How do you shoot a (DA) revolver fast?


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ChristopherG
August 7, 2003, 06:06 PM
Looking for advice about shooting revolvers in action pistol games (IDPA, IPSC, etc.), one can hardly help notice that the normal assumption of video-instructors and authors is that you are shooting a 1911 or perhaps a Glock. I wonder if we might get a thread going that shares your hard-won wisdom about shooting revolvers. Let's break it down into a few discrete and concrete questions about how to handle fast, controlled revolver shooting (let's leave reloading for another thread; it's really a discrete subject):

1. How would you describe your grip--not the physical handle, but the way you hold the gun in your hands? What helps you gain optimal trigger control with adequate recoil control?

2. What stance or hybrid of stances do you use when shooting 'freestyle' (i.e. two handed)?

3. How do you try to control the trigger, both on the firing and reset stroke? When do you reset the trigger, and when do you begin the next trigger pull?

I'll try first:

1. I find the critical feature of a good revolver grip for me is a solid wrap around-and-down for my right thumb. Having the final joint of my strong thumb come down to contact the fingers of my strong hand on the left side of the grip strengthens the whole grip and is the only way to get the thumb reliably out of the way of the trigger finger as it completes the stroke. Left (weak) hand over strong hand fingers and clenched firm but not pressing 'back' (a'la Weaver). Left hand must be kept low so as not to interfere with the trigger finger.

2. Strong side turned 30-40 degrees from target; kind of a semi-weaver. Both elbows slightly bent out--weak elbow out more, and down lower, but not vertical by any means. I just can't make an iscosoles posiiton work with a revolver, despite Matt Burkett and Ron Avery and other gurus--am I alone here?

3. Trigger stroke begins on the first shot as the sights come to target; hold the trigger back through recoil, and reset as it settles back into position on (same or next) target. Followup trigger stroke as sights rest on target.

I'm neither remarkably fast nor amazingly accurate--at least not at the same time. And, this process gets a little loosy-goosey when the target is up close, where I'm basically point-shooting. But how do you do it differently? What works for you, and what do you find really critical and helpful?
CG

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Old Fuff
August 7, 2003, 08:18 PM
Everything you want too know might take up enough space to write a book. One of the first questions is: Do you now have a revolver, and if so which one? The make and model could make a difference.

I believe that Terry Miculek, who is probably the fastest double-action revolver shooter alive today, has made a video on the subject. If you can find it get one. You might also look for two books "No Second Place Winner" by Bill Jorden and Fast and Fancy Revolver Shooting by Ed McGivern. The latter one is dated, having been writen in the late 1930's. However it will open your eyes to the possibilities. My personal copy once belonged to the late Col. Rex Applegate, and I learned a lot from his marginal notes alone - that and the text.

I may come back with more, but first I'm going to see what some others have to say.

P95Carry
August 7, 2003, 08:45 PM
1. I find the critical feature of a good revolver grip for me is a solid wrap around-and-down for my right thumb. Having the final joint of my strong thumb come down to contact the fingers of my strong hand on the left side of the grip strengthens the whole grip and is the only way to get the thumb reliably out of the way of the trigger finger as it completes the stroke. Left (weak) hand over strong hand fingers and clenched firm but not pressing 'back' (a'la Weaver). Left hand must be kept low so as not to interfere with the trigger finger.

I'll agree with the right hand positioning .... I like my right thumb to touch right middle finger next to last metacarpal. (tests grip on snubby) ...... but my left hand I find is most important also ..... the fingers wrap around right hand fingers and part of palm cups part of right hand .... and finally and ultra important IMO is the left thumb .... mine locks over the right thumb so that left thumb pad presses hard on right thumb joint.

This means that both hands are locked in a sense .. and that left thumb is not in the way (same with semi pretty much too) ...... furthermore this hands lock up is for me best way to not only control gun for faster target re-aquisition after first shot but also - enables my trigger finger to work in about as isolated a manner as is possible

2. Strong side turned 30-40 degrees from target; kind of a semi-weaver. Both elbows slightly bent out--weak elbow out more, and down lower, but not vertical by any means. I just can't make an iscosoles posiiton work with a revolver, despite Matt Burkett and Ron Avery and other gurus--am I alone here?

Well .... fairly similar I'd say tho I reckon my stance is to all intents an isosceles really .... certainly not pure Weaver at all .. this always worked best for me in compo's and in a combat type mode also .... works for me.

3. Trigger stroke begins on the first shot as the sights come to target; hold the trigger back through recoil, and reset as it settles back into position on (same or next) target. Followup trigger stroke as sights rest on target.


yep ... that probably about describes mine also. Very hard to ''see'' exactly what I do when not shooting cos it's so instinctive I guess after all these years. Always feel it is very important to prevent snatch ..... even when fast shooting smoothness is critical IMO ..... that way the end of D/A travel can leave you almost in a S/A mode for that final settling of sights .. even when cranking them out quick.

If it is of interest I'll take some dig pics of my own grip - might be clearer than description only. Just say.

dvnv
August 7, 2003, 09:01 PM
ChristopherG:

I'll second the reading material sugested by Old Fluff...just about all you need to know.

I use a similar stance to yours, but a different grip. Putting my weak hand thumb over my strong hand thumb (first joint over the first knuckle) and pulling it down strengthens my grip significantly...specially usefull when trying to shoot larger bores quickly.

I haven't thought much about my trigger stroke, but think the trigger returns asap during recoil and the next smooth pull is initiated while bringing the sights back to the target...the trick for me is to time the pull so the shot occurs just as the sights are back on target and keep the same rhythm.

I best quit typing, my ignorance may be showing...dvnv

bountyhunter
August 7, 2003, 09:11 PM
I've developed an overlapping/ interlock grip in which both hands hold the grip equally. I curl the pinkie on my right hand up tight into my palm and wrap the two middle fingers around the grip. On the left hand, I wrap the two top fingers in front of the right hand but the bottom two fingers wrap the grip tight just below the two middle fingers of the right hand.... right hand pinkie rests on the two LH fingers on the grip. You won't believe how solidly that grip holds the gun. My left thumb rides the left side of the frame just behind the cylinder, and the right thumb goes on the left one.

Dave Markowitz
August 7, 2003, 09:39 PM
For fast DA shooting I use a Weaver stance as I find it to be the most comfortable. However, I also try to lean into the gun so that the recoil is driven into my arms which are as in line with my shoulders as possible.

It's important to concentrate on getting your trigger stroke so that your pressing straight back, rather than exerting pressure to one side or another.

For anyone starting out, shoot DA but do it slowly. Work on getting the proper form down right. Speed will come with time and practice.

ChristopherG
August 7, 2003, 09:48 PM
Old Fluff et al.,

I look forward to the Miculek video--just haven't gotten around to ordering it yet.

Have several revolvers; the one I shoot most, and shoot in (local IDPA) competition, is a moonclipped 66 with Miculek grips.

Have read McGivern, but not Jordan; I'll look into his work.

Glad to hear your different observations. I agree, though I didn't specify, that the left thumb overlapping the right is important for control. A revolver seems to take a firmer grip, overall, than a semi, for me, with both hands. Some semi-shooters talk about trying for a 60-40 balance of 'power' in the grip, with the left hand actually doing more work; I find that a good support hand clench does help the trigger finger move independently, but my strong hand grip is still doing most of the work.

Bountyhunter--that's an interesting grip you describe. As I try it out, I wonder if either your hands are smaller than mine, or your gun bigger; it feels a bit cramped to me. Also--do you acquire this grip readily from a draw? If so, that must have taken a bit of practice?
cg

Old Fuff
August 7, 2003, 10:07 PM
The grips you use on a "K" frame revolver can be important. I prefer Bill Jorden's style, and if you get a copy of his book you will know why. I had the pleasure and privilege of knowing him and he taught me a lot. Among other things he pointed out that fingergrooves were not a good thing, that the grips should be smooth not checkered, and that they should be long enough with a rounded bottom so that one could get a solid two-handed hold when that was desired. This length of the grip is determined by the size of the shooter's hands. You will see some of these features in Terry Miculek's stocks. Both of these gentlemen had, or have good sized mits.

ACP230
August 7, 2003, 10:24 PM
That fast revolver man used to shoot at the Second Chance Bowlling Pin Shoot under the name of JERRY Mickulek.

He told me one good way to practice is to put a piece of cardboard up with a strip of tape down the middle. The shoot DA at it until you can keep all your shots on the tape.

(I thought it sounded like a plan but was shooting a Para Ord pin gun then so didn't get around to trying it.)

QuarterBoreGunner
August 7, 2003, 10:32 PM
'How do you shoot a (DA) revolver fast? '

Very well thank you!

Sorry couldn't resist.

RussB
August 7, 2003, 11:13 PM
For me, gun/grip fit is important. I'm a big fan of "N" frames, but also like the GP-100. I have rubber Hogues on both. I will try "Mickulek" grips on the 625. they feel "right" on the the guns at the gunshop, and raise my hand up about as high as possible...

I wrap my left hand around my right (strong) hand, and put the left thumb on the right thumb's nail. I use a weaver-ish stance.

When pulling the trigger, it's important to pull straight back (as has been stated) I also pull & release the trigger at the same speed, developing a smooth cadence.

Blueduck
August 7, 2003, 11:28 PM
One thing I do differently with a revolver is grip strength of hands. When shooting a lot with Glocks and other semi's I found I shot much better actually gripping stonger with my support hand than my actual gripping hand (about 60/40). With revolvers I do better exactly the opposite:confused:

I'd be interested to see some add thier preference in this regard to the above list of techniques..

Z_Infidel
August 8, 2003, 12:09 PM
The grip I use is similar for semi-autos and revolvers. I do not wrap my strong side thumb down around the grip. Instead I have both thumbs pointing forward. My support hand definitely pulls back as I push forward slightly with my strong hand, but I don't fight the recoil. I simply cannot get good groups when gripping tightly with the strong hand, although I do it that way when shooting one-handed. The difference is more profound when shooting .357 Magnums than with .38 Specials.

4v50 Gary
August 8, 2003, 12:45 PM
Finger grooves tend to spread the shooter's fingers apart. With my smaller hands, I've never liked grips that had finger grooves. That said, I prefer the smooth grips like what Jordan had. They allow me to slip my hand as high to the backstrap as possible; giving me what I believe is more control. Something that to me is important because it allows for faster recovery for successive shots.

Old Fuff - how'd you manage to get Applegate's personal copy of McGivern's book? All I got was his signature on Kill or Be Killed.

Does anybody else remember the old police entrance exam where they'd give you an empty revolver and tell you to squeeze it in the DA mode 25 times in half a minute? They wanted to make sure recruits had the strength to operate a sidearm. I'd go so fast with either hand that the tester would tell me to slow down so they could count. :)

Want a good exercise when you don't have a gun? Open the hand with the fingers extended all the way. Then close it. Do this as fast as you can for about 2 minutes. Do it with both hands.

ChristopherG
August 8, 2003, 01:07 PM
Gary: Ouch! Anything that hurts that bad has got to be good. Hand strength does seem like an important ingredient of good DA shooting.

I agree with y'all's statements about fingergrooved grips; I've never held one that didn't feel like it was putting my fingers in just-not-quite-the-right-place, usually too low on the grip.

Bill Jordan style grips have been mentioned a couple of times now. Would these be the ones, from Herrett?

http://herrett-stocks.com/jrdnlarg.htm

Look like they cover the backstrap--are they thinner or thicker than the Miculeks?

CG

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