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Old June 15, 2013, 04:13 AM   #1
HeadHunter
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Proper grip for shooting an autoloading pistol

I finally put my thoughts about gripping the pistol into an article.

Quote:
The proper grip for any handgun should accomplish several objectives:
  1. Maximize our hand friction on the handgun. The way we prevent the handgun from moving around in our hand(s) is simply via friction. Therefore, the more hand surface we have in contact with the gun, the more friction we can achieve.
  2. Minimize the gun’s motion during recoil by stabilizing the supporting joints, principally the wrists, when the gun fires.
  3. Reduce the distance between the line of the handgun’s bore and our hands to the smallest amount possible. This diminishes the rotational torque generated by the handgun upon firing.

After establishing the appropriate grip, a series of index points can be used to feel when the grip has been properly achieved. Especially in defensive encounters, there is no time for visually checking whether the proper grip is in place. Having a set of index points allows a shooter to establish a proper firing grip in the holster and during the drawstroke, knowing by feel that the grip is as it should be.
Link to full article.

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Old June 15, 2013, 08:02 AM   #2
g.willikers
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The left thumb should be pointing at the target, too.
Doing so helps stabilize the wrist and aim the gun more.
Try it.
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Old June 15, 2013, 09:28 AM   #3
Vermonter
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Two Points

1.As mentioned above the support hand thumb should be in line with the bore pointing at the target.

2. I know you are focusing on an auto loader but I would put somewhere in the article that this does not apply to a revolver and there is a different grip for that. I'd hate to see someone get their thumb up by the cylender gap and regret it.

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Old June 15, 2013, 04:40 PM   #4
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The revolver grip is another article I am working on.
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Old June 15, 2013, 05:37 PM   #5
Bartholomew Roberts
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Great way to describe it but I think it needs a new photo. Aside from the comments already made on the high support thumb, I've watched shooters induce stoppages like that by getting their thumb too high and dragging the slide as it cycled.
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Old June 16, 2013, 09:24 PM   #6
btmj
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Man,,, I am really old fashioned. I still shoot with a weaver grip with my thumbs crossed. My left thumb is NOT far forward of my right thumb as in the photo above, it is just slightly forward of it. My left thumb goes over my right thumb, and both point at the target.

I use to shoot with my right arm locked ( a chapman stance), but as I have gotten older, I shoot with my right arm elbow unlocked, but almost straight. Left arm is significantly bent.

Any other dinosaurs still shoot like this?
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Old June 16, 2013, 10:52 PM   #7
Nnobby45
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Mas Ayoob teaches strong hand thumb down.

My instructor, John Farmum teaches thumbs up.

A former Secret Service Federal firearms instructor, then with the NRA, didn't correct the different grips we used on a variety of pistols. Though he did with a couple revolver shooters.

I've come to use thumbs up--the thumbs stabilize the firearm in that position as they do in the thumbs forward, wrist down position.

"Proper grip for shooting an autoloading pistol" is a subjective term, and I don't think there is any such thing as THE proper grip that's universal, anymore than the "proper shooting position".

Use that grip pictured, and you'll end up activating your safety and deactivating your gun on the 1911. As long as thumb isn't under the safety unless thumb is down.Thumb ON or UP behind the safety works well on 1911, and other guns as well.

And changing the grip from one gun to another isn't practical as I see it. I assume, of course, that most of us own pistols with different safety systems and ergonomics. Strictly a Glock (or similar gun) shooter will be served ok with the grip pictured. I understand it's very popular with the gamesman

Just my thoughts on the matter.

Last edited by Nnobby45; June 16, 2013 at 11:14 PM.
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Old June 16, 2013, 11:42 PM   #8
SgtLumpy
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Quote:
"Proper grip for shooting an autoloading pistol" is a subjective term, and I don't think there is any such thing as THE proper grip that's universal, anymore than the "proper shooting position".
This ^^^

When the bullet hits where you want it to go, you don't get points off because you didn't have the "proper" grip.

Guitar players want to argue that concept all the time - "your thumb MUST be here". Whenever someone gets religous about that, I suggest they go to YouTube and watch some videos of guitar players who don't have thumbs.

As long as your fingers and other body parts aren't in a spot where they'll get injured, and you're killing the bullseye, git 'er done.


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Old June 17, 2013, 05:23 PM   #9
Erno86
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Besides the support hand thumb off the slide...I try to keep it from also accidently activating the slide stop lever.

I thought it was Jeff Cooper that advocated strong thumb down underneath below the safety; not Mas Ayoob.
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Old June 17, 2013, 09:01 PM   #10
Nnobby45
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Quote:
I thought it was Jeff Cooper that advocated strong thumb down underneath below the safety; not Mas Ayoob.
Ayoob does for sure.

Cooper had big hands, and I think, advocated thumb riding the safety. He also deactivated the grip safety, since thumb riding safety prevents the hand from pushing the safety in as far. Today, that problem is alleviated with the modern grip safety with the "bump". I used to shoot thumb on the safety, but Farnum taught us to raise the strong thumb behind it. That pushes the safety plenty far and prevents thumb rash. Sandwich the safety between the two thumbs.
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Old June 17, 2013, 10:44 PM   #11
HeadHunter
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Quote:
Use that grip pictured, and you'll end up activating your safety and deactivating your gun on the 1911. As long as thumb isn't under the safety unless thumb is down.Thumb ON or UP behind the safety works well on 1911, and other guns as well.
Not an issue with a proper sort of pistol.
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Old June 17, 2013, 11:09 PM   #12
Frank Ettin
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Nnobby45
...Use that grip pictured, and you'll end up activating your safety and deactivating your gun on the 1911. As long as thumb isn't under the safety unless thumb is down.Thumb ON or UP behind the safety works well on 1911, and other guns as well....
Not necessarily. I use substantially that grip on my 1911s (with the right thumb riding the safety) without any problems.
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Old June 18, 2013, 12:26 AM   #13
Tom Servo
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Quote:
I use substantially that grip on my 1911s (with the right thumb riding the safety) without any problems.
Same here. The only time it's been an issue with an automatic is with the Sig pistols, in which case my strong thumb can sometimes depress the slide lock downwards.
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Old June 18, 2013, 09:31 PM   #14
Bluestarlizzard
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Btmj,

My dad still crosses thumbs. That's how he taught me.

However, I (totally on accident) ended up with the thumbs aligned pointing at the target that's advocated nowadays.

My thumbs just arn't long enough to cross.

Sg. Lumpy has it right. The proper grip (stance) is subjective. The various opinions on the subject are a good starting point and something to experiment with on the range, but none of them are definitive. The definitive in my book is "try this, this, that and this and wriggle around a bit till you find what suits you best."
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