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Old August 5, 2014, 12:02 PM   #1
Kimio
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Questions about locking wrists

So I'm trying to teach myself to lock my wrists while firing a hand gun. Problem is, I'm not entirely sure if I should be locking my elbows as well. From what I've seen in videos, it doesn't appear that you're supposed to lock your elbows, just your wrists.

I have video that shows my attempts to do this, but I feel like I may be doing something wrong, since my groups still are fairly large. I think the 2nd & 4th shot I make the mistake of allowing my wrists to "break" hence the dramatic muzzle movement. I may be locking my elbows while I'm firing too causing my whole body to rock as well as I fire.

The best way to describe what I feel when locking my wrists and shooting is that there is tension in the back of my thumbs where the meet at the wrist, elbows I try to keep loose so they can absorb the recoil (clearly I was having problems remembering that in the video) while doing this I try to get my hand as high on the gun as I possibly can. Keeping my finger on the trigger after firing and slowly letting it forward until it resets.

I notice when I do try to lock my wrists, the front sight seems to return to center more naturally, and I don't have to hunt and peck for it after each shot. Is this the right way to do it?

Thoughts?


http://youtu.be/QaJMSCPcGNA

Last edited by Kimio; August 5, 2014 at 12:12 PM.
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Old August 5, 2014, 01:25 PM   #2
maestro pistolero
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It's hard to tell whether your wrists are locked or not in that video. I do notice that when the gun recoils, the muzzle is lingering in it's partially recoiled position rather than dropping right back down on target like it should.

In establishing a repeatable grip, it is very difficult, at first, to distinguish the difference between white knuckling your pistol grip with your fingers, and actually locking your wrists. The two different types of pressure feel the same in the hand until you teach yourself to distinguish them.

To begin to get familiar with the difference it is useful to isolate the two types of muscle tension:

First, grip your gun with lots of finger tension from both hands, but purposely unlock your wrists so that the gun can be moved vertically very easily.

Then use moderate to light finger tension but lock your wrist completely. Notice the difference between how that feels and learn to differentiate the two types of pressure.

By doing this you can learn to more purposefully regulate the amount of tension devoted to wrist-lock verses gripping the gun.

Elbows should be somewhat firm but definitely not locked. If you lock your elbows, you are now transferring all the recoil to your body rather than your arms where you can create a sort of shock absorber that allows for fast follow-up shots.

One last point, many competitive shooters now position their off-hand with the wrist in its downward broken position, so that the off hand thumb is pointing directly at the target in line with the muzzle (and parallel to the pistol frame).

This is a sort of wrist lock for the offhand that gets overlooked a lot when developing a grip.

There are plenty of videos on YouTube showing all aspects of this modern, competitive/tactical grip that is widely used now. I think you will improve quickly by studying these a bit.

Hope this helps.

Last edited by maestro pistolero; August 5, 2014 at 01:31 PM.
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Old August 5, 2014, 02:38 PM   #3
Kimio
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Thank you for the information. Would it be better for me to take video from a different angle as well as having video of my target for future posts?

I'll definitely look for some more videos online. The primary one I was watching came from Jerry Miculeks YT channel where he goes over how to shoot a handgun.

As for the handgun lingering in the recoiled position, is that me not locking my wrists properly or allowing it to break or breaking mid shot and then locking again while the gun is recoiling?
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Old August 5, 2014, 03:39 PM   #4
maestro pistolero
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Only you can determine that. It's very hard to tell from the video. It might be helpful to see what your off-hand is doing. Also, if you can take some slow-motion video you might be able to spot areas that you can improve.

I'm curious why you were wearing gloves. If you are practicing for self-defense you are not likely to have them on in an emergency.
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Old August 5, 2014, 03:54 PM   #5
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I was trying to get used to shooting with them on since I shoot where the climate can get pretty cold (though it's nothing like Chicago) and figured I may as well ease myself into shooting with gloves on and shooting with a variety of different types.

That and it's a preference that I kind of have. Though it may be wise to learn how to shoot without them first I suppose.
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Old August 5, 2014, 07:09 PM   #6
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If the gun moves in your hands on multiple shots , then POI will be different for each round ! Therefore lock hands and wrists --but slightly bend your elbows . As you shoot the elbows bend more acting like shock absorbers reducing felt recoil.
For my 45acp, 9mm I can lock everything but for my 44mag I have to bend elbows .Works fine !
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Old August 5, 2014, 07:18 PM   #7
maestro pistolero
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Try an even, medium pressure with both hands, and both wrists locked. Elbows as described by me and others here.

If you practice this while aligning sights on a target, you begin to get a feel for how to point straight just by using a repeatable, consistent grip. If you practice it that way a lot, you begin to develop muscle memory that helps you get the gun up and on target very quickly.
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Old August 6, 2014, 10:17 AM   #8
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It's very difficult to critique technique long distance, via the web.
If there's a genuine training facility in your area, you will learn far more quickly and effectively with someone standing right there with corrections.
If you want to continue trying the hard way, show us a better video, full screen, from multiple angles, showing full view of yourself, feet to head, while shooting.
Good technique involves lots more than wrists and elbows.
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Old August 6, 2014, 10:32 AM   #9
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I agree with maestros comments, the downward tilt of the weak hand was initially taught by Barnhart. It can be difficult to learn. Sight picture and body alignment should not be overlooked and will contribute significantly to accuracy. It's hard to tell if that is an isocoles hold or not from that angle. It looks like your right arm is lowering then your left, your arms should be more parallel. As maestro stated, the elbows act as shock absorbers. Wrist tension should be dictated by grip firmness. I never think about wrist tension. Good reading is j Michael plaxcos book, title escapes me. I'm sure he only has one book. I think it's titled shooting from within.
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Old August 6, 2014, 10:38 AM   #10
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I try to shoot with my body squared to the target. I used to blade into the target like the way my uncle taught me (doing the push pull method).

Watching some videos of Jerry and some IDF troopers practicing with their handguns, I have since switched to the isocolese stance and it just feels better.
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Old August 6, 2014, 02:26 PM   #11
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This is an interesting thread to me as a long time handgun shooter.

I'm at a serious disadvantage, however, as I'm unfamiliar with the term, "lock my wrists" and a web-search came up pretty much blank.

Can someone provide a quick and dirty definition of "locking one's wrists"?

Thanks,

Will
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Old August 6, 2014, 04:44 PM   #12
fdf
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Experts and Video

In all honesty, everyone on the internet is an expert.

Any anyone can produce a video and become an instant expert because they have produced a video.

Find a local gun range, preferably an indoor pistol range and seek professional training or seek out someone who does concealed hand gun training.

Last edited by fdf; August 6, 2014 at 04:50 PM.
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Old August 6, 2014, 04:53 PM   #13
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There is some truth to that but you'd be mistaken to lump jerry Barnhart and Todd jarret into that category. They are experts
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Old August 6, 2014, 04:56 PM   #14
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Or Jerry Miculek for that matter :P
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Old August 6, 2014, 05:03 PM   #15
1stmar
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True, rob leatham and miculek are expert shooters. If you are looking for self defense training Barnhart and jarret bring some additional training to the picture.
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Old August 6, 2014, 07:38 PM   #16
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Kimio,

maestro's suggestions are good and he had a good observation regarding your muzzle rise lingering after the shot. While I can't see your body position, I am pretty confident you are doing what I see every day at the range.

What is your upper body doing? Is your upper torso vertical with your shoulders directly above your hips, or are your shoulders forward of your hips? This is an often missed component of shooting fundamentals. From your video, I would bet that someone could stand with their hand just a couple of inches behind your back. Every time you shoot, the recoil would cause you to bump into their hand.

Isosceles Stance: Let's see if we are talking about the same thing. Think of the stance like how a football player may be poised when facing an opponent. Your feet are spread wide enough to give you balance left to right, and your knees are slightly bent. This will be just a little wider than shoulder width with toes slightly angled away (out) from line of sight. Typically the foot on your strong side will be offset back 1/2 to 1 foot length. Lastly, your shoulders will be forward of your hips. Not so much that you are on the edge of losing balance, or that it hinders your ability to pick up your feet and change shooting location. Some refer to it as "rolling the shoulders forward". However, you must be careful not to push your head down which is referred to as "Turtling". Your chin should be up with eyes looking straight at the target.

This stance will allow you to do several things. First, it will give you a solid base to help manage recoil. Second, you can engage targets in front of you from side to side through a much greater arc. Third, you are in a position that allows you to quickly make a movement in any direction which is more of a self-defense and/or action pistol sport consideration.

Wrists/elbos: maestro had some good suggestions about determining what your muscles/joints are doing. My personal opinion is that the wrists should be locked out, and any bend in the elbows should be ever so slight. I believe you will find with your weight slightly forward of your hips, your concern about your wrists and elbows will be greatly reduced.

Watching the video, it appears your strong hand grip is quite high. That's great! It is an often missed item. As others have mentioned, your weak hand position is also paramount. The "Thumbs Forward" grip on the weak hand is the modern grip that you will see all top shooters using. Though the grips are nearly identical, many will have differing opinions on the role of each hand. Personally, I use a more firm grip with my support/weak hand than I do with my strong hand.

You mentioned groupings being fairly large. Much of this will be due to trigger control, which can be affected by the grip. Trigger control is a huge subject due to its importance in accurate shots. To put it simply, you don't want to "slap" the trigger. An example of trigger slapping is rapidly pulling the trigger so that the force of pulling the trigger causes the muzzle to be driven down. Instead, what you want to do is to "Prep" the trigger. That means you put just enough pressure on the trigger to the point where the hammer or firing pin will fall with only a minuscule amount of additional pressure on the trigger. It would probably help to do some dry fire practice with this. With only a snap cap in the gun, pull the trigger just until you believe it is going to fire, pause, then apply the rest of the pressure. This will help you learn your trigger. In live shooting, the idea is that you will subconsciously apply the trigger prep, and when the sights are aligned on the target, you apply the final amount of trigger pressure to fire the gun. Eventually, the trigger pull will appear to be one fluid movement, but you will subconsciously be prepping the trigger and finishing the shot.

Where the grip comes into play with trigger pull? This is my technique, so others may disagree, but you have to look at the physical makeup of your hand and fingers. The ideal trigger pull would be straight back into your palm. This will prevent the trigger from being pushed left or right which will result in the muzzle also being moved in the same direction. However, considering that fingers are jointed, it is nearly impossible to pull straight back. This is why I use a fairly strong weak/support hand grip. This keeps trigger finger movement from influencing the muzzle by essentially placing the gun in a vise.

There is SO much more here that I haven't mentioned, but getting your weight forward and learning better trigger control should start you in the right direction.

I hope that helps.

Fly
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Old August 10, 2014, 06:44 PM   #17
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I keep this video in my training library. Took about a week before it became intinctive. I think it's one of the best grips out there, and I think it's what maestro is alluding to- I think. You only lock wrist on support hand though. Hope it helps.
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Old August 10, 2014, 11:05 PM   #18
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Quote:
Originally Posted by armed
I keep this video in my training library. Took about a week before it became intinctive. I think it's one of the best grips out there, and I think it's what maestro is alluding to- I think. You only lock wrist on support hand though. Hope it helps.
That is an excellent explanation of the "thumbs forward" grip. He has at least one technique that is different from what I have heard from other top end shooters, but everyone has their own little "trick". The important thing for new shooters is that they use something like this as a starting point, be open to other input from reputable sources, and then analyze their own shooting to modify these methods so it works best for them.

Fly
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Old August 20, 2014, 10:15 PM   #19
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Your arms should not be rising like that. You need to work on that.

The muzzle (and your wrists, even though they are locked) are the only things that should flip up. If you're truly shooting Modern Isosceles, the muzzle will some right back down on the target all by itself. This will happen if you have achieved "ulnar flexion" (rotate your weak hand wrist as far down as it will go, and then place your weak hand on the gun, clamping "side-to-side" like a c-clamp.)

You'll know if you have your weak side wrist flexed properly because your thumb will be pointed at the target. Your right hand thumb will also be pointed at the target.

This may feel a bit awkward until you have a few hundred repetitions.

p.s. Lose the gloves.
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Old August 21, 2014, 01:40 PM   #20
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dawg23
Your arms should not be rising like that. You need to work on that.
I don't think there is any way to "work on that" as in practicing not doing it. The likely solution is center of gravity. You can watch people all day long at the range who stand too upright and the recoil, even from a smaller caliber, causes their torso to move back as it absorbs the recoil. The arms are just moving with the upper body. Lean into the gun. Don't drive your head down, but shoulders should be forward and that one issue will be fixed.

Fly
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Old August 21, 2014, 07:36 PM   #21
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You work on it by locking the wrists/elbows and "reaching out" with the shoulders.

Leaning forward a little (at the waist) is always a good idea, but isn't a "make it or break it" issue as far as his arms rising up. Pushing the shoulders forward (as in "reach out" with the shoulders) is what's needed.

Arms rise up because the muscles in the arms are too relaxed. There's such a thing as "too tense," but there's also such a thing as too relaxed.
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Old August 21, 2014, 07:51 PM   #22
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I wish we could be there in person to see all the aspects for a more accurate evaluation. However, I'm pretty sure if you watch her shoulders in the video, you will see not just the arms moving up, but her shoulders are moving back from the recoil. On the worst one (last shot) you can see that her balance is completely knocked off, and I would bet money that her toes came off the ground, at least slightly.

Fly
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