take your gun and kill you with it(or at least they generally restrain that impulse) and situations where it is dark and you KNOW there are persons who wish to do just that.

There is no doubt in my mind that SOME mechanics are different when shooting combat vs. the range. These are few examples that come to mind-

Would you take time to do a tactical reload at the range? No, because you KNOW you will not need those extra rounds later. Would you shoot from the hip at the range? No, because you don't see anyone there that has already drawn on you and is about to fire, or is 5 feet away with a knife.

That said, I have to defer to Lurper on this one, where there is NO difference is in weapon control. Control of your weapon is control over your weapon. If you are trying to keep your weapon on target or prevent someone from grabbing it, the more control you have the better.

OBIWAN
September 14, 2006, 01:46 PM
How hard you grip is too relative to be useful IMO

One mans "firm" is anothers "hard" (or womans)

At the risk of being no more specific than anyone else I would recommend "hard enough"

But I would say trigger control is the number 1 (and most perishable) shooting skill and not every competitor does it exactly the same way....so much for there being a single "best" way.

I am not going to name drop ( you know like saying someone is not a "good shooter" and then comparing him to the top competitors :-)

But most of the people I know that have actually fought with a handgun are far from the "you must do it this way...the right way" ..they are more apt to say "here is A way" and here is why it might be the best compromise between all of THE ways

Competition and Gunfighting have different goals. Nobody should take offense at the suggestion that they are different.

In one, you stretch the rules to give yourself every opportunity to win

In the other...you ignore " the rules" and cheat like heck to survive.

A champion level shooter will not lose his ability to shoot accurately just because he leaves the range

But even though IDPA was an attempt to come back towards realistic tactics there is still a HUGE difference between competing and fighting with a handgun.

All I have to do is watch the way cover is used to know who I would emulate in an armed confrontation...and it would not be the gamesman.

I have seen lots of very good shooters fall apart when suddenly their light, footing, etc. was suddenly sub par. "I knew I should have actually practiced shooting at targets that were not facing directly at me" :o

Those with a fighting mindset ask tough questions like " how well will this technique work if my hands are bloody".

Competitors ask tough questions like " If I hold my thumb this way will it cut my splits by .01 seconds"

Once again....this doesn't make competition (or competitors) bad.....just different.

Think about it like this...the best Nascar Driver in the country may still not be able to teach you to parallel park.:D

OBIWAN
September 14, 2006, 01:52 PM
"Because it didn't happen to YOU, it doesn't HAPPEN? "

That also caught my eye....I think it would be more accurate to say because it didn't happen to him....yet

BlueTrain
September 14, 2006, 02:24 PM
The are probably exchanges like this on the differences between target shooters (rifle) and hunters. Ultimately the goal is the same as far as the shooting goes, which is to put the bullet in the right spot. Yet there is more to it than that.

Lurper
September 14, 2006, 05:19 PM
Here's 2 more of my cents for what it is worth:
There is no difference in the mechanics between hitting the target quickly and accurately regardless of what the target is. I would never presume to teach or argue tactics - not may area of expertise. However, most of the arguments presented vis-a-vis combat versus competition just don't hold water. Once you leave the mechanics of hitting the target rapidly you have crossed into the realm of tactics. There are a million differents schools on tactics. My opinion of sound tactics is to be the first one to hit my target. I have been in more than one armed confrontation so I can speak about my own experience with some authority. From my experience, for most civilians and L.E.O., the ability to hit the target quickly is the single most important factor. I also believe that the tactical reload is a non issue for civilians and most L.E.O.. Most shootings are up close, fast and furious and are over in a relatively small number of rounds. I carry 2 extra mags for my Colt officer's acp or gov't model, 1 extra speed loader if I carry my Mod. 13. I figure if I can't get the job done with 12 rounds then I guess I am gonna die.

Further, I would argue that faster draws and splits are all valid skills that could save your life. Most of my L.E.O. friends who were involved in shootings said that they were over so quickly that they didn't have time to think about let alone use tactics. This reinforces my belief. I'm not saying my belief is the only one that is valid, just offering insight into where it originates.

Axion
September 14, 2006, 06:58 PM
There is no difference in the mechanics between hitting the target quickly and accurately regardless of what the target is

Like springmom I'm a nobody in the shooting world so I don't expect anyone to take my advice. I also think you're right on the above point. However, I think you get stuck on that point and don't look further. In match you have the "luxury" of shooting with a loose grip, if you so choose, because you know that know one is going to try and knock the gun out of your hands or take it from you. In real life someone may well be intent on doing just that, and since loosing controll of your weapon in a life or death situation would be very bad, you may well not have the luxury of a loose grip.

That said, knowing that in a real life situation you might need to use a death grip just to keep controll of your gun, not because it's necesarrily to most accurate way to shoot mind you, I think it makes sense to practice that way.

JohnKSa
September 14, 2006, 08:23 PM
I fired 500 rounds a day 5 days a week and traveled the circuit shooting matches every weekend. I also had a range in my backyard. My secondary point was that if you train enough (mental training as well - not just on the range), you can overcome what some claim is a natural response.I think that this explains a lot.

With this level of training, I think that you can easily overcome a common natural response. However, few people have the time, money or willpower to shoot 11,000 rounds a month.

I find it just a bit surprising that someone who shoots more in a month than many shooters do in a lifetime honestly assumes that his personal responses and experiences will carry over to the average gun owner.

rhino
September 14, 2006, 09:33 PM
Don't Leatham and Jarrett both grip the gun really, really hard too? I've never met either in person, but those I know who have say they favor a very strong grip.

I know it's not the current vogue in the practical shooting circles, but the crush grip does have value, especially for people who can't otherwise get good hits. If for no other reason, if it helps eliminate milking the grip, it's a good thing.

I'm not sure tension in the hands is a huge factor in shooting quickly either. Matches are not won or lost on split times, but on target transitions and movement. I doubt if the difference in splits with a crush grip vs. a relaxed grip would make any difference "in real life" at all.

When we discuss this, we have to understand that getting good hits, regardless of the speed, is on ongoing battle for many of us. We need to get the hits however we can before we can worry over the minutiae of too much tension in the hands slowing our splits from 0.2 to 0.25 seconds.

I say all this because I am currently experimenting with a really firm grip again. Over the last 12 years, my grip had become increasingly more relaxed, but somewhere along the way I also picked up a tendency to milk the grip. I tried keeping my strong hand pinkie off of the grip (which I still do when shooting strong hand only) as you don't need it for grip strength and if it moves, it only hurts you. That only worked when I had time to think about doing it, so now I am trying to grip firmly enough that my pinkie and ring finger no longer have much left, so they can't do much damage even if I am startled. So far the results are pretty good.

Lurper
September 14, 2006, 10:40 PM
Don't Leatham and Jarrett both grip the gun really, really hard too? I've never met either in person, but those I know who have say they favor a very strong grip.

No, neither of them do. Todd was my shooting partner when I lived back east and I have known and shot with Rob on a regular basis for more than a decade.

I'm not sure tension in the hands is a huge factor in shooting quickly either. Matches are not won or lost on split times, but on target transitions and movement. I doubt if the difference in splits with a crush grip vs. a relaxed grip would make any difference "in real life" at all.

Tension in the stance and grip are two of the biggest factors in shooting fast. Your body moves quicker and more smoothly when it is relaxed. Also, if you lock your wrists, elbows and shoulders the recoil pushes your entire body. Lock you elbow and relax your wrists and the gun rises excessively. Extend your arms to a point that feels natural and your elbows act like shock absorbers and the muzzle rises less. You are correct that splits are not going to win a match by themselves (with a few exceptions like the Steel Challenge), but in a stage or situation that involves 5 or 6 shots up close and personal that is a different story.


When we discuss this, we have to understand that getting good hits, regardless of the speed, is on ongoing battle for many of us. We need to get the hits however we can before we can worry over the minutiae of too much tension in the hands slowing our splits from 0.2 to 0.25 seconds.

Actually Rhino I think you have it backwards. If you pay attention to the minutiae of tension in your grip and stance you will allow speed to happen. If you try it in the opposite order, it won't work too well. Think about what milking the grip or healing really is: the introduction of unnecessary tension in a certain direction to the grip. Eliminate undue tension and you eliminate the problem.

With this level of training, I think that you can easily overcome a common natural response. However, few people have the time, money nor willpower to shoot 11,000 rounds a month.

I find it just a bit surprising that someone who shoots more in a month than many shooters do in a lifetime honestly assumes that his personal responses and experiences will carry over to the average gun owner.

Yes, but I wasn't born shooting that much. By the time I was shooting that much, I had a range in my back yard and was sponsored by several different companies. But that is not where the ability took place, that was after it was established. I don't believe that Rob, Todd, Brian, myself or any of the other top shooters are born with any more talent than anyone else. Last time I looked, they had not discovered a shooting gene. I started out just like everyone else. It didn't take that long to reach a high level of competence thanks to some of the greatest names in shooting. But that is my point. I did it in a period of several months and anyone else can if they have the desire.
More importantly, I can teach anyone to achieve a high level of proficiency in a matter of days. So, I really do believe that my experiences carry over. I believe that everyone can do it, that is why I may seem evangelical about it at times.

JohnKSa
September 15, 2006, 12:21 AM
More importantly, I can teach anyone to achieve a high level of proficiency in a matter of days. So, I really do believe that my experiences carry over. I believe that everyone can do it, that is why I may seem evangelical about it at times.Of course you can bring someone to a high level of proficiency in a few days, but that is not anywhere the same as the reconditioning of reflexes and the training of the nervous system attained by literally tens of thousands of repetitions each month over time.

In other words, I certainly believe that you can get a person shooting at a very impressive level in a short time but that doesn't mean that they will have achieved the deep retraining of reflexes and supression of autonomic response that you achieved by shooting 11,000 rounds a month for an extended time period.

You can't mix the two. One is proficiency, the other is literally retraining the nervous system at a very low level.

The autonomic responses to very high stress are well documented as are the probabilities of experiencing the various symptoms. Their existence and prevalence are not in question regardless of your personal experience. That said, I agree with you that it is possible for very intense and extended training to suppress or perhaps eliminate many if not all of these responses.

However, that is not going to happen to the person who makes a trip to a standard paper target range every other month and shoots a box or two--not even if they take a weekend training course every few years. You've found the formula, and it involves months of constant training at a level that only a very tiny percentage of the shooting community would consider reasonable or even practically attainable.

I think your experiences are valuable and I'm glad that you are willing to share. However, I did a poll on a large gun forum and found that only about 63% of shooters who responded have fired 10,000 centerfire handgun rounds in their entire shooting career. That's among shooting enthusiasts! You're compressing what amounts to a lifetime of shooting for the majority of shooters into a month and then doing that over and over again. That is extremly atypical and therefore it is completely unreasonable to expect that your results are anything but atypical either.

You are confusing what is possible with what is realistic.

Pointer
September 15, 2006, 12:13 PM
Ayoob is a writer, not a very good shooter.
:barf:

Ayoob has been considered one of the "GREATS" for some thirty years!!!

He is an excellent shooter... :rolleyes:

The crush grip has worked well for me for some 45 years...

EDIT
The very tight grip is done with the lower three fingers of the strong hand and the loosey-goosey stuff is done with the trigger finger and thumb... When using two hands and the push-pull method, the base of the strong thumb is squeezed forward to increase a secure hold even more...
THIS PREVENTS THE GUN REPOSITIONING ITSELF DURING REPEATED RECOILS...

:)

rhino
September 16, 2006, 10:35 AM
Lurper said:
Actually Rhino I think you have it backwards. If you pay attention to the minutiae of tension in your grip and stance you will allow speed to happen. If you try it in the opposite order, it won't work too well. Think about what milking the grip or healing really is: the introduction of unnecessary tension in a certain direction to the grip. Eliminate undue tension and you eliminate the problem.

Actually, I was not talking about how to get faster splits, I was saying the time difference in splits doesn't really matter that much if at all in most applications.

For what it's worth, I can trip the trigger ridiculously fast (I posted some numbers on the Enos forums a couple of years ago) that most people don't believe, like a few legitimate (not echoes and not letting the gun rock in my hand and go full auto, which some people can do but I can't) 0.08 sec when I was shooting a friend's completely stock Kimber .38super with factory Armscor ammo. I think I had one 0.07 during the same string of fire. Now, I can't hit anything past a few feet, because all I'm doing is firing as fast as I can, so it's essentially a circus trick for me.

I think getting the right visual cues are more of a limiting for most shooters for their real split times for shooting while using their sights and getting good hits past contact distance. Now, you could argue that grip tension plays a role in how the front sight moves, which obviously affects how fast someone can see it all happening, but I believe most shooters are more limited by the seeing than the gripping in terms of splits.

For what it's worth, when I'm shooting in a match I have no idea how I hard I grip the gun, and my accuracy is good when I go as fast as I can see the front sight settle. Other than when I have to shoot strong or weak hand only, I pretty much just "grip it and rip it." I only have accuracy troubles when I'm shooting slowly, standing still, and I have too much time to think and make mistakes. That's the situation for which I am experimenting with my grip and split times are completely irrelevant then.

JohnKSa
September 16, 2006, 01:58 PM
I believe splits like that are attainable. That's well within the expected cyclic rate of a fully automatic pistol from what I can determine.

I agree that the utility is questionable which also explains why there are so few fully-automatic pistols even where legality is not an issue.

Lurper
September 16, 2006, 02:35 PM
Actually, I was not talking about how to get faster splits, I was saying the time difference in splits doesn't really matter that much if at all in most applications.
Neither was I. I was talking about how to shoot fast in general. You hit the nail on the head with visual cues being a weakness for most. However, it is the entire package that makes an excellent shooter. What I specifically was saying was if you worry about the minutiae, the rest will take care of itself. The gun and your body will move more quickly and smoothly if you are not tense. Also, it is very hard to get a consistent amount of pressure on the grip or the gun if you use on of those methods. FWIW, I know how tight I grip my gun in a match because I grip my gun the same way every time. That is what training is supposed to do, reinforce a skill to the point where it requires no conscious thought.

Since this thread addressed grip specifically, I addressed only that (give or take a bit). But the single most important shooting skill you can develop is the shooting mind. The ability to remove you conscious mind from the shooting equation at will. Based on your final comments, I would say that is part of your problem. When you have time to think, you don't shoot as well. Don't think, shoot!

I don't need to tell you how good those split times are. I used to get an occasional .09 w/2 A hits, but my average was .11. Now I'm lucky to get .13.
Your are correct that in the big picture splits are of little importance. Fast draws are of little importance as well. Unless the stage or tactical situation is one that involves close up targets with small number of rounds. Then, both draw and split times are critical.

rhino
September 16, 2006, 06:55 PM
heh! If I want to know that I'm getting both A hits at 7-10 yards, my splits are more like 0.18-0.20 with my 9mm. I haven't looked at a timer during a match with my .45 in a long time since I have been shooting the 9mm to save $$$. I think I am shooting El Pres for the classifier in the morning, so I'll try to remember to write down my splits and make a mental note of how I was gripping.

I know what you mean about how you know how you're gripping, but I suppose I'm coming from the opposite direction. I don't know how I'm gripping when I'm "really" shooting because it just happens. I especially have no memory of it when everything goes well. I don't remember my good reloads either, just the mistakes.

----------------

17SEP06 - Okay ... I failed to fulfill the mission I assigned to myself. I did not check any of my splits! I did note that I wasn't gripping very firmly while I was waiting for my front sight to settle during a couple of stages. It's funny what can go through your mind in such a brief period of time. Afterwards I received comments on how my gun did not move at all, so even though I wasn't crushing the grip, it must have been hanging on tightly enough.