Why pistol grips


August 22, 2005, 05:36 PM
Looking at the evolution of military weapons, all of the modern designs of the "Assult Weapon" that I know of have pistol grips. Is there a reason for it? Is say an M14 less stable that an AR-10?

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August 22, 2005, 05:47 PM
Not really a direct answer to your question, but I actually find conventionally-stocked guns to be MORE stable than pistol-gripped guns.

I think the reason is because the gun's center of gravity is usually right between your hands with a regular stock, rather than being above your hands.

Harry Paget Flashman
August 22, 2005, 05:52 PM
Might make them point better when fired from the hip or off-handed. Could also grip it one handed and be ready to bring it into action quickly. The low recoil of AR's and AK's would permit this.

August 22, 2005, 06:24 PM
Mayhaps it's a nod to the fact that it would be easier to train the troops using the weapon? Most everyone in the US has seen firearms in movies, and generally understands how to use a pistol grip (firearm safety, on the other hand...... :uhoh: ). Compare the amount of time it takes to train a spotter with his M24 (designation?) in a sniper squad, and the amount of time it takes to train a regular "rank-and-file" infantryman (don't get me wrong, I definitely respect both equally, I'm just making a point). That, and an M16 without a pistol grip would......be kinda uncomfortable, IMHO.

Baba Louie
August 22, 2005, 06:58 PM
From a design point of view, the M16/AR15 buffer tube extension would make for a weird pistol grip regular stock design doncha think?

As for the AK47, Saiga has several semi-auto models sans pistol grip... but firing full auto must have felt better to M. Kalashniakov (or had somewhat better control) with the pistol grip
The Saiga has a 20" barrel. That's the first difference you notice, the Saiga is a much longer rifle. The SAR-1 is made with wood furniture and looks much different with it's pistol grip. Both have the same AK-47 receiver, magazine, bolt and mag catch. the trigger is the same, but moved much farther back in the Saiga. This makes the Saiga very difficult to shoot, It hurts your wrist after a while shooting it http://www.ak-47.us/Saiga_SAR-1.php

But other than that, I would not have a clue

August 22, 2005, 07:11 PM
putting the grip below the action allows the firearm's bore axis to be dramatically lowered -- at shoulder level rather than eye level basically.

Hence, in rapid firing the recoil impulse isn't quite so "jumpy."

August 22, 2005, 07:31 PM
First off, most modern long-arms have pistol grips, but not necessarily the "portruding pistol grip" of the assault rifle. If I understand correctly, it became popular because assault rifles were designed for full-auto fire, and the pistol grip is thought to make the gun easier to control. I learned to shoot with the M16, and I consider the portruding pistol grip to be easier to use, all-around. Even so, I hate 'em, cause they so ugly.

August 22, 2005, 10:37 PM
As simply as it can be stated, a slightly angled pistol grip is the most natural position for your hand. Just hold your hands out straight in front of you and you'll understand why.

August 22, 2005, 11:01 PM
If grip angle was it, then spears would have handles.

August 22, 2005, 11:14 PM
I believe, among many other reasons, the main reason is that the pistol-gripped firearm is much more easily managed and fired one handed, or one armed. Try using a sporting, conventional stocked shotgun with one hand (arm). I've an aftermarket pistol-grip stocked Beretta 1201 semi-auto riot shotgun. I feel damm well armed with that firearm, much better armed than with the original, factory stock, which did not have a pistol grip. The same logic goes for fighting firearms in general. Should one have a bum wing, one can still carry on taking the fight to the enemy with a pistol-gripped rifle or shotgun. My humble opinion!

August 22, 2005, 11:17 PM
It looks meaner. :p


August 22, 2005, 11:42 PM

Look at target rifles. Although they rarely have pistol grips, they all have a stock arrangement that puts the hand in basically the same position a pistol grip would.

DT Guy
August 22, 2005, 11:56 PM
"Ergonomics"...you mean they're cheaper? :D

Perhaps it's because the synthetic materials we use now for stocks allows us to do it? Perhaps because it allows for easier conversion to folding stocks?

I'm going with 'looks tougher', myself. 'Cause it does.


August 23, 2005, 12:00 AM
Although they rarely have pistol grips
Yes they do, a lot of them. Just about every one with an aluminum stock does.

August 23, 2005, 01:09 AM
Have you ever held one?

To me the superior ergonomics of a pistol grip on rifles is very obvious. I'd prefer a full pistol grip on the majority of my long guns, sans non-turkey shotguns.

It might have something to do with my semi-bad wrists.

August 23, 2005, 01:10 AM
"Ergonomics"...you mean they're cheaper?Well, that's certainly not why target rifles are made the way they are. If you look at the way the hand and wrist are placed on a target rifle when in the firing position, you'll see it's identical to how they would be placed when firing a pistol-gripped gun.

August 23, 2005, 02:27 AM
If grip angle was it, then spears would have handles.

--Well, that probably would make them easier to handle, but they wouldn't fly very well.

August 23, 2005, 10:10 AM
I own a 7.62x39 20" Saiga. It is not hard to shoot. I have modified it to take slightly modified (Paper clip and 5 min mag mod) AK-47 magazines. Can't wait to add the POSP scope to it.

August 23, 2005, 02:41 PM
I thought it was so you could accurately spray-fire from the hip :D

August 23, 2005, 07:17 PM
iapetus has it. It's so homicidal maniacs who buy their guns illegally at gun shows (where, if they're rich enough, they can even buy shoulder-fired missiles) can mow down every last citizen in the country without suffering wrist pain.

August 23, 2005, 08:18 PM
What are some of the earliest examples of true/modern pistol gripped rifles or carbines (or smgs)? That may shed some light. Maybe?

August 23, 2005, 08:38 PM
The earliest ones I can think of (which isn't a particularly good source) are.. lessee... The STG-44, the MP40 (was the 38 the same?) the M1928/M1A1, the "Paratrooper" M1 Carbine.

I think it's a matter of ergonomics. Hold your thumb out so you're doing the "thumbs up" thing. Turn your hand so you're holding your thumb parallell to your forearm and hold it there for a couple of minutes. That's about how you arrange your hand and forearm when you're holding a "Traditional" stock, right? Now, rotate your hand so your thumb is perpindicular to your forearm, the way you'd hold a vertical or pistol grip and do that for a minute or two. I think the latter is supremely more comfortable.

Of course, those of you with the.. ahem, resources could just grab a traditional stocked rifle and a pistol gripped rifle and hold them both for comparison.

That said, I might be an idiot, so don't take my word for anything.


August 23, 2005, 09:13 PM
Ergonomics. The "pistol" grip angle is more comfortable to shoot with in all positions because it places the hand in a more natural position.

You might want to think about what you mean by modern assault weapons. The Chauchat (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chauchat), introduced in 1905, may or may not have been the first production military arm to have a "pistol" grip under the action, as opposed to behind it as in the Colt in 1895 or Browning design introduced just after WW1. The Lewis Gun (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lewis_Gun) was invented in 1911.

The idea of the "pistol" grip on long arms is not a new one. However, if you'll note, those are all military weapons. Weapons built with function and utility in mind. If you look back over a lot of the posts in this thread, you'll note that the word ugly pops up. Asthetics played an important part in how weapon stocks were designed, especially for civilian consumers. Yes, you had warpage and the wrist angle was something you had to get used to, but damn, it looked great!

August 23, 2005, 09:38 PM
The first pistol grips were to help control recoil during rapid fire. A pistol grip allows a stock that is in a straighter line to the shoulder, causing less muzzle rise.

This isn't conjecture, read the Black Rifle by Edward Ezell. It was a design parameter. Designers started to figure it out as there was more experimentation with automatic weapons.

August 23, 2005, 11:18 PM
Correia (and others): doesn't the point that pistol-grip stocks validate the anti's claims that such grips faciliate "rapid-fire bullet hoses?"

Of course we all know the difference between full-auto and semi-auto and that the anti's have been blurring that distinction.

But how do we say that a pistol-grip stock is no different in function than a straight stock, but then explain that the PG stocks' origins were to make full-auto fire more controllable?

Give the anti's an inch, and they'll take 25,000 miles to lie or distort the truth.

August 23, 2005, 11:57 PM
Monkeyleg, let them have the point. Why shouldn't we have full-auto weapons, and fire them comfortably?

August 24, 2005, 12:35 AM
fistful, it was always the intention of Josh Sugarman et al to blur the distinction between full-auto and semi-auto.

By conceding that point, we validate Sugarman's argument that pistol grips are only meant to facilitate mowing people down indiscriminately.

Since probably 90%+ of the population doesn't even know that ownership of full-auto's is legal under controlled circumstances, the majority will side with Sugarman. If for no other reason than it's just too hard to think about these issues when there are more pressing issues, such as the price of gasoline or the shortage of Beanie Babies during the Christmas shopping season.

Sugarman, Brady, Schumer and the rest owe their very existance to the ignorance of the American people on gun issues. We can't just hand them the "pistol grip" point and expect to walk away unscathed.

Everything they say is a lie. Everything. Pistol grips don't make it easier to kill, nor do bayonet lugs, barrel shrouds, folding stocks, collapsibile stocks, or detachable magazines.

Nor do waiting periods, gun-buyback programs, ammo bans, background checks, bans on this gun or that gun, or bans on full-auto's or short-barrelled shotguns make killing any more difficult.

How many studies have the Fed's conducted on the effectiveness of gun-control laws? We had one commissioned by the Carter administration in the 1970's, studying the enactment of the Gun Control Act of 1968. Results? Inconclusive. Decision? Shelve it.

We had the Justice Department in 1994 commission a study by the Bureau of Justice Statistics on the defensive use of firearms. Results? 1.5 million defensive uses versus 400,000 criminal uses of firearms. Decision? Bury it.

We had the BATF do a study in 1997 to track the gun-buying behavior of criminals following the enactment of the Brady Law. Results? Criminal purchases of firearms rose 16%, through illegal sources. Did anybody read that on the front page of the New York Times?

We just had the Centers for Disease Control--not exactly a neutral party in the gun debate--conclude a study of 51 studies of gun control laws. A study of studies...makes my taxpayer wallet get all warm and fuzzy.

At any rate, the CDC found their results of the study of the studies "inconclusive," and recommended more studies of yet more studies.

In other words, they didn't get the results they wanted, and want more money to spend until they can skew the results the way they want them.

There isn't one single gun control law that works, except to make it more difficult for the law-abiding to obtain guns for their lawful purposes.

Don't give anything to the anti's, whether it's pistol grips, bayo lugs, or even full-auto's.

The anti's have been on the run for at least five years, after torturing us for nearly 25 years. Now is not the time to offer concessions.

August 24, 2005, 01:55 AM
I am not making a concession. I am saying that it is good for civilians to own military rifles and machine guns, and that we *&%^ well ought to have the capability to kill large numbers of people, because that is part of the definition of a free people. I am saying that the public needs to understand that, or we will forever be fending off one ban after another. I am saying that the AWB was bad not because it banned cosmetic features, but because it specifically banned military-styled weapons, those most obviously protected by the 2A.

August 24, 2005, 11:00 AM
Monkeyleg, whatever a scumbag like Josh Sugarman has to say about the topic is irrelevant. That was what they were put on for. That was the true design purpose of the pistol grip.

I'm not going to rewrite history to make a bunch of whining blissninnys happy, when they will just take the truth and distort the hell out of it no matter what.

August 24, 2005, 01:10 PM
Pistol grips are HARDER to fire from hip level than straight stocks due to the extreme wrist flexion required; they are more ergonomic for shoulder firing only. I've tried it both ways with the same gun (mini-14), switching between the factory straight stock and a Choate pistol-grip stock. It points better from the hip with the standard stock, but you can shoot the Choate stock from the shoulder without sticking your strong-side elbow out to the side like a chicken wing.

Submachineguns with wooden stocks generally had straight stocks rather than separate pistol grips--the Solothern, Schmeisser, Carl Gustav?, Sten? (working off the top of my head here) come to mind, IIRC, as did the full-auto M14.

The main reason designers went to pistol grips for military longarms is that by putting the grip under the action instead of behind it, the action can extend further rearward, giving you a shorter overall length and a less muzzle-heavy design. That's why the Thompson SMG has a pistol grip; look how far the receiver extends back past the shooter's hand. The separate handgrip also allows you to set the barrel lower compared to the line of the shoulder.

Pistol grips are also much more ergonomic and comfortable to shoot slowfire, which is why practically every uber-serious target rifle on this planet approximates the grip angle of a pistol grip stock, whether by means of an extreme Monte Carlo rake, a thumbhole stock, or a separate pistol grip.




August 24, 2005, 07:13 PM
whatever a scumbag like Josh Sugarman has to say about the topic is irrelevant. That was what they were put on for. That was the true design purpose of the pistol grip.

I'm not going to rewrite history to make a bunch of whining blissninnys happy, when they will just take the truth and distort the hell out of it no matter what.

Because it bears repeating.

August 25, 2005, 12:55 AM
A good ISU target rifle or Biathalon rifle is with a special stock of where the stock is so shaped to be almost like a pistol grip. I have been using a Walther UIT Match with such a grip & around 9.9lbs. Darn accurate for prone, kneel or standing position. Natch these are .22 rifles STILL it is an interesting point.

Opps I am sorry for I see benEzra has already covered that with photos & all. Looks like I jumped the gun before I read all the posts.

Carl N. Brown
August 30, 2005, 05:56 PM
Modern gun design seems to favor putting the
barrel and stock in as straight a line as possible
to control recoil. When you do that, where do you
put the firing hand? You tack on a pistol grip.
I have a Mossberg Bullpup with pistolgrip stock
and a more conventional S&W slug gun. The
conventional stock IS better for hitting when
shooting from the hip. The pistol gripped long
guns instinctively point low when fired from the hip.

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