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Old September 12, 2006, 09:33 AM   #1
Duxman
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"Milking the grip" vs. Firm Hold

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)
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Old September 12, 2006, 10:41 AM   #2
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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.
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Old September 12, 2006, 11:32 AM   #3
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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.

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Old September 12, 2006, 11:55 AM   #4
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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/k2...mberdrills.flv
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Old September 12, 2006, 12:08 PM   #5
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Quote:
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?
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Old September 12, 2006, 12:14 PM   #6
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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.
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Old September 12, 2006, 12:18 PM   #7
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Quote:
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?
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Old September 12, 2006, 12:29 PM   #8
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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.
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Old September 12, 2006, 01:11 PM   #9
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Quote:
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?
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Old September 12, 2006, 01:24 PM   #10
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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
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Old September 12, 2006, 01:54 PM   #11
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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.
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Old September 12, 2006, 02:13 PM   #12
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I should probably start a new thread but,
Quote:
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.



Quote:
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.
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Old September 12, 2006, 08:13 PM   #13
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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).
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Old September 12, 2006, 08:31 PM   #14
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Back on topic, USE WHAT WORKS BEST FOR YOU!!!!!
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Old September 12, 2006, 08:43 PM   #15
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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.

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Old September 12, 2006, 08:52 PM   #16
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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.
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Old September 12, 2006, 09:29 PM   #17
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Quote:
Originally Posted by pax
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.
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Old September 13, 2006, 06:09 AM   #18
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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?
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Old September 13, 2006, 07:25 PM   #19
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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.
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Old September 13, 2006, 09:39 PM   #20
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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.
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Old September 13, 2006, 09:41 PM   #21
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Quote:
Is there a way to do a "crush grip" and still do accurate shots? Am I missing something here?
Quote:
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.
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Old September 13, 2006, 10:38 PM   #22
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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
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Old September 13, 2006, 10:45 PM   #23
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Quote:
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.
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Old September 14, 2006, 01:34 AM   #24
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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.
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Old September 14, 2006, 02:00 AM   #25
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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...:-)
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