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Old May 28, 2013, 12:30 PM   #1
Pops1085
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How do YOU hold an ar-15?

I'm just curious as to the pros and cons of each type of way to hold an ar. I keep seeing the magpul thumb over technique being described but I feel like it leaves my body way too outstreached. I bet it works awesome for competition but is it really applicable for a real life self defense situation? What are are boys over seas being taught? Is the magwell hold really that bad?
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Old May 28, 2013, 12:50 PM   #2
chadio
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How do I???

My Navy days - shooting the M14 - standing position:

my instructors showed me that supporting the bottom of the magazine with my support hand was perfectly acceptable if it gave me the most stability... it did, and it worked.

Fast forward to now (24 years later) shooting my AR15:

standing - same as above, bottom of (20 round) magazine resting on support hand

sitting - grasp Magpul AFG on forend

prone - grasp Magpul AFG on forend

Nowthen, if you are doing some hot-rod tactical multiple aiming point drill, better get that support hand out front so as to re-direct aim more quickly

That's my story and I'm sticking to it
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Old May 28, 2013, 01:15 PM   #3
dean1818
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I hold the magazine well and my left elbow rests on my ribs for a very stable and comfortable hold.

I use this type of holder to not put a pull on the mag itself which I believe might cause misfeeds

http://www.amazon.com/dp/B004LOEBJM/...SIN=B004LOEBJM


I tried to like a foregrip type but found I couldnt hold for long periods of time.

After trying mine all 3 of my AR shooting buddies switched to it
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Old May 28, 2013, 01:16 PM   #4
amd6547
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I'm not a fan of having my hand on or near the mag...if a round blows up, a lot of the force blows down through the mag.
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Old May 28, 2013, 01:43 PM   #5
mehavey
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Quote:
I'm not a fan of having my hand on or near the mag...if a round blows up,
a lot of the force blows down through the mag.
Hmmmmm.... that's one thing I hadn't given thought to.
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Old May 28, 2013, 02:26 PM   #6
Achilles11B
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The reason thumb-over-bore technique is catching on so quick is how much more speed and control it gives the user. Your support hand is only moving a small portion of the barrel, which allows the user to drive the firearm from target to target quicker. I used the 'traditional' method of firing from the prone but would use the thumb-over-bore for CQB in the Army. That wasn't from the FM but it worked for me.
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Old May 28, 2013, 02:34 PM   #7
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Assuming that you have the proper stance...the index finger pointed towards the target of your support hand, will still give you good recoil control --- but not as good as Magpul's "thumb-over" --- but I believe the index finger forward, gives the shooter a more relaxed natural point of aim. It is also a great grip {index finger forward} for some tactical shotgun's, because you probably don't want a thumb-over grip on a bare, hot shotgun barrel!!!

You can't use a index finger forward {right handed shooter} on a K-98 German Mauser, because the recoil will bang the tip of your index finger, up against the left side mounted sling mount.
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Old May 28, 2013, 03:55 PM   #8
Pops1085
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Not trying to start a flame war, I do get that the thumb over might be faster in a competitor setting but wouldn't a stance where you are way outstreached be a little more risky? With that support arm way out there chicken winging it your whole left upper torso is exposed. I mean if youre wearing plate in the military youre covered but even then I might want a bullet to go though an arm before it went through plate. (If it had that much energy) plus i've been shown how in weapon retention it is easier to be disarmed the farther apart your hands are from each other. I don't know I know I'm basically guessing here, not having ever been in a firefight so I guess I'm just looking for a speculative discussion. I have a friend in the marines and he said they didn't give them any special training on how to actually grasp the thing, just the way to stand and lean into it and whatnot.

Edit: I should add they did teach him how to hold it, but by resting the hand guards in the traditional palm up grip, nothing fancy.

Last edited by Pops1085; May 28, 2013 at 04:01 PM.
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Old May 28, 2013, 06:14 PM   #9
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Shooting from the midpoint of the foreend in a classic palm-under hold has always worked for me. I've tried thumb-over and I just didn't care for how it felt. My lateral target acquisition felt sluggish compared to a closer-in grip.

I read in a shooting article written by an Olympian shooter that the thumb-over stance was for professionals and gripping the magazine well was for guys who want to look cool. I wasn't really impressed with that attitude, so I probably won't be converting to the Church of Thumb-Over anytime soon.

Just my take, of course.
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Old May 28, 2013, 06:22 PM   #10
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It always irks me when people say that someone who does something one way is just doing it to "look cool". Occasionally it may be true, but I find that most of the time its a comfort thing.

I hold my magwell when I shoot. And I consistantly qualify sharpshooter, if not expert, during my annual qualifications while doing so. Why? Because it's more comfortable to me. I have short arms, so keeping both arms in to my sides is less fatiqueing...I've tried the simple palm up under the but I found that my muscle fatigue built up much quicker, and my accuracy suffered...

That being said, that's my preferred way to hold my personal AR as well : P
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Old May 28, 2013, 06:25 PM   #11
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I think my discomfort with thumb-over is that I simply can't muscle a rifle around like that for a long time without getting tired.

A more classic hold lets me run the weapon longer and I feel like I shoot better that way.

That said, I'm picking up a Tavor SAR when I return home from AFG so the point is moot in that case. With about four inches of real estate, there's not a lot of options for holding an SAR.
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Old May 28, 2013, 06:28 PM   #12
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In general, whatever works for you is what you should use. Thumb-over adherents are certainly convinced of the quality of the style, so I'm nobody to question that.

A lot of dudes I work with find the whole system to be a little silly, but perhaps that's because thumb-over has turned faddish in the shooting community, whatever its actual qualities are.
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Old May 28, 2013, 06:41 PM   #13
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Been researching the technique a bit and what I've found is a bit interesting, turns out the thumb over support hand extended was invented in veitnam as a trick called the quick kill system for accurate quick follow up shots on full auto. Turns out its just a tool for quick engagements, not as the "best do-all" stance. Makes sense that the magpul guys look like they've reinvented the wheel when they show it off and have students try it and get faster times on courses. I think I'll practice it but stick with a vfg or a traditional rifle hold for everything else.

Just some food for thought for anybody wondering why so many people like the thumb over.
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Old May 28, 2013, 06:42 PM   #14
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Interesting info. Makes sense, thanks for the clarification.
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Old May 28, 2013, 07:01 PM   #15
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On the M16's and M4's I was taught to hold the magazine well for the most part (I'm sure it varies from coach to coach), but no one will correct you if you are on target at the range. It is really personal preference. Anyways, a lot of us have forward grips on the rifles, so we just use those when they are available.
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Old May 28, 2013, 07:07 PM   #16
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It depends on what you're shooting (match wise).

A hold for offhand in High Power is a bit different then the hold one uses in 3 Gun or Close Quarters Marksmanship.

Without having the guy to coach, I recommend two books. Both by the Army Marksmanship Unit and sold by the CMP.

1: Service Rifle Guide
2: is really a DVD.. Close Quarters Marksmanship.

They show different styles, for different reasons, neither is wrong both are correct.
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Old May 28, 2013, 07:14 PM   #17
ThatBeardedGuy
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I agree. Use what works for you. The main reason I was offended by the Olympian shooter's remarks about mag-gripping is exactly what you said, SHE3PDOG.

I think guys like that sway a lot of less experienced shooters into using a style that may not be working best for them, while also invalidating shooting techniques the rest of us have been using for awhile to good effect. It also imparts the idea to newer shooters that other shooting styles are about looking cool, and his is about function.

It's a case of, "Well, this guy's an Olympian so he must have this stuff down."

I'm sure if I went to a Magpul Dynamics course and was made to shoot that way for a few thousand rounds I might get more comfortable with it and even get to where I like it, but I'm not going to pick it up over what I know has gotten me through qual after qual.
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Old May 28, 2013, 07:29 PM   #18
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Pops1085
Been researching the technique a bit and what I've found is a bit interesting, turns out the thumb over support hand extended was invented in veitnam as a trick called the quick kill system for accurate quick follow up shots on full auto. Turns out its just a tool for quick engagements, not as the "best do-all" stance. Makes sense that the magpul guys look like they've reinvented the wheel when they show it off and have students try it and get faster times on courses. I think I'll practice it but stick with a vfg or a traditional rifle hold for everything else.
They were teaching it at Fort Polk (Tigerland) in 1968. There is nothing new under the sun.
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Old May 28, 2013, 07:50 PM   #19
Pops1085
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Dude... That's awesome thanks for the confirmation haha. So basically what I'm figuring out here is that the "magpul" grip is for fast point shooting scenarios like a home invasion and the magwell grip is for long accurate shots (like soldiers would face if they aren't constantly kicking in doors)

And that's why vfg's in the middle rock ergonomic and right in the middle so no weaknesses
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Old May 28, 2013, 07:51 PM   #20
ThatBeardedGuy
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Personally, I'd use a magwell grip in CQB, but that's my preference.
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Old May 28, 2013, 07:54 PM   #21
Pops1085
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Well you should if you're used to it. I'd rather have muscle memory over .002 seconds you might gain with the magpul grip
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Old May 28, 2013, 07:55 PM   #22
ThatBeardedGuy
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That's pretty much where I'm at with it. I'm fond of the sig-block quote around here that says that combat is pretty much the worst time to learn something new.

Go with what you know and train hard on it. Magpul grip might be for you what it's just not for me.
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Old May 28, 2013, 08:05 PM   #23
SHE3PDOG
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Quote:
Dude... That's awesome thanks for the confirmation haha. So basically what I'm figuring out here is that the "magpul" grip is for fast point shooting scenarios like a home invasion and the magwell grip is for long accurate shots (like soldiers would face if they aren't constantly kicking in doors)
Perhaps in competition, but it seems impractical for combat scenarios. I know that I wouldn't be comfortable pieing a door or scanning the tops of buildings with my hand far up on the rifle as in the magpul grip. I could also see an issue with reloading quickly or weapon retention. It also isn't the best place for your hand if CQB turns into needing your rifle as a hand to hand combat tool. On top of that, I wouldn't want to be on patrol with my hand so far up; even if I carried the rifle a little differently while walking around, I wouldn't want to take the extra time trying to move my hand if an unexpected engagement were to occur.

Anyways, that is just my perspective. Take it with a grain of salt because just being in the Marine Corps does not qualify me as the know-it-all tactician. I'm not a GRUNT either, so perhaps one of them would feel differently.
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Old May 28, 2013, 08:15 PM   #24
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I'm thinking that the thumb over grip works well with the AR mostly because of two thing: low recoil, . . . and high sight plane.

Trying to do that with a Browning Automatic Rifle (GI or Civilian) puts your thumb in the sight plane and does not give you the control you need for the recoil.

Same for M1Garand and M14, . . . IMHO.

But I also think it is quite useful in a CQB situation where fast acquisition of the target is necessary, . . . and one is practically doing all point shooting.

I'm still the guy who grabs a hasty sling on my AR, though, if I'm "out and about", . . . up close I have the hand wrapped around the base of my Vietnam triangular handguard, . . . right at the chamber end.

Just my $.02

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Old May 29, 2013, 07:56 AM   #25
Bartholomew Roberts
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From my perspective, this isn't rocket science. Break out the timer and use what works for you. If you can get skeletal support and natural point of aim, you will have better control and fatigue less, which results in better aim.

If you can't get that, you want to use the big muscles in your back and shoulders to bear as much of the weight as possible because they can stay oxygenated longer and it will take longer for fatigue to kick in. An isoceles type stance lets your back support a lot of the weight.

Grabbing the magwell gives you better leverage but also makes it easier to overswing and leaves you with a lot of mass in front of your support hand. Going midway reduces leverage and mass and makes your arms do more work. Completely extending the arm lets you use some skeletal support and reduce the mass you are swinging around for better control.

So for me, it depends on what I am doing:
Shooting for accuracy with no time constraint at a more distant target - more High Power
Shooting multiple targets fast at close range? Thumb over - arm extended
Covering a target at ready for an extended period of time? Grab the magwell and rest my elbows on the top of my mag pouches and let the chest rig take the weight.
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