A few weeks ago, I completed the Handgun 1 and Handgun 2 training classes at Close Quarters Tactical (www.cqtusa.com) in Shelby Township, Michigan. The content of each class rightly included — among a host of other things — i
how to properly grip a pistol when manipulating, drawing and, of course, shooting that pistol. I learned how a proper grip balances out your stance and can correct inaccurate shooting. I learned how to change from strong hand to weak hand and back again when shooting around obstacles. I learned about which hand should provide most of the squeeze. In short, while I had always done well, correcting my grip has allowed me to do even better.
Here are some of my notes from the training…
With a proper grip, I improved overall pistol manipulation. In class, we drilled for hours on proper pistol manipulation when drawing, presenting, shooting, dealing with problems, clearing, reloading and holstering. The instructor had us grasp our pistols the same way every time, counting off aloud each movement, bringing the pistols into our “workspaces” (the area in front of our face, where we could see our guns and the surrounding area) and doing whatever the drill called for. And while the grip always started the same, depending on the gun or the size of a person’s hands, some had to slightly change their grip to activate magazine release buttons or slide release levers. I manipulated the slide release of my Glock 19 so many times the thumb on my strong hand was blistered and bleeding. But in the end, I was more proficient in handling that gun safely and effectively.
With a proper grip, I balanced out my stance. On the range, we spent a good amount of time ensuring our weak-hand thumb pointed well forward and touched the slide just over the trigger guard. For most, this meant his or her weak hand was rotated a little more forward and resulted in a lot more skin resting on the frame of the gun. This also resulted in both weak- and strong-hand thumbs essentially pointing forward on the left side of the gun. If you held your gun properly and viewed your grip from above the slide, you’d see your weak-hand thumb on one side and your trigger finger on the other — both pointing forward and pretty much in alignment. Prior to this training, I would have gripped my gun using a modified “cup and saucer” in which my thumbs both ended up nearer to the magazine release on my gun. Now, the new grip meant my two hands were equally on the gun, up against the frame over the trigger, each doing important work in balancing out my stance.
With a proper grip, I went from good to better accuracy, because the correct hands were putting the right amount of squeeze on the gun’s stocks. The instructor told us to squeeze our gun’s stocks using a 70/30 rule. Seventy percent of the squeeze should come from my weak hand. The other 30% from my right. This was quite the mind-shift for me and, while I had always been an accurate shooter, my accuracy improved immediately. With my weak hand doing most of the work, my strong hand could relax a bit, allowing my trigger finger to move more smoothly and evenly. This was also a benefit of the balanced stance.
Whether in pistol manipulation, balanced stance or accuracy, one thing I’ve learned about grip: It’s vital to better shooting.
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