Shooting grip question


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labhound
March 13, 2010, 12:31 AM
I was reading the thread on "Big name shooting schools" and 9mmepiphany mentioned teaching a grip where you lock your thumbs down or point them forward. When I shoot my SR9 the thumb forward grips feels best but doesn't feel right when shooting my Beretta 92 so I lock my thumbs down on it. I have to use the locked thumb method on my CZ 83 due to its size. In general is there a preferred method to use or is it determined by the style/size of the pistol or just what is more comfortable for the shooter?

Thanks

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Full Metal Jacket
March 13, 2010, 12:37 AM
i lock my thumbs down as well.

i've tried the thumbs forward grip on all my pistols and i always contact the slide stop which causes problems. this system works better if you have large hands so your thumbs will pass the slide stop.

the thumbs forward grip also increase the chances of you contacting the slide during firing, causing a jam. it's ok for the competitors to do it in a nice safe environment, but in a real gunfight, you want thumbs down to eliminate the chance of causing an inadvertent malfunction.

9mmepiphany
March 13, 2010, 01:29 AM
i always contact the slide stop which causes problems. this system works better if you have large hands so your thumbs will pass the slide stop.

the thumbs forward grip also increase the chances of you contacting the slide during firing, causing a jam

since i raised the question, let me address it

i don't think i have large hands...i wear a med glove and find the grip of a Glock 17 a bit large for comfort...but i haven't had either of the problems mentioned.
1. my support thumb is pass the slide stop and the strong thumb doesn't reach that far.
2. the strong thumb doesn't contact the slide if you rest it on the back of the support thumb.

the advantage of the correct thumbs forward grip is:
1. better trigger management due to less hand tension
2. maximum contact of both hands on the gun
3. elimination of sideways pressure on the gun which push your shots to the right

i just went to check my grip on a 1911, Sig 220, Sig 226, Beretta 96, Springfield EMP and Kahr CW9...i would suggest that you check how you are taking your grip on the gun

here's a picture on a Sig 220ST
http://i109.photobucket.com/albums/n79/9mmepiphany/14-strightLFthumb.jpg

Clifford
March 13, 2010, 01:30 AM
When I shoot autos its allways thumbs forward for me, I even made a little thumb shelf that sits over and around my slide release on my match gun. I rarely shoot to slide lock in a match but I did find my thumb dragging the slide a little harder than I wanted.

I shoot Revolvers with my thumbs locked down though I have been playing with the weaver wrap around hold lately and I'm starting to like it better. Only time will tell whats gonna work better.

Full Metal Jacket
March 13, 2010, 03:18 AM
i don't think i have large hands...i wear a med glove and find the grip of a Glock 17 a bit large for comfort...but i haven't had either of the problems mentioned.
1. my support thumb is pass the slide stop and the strong thumb doesn't reach that far.
2. the strong thumb doesn't contact the slide if you rest it on the back of the support thumb.


to each his own. if i have to defend my life, i don't want my thumbs anywhere near the slide stop or the slide.

9mmepiphany
March 13, 2010, 03:39 AM
to each his own. if i have to defend my life, i don't want my thumbs anywhere near the slide stop or the slide.
that's true

i was just addressing your concerns and pointing out the advantages of the thumb forwards grip.

the only time my thumb is near the slide is when shooting a 1911 platform, due to the need to keep a thumb on the thumb safety to avoid inducing a stoppage

JoeSlomo
March 13, 2010, 06:02 AM
Here's a good article that may make some things clearer concerning grip as a fundamental:

http://www.handgunsmag.com/tactics_training/combatg_100306/index.html

Certain ways of applying the fundamentals have been proven more advantageous and or efficient than others over the years, however, due to individual characteristics, some techniques are not as effective as others for everyone.

Use what is fundamentally sound, provides you with the most accuracy, speed, and comfort.

Sam1911
March 13, 2010, 10:04 AM
The thumbs forward hold worked excellently for many years for me, shooting mostly 1911s. Very natural, lots of control, worked intuitively with the thumb safety.

Watch Todd Jarrett explain it masterfully here around 1:10 or so: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ysa50-plo48

When I started shooting a polymer handgun it played havoc with the slide stop/release. I've locked it OPEN at the wrong time and had it fail to lock back when empty -- both because my thumbs were putting pressure on it.

Unfortunately, this becomes related to the question we discussed last week about whether you should train with one gun or several. You could shoot a 1911 all your life and you'll never find a better hold than the thumbs forward grip.

Unfortunately, when SIG, GLOCK, and a lot of others reinvented the wheel, some dim bulb decided that the slide release lever had to be back where someone could hit it with their RIGHT thumb. This doesn't make any sense, except for the sake of laziness while paper punching on a square range, but it became the new standard. Put that slide release back where it's HARDER to hit with the left hand as you're reaquiring a firing grip after a reload, and where it's likely to be "ridden" by the right hand thumb while firing. Makes no sense, but such is life (among European gun designers, anyway...:scrutiny: :rolleyes:).

So, the more universally workable way is to lock them down at least somewhat to keep them off the poorly located controls.

Deanimator
March 13, 2010, 10:28 AM
In general is there a preferred method to use or is it determined by the style/size of the pistol or just what is more comfortable for the shooter?
It's purely a matter of personal preference, just like stance.

labhound
March 13, 2010, 01:51 PM
Deanimator you mention stance. I wear progressive or "no line" bifocals which makes focusing on the front sight a little more difficult. Last week when shooting I noticed that I was having more trouble focusing on the sights than normal. I realized that my stance had shifted from facing the target with both feet equally from the target to a stance with my left foot forward and my body turned slightly to the right which was making it a lot harder to focus with the bifocals. I corrected the stance, turning back around facing the target and the focus trouble went right away.

Deanimator
March 13, 2010, 02:00 PM
Deanimator you mention stance. I wear progressive or "no line" bifocals which makes focusing on the front sight a little more difficult. Last week when shooting I noticed that I was having more trouble focusing on the sights than normal. I realized that my stance had shifted from facing the target with both feet equally from the target to a stance with my left foot forward and my body turned slightly to the right which was making it a lot harder to focus with the bifocals. I corrected the stance, turning back around facing the target and the focus trouble went right away.
On those rare occasions when I shoot two handed, I use precisely the stance which you switched from. It's called the "Chapman stance" after Ray Chapman of the Chapman Academy". I find it works much better for me than the Weaver or Isoceles.

It just goes to show that what works for one may not work for another.

9mmepiphany
March 13, 2010, 04:51 PM
Unfortunately, when SIG, GLOCK, and a lot of others reinvented the wheel, some dim bulb decided that the slide release lever had to be back where someone could hit it with their RIGHT thumb. This doesn't make any sense, except for the sake of laziness while paper punching on a square range, but it became the new standard. Put that slide release back where it's HARDER to hit with the left hand as you're reaquiring a firing grip after a reload, and where it's likely to be "ridden" by the right hand thumb while firing. Makes no sense, but such is life

here's the top view of the picture i posted of my grip above and i clear the slide stop by quite a bit. may i ask where you place your right thumb in relation to the slide stop?

my teaching experience has shown that it is a greater problem with folks switching over from a 1911 platform...or who were taught to shoot/grip by 1911 shooters

http://i109.photobucket.com/albums/n79/9mmepiphany/15-clearsliderelease.jpg

Guns and more
March 13, 2010, 05:25 PM
9mmepiphany:
In both of your photos, your hands look very high on the gun to me. I do thumbs forward, but neither thumb contacts the slide, and the web of my right hand is well below the beavertail.
But I'm not a great shot either.........

9mmepiphany
March 13, 2010, 06:27 PM
9mmepiphany:
In both of your photos, your hands look very high on the gun to me. I do thumbs forward, but neither thumb contacts the slide, and the web of my right hand is well below the beavertail.

the angles in these photos aren't optimal to illustrate my grip...they are from a storyboard for an instructional video, to lay out the shots we wanted to cover.

my hands are very high, they are as high as i could get them without coming into contact with the slide to raise the fulcrum of the muzzle rise. getting a higher grip allows re-acquiring your sights faster between shots

neither of my thumbs contact the slide, the support (left) thumb is lightly touching the front of the takedown lever and the strong (right) thumb is resting on the base (dorsal side) of the support thumb.

when i take my "master grip" of my gun in the holster, i wedge the web of my hand into the beavertail (rear tang) before i start the upward movement of my draw. it gives me a solid index (the other is my middle finger touching the bottom of the trigger guard) for consistent hand placement on the grip. besides keeping your hand from getting pinched/bit by the slide or hammer spur, the major function of a beavertail is to allow fast and consistent placement of the hand during the draw

Riss
March 13, 2010, 06:32 PM
I tried to put both of my hands down, but my off hand thumb seems to always stick up like an Englishman's pinkie when drinking tea. Otherwise I got good solid grip and good control but that tuhumb always manages to stick up partially blocking the view of my target.

Sam1911
March 13, 2010, 07:59 PM
9mmepiphany,
may i ask where you place your right thumb in relation to the slide stop?
Sure! When I learned to really run a handgun, I was shooting 1911 almost full time. My right thumb would be inside and on top of the left, taking up the space between the left thumb and the slide. (Just like Todd Jarrett shows in that video I linked to here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ysa50-plo48)

Now that I also include some striker-fired guns into my regimen I find that I've adopted a hold that is pretty similar to yours. Left hand stays the same as with the 1911. (Viewed from the top the left thumb should be roughly parallel with the tip of the trigger finger as it lays along the frame of the gun in the "rest" position.) Right hand thumb drops a bit to the outside and presses on the proximal knuckle of the left thumb.

It isn't terribly comfortable even now after years of the true thumbs-forward hold, but it does keep my digits off the controls.

Kudos to you for taking the highest, firmest grip you can. That's a big part of controlling recoil and driving the gun.

my teaching experience has shown that it is a greater problem with folks switching over from a 1911 platform...or who were taught to shoot/grip by 1911 shooters That would have been me at one point... :)

9mmepiphany
March 13, 2010, 08:25 PM
It isn't terribly comfortable even now after years of the true thumbs-forward hold, but it does keep my digits off the controls.
you're right, most folks feel that they aren't "holding on" and that the gun will jump out of their hands. the thing i have to keep stressing is that neither thumb grips or presses on the gun. this keeps folks from "heeling" the gun, apparently you can't "heel" with your thumb up...it also makes "milking" harder.

one technique of the grip that some folks miss is that one hand applies fore and aft pressure while the other applies the lateral pressure...that's why you need full contact on the gun with the support hand (just not the thumb)

i should warn folks reading this, that it isn't as easy to apply as it may sound. the correct grip is something subject to adjustment due to physical limitations or structure of the student. the only real way to understand it is to have someone show it to you and than adjust your hands to get the right effect. once you've been shown what it feels like it is much easier to reproduce. the most common "slippage" is not pointing the support thumb forward. there are a lot of subtleties to the grip demonstrated, but not mentioned in that video...it's not the fault of the video or the shooter, it's just the nature of teaching as opposed to instructing

for folks who "drive" a carbine in 3-gun, the support hand grip used on a handgun is just like the cutting edge forward grip used at the extreme forward part of the handguard... it is catered to by the new MagPul AFG attachment

taliv
March 13, 2010, 09:00 PM
there was a good article in this months' Blue Press about this.

Sam1911
March 13, 2010, 09:47 PM
one technique of the grip that some folks miss is that one hand applies fore and aft pressure while the other applies the lateral pressure...that's why you need full contact on the gun with the support hand (just not the thumb)

I like Jerry Miculek's discussion of grip for revolver shooting where he explains that with the wheel gun 70% of the grip strength comes from the support hand. That surprises a lot of folks.

Now, I tend to keep almost exactly the same grip with my strong hand when shooting strong-hand-only as I do when shooting isosceles. (And my split times are pretty close between the two.) So I don't think of applying lateral pressure with that hand. Obviously however, some of that is going on.

SheepNutz
March 13, 2010, 09:55 PM
I really like thumbs forward, and I haven't had any problems with my thumbs hitting the slide lock in the over 1000 rounds I've put through my M&P and 225 rounds I've put through my Kel-Tec PF-9. I would use that grip if my life depended on it, without a doubt. I took my brother to the range tonight, and he was having a bit of trouble with the PF-9, then I taught him the thumbs forward grip, and his shooting greatly improved.

The Lone Haranguer
March 14, 2010, 10:11 AM
... or is it determined by the style/size of the pistol or just what is more comfortable for the shooter?

A little of both. The straight-thumbs grip as shown in the photo does work well with the 1911s it was devised for. The gun is slender so you can lay your thumbs across it comfortably, the shooting hand thumb keeps the thumb safety disengaged, the forward-positioned support hand keeps muzzle flip down, and the light trigger pull does not need a lot of leverage to pull or control. But with the SIG pictured, your thumb can deactivate the slide stop, and with DA or some DAO pistols, I like to curl my thumb down for leverage and control of the heavier trigger pull.

9mmepiphany
March 14, 2010, 02:50 PM
But with the SIG pictured, your thumb can deactivate the slide stop, and with DA or some DAO pistols, I like to curl my thumb down for leverage and control of the heavier trigger pull.
i'd like to address this as these are my Sig and my thumbs

1. if you look at the overhead shot...the grip wasn't changed between photos...my right thumb isn't even near the slide stop. (i really thought pictures would clarify the point and avoid misunderstandings)
2. i would suggest that curling your thumb down as you press the trigger...i'm assuming that you're not "pulling" it...would induce sympathetic tightening of your right hand (milking the grip) which would affect your shot placement

twofifty
March 15, 2010, 01:22 AM
A full contact meaty grip is important.

On my CZ 75, curling the SH thumb down below the safety takes up room that otherwise would be occupied by my WH's drumstick (the meaty part the thumb is rooted into).

Doing this lowers my WH grip, and prevents my WH thumb from reaching as far forward along the slide's left side. This also creates a void in my WH grip, which makes the recoil impulse much less predictable = the gun does not consistently return to POA.

So then, the grip that works for me with this gun is as high and full a grip as I can muster. Whenever my shots are off, 9 times out of 10, it is because I do not have full & meaty hand contact around the HG's grip.

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