The Grip: your only connection to the gun

Consistency is the key to success in any endeavor and the grip is your only connection to your tool, the handgun. To be effective and consistent in engaging the target we not only need to score hits with the first shot but subsequent shots as well, and a weak or inconsistent grip will prevent those subsequent shots from connecting where you need them. The correct grip will help eliminate the many causes of error in marksmanship and give you a better platform from which to perform perfect trigger control and almost all inaccuracies stem from the shooting hand doing things it should not.

Although there are a few variations on a consistent two hand grip it is critical that; the grip aligns with our natural point of aim in essence functioning as our pointing finger so when the gun comes on target the sites are already in very close alignment, and the grip provides for good recoil control so the gun comes up and returns to the same point of aim with the trigger reset and ready to fire subsequent shots.

Grip Basics

Your shooting hand must be high on the backstrap to allow perfect alignment of the bore with the hand and forearm. With handguns with a beavertail the web of the hand should be somewhat compressed against the beavertail more or less forcing the hand into the correct position on the gun. This additionally aids in controlling muzzle flip and recoil.

The middle finger of your shooting hand should be tight against the trigger guard where it connects to the grip of the gun ensuring minimal movement of the gun in the shooting hand.

The support hand will support the weight of the gun and aid in controlling recoil and muzzle flip. It should start with the butt of the support hand filling in the space on the grip panel that the firing hand does not cover. The forefinger should be held perpendicular to the upright axis of the handgun and tight to the underside of the of the trigger guard. In most instances the middle joints of the support hand fingers will lie on top of the middle joint of the shooting hand fingers. I recommend you start here and adjust as needed.

The amount of pressure applied by the hands should be enough but not too much, sounds simple right? I have found if I think of the gun grip as a small animal or bird that I want to control but not squish it seems to give me the correct amount of pressure. Additionally you need a decided fore and aft pressure on the grip, pushing the gun forward with the butt of the shooting hand and resisting that movement with the fingers of the support hand in essence creating an isometric vise on the grip decidedly limiting muzzle flip. If you see your support hand slipping off the shooting hand when firing you clearly do not have enough fore and aft pressure on the grip.

While certainly comfort plays a role in shooting, and a new grip style will in the beginning feel uncomfortable we really cannot afford to give up a solid performing grip for comfort at the expense of accuracy.

Lastly, those pesky thumbs. Obviously both thumbs should be pointing forward except when using a revolver, the support thumb will be clearly forward of the shooting thumb and should lay against the frame just above the trigger guard. The shooting thumb should be resting on top of the base of the support thumb. In revolvers due to the location of the trigger guard and the gap between the cylinder and the forcing cone the thumbs should be bend in a downward manner at the top knuckles. Assuming the correct position of both hands, there will be skin to grip contact all the way around and the thumbs almost become superfluous to the actual gripping of the gun.

So, the key points are:
Shooting hand high on the backstrap with some noticeable pressure between the beavertail and the web of the shooting hand.

Middle finger of the shooting hand should be high and tight to the base of the trigger guard.

The butt of the support hand filling the exposed grip panel left between the shooting fingers and the butt of the shooting hand.

The side of the support thumb in contact with the frame just above the trigger guard.

Shooting is a complex combination of multiple skills that some individuals pick up rapidly, while others require time and patience to achieve the goals they set for themselves. If shooting fast and accurately every time were easy, everyone would be a top-ranked competitive shooter and nobody would miss an enemy combatant or attacker during a self-protection related encounter. No matter the skill level, understanding, refining and possibly improving upon the combat grip will aid in becoming a better precision shooter and/or faster and more accurate combative shooter.

Below are a few pictures of HOW NOT TO DO IT . . . your comments on these would be appreciated.

Do yourself a huge favor, learn to shoot from a high quality firearms instructor. You will learn faster and do better . . . and you will look great while doing so.

Remember, failing to train is training to fail.
Liberty Firearms Training


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