Shooting a Revolver


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Flashman
November 25, 2004, 04:22 PM
In the Jan/Feb issue of American Handgunner, Dave Anderson discusses Jerry Miculek's (sp?) opinion of proper DA revolver grip. He believes one should grip on the strong side rather than the web of the hand in order to allow a better angle of the knuckle to the finger pressing the trigger on the pad rather than the joint. This is contrary to everything I have been taught and read however it seems to follow techniques used by IPSC shooters in competition. This doesn't seem practical to me for defensive technique. Any thoughts?

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Peter M. Eick
November 25, 2004, 05:20 PM
The guy is probably the fastest/best revolver shooter currently alive and argueably has ever lived. I think his technique might just have some merit.


Maybe try it out and see what you think.


My experience is that how you grip the revolver is much less important then how CONSISTENTLY you grab it.

Just my experience over the last 25 years of shooting revolvers.

Standing Wolf
November 25, 2004, 05:43 PM
My experience is that how you grip the revolver is much less important then how CONSISTENTLY you grab it.

Amen! It typically takes a few years to develop a good, solid, repeatable grip, and a few more after that to understand repeatability is a much more critical factor than the other two.

Flashman
November 25, 2004, 11:14 PM
I guess my first impression is that the technique used by race gun shooters relies on the left or passive hand to contribute as much to the grip of the gun as the strong hand. This is fine in competition with skeleton holsters and perfect conditions. They are also shooting self-loaders. Wouldn't a consistent grip, particularly when one hand shooting may be necessary in a defensive situation be more adviseable? It seems to me the best way to assure a consistent grip is welding the back of grip in the center of the back of the hand when grabbing the revolver from a holster.

Flashman
November 26, 2004, 06:21 PM
Nobody has any thoughts on this subject? To be honest, this is the core issue on shooting double action revolvers. Mike Venturino in this same issue of American Handgunner wrote that DA revolvers are truly an experts gun, that SA revolvers and SA self loaders (i.e., 1911) are much easier to shoot accurately. I have struggled with this issue for 20 years and have yet to become consistently accurate.

ChristopherG
November 26, 2004, 07:39 PM
Flashman,

You're dead right that the grip is the essential piece of DA revo shooting. I'm also persuaded that it's a relatively individual affair; but what works for one person will probably work for at least some others, so I'll share my thoughts.

For the first couple of years of revolver shooting, I listened almost exclusively to the advice of the old classic revolver legends: Bill Jordan, Elmer Keith, Ed McGivern. Only recently was I persuaded by a local IDPA Master (a level to which I aspire, hopefully this Spring or so) to try a grip that is much more in line with the popular iscosceles, high-hold grip clearly based on the competitive dominance of the 1911. I tried it and immediately shot my best three consecutive matches ever.

The grip is basically a thumb-up on the strong hand, as if it were riding the safety of a 1911--but instead, my thumb just goes up over the grip hump and rides lightly atop the cylinder release, parallel to the hammer. My hold is closer than before to in-line with the bore/recoil axis; my sights track straight up and down on the recoil impulse; the slight and unavoidable flexing of my thumb (involuntary companion to the trigger finger's action) does not push the gun sideways and out of alignment; and my index upon pushing the gun out is remarkably consistent compared to my prior experience. The only down-side I've found is that the joint of my thumb gets sore. I'm hoping this will fade. This grip works comfortably with everything (for me) up to standard power 45 ball out of a 625, or 38+p out of my 340PD. Not so good for full-power big-bore mag loads.

My off hand does not ride the frame under the cylinder, as my friend suggested; but it does achieve a better contact with the gun's grip, and is unimpeded by the thumb of the strong hand, which is now out of the way.

I haven't read the article you mention about Miculek's grip, but you can bet your bottom dollar I will; because the grip is essential to revolver shooting, and so little, relatively speaking, is written about revolver shooting at a competitive level.

As far as your concern about what's appropriate for a defense situation, I honestly don't see how something that makes my shots faster and more accurate is not a good idea. I mean, if I get a faster draw and a faster and more certain first shot, that means I'm getting a consistent grip, right? I know one-handed practice is important, and I'm willing to put it in; but if I CAN use both hands in a defense situation, you better bet I will, because I know I'm faster and more accurate that way.

Okay, sorry for the dissertation, but there's not near enough said about these matters, if you ask me, so I'm just trying to do my part.

wheelgunner100
November 26, 2004, 09:14 PM
Anything Jerry Miculek says about shooting a double-action revolver I will listen to with respect. Due to the fact that everybody is different what works for him may not work for me. I shoot with a more traditional grip, first joint of the finger on the trigger, because I shoot a heavy trigger and need all the leverage I can get. But as has been said, if it helps you get fast, accurate hits in competition it seems that it would help you get fast, accurate hits in self-defence.

Dienekes
November 27, 2004, 11:05 PM
I am a little out of practice in fast DA work nowadays, but I would question the idea that there is any one way to grip the gun. Personally I want the backstrap to fit squarely into the web of my hand and be centered up, with good trigger finger leverage. The stocks should make the gun feel like a good handshake. It works for me; it may not work for Miculek and his N frames.

Ed McGivern has been gone for 47 years now, but "Fast and Fancy Revolver Shooting" is still instructive. "Every person's hand has certain characteristics and individual proportions that require certain dimensions for upper and lower portions of the revolver grip that will feel comfortable in the hand and produce the feeling of confidence relative to general pointing accuracy that will be realized, almost instantly, when the hand is closed over a grip properly proportioned for that particular hand."

He goes on to name twelve characteristics to be taken into consideration in grip design and detail their effects, noting that after a period of experimentation a satisfactory solution will be found: "When such corrections are made in the grips and suitable proportions are finally secured, the person with grips so fitted and adjusted will soon forget his troubles and settle down to consistent progress and his performances will soon become positive and satisfactory."

I would have to agree. In my case a custom gripmaker helped me find out what worked for me about 25 years ago, and I have stayed with the same configuration ever since.

With all due respect to Mr. Miculek, Ed McGivern turned in some amazing performances that still have not been equalled to this day. Many of his guns were altered, but many were not.

Flashman
November 28, 2004, 10:38 PM
I see this as more of a discussion than one technique better than the other. That said, I think proper fit to the firearm be it handgun, shotgun or rifle is the most neglected subject in the realm of firearm discussion. It is difficult enough to accurately shoot a handgun but a beginner will also have the added hurtles of poor fit and technique.

ChristopherG
November 29, 2004, 08:31 AM
I see this as more of a discussion than one technique better than the other.

While I can appreciate the good will behind this, Flashman, I have to ask at the same time: if shooting handguns is just a matter of choosing between different techniques in eclectic fashion, why do ALL the top action shooters of semi-autos use virtually the same grip techniques? And this is true regardless of the exact platform being shot--which suggests that technique is, at some level, even more important than 'fit'.

I'm not trying to be argumentative, just trying to advance the idea that the reason there's not a dominant style or technique in revolver shooting might be that we haven't hit the point where we have a critical mass of action shooters using revolvers to allow a dominant technique--one that demonstrably works better for most people--to emerge. I don't know if we ever will reach such numbers (certainly not based on the revolver turnout in my neck of the woods); but in the meantime, folks surely need to keep trying everything they come across to discover what works for them.

DragonFire
November 29, 2004, 10:14 AM
Jerry Miculek makes a distinction between speed shooting and defensive shooting. I haven't read the article yet, but you need to understand which style of shooting he was addressing.

if shooting handguns is just a matter of choosing between different techniques in eclectic fashion, why do ALL the top action shooters of semi-autos use virtually the same grip techniques? And this is true regardless of the exact platform being shot--which suggests that technique is, at some level, even more important than 'fit'.

Interesting. But doesn't this suggest something slightly different? Wouldn't you assume all the top shooters, and top "wanna be" shooters, ensure that they're handguns fit them? Which would mean that techniques improve performance, but doesn't suggest how important they would be. What would suggest their importance is the fact that you seldom see these shooters perform at their best with non highly customized guns.

That's not to say they are not very good shooters regardless of the guns they are using, but that it's a "total package". Shooter, gun, fit, and techniques.

As with alot of physical endeavors, proper techniques can over come alot of other problems.

SteelEye
December 2, 2004, 11:03 AM
Jerry's shooting style was developed for competition, not self-defense. He has tuned his guns and ammunition for this specific purpose. For example, his double action is so light he has to use Federal primers. His gun will not shoot any factory self-defense ammo.

Grip wise, you must remember he uses a skinny slick customized grip (sold by Clark Custom) and has a unique hold. I haven't tried his grip as I tend to like a fatter sticky grip. I can't get used to his left thumb over right thumb hold as well as gripping the gun as high as possible.

Jerry hold's all records for fast reloading of revolvers and can unload a cylinder as fast as any bottom feeder.

Learn to be a good shooter. A good shooter can shoot any gun.

Flashman
December 4, 2004, 11:18 PM
If all of the competition shoots using the same grip then that is find for them. However, I am not a race gun competitor nor do I have any inclinations in that direction. I see a handgun as largely a defensive tool that is also fun to shoot and something that is supremely difficult to master. I want to be able to draw and hit a target multiple times at varying, unknown distances as quick as I can with stock handguns and holsters. I also want to do this consistently.

jdmb03
December 5, 2004, 01:19 AM
He believes one should grip on the strong side rather than the web of the hand in order to allow a better angle of the knuckle to the finger pressing the trigger on the pad rather than the joint.

That's how I hold my revolvers. I find very comfortable and accurate.

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