Proper Grip

Discussion in 'Self Defense Tactics & Weapons' started by kilogulf59, Jun 13, 2008.

  1. kilogulf59

    kilogulf59 Former Guest

    May 2, 2008
    I was going to write a little piece on the correct handgun grip. While searching for a few sample photos I came across Uncle Sam's instructions. Not bad, I thought, so I saved myself some typing....

    The reader will take special note of paragraph d. Natural Point of Aim.
    2-1. GRIP

    A proper grip is one of the most important fundamentals of quick fire. The weapon must become an extension of the hand and arm; it should replace the finger in pointing at an object. The firer must apply a firm, uniform grip to the weapon.

    a. One-Hand Grip. Hold the weapon in the nonfiring hand; form a V with the thumb and forefinger of the strong hand (firing hand). Place the weapon in the V with the front and rear sights in line with the firing arm. Wrap the lower three fingers around the pistol grip, putting equal pressure with all three fingers to the rear. Allow the thumb of the firing hand to rest alongside the weapon without pressure (Figure 2-1). Grip the weapon tightly until the hand begins to tremble; relax until the trembling stops. At this point, the necessary pressure for a proper grip has been applied. Place the trigger finger on the trigger between the tip and second joint so that it can be squeezed to the rear. The trigger finger must work independently of the remaining fingers.

    NOTE: If any of the three fingers on the grip are relaxed, the grip must be reapplied.
    Figure 2-1. One-hand grip.

    b. Two-Hand Grip. The two-hand grip allows the firer to steady the firing hand and provide maximum support during firing. The nonfiring hand becomes a support mechanism for the firing hand by wrapping the fingers of the nonfiring hand around the firing hand. Two-hand grips are recommended for all pistol firing.

    WARNING - Do not place the nonfiring thumb in the rear of the weapon. The recoil upon firing could result in personal injury.

    (1) Fist Grip. Grip the weapon as with the one-hand grip. Firmly close the fingers of the nonfiring hand over the fingers of the firing hand, ensuring that the index finger from the nonfiring hand is between the middle finger of the firing hand and the trigger guard. Place the nonfiring thumb alongside the firing thumb (Figure 2-2).

    NOTE: Depending upon the individual firer, he may chose to place the index finger of his nonfiring hand on the front of the trigger guard since M9 and M11 pistols have a recurved trigger guard designed for this purpose.
    Figure 2-2. Fist grip.

    (2) Palm-Supported Grip. This grip is commonly called the cup and saucer grip. Grip the firing hand as with the one-hand grip. Place the nonfiring hand under the firing hand, wrapping the nonfiring fingers around the back of the firing hand. Place the nonfiring thumb over the middle finger of the firing hand (Figure 2-3).
    Figure 2-3. Palm-supported grip.

    (3) Weaver grip. Apply this grip the same as the fist grip. The only exception is that the nonfiring thumb is wrapped over the firing thumb (Figure 2-4).

    Figure 2-4. Weaver grip.

    c. Isometric Tension. The firer raises his arms to a firing position and applies isometric tension. This is commonly known as the push-pull method for maintaining weapon stability. Isometric tension is when the firer applies forward pressure with the firing hand and pulls rearward with the nonfiring hand with equal pressure. This creates an isometric force but never so much to cause the firer to tremble. This steadies the weapon and reduces barrel rise from recoil. The supporting arm is bent with the elbow pulled downward. The firing arm is fully extended with the elbow and wrist locked. The firer must experiment to find the right amount of isometric tension to apply.

    NOTE: The firing hand should exert the same pressure as the nonfiring hand. If it does not, a missed target could result.

    d. Natural Point of Aim. The firer should check his grip for use of his natural point of aim. He grips the weapon and sights properly on a distant target. While maintaining his grip and stance, he closes his eyes for three to five seconds. He then opens his eyes and checks for proper sight picture. If the point of aim is disturbed, the firer adjusts his stance to compensate. If the sight alignment is disturbed, the firer adjusts his grip to compensate by removing the weapon from his hand and reapplying the grip. The firer repeats this process until the sight alignment and sight placement remain almost the same when he opens his eyes. With sufficient practice, this enables the firer to determine and use his natural point of aim, which is the most relaxed position for holding and firing the weapon.

  2. pawn

    pawn Active Member

    Jan 31, 2007
    Crossville, TN
    +1 kilogulf59, nice post :)

  3. TranterUK

    TranterUK Guest

    Excellent post, the grip is a constant and thus very important. Without a good, strong and consistent grip your shots will not go where you want.

    The only thing I would add is that once gripped the handgun should line up with the forearm.
  4. UncleFudd

    UncleFudd Well-Known Member

    Mar 23, 2008
    Phoenix, Az
    Great idea and material for a handgun thread.
    I have spent over 30 Greyears instructing with handguns and the grip is the first and the most critical item to enforce to the student. (after or with all safety items of course) I have helped more people correct their accuracy problems by just slight changes in their grip than perhaps any other bad habit that I have seen in my career.
    I recently used this example to show that if your grip is correct, it will not matter the size of your mitts or the frame size of the gun you pick up, it will simply work.
    Here are some pictures I recently sent to a young fellow and he has since written to tell me how it has improved his shooting overall and that he is especially happy with his follow-up shots.
    I did this primarily to show the proper grip for the 1911, but I also wanted to show how well the primary grip works with all handguns.

  5. UncleFudd that is almost the exact grip I learned nearly 20 years ago. Except the left hand thumb depresses the right hand thumb down and the left hand pointer finger pulls tight into the right hand middle finger. As a teen shooting competition I tried hard to adjust to left hand pointer finger indexing down the slide and tried same finger pulling tight across front of triggerguard, but that original grip I learned prevailed...and still holding into a long Army career.

    One thing I will tell any shooter is to constantly enforce a habit of getting the highest grip possible....both with sidearms or longarms with pistol grips.
  6. TranterUK

    TranterUK Guest

    I was taught to grip the pistol exactly as in Fig. 2.2 ( On Kilogulfs starter) with the left hand, or outer thumb on top of the other and a push pull pressure between the hands. This was taught to me about a hundred years ago by you lot, in the States!

    It has always worked well, and I have passed it on to many others. :)
    Last edited by a moderator: Jun 16, 2008
  7. kilogulf59

    kilogulf59 Former Guest

    May 2, 2008
    Thank you all and as I continually assert, I am simply attempting to get beneficial and straightforward methodologies exposed to those of us who may need them.

    Nice pictures Unclefudd they are very clear and expounding. I never got the hang of the support hand being up that high, of course that is a personal issue. Essentially my grip, one and two handed, are those depicted below from “Shooting to Live”.

    [​IMG] [​IMG]

    The only variation is when I am shooting revolvers by right thumb is curled somewhat downward as on my (single action) automatics I have the safety to contend with. These I have found most natural for me and it is how I grasp the weapon instinctively so I tend to stick with them.

    Personally I feel the most significant elements of a proper grip are; a) its relative ease for the shooter to acquire and b) the “pointability” or, as stated in the original post, the natural point of aim of the grip/weapon combination.

    Here’s a further description of the grip I tend to use, from Matt Temkin’s “Point Shooting Lesson Plan”

    3) How to grip the pistol. Place your finger on the trigger, on the first crease, and grip it until it shakes. This is the convulsive grip as taught by Fairbairn. The handgun should now be in perfect alignment with the Y of your hand. (See pages 107 and 129 of KOGK).

    [​IMG]P107 [​IMG]P129
    Additionally, I feel that some instructors were, for many years, too rigid and structured in their lessons. Granted, there are certain absolutes, such as the 4-rules, however a certain amount of individual variance should be applied in areas such as stance, grip, et al. Lest we forget that, in actual combat, we may not have the opportunity to attain the perfect grip and stance.

    On the contrary, an individual shooter may not necessarily know what is best for them until they are proficient. Many times a simple adjustment in the shooters grip makes a world of difference in their accuracy as you expounded upon Unclefudd. My hat is off do you gents and ladies whom are instructors, you have both a difficult task albeit a rewarding one.
    Last edited: Jun 16, 2008
  8. Mosin_Nagant_Fan

    Mosin_Nagant_Fan Active Member

    Jan 18, 2007
    Montgomery, AL
    I usually do what's in figure 2-1 and 2-3. This is mostly because of the thumb rest grip on my pistol.
  9. UncleFudd

    UncleFudd Well-Known Member

    Mar 23, 2008
    Phoenix, Az

    This is great stuff and always seem to bring out good thought and statement from others. We can all learn a lot from these posts and the subsequent replies.I have been instructing for over 30 yrs and still learn something new on a regular basis from many places.
    I have been fortunate to have attended courses taught by the most read about instructors in the 20th century and still add to their base of knowledge whenever and wherever I can.

    As to the grip as I said I still feel it is the cornerstone of pistol handling and accuracy. True we must always keep in mind the many idiosyncrasies that make up an individual shooter and try not to put everyone in the same mold. What is good and will work for one will need tweaking in order to work for another even though shooting the same gun. So tweak we must, but the basics are chipped in stone if we want overall success.

    Many years ago I was fortunate to spend some time with the late col cooper and I have cherished those minutes, hours and the memories.
    The man explained to me WHY this grip is so important, especially when wrapped around a 1911 style pistol.
    Remember those safeties?
    Two things; A. this grip places the absolute most flesh of your hands against the pistol as is possible. If you want the most control of your handgun, get as much of your hands against the frame as possible. B. Especially or in particular with the 1911 your thumbs are above, actually riding on the safety to prevent the inadvertent bump of the safety to the safe position at the most inopportune time. No, your thumbs do not and will not impede the function of the slide, period.
    He pointed out how easy it is to bump this safety if your thumbs are below and if so how costly it could be in a competition or during a fight for your life either place where mere portions of a second could cost yo dearly.
    Personally, it made sense then and I have never looked back.


    Right on my friend and interesting you bring up the placement of the booger finger of the support hand. I have helped several police departments who were at the time transitioning from revolver to semi auto. Some of the lads thought it was cool to wrap their finger around the front of the trigger guard. (after all some of the manufacturers have actually indented this area just so your finger will fit, right) Wrong. You actually lose a modicum of control when wrapping said finger as such. Get that puppy back where it belongs, tightly wrapped around the fingers of your primary grip. Then as mentioned use the push/pull presentation to the target.
    I had so much trouble with one department or with one of their instructors that I took the time to film (him) shooting his new Glock 22 in 40 S&W. When I showed him the daylight between his booger finger and the front of the trigger guard during recoil, he began to see it my way.
    Guys, we are striving for the absolute most in control off our handguns whatever we choose to shoot. Getting the grip correct will make a huge difference immediately and cause a lot of heartache until you do.

    As for the old cup and saucer, it will give your magazine base a warm, fuzzy feeling, but do nothing to improve the control of your pistol or your accuracy, IMHO.
    For those who turn your thumbs downward to lock them around your grip. If I could be with you for about 30 seconds I would give you a very simple, physical example that would change this for you forever. I just don't think I could explain what I need you to do in order to feel the difference in the two. Perhaps another time.

    I have been fortunate to work with students 7 days a week for many years and I actually get paid for doing something I enjoy so very much. Watching the response from someone who gets it right creates a satisfaction all of its' own. Helping people with their shooting activities has been for me a lifelong dream come true.
    I am now retired but still watch over my crew of excellent instructors at my range and they still make me a part of what they do. But watching and learning and once in a while sharing here and on other forums is now something new and yet enjoyable in its' own right. So my thanks to all and I sincerely hope in spite of our soon to be elected officials, we will be able to share for many more years.

    Keep up the good work. To all, stay safe, always.

  10. UncleFudd's comments made perfect sense to me, but The picture copied below from his post made me think of a question. See, I'm thinking, when I pull the trigger, that slide's going to go backwards with some force, and I don't want my thumb either to restrict its movement or get sliced up when that happens. How, if you're using this grip, do you avoid having your thumb interfere with the movement of the slide?

  11. kilogulf59

    kilogulf59 Former Guest

    May 2, 2008
    User, supposedly they do not interfere with slide movement. If you look at the first two pics in my last post, you will see fundamentally the equivalent grip. The difference being the thumb(s) straight forward, right one on the safety catch.

    I personally would not consider these two different grip positions bar simply an individual variation and a moot point. Observe what works best for you and use that one; I know of one old-timer who shoots pretty darn well with the wrist support method.

    One more point, I do approximately eighty percent of my shooting one handed. With the thumb parallel with the slide, I find it to be more accurate of a grip than the high thumb. As well, one has to experiment to realize what is utmost for themselves.
  12. [​IMG]
    This is the stance Ayoob recommends. Note that the shooting arm is not locked...
  13. I've found that the beavertail on my semiautomatics pounds the thumb-knuckle too much with a one handed grip, though that's my preference as well. So I use pretty much the same as with a revolver, left thumb over the right thumb and pressing it downward. I don't like it, but it keeps my knuckle from getting bloody.
  14. kilogulf59

    kilogulf59 Former Guest

    May 2, 2008
    User, you said "I've found that the beavertail on my semiautomatics pounds the thumb-knuckle too much with a one handed grip" based on that I think a minor adjustment in you grip may be necessary.

    You will note in the description here that the beavertail should not be inline with that area. It should be centered in the hands web as shown thus eliminating your problem and aligning the barrel with the forearm.

    From Matt Temkin’s “Point Shooting Lesson Plan”

    3) How to grip the pistol. Place your finger on the trigger, on the first crease, and grip it until it shakes. This is the convulsive grip as taught by Fairbairn. The handgun should now be in perfect alignment with the Y of your hand. (See pages 107 and 129 of KOGK).

    [​IMG]P107 [​IMG]P129

    Let me know if this helps User…
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