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Old May 18, 2019, 05:33 PM   #1
JJ45
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Thoughts on properly gripping a 1911

Which way is best for you?... "thumbs high" or NOT and why?

Pros and cons please...Thanks, JJ
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Old May 18, 2019, 06:38 PM   #2
tlm225
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For me, thumbs down. I shot thumbs up for quite a while but found that it wasn't the best for me. The best I can figure is that it has to do with having hands that are below average in size. I have better grip contact and control thumbs down.
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Old May 18, 2019, 07:16 PM   #3
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My thumbs are both facing forward with a tight grip , where ever your comfortable with in positioning your thumbs is the way to go but I think a tight grip is most important..
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Old May 18, 2019, 07:36 PM   #4
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With a 1911 type pistol, the firing side thumb MUST ride the safety. The only time it comes off is to manipulate other controls and them immediately goes back on top of the safety.

The support side thumb can go forward, but you need to make sure it does not interfere with the slide stop. But thats true of any pistol except the Sig 226 type. Those slide stops are too far to the rear to cause problems.
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Old May 18, 2019, 07:48 PM   #5
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There was a time I used to use a high thumb grip with my 1911's, but thats been decades ago.

I was always told that its origin was back in the traditional, one-handed bullseye days. So you could get an alibi by impeding the slide and causing a failure. Dont know for sure thats true, but it was going around back when it was popular.

I do remember they used to sell a shield that blocked your thumb from the slide when using that grip was popular. Havent seen them in a while though.

Things did get better when I went to a thumbs locked down grip.

Then I went to a thumbs forward grip, and things got even better.

I havent carried a 1911 for almost 20 years now, although I do still regularly shoot a couple. I still shoot thumbs forward, with pretty much everything, and the only thing I need to watch with the 1911's now is, trying not to get that maximum "high grip", as it tends to deactivate the grip safety causing the trigger to quit working when I want it to while shooting.

Still, I think the thumbs forward grip is the best way to go, and you get "meat" on the whole grip, which locks the gun in your hand and you get better control.
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Old May 18, 2019, 07:58 PM   #6
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Support hand thumb down along the bottom of the slide. Grip hand thumb high over the safety. I try to remember to keep both thumbs down, but invariably I end up with my grip thumb pointed almost straight up during drills.
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Old May 18, 2019, 08:00 PM   #7
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"the firing side thumb MUST ride the safety."

That may be true for a lot of shooters but not for others.

It's not a "MUST."
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Old May 18, 2019, 09:17 PM   #8
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I make no claim to be the expert.
Folks can emphatically post their own version of "The Truth " here when they may not be able to hit a watermelon at 12 feet with a 1911.

A picture is worth 1000 words,and YouTube can be your friend. Search "1911 proper grip"

Of course,you can get bad info on youtube.

If Jerry Miculek or Rob Leatham,etc post a video,I'd pay attention. Especially if they agree.

But then you still have to find what works for you.

Many seasoned,experienced,very good shots with a 1911 base their technique on one handed bullseye shooting.
That is not wrong,and one handed bullseye shooting grip is refined and effective for shooting one hand bullseye.

Modern,two handed combat style shooting with the 1911 is a different ball game.

The vids help by teaching the "Why" of various grip technique
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Old May 18, 2019, 09:29 PM   #9
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https://youtu.be/RXbqwx5UGx8

Here is a good example of the correct 1911 grip
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Old May 18, 2019, 11:52 PM   #10
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This grip video does not disagree with Sharkbites.It just has a slightly different presentation,with another landmark.

https://youtu.be/Ue1l1qz-U4M
Koenig,Leatham,and Miculek offer similar training vids
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Old May 19, 2019, 12:12 AM   #11
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Quote:
With a 1911 type pistol, the firing side thumb MUST ride the safety. The only time it comes off is to manipulate other controls and them immediately goes back on top of the safety.
Other than depressing the grip safety enough to allow firing (and, of course, pulling the trigger) there is no "must".

If a high thumb, or thumb on the safety works for you, fine. Doesn't work for me. My right thumb goes down, below the safety. Been working well enough for me for half a century, not going to be changing.
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Old May 19, 2019, 12:17 AM   #12
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The only thing you MUST do is squeeze the crap out of that grip! (Don’t limp wrist it.)

I shoot one handed.
Other people shoot two handed.
The interesting technique for two handed shooting is the technique where the second hand aids in locking the grip of the first hand as it clearly results in a firm and consistent grip... and inconsistent grip changes your poi and increases cycling failures
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Old May 19, 2019, 01:25 AM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JJ 45
Which way is best for you?... "thumbs high" or NOT and why?

Pros and cons please...Thanks, JJ
No high thumb.

Basically several reasons:
  • I started shooting the M1911A1 in the Army in 1967. Back then we shot one-handed, and my right hand got accustomed to holding the pistol that way over the course of thirty-plus years before people started telling me that I "had to" use two hands, and that I "had to" stick my thumbs up in the air.
  • I don't shoot just 1911s. I own some other semi-autos. and some revolvers. I'm too old to worry about one grip for this gun and another grip for that gun.
  • You can't predict when you may need to shoot one-handed. I can't shoot one-handed with my strong-hand thumb over the safety, riding the side of the slide. It makes no sense to me to use one grip for two-handed shooting and a different grip for one-handed shooting.
  • It was good enough for Ed Brown ... it's good enough for me.
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Old May 19, 2019, 01:30 AM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Sharkbite
Here is a good example of the correct 1911 grip
Correction: "Here is a good example of what one person recommends as a way to grip a 1911."

There is no such thing as "the correct 1911 grip." The only correct grip is what works best for the shooter.


Quote:
With a 1911 type pistol, the firing side thumb MUST ride the safety. The only time it comes off is to manipulate other controls and them immediately goes back on top of the safety.
Nonsense. I've been shooting 1911s for more than 50 years. Not only do I not "need" to have my thumb ride on top of the safety, I can't shoot my way out of a wet paper bag if I try keeping my thumb on top of the safety.
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Old May 19, 2019, 05:04 AM   #15
JJ45
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Good posts... I once asked my LGS guy about thumb on the safety 1911 grip. He had a poop fit. He's an old Bullseye competition shooter and 1911 aficionado.

Said I would eventually interfere with slide movement with that thumb on the safety and cause a cycling malfunction. Of course just another opinion.

I'm pretty much with Aguila Blanca since I shoot other handguns.
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Old May 19, 2019, 07:29 AM   #16
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I’ve been in the camp of shooting accurately while maintaining control of the the recoil. I don’t do speed games and I prefer not to have a mindset of shooting as quickly as I can in a real life situation. I can shoot fast enough, very accurately and each shot would be deliberate

The newer hi powers have extended ambi safety since the late 80s and similar manual of arms as the 1911. But it seems like FNH does not want the user to rest their thumb over the safety. You can tell by the hi powers grip design and the contour of the safety. The standard grips come with a thumb shelf and is also flared on the top edge to prevent the thumb from accidentally engaging the safety

Last edited by TxFlyFish; May 19, 2019 at 07:44 AM.
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Old May 19, 2019, 08:15 AM   #17
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Quote:
With a 1911 type pistol, the firing side thumb MUST ride the safety. The only time it comes off is to manipulate other controls and them immediately goes back on top of the safety.
Hmm.... I have been shooting 1911's for 40 years and never rode the safety. I was first taught by the Army.
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Old May 19, 2019, 08:54 AM   #18
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Aguila Blanca View Post
[*]You can't predict when you may need to shoot one-handed. I can't shoot one-handed with my strong-hand thumb over the safety, riding the side of the slide. It makes no sense to me to use one grip for two-handed shooting and a different grip for one-handed shooting.
I don't ride the thumb safety either, my thumb stays just below it. I was taught that you should start with a strong one handed grip and support it, when possible, with your off hand, because you never know when you'll need to shoot one handed or have to fight for possession of your gun. Also, I use the same grip for both pistols and revolvers. I have no problem with recoil control or accuracy and I've never accidently engaged the thumb safety in almost 50 years of shooting the 1911. And, I still manage to win single stack at most of the local USPSA matches I participate in.
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Old May 19, 2019, 09:34 AM   #19
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Not long after I got my first 1911, I was shooting at my clubs outdoor range when a young guy taped in the shoulder and asked if he could talk to me. He was a Marine home on leave. He'd been watching me shoot and seen that my grip on my pistol was wrong. He schooled me on the correct way to grip the pistol. The different way to grip did feel better, more natural. My shooting has improved sense then. I got his address overseas and sent him photos of a few of my targets and thanked him. hdbiker
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Old May 19, 2019, 09:54 AM   #20
JJ45
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Quote:
Originally Posted by hdbiker View Post
Not long after I got my first 1911, I was shooting at my clubs outdoor range when a young guy taped in the shoulder and asked if he could talk to me. He was a Marine home on leave. He'd been watching me shoot and seen that my grip on my pistol was wrong. He schooled me on the correct way to grip the pistol. The different way to grip did feel better, more natural. My shooting has improved sense then. I got his address overseas and sent him photos of a few of my targets and thanked him. hdbiker
hdbker, how did he say to grip the pistol?
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Old May 19, 2019, 10:19 AM   #21
TxFlyFish
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Originally Posted by JJ45 View Post
hdbker, how did he say to grip the pistol?
Strong hand on grip, supporting hand on the rail
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Old May 19, 2019, 10:24 AM   #22
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Where ever they land naturally! I don't pay any attention, and have no idea if they are forward, backward, or out the side. If I have to concentrare on anything it's target and sights.
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Old May 19, 2019, 10:33 AM   #23
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First thing I do on a new pistol is get rid of the giant bat-wing thumb safety and replace it with a GI style safety if possible, the Colt tear drop is second best for me. I've tried the "ride the safety on the giant safety and it just beats my thumb up. The GI safety gets out of the way. Both thumbs forward and bang away. High thumb for bullseye shooting, it don't touch the gun at all. Either way, a tight grip on the handle.
Different strokes for different folks.
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Old May 19, 2019, 11:10 AM   #24
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TxFlyFish
Strong hand on grip, supporting hand on the rail
???

What is this "rail" of which you speak? I do not think I have encountered this dialect.
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Old May 19, 2019, 11:16 AM   #25
Sequins
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I wrap my thumbs down. My trigger finger nearly touches my thumb when I fire. I find this grip most natural and thumbs high always twists a tad on me.
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