Tuesday, August 6, 2013

Get A Grip

By Dave Dargo

I see a lot of styles when students grip their semi-automatic pistols. Some are stable, most are safe but so many are so interesting.  It seems relatively easy to get students to take a proper grip with their strong-side hand but that weak-side hand often appears to be an inconvenient appendage.

Critical to successfully delivering quick and accurate shots is a grip that allows the shooter to get the most meat of their hands on the pistol. Such a grip allows for a stable shooting platform, helps manage recoil and allows the shooter to maintain proper trigger control.

The web of the strong side hand should be firmly placed onto the pistol's backstrap. The thumb of that hand should be high enough to rest on top of a thumb-safety if the pistol has one, otherwise it should be just below the slide of the pistol. The index finger should rest straight down the frame of the pistol just above the trigger area and outside the trigger guard. The remaining three fingers should wrap around the grip of the pistol with the middle finger high enough that it is touching the trigger guard.

This will leave a significant amount of the pistol grip exposed on the weak-side. The weak-side hand should be rotated forward so the exposed pistol grip aligns with the wrist-joint and the area of the palm is in full contact with the pistol grip.

This should place the weak-side thumb in a position to rest against the frame of the pistol just above the trigger.

Such a grip will place the most meat of the hands on the pistol grips assuring a strong, firm grip with most of the grip surface of the pistol covered.

Students newly exposed to this grip often have difficulty getting that weak side hand to rest against the grip. The palm of the weak-side hand often ends up "cupped" away from the grip leaving significant space between the palm of the hand and the grip itself. We want the base of the palm to be firmly planted on the weak-side grip; the more meat of the hand on the grip the more stable the platform becomes. The same issue exists when students want to cross their thumbs. Crossing the thumbs with the strong-side thumb under the weak-side, as with a revolver grip, causes a gap to be created between the hand and the pistol grip.  We don't want gaps.

If your body mechanics allow it remove as many gaps as you can from your grip. Get rid of the gap between the palm of your weak-side hand and the pistol grip. Get rid of the gap between the base of your weak-side and strong-side hands, allow them to meet strongly at the rear of the pistol. Allow your strong-side thumb to rest atop your weak-side thumb. The fewer gaps you have the stronger your grip will be.

Finally, don't strangle the gun. A firm, strong grip is desired but some students take this to mean using all their strength and will grip so firmly as to cause a tremor. That's a bit strong an unnecessary.

Getting a solid grip on the pistol will go a long way towards helping you deliver accurate shots quickly.

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