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Old January 8, 2020, 09:11 PM   #1
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How much does grip angle matter regarding accuracy??

I own 6 handguns (4 of which are .22s). But I've never gotten any kind of training, and my shooting with handguns is sporadic, so my skill level is still toward the novice end of the spectrum.

Last weekend, I went out with a Browning Buckmark with a Holosun red dot, a Heritage Rough Rider with a 6.5" barrel and non-adjustable sights, and a Beretta 21a. I have fairly long, but not meaty hands. The Buckmark URX grips fill my hand and the trigger reach feels good. The other two have grips small enough that my pinky finger is curled under the grip. And the trigger reach of the 21a feels too short.

I shot the Buckmark first, fully expecting its groups to be the best, considering it's more of a target pistol to begin with, has a nice trigger, fits my hand most comfortably, and had the small but highly visible red dot (which I know is functional from its use on rifles). Not to mention, it's the one I've owned the longest and shot the most.

Next was the cheap, pot-metal Rough Rider with its shallow notch for a rear sight and thick front blade. It grouped slightly better than the Buckmark.

Last was the 21a, with its tiny sight radius and minimal fixed sights. It too grouped slightly better than the Buckmark.

Granted, I'm not especially consistent, and the next time I go out, I may see different results. But it did get me thinking about why, in this instance, I shot better with the guns that, in theory, should be harder to shoot with.

The only advantage I could really think of for the Rough Rider and 21a is that they tend to point more naturally for me. When I extend the guns, the front and rear sights, rudimentary as they are, tend to line up with each other and the target, whereas with the Buckmark, I have to deliberately tip the barrel down to get the red dot visible.

I can see advantages of a more natural pointer for defense situations, where aiming has to be fast and intuitive under less than ideal conditions, but is it also a significant factor in accuracy for slower, deliberate shooting?

Last edited by idek; January 8, 2020 at 09:21 PM.
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Old January 8, 2020, 10:02 PM   #2
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Why can't you adjust the red dot to get a natural point as with the other two??
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Old January 9, 2020, 01:00 AM   #3
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Some, but not much.

If you are shooting for extreme accuracy and the grip angle makes you adjust your hand away from what feels most natural, that strain will hurt your accuracy somewhat.

Where it really matters is getting on target fast, and coming back on target fast after recoil recovery. If you have a gun that works well for you, in terms of grip angle, it will point more naturally and that will help when you want to get a shot of quickly, or shoot rapidly multiple times without having to work to muscle the gun back on target after every shot.
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Old January 9, 2020, 01:04 AM   #4
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Well, the issue isn't so much the red dot sight. The same is true when shooting the Buckmark with open sights. The issue is that, when I hold the gun in a grip that feels most natural/comfortable, the bore axis angles upward so that the barrel is not naturally pointing at what I want to hit.
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Old January 9, 2020, 09:31 AM   #5
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I've been shooting handguns for over fifty years now. I shot some major competition for many years and had a lot of different handguns, both revolvers and semi-autos. I can honestly say that grip angle was an insignificant factor in shooting well. I can't remember one gun I owned (and there were a LOT of guns) that I could blame grip angle for any accuracy/shooting issues. In fact, I don't subscribe to this "natural pointability" idea at all. A good shooter can shoot any handgun well....if he/she is a good shooter. If you're having problems shooting well, it's almost certain that you're not doing some basics correctly. Practice the basic fundamentals of form and you'll do much better.
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Old January 9, 2020, 09:49 AM   #6
David R
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If the gun fits you properly, you should be able to point it where you want the bullet to go and it will be close before you line up the sights. Its called the natrual point of aim.

Look at the target. Close your eyes and bring the gun to where you think the target s and open your eyes.

If your grip is off, lets say sights are pointing to the left, then you need to re adjust your grip so they are pointing straight ahead. If the sights are aligned, but not pointing at the target, move your feet.

This is where grip angle can make a difference. If the gun is pointing up or down, you need to bend your wrist.

If your NPA is right, and you "accidentally" pull the trigger, the show will go to the target because its already pointed that way. Not aimed, but at least pointed.

It should really have no effect on group size like the guy above said.

I do understand what you are talking about. I have a dot sight on my K 38 smith and Wesson . Ever since the dot was mounted, I have to point the gun down to be on target.

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Old January 9, 2020, 12:45 PM   #7
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I'm with David R. That was my criteria when I started bullseye shooting.
If the gun was pointed pretty "on" when first lifted, it would affect my "shooting" if not "accuracy."
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Old January 9, 2020, 12:54 PM   #8
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I was a competitive Bullseye shooter for years and have shot a lot of different handguns over the last 55 years. Being a RSO for the last 9 years I have had the opportunity to shoot literally every new offering that comes into our range.
Grip angle or shape will have a direct effect on finger on trigger placement which will definitely affect accuracy.
In my case, I bought a Glock 19 and found it shot consistently center left. The addition of an aftermarket Grip Force Adapter immediately centered my shots.
That said I could take an extreme grip angled gun such as my Hammerli SP20 and with small changers in trigger position or turning the face of the trigger slightly allowed perfect centering of my shots.
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Old January 9, 2020, 01:10 PM   #9
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Grip angle is about comfort and natural pointablity. That is about the fit to your hand. Nothing to do with accuracy, but it does have to do with your ability to shoot a particular pistol.
"...4 of which are .22s..." It's actually more difficult to shoot a .22 well than it is a centre fire. Any shaking or drifting off target get amplified. The fix is upper body tone exercise and something called practice.
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Old January 9, 2020, 03:12 PM   #10
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I have read that the rather straight grips on many European pistols-the Tokarev, e.g.-were due to using the firing arm with the elbow bent. The Luger has a reputation as a natural pointer, dueling pistols were designed with that in mind, the idea being to get on target ASAP.
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Old January 9, 2020, 09:36 PM   #11
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To me, it matters quite a bit. I’m also a bit picky when it comes to fitting rifles, shotguns, and handguns to my preferences. It’s easier to be accurate if you are more comfortable. That’s actually the number 1 reason I’m not a Glock fan at all. They just don’t feel right to me.
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Old January 9, 2020, 10:37 PM   #12
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Another factor is sample size.

Let's say I shot Handgun A, Handgun B, and Handgun C in the same sessions 100 times. Let's say I shot Handgun A the best on average, Handgun B the second best, and usually shot Handgun C the worst.

There would still be days where C was #1 and A was #3.

I experience that from time to time.
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Old January 10, 2020, 02:34 AM   #13
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I pick my self-defense guns to point well for me. I want to close my eyes, bring the gun up to where it feels like it's on target with a standard firing grip, and open my eyes to find the sights lined up already.

If it won't do that, I'm not happy with it. I don't want to have to hunt for that front sight if I'm in a hurry. I want to have the best chance of making a good hit if I can't see the sights for some reason or if I get target fixated and ignore the sights.

That was one thing that helped me get over my strong initial dislike for Glocks--they point well for me. In fact it was kind of a revelation when I first handled one as I had been shooting other (more traditional) firearms which I liked a lot more but which didn't come up on target as naturally as the Glocks did. They're still not my favorite guns, but they do work well for me in spite of that.

What's odd is that it's not strictly grip angle that affects this. Some guns will point off to the left or right when I do my test. Some guns that appear to have similar grip angles won't pass my test. Some guns that have obviously different grip angles will pass my test.

So it's more about overall fit to my hands than it is just the angle of the grip.

For slow fire shooting at the range, I really don't find any of this to be an issue because I'm not concerned about getting on target quickly which is when fit to the gun really makes a big difference.
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Old January 10, 2020, 03:31 AM   #14
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Grip angle matters for comfort.
But technique and training (or practice) are more important for 'accuracy'.

If you want me to grab the most "inherently accurate" handgun that I own - something that any random idiot off the street would have a chance at shooting well - I'm going for the Buckmark Target.

But if you want me to grab the handgun that I, personally, can shoot the best, it's going to be a really tough one...
I shoot my Buckmark "Standard" better than the "Target" (even though the Target is better all around). But I shoot some serious underdogs almost as well. My Ruger LCR .327 and Ruger Wrangler (.22 LR) are not expected to be something to leave an impression of accuracy. Yet, I shoot them well, out to 100 yards. (A distance at which the Buckmarks have never really been tested.)

My Ruger SP101 is another. I've never touched the sights. I haven't changed anything since I pulled it out of the box. But I can shoot the sh*not* out of it. I love that revolver.

The .480 Ruger... Same deal. I shoot it better than the Buckmark Target, even with increased recoil and the theoretically less precise sights.

Grip angle is an excuse. Don't dwell on it.

Shoot what you love. You'll get better.
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Old January 10, 2020, 04:41 AM   #15
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Thanks for the all the input.

I understand that nothing replaces practice and skill, but it is interesting to hear/read about how different people feel about gun fit and how it does (or doesn't) affect one's aim or accuracy.

I'm hoping to get out shooting this weekend and am interested if I'll get results similar to last time. By the way, my other guns that I didn't shoot last time are a S&W 66, Sig p238, and Ruger Mk III.

Last edited by idek; January 10, 2020 at 04:48 AM.
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Old January 10, 2020, 09:12 AM   #16
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Use a variety of different ammo and you’ll get a variety of different results. That’ll be a much bigger factor with a 22 rim fire than grip angle, IMO.
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