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Old 01-31-2010, 00:35   #1
Forty-eight
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Proper grip

I am in the process of setting up some proper firearms training, but I recently saw something on TV that worked for me, and I wondered if it is the right thing to do.
As someone untrained, I tend to try and emulate what I see the knowledgable people do, so over the years I have developed my own grip, based on what I see people in the know doing. I use a two hand grip, with both thumbs pointing forward. I am right handed, and so I pull the trigger with my right index finger. I recently saw on one of the TV gun instruction shows, someone teaching a class, mentioned for a shooter to keep his left arm straight, and a slight bend in the right arm. I had been doing the opposit, keeping the right arm straight and a slight bend in the left arm.
After hearing the correction, I pulled out my gun with the Crimson Trace laser and compared both methods. I wasn't shooting, only holding the laser on a far away target and noting the steadiness of the dot. It did seem that I was able to hold steadier with the left arm straight.
I thought about it, and it made sense - the trigger pull could cause unwanted movement in the arm, causing the gun to be less steady.
Sorry for the long post, but is there any truth to my uninformed deduction?
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Old 01-31-2010, 08:03   #2
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Why not lock out both elbows?
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Old 01-31-2010, 09:56   #3
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As someone untrained, I tend to try and emulate what I see the knowledgable people do, so over the years I have developed my own grip, based on what I see people in the know doing.
There is the first issue, IMO. If you are untrained, go find somebody who is trained and get some training yourself. There are a number of ways to present the firearm, with each addressing different issues or needs. A good basic block of instruction will go a long way toward setting you on the right path.
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Old 01-31-2010, 23:32   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by David Armstrong View Post
There is the first issue, IMO. If you are untrained, go find somebody who is trained and get some training yourself. There are a number of ways to present the firearm, with each addressing different issues or needs. A good basic block of instruction will go a long way toward setting you on the right path.
Please note that my very first statement indicated that I am in the process of setting up a training class. I merely posed the question to satisfy my curiosity, not to suffice as training.
I realize there are several ways to present a firearm, that is why I stated that I was right handed, using two hands, with both thumbs pointed forward.
Don't worry, I'm not planning on using the answer I get here to base my firearms handling on. So there is no issue, I just wanted to know if there was anything to keeping the trigger finger arm bent at the elbow.
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Old 02-01-2010, 06:50   #5
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Originally Posted by Forty-eight View Post
Sorry for the long post, but is there any truth to my uninformed deduction?
Obviously, or you wouldn't have been steadier.


However----what you've found that lets you steady in a square-on training set up isn't automatically what's going to answer the problem when one or both of you are moving, or when you're trying to shoot somewhere other than on your centerline. Use it where it works, but don't cling to it.
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Old 02-01-2010, 07:30   #6
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I hate to use a golf analogy, but the concept of grip is equally elusive for both sports. Just like in golf, other shooters are quick to point out what the "right" grip looks like. And just like in golf, you need to find a grip that is comfortable, repeatable, and allows you to perform to your maximum potential.

There are folks who advocate locking out both elbows because it's a known point. You can always lock them out the same because locking them out is a bone/joint thing and not a muscle memory thing. There are an equal number who continue to advocate the push/pull weaver-style grip (with the support arm bent slightly).

To me, firing a handgun is like any other sport. The shooter needs to adopt a fairly natural, athletic stance. Similar to throwing horseshoes and shooting a foul shot in basketball. Knees bent, relaxed and focused. In short, your grip should allow you to shoot quickly and accurately.

It should also be neutral enough to adapt to changing situations (you're moving, target's moving, firing from the prone, kneeling, using barricades, etc). If you learn a really rigid style of shooting, keep up with the pace of a gunfight will be difficult. You need a grip and stance that are natural for you so that you can employ good fundamentals during high stress.

Shoot me a pm if you need additional info.

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Old 02-01-2010, 10:01   #7
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Please note that my very first statement indicated that I am in the process of setting up a training class. I merely posed the question to satisfy my curiosity, not to suffice as training.
And note that my point indicates that you are asking a question that IMO cannot be adequately answered on a forum like this. As Sam points out there are issues besides "is this steady" that need to be looked at. There are a number of things that can enhance steadines that might be contra-indicated for your actual needs, or you may be doing a version of a hold incorrectly therefore deciding if another hold/grip is steadier would be based on invalid information, etc.

Last edited by David Armstrong; 02-01-2010 at 10:52..
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Old 02-01-2010, 13:48   #8
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The best grip for you is the grip that works best for you. Strangely we don't all have exactly the same sized hands, with the same grip strength, shooting the same gun. (The list is actually more complicated than that but if suffices for a start.)

Since hands, strength and guns differ I opine that it is wrong to dogmatically state that this grip or that grip is the proper way to grip the hand gun. What is best for me may not be what's best for you or someone else.

And, this only addresses grip (wrists to finger-tips).

You were actually asking about grip:
Quote:
I use a two hand grip, with both thumbs pointing forward. I am right handed, and so I pull the trigger with my right index finger
(which is also called Thumbs Forward and probably looks something like this...

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though not exactly because those are not your hands)

And, stance:
Quote:
someone teaching a class, mentioned for a shooter to keep his left arm straight, and a slight bend in the right arm. I had been doing the opposit, keeping the right arm straight and a slight bend in the left arm.
I had not heard of this stance. I would love to see a link to the information or other reference.

I show students a number of different grips (and stance), encourage them to try them and ultimate choose what works best. I advocate the thumbs forward grip and isoceles, but that may not what works best for them.

However, this

Quote:
I thought about it, and it made sense - the trigger pull could cause unwanted movement in the arm, causing the gun to be less steady.
I can not agree with. If you think about it, the trigger pull is the trigger pull. You are inducing energy into the gun which done improperly can cause the sights (and therefor the the barrel) to move off the target. I can not see how a bent right arm would aid in controlling wobble created by manipulating the trigger.

Last edited by PhoneCop; 02-01-2010 at 14:00..
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Old 02-01-2010, 14:13   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jedburgh View Post
I hate to use a golf analogy, but the concept of grip is equally elusive for both sports. Just like in golf, other shooters are quick to point out what the "right" grip looks like. And just like in golf, you need to find a grip that is comfortable, repeatable, and allows you to perform to your maximum potential.

There are folks who advocate locking out both elbows because it's a known point. You can always lock them out the same because locking them out is a bone/joint thing and not a muscle memory thing. There are an equal number who continue to advocate the push/pull weaver-style grip (with the support arm bent slightly).

To me, firing a handgun is like any other sport. The shooter needs to adopt a fairly natural, athletic stance. Similar to throwing horseshoes and shooting a foul shot in basketball. Knees bent, relaxed and focused. In short, your grip should allow you to shoot quickly and accurately.

It should also be neutral enough to adapt to changing situations (you're moving, target's moving, firing from the prone, kneeling, using barricades, etc). If you learn a really rigid style of shooting, keep up with the pace of a gunfight will be difficult. You need a grip and stance that are natural for you so that you can employ good fundamentals during high stress.

Shoot me a pm if you need additional info.

DOL

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Old 02-02-2010, 00:17   #10
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Quote:
I am right handed, and so I pull the trigger with my right index finger. I recently saw on one of the TV gun instruction shows, someone teaching a class, mentioned for a shooter to keep his left arm straight, and a slight bend in the right arm. I had been doing the opposit, keeping the right arm straight and a slight bend in the left arm.
I'm not sure that stance is even possible for a right hand shooter? I shoot modifed weaver, & try to teach it, but like JedB & Phonecop, not all stances fit all shooters. Not even all grips fit all shooters. Keep in mind the shooting hand does all the work & the support hand does just that. The more you allow the support hand to influence your grip, the worse your shooting is likely to be.
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Old 02-02-2010, 15:52   #11
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Originally Posted by fredj338 View Post
I'm not sure that stance is even possible for a right hand shooter? I shoot modifed weaver, & try to teach it, but like JedB & Phonecop, not all stances fit all shooters. Not even all grips fit all shooters. Keep in mind the shooting hand does all the work & the support hand does just that. The more you allow the support hand to influence your grip, the worse your shooting is likely to be.
Yes, it's possible for a righty (I do not shoot, nor advocate shooting like this).

All my shooting hand does is : work the trigger finger, and keep the sights aligned/oriented on target. Really. That's mostly it right there.

Personally, I think stance and grip are grossly over-rated. It really don't matter in the long run, on the firing line, or in the heat of the battle what kind of grip or position you use. Use what works.



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Old 02-03-2010, 12:47   #12
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Originally Posted by NYC Drew View Post
Yes, it's possible for a righty (I do not shoot, nor advocate shooting like this).

All my shooting hand does is : work the trigger finger, and keep the sights aligned/oriented on target. Really. That's mostly it right there.

Personally, I think stance and grip are grossly over-rated. It really don't matter in the long run, on the firing line, or in the heat of the battle what kind of grip or position you use. Use what works.



'Drew
I agree, use what works. I think it does matter quite a bit though. Small changes in grip & stance can help or hurt.
AS to that odd stance mentioned, I can't even get into a position where my shooting arm bent & my support arm is straight, except maybe turning to my extreme right to engage a target (right handed).
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Old 02-03-2010, 13:00   #13
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Hi Fred,

Reason why I say use what works is, for example, I had a guy in a class who'd had some nerves and tissue removed from his shoulder.

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Old 02-03-2010, 13:39   #14
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I've found that as long as I have a consitant grip I do ok no matter How my arms are bent/locked
I have BAD elbows and shoulders from bike wrecks(and youthful stupidity)
and it actually hurts me to lock out my elbows-I shoot best as of now with equaly bent arms
As long as my hands look like thisTactics and Training
and my index finger is placed on trigger to promote straight pull
I do OK
Some day I'm gonna find a good shooting coach as I've found profesional instruction always seems to pan out
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Old 02-03-2010, 18:48   #15
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Jed, Drew--I agree with you both whole-heartedly.

1) I too believe that stance is overrated for defensive pistol craft. You're probably going to be running, leaning around something, or shooting from retention anyway. All of that "Weaver v Isosolese" horse squeeze becomes irrelevent anyway.

2) I firmly believe Brian Enos (about this): You can never learn to shoot. You can only learn about shooting. If you aren't changing up what you do and seeking improvement constantly, you aren't acting up to your potential. Performance is the yardstick--if it works for you, do it.

3) I prefer Jed and Mr. Enos' advice. Shoot neutral and relaxed when you can. In a defensive situation, it ain't gonna happen, but at an IDPA or USPSA match? hey, it works.

As a competitive shooter of some experience, I've gotta say--this has me scratching my head. I've never heard that bit of advice given. I don't know why it would make you more steady. That said, if, impirically, it does--use it.

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Old 02-05-2010, 22:06   #16
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Locking your elbows out in isosceles is going to transmit more of the recoil into your shoulders, and take the elbows out of the equation when it comes into absorbing that force.

Ever tried playing with the angle of your elbows when bent? Angle them sharply downward (like in weaver)... versus almost straight outward (like hugging a fat man)... and you can dramatically affect the way the gun handles with just that one variable.

You can see in my avatar, that I shoot with them pretty far outward (not angled down much). That's just something that's gradually developed over time as I worked on my grip and getting the front sight to track as purely vertical (no sideways/diagonal momvement) as possible.
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Old 02-06-2010, 06:27   #17
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ecmills avatar picture is a great example of the elbows locked out method. I like it because you're firing from the exact same position each time you pull the trigger. If you need to turn or move, just twist your hips or move your feet to get where you need to go. Your upper body stays fixed like the cannon turret on a tank. You're eyes, shoulders, arms, hands, and weapon stay fixed in the exact same relative positions.

As an added bonus, if you're wearing body armor, this position ensures you stay squared off on your target which increases the surface area of armor you're presenting to the target.

There are some situations (close in fights especially) where this position is totally useless, but I'm convinced it's the best baseline pistol grip/stance.
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Old 02-07-2010, 08:32   #18
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Forty-eight,

The "left arm straight, right arm slightly bent" grip you describe sounds like D. R. Middlebrooks FIST-Fire technique.

Mr. Middlebrooks used to post rather extensively here at Glocktalk, but like so many other professional instructors I believe he grew tired of being sniped by folks who wanted to pick apart his information.

He runs his own forum which can be found with a Google search.
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Old 02-07-2010, 15:08   #19
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ecmills avatar picture is a great example of the elbows locked out method. I like it because you're firing from the exact same position each time you pull the trigger.
My elbows are bent.

But they're not bent *DOWN*

Re-read my post. My elbows are about 4"-6" futher apart than they would be with the elbows locked. But they're not angled downward like you're used to seeing with a rifle or weaver-pistol-shooter - they point outward like you're giving a very fat man a hug.

Take an isosceles stance with your elbows locked, then pull the gun back into your face about an inch. That's where I usually live during a match.
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Old 02-07-2010, 19:04   #20
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I shoot two different styles depending on the situation. I am right handed and often shoot a fully extended modified weaver style for most situations because I feel it gives me more lateral aiming movement. For precision range shooting I prefer a squared off stance for the stability.
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Old 02-16-2010, 11:18   #21
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ecmills View Post
Locking your elbows out in isosceles is going to transmit more of the recoil into your shoulders, and take the elbows out of the equation when it comes into absorbing that force.

Ever tried playing with the angle of your elbows when bent? Angle them sharply downward (like in weaver)... versus almost straight outward (like hugging a fat man)... and you can dramatically affect the way the gun handles with just that one variable.

You can see in my avatar, that I shoot with them pretty far outward (not angled down much). That's just something that's gradually developed over time as I worked on my grip and getting the front sight to track as purely vertical (no sideways/diagonal momvement) as possible.
I found this post very helpful and will have to pay attention to this aspect of my stance/grip. Hitting center-of-mass all day long at a moderate pace is fairly easy. Where I am having difficulty is with recoil management and front sight tracking so this may help. Right now my lack of recoil management skill is keeping me slow and some degree of flinching is really the only thing getting the sights back onto target. They just aren't coming back to rest there on their own.

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Old 02-23-2010, 22:17   #22
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Originally Posted by Rusty Shackleford View Post
I found this post very helpful and will have to pay attention to this aspect of my stance/grip. Hitting center-of-mass all day long at a moderate pace is fairly easy. Where I am having difficulty is with recoil management and front sight tracking so this may help. Right now my lack of recoil management skill is keeping me slow and some degree of flinching is really the only thing getting the sights back onto target. They just aren't coming back to rest there on their own.
Try that, but the biggest increase you'll find is to grip the gun VERY firmly with the weak hand, while keeping with the thumbs-forward grip. Think of it like you're trying to squeeze the side panels of the gun tightly with the *WEAK* hand only.

Keep the strong hand more relaxed. Like you're swinging a hammer.

Huge difference in rapid-fire control. The sights actually come back.
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Old 02-25-2010, 09:00   #23
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I've was bugging ecmills via PM prior to this thread being started... :-)

I have average but bony hands. My grip-strength is probably at least average since I can close a CoC #1 gripper 10+ times in my strong hand and about 7-8 times in my support hand. Given this, the problem that *I* have always had with the thumbs-forward grip is that it relies on friction between the support hand and the gun to make it work. On slick, flat-sided guns like the Glock (and to some extent the M&P), I require a very firm support hand grip and normal to mild recoiling loads to keep the gun from rotating in my hand. Forget hot self-defense loads like the 127gr +p+. The idea of rotating the elbows out as ecmills showed does indeed drive the meat of the support hand thumb into the side of the grip, and I find it to be necessary when shooting the Glock at speed. I can still notice some degree of slippage though.

To compound the problem, when gripping a flat gun like the Glock, your support hand is grabbing a wedge more than it is something like a 2x4 where it can truly apply a side-to-side pressure. If you look at the angle made by your strong hand fingers on one side and the flat, exposed grip left on the other side, you can see that it's shaped like, well...a wedge. Some people report that they can get the strong hand to squirt out of the support hand simply by squeezing hard enough - and this is without even shooting the gun!

When I say I want to keep the gun in the support hand, I mean that I don't want *any* slippage or rotation. I can run Bill-drills with a naked Glock but by the end of the string, my support hand has moved from where it was when I first started the run. Granted, I can still fire the gun just fine and can complete the magazine but I can feel the slippage between the support hand and gun when I do.

Grip-tape makes all problems disappear because I can get the gun to really bite into my support hand and stick to it. Of course, it also relegates the gun to carry-duty only when I dress like a bum; it's no longer an option against any shirt I don't want to ruin. Honestly, most IPSC shooters quickly recommend grip-tape and Pro-grip because they themselves are relying on the additional coefficient of friction offered to keep the gun where they want it.

The problem of the gun recoiling out of the support hand is lessened when I use a gun with a much more rounded grip, such as a 1911 or a CZ. This is because *my* support hand is able to do two things that it can't do on a Glock: get somewhat *behind* the gun and apply what is much closer to a true side-to-side pressure. Getting behind the gun allows the support hand to accept some of the recoil into it rather than transmitted to it solely through friction. Applying a true side-to-side pressure keeps the gun more neutral in the hands and doesn't set it up to be in a position to squirt out of the support hand.

The point of all this is to simply detail my experiences with the grip. I've given it a three year run (and thousands of rounds, dry-fires, and draws) and I still haven't found a way to make it work well on my Glock and M&P without a> grip-tape and/or b> additional push-pull between the hands. I may end up with a 1911 or CZ if I decide to stick with the grip...
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