Thursday, March 7, 2013

Gripping a Handgun

A while back I was approached by someone about some basic tips for handgun shooting and wrote up a quick "how to" on gripping a handgun, or at least how I grip a handgun. Step one of building my grip is acquiring a high, master grip with the shooting hand. The web of my hand between the thumb and forefinger is pressed into the rear tang/beaver tail of the handgun. The goal here is to get my hand as high on the gun as possible to limit the amount of leverage the reciprocating slide has over my grip. For handguns with slide mounted safeties (i.e. 1911, etc.), my shooting hand thumb rest on top of the safety. This helps to properly position the hand, as well as ensures that the safety is disengaged during the draw stroke, and remains disengaged throughout the firing cycle.

When initially establishing my grip, before the support hand has come to meet the gun, my shooting hand thumb remains flagged in an up position. This allows access to where the support hand needs to go in order to maximize contact with the firearm. If the thumb is folded down, or not raised high enough, it will block access to this area, or end up under the support hand.

When bringing the support hand to the gun, I use the top of my index finger as a physical indexing point on the trigger guard. By using a physical, repeatable index it allows me to have consistency in establishing my grip and make any necessary adjustments early in the gripping process. 

Once the index is acquired and confirmed, the support had is folded into the grip. The support hand thumb points forward, along the side of the slide, and the “meat” of the support hand at the base of the thumb is pressed into the side of the grip by the clamping force of the fingers. The majority of the gripping force on the gun comes from this hand when shooting for maximum accuracy. That allows my muscles in the shooting hand to relax slightly, which permits greater motor control over the trigger finger. This especially applies to the shooting hand thumb. I have found that keeping the shooting hand thumb loose will have a direct effect on the amount of control I have with my trigger finger.

As my support hand is folded into the grip, the support hand fingers wrap around the gun under the trigger guard. This completes the grip on the handgun. To further solidify the grip, my elbows are rotated up slightly while keeping the wrist locked and applying rotational torque. This creates a lateral pressure on the grip of the handgun and further enhances my recoil control. It isn't a very noticeable change from the outside looking in, but this was one of the break through moments for my handgun control when I started doing this.


  1. Solid post. A proper grip is truly one of the key fundamentals. I plan to do a post about revolver vs semi grip in the near future and would like to link back to this.

  2. By all means.

    I was actually talking to someone the other day about the differences between gripping a semi auto and a revolver. He shoots a revo better than a semi. I pretty much grip a revo like I do a semi just bend my support hand thumb to keep it behind the front end of the cylinder, so I will be interested to see what you have to say about gripping a revo.