How do You Grip Your Wheel Gun?


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Tophernj
October 18, 2013, 08:05 AM
An interesting topic for sure. One that was brought up in another thread that I started. Rather than have that thread hi-jacked, I figured why not use a bit more bandwidth and start another...

I am a die-hard fan of the thumbs forward grip on all guns. For me, it's fastest and most accurate. However, given the proximity of hot gasses from the cylinder/forcing cone gap several folks warn against it. With good reason, I might add. The only time I have had a problem with getting burned by the gasses escaping was when I had a Rhino in hand. The bottom firing cylinder caught me. Thankfully it was just specials being used at the time. That's why I'm not a Rhino fan. Great guns otherwise. I just do not want to have to change a grip that I have trained in for one gun.

So, what say you? How do you grip your wheel-y when shooting/training?

C

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Sam1911
October 18, 2013, 08:16 AM
Thumbs forward, but then locked down a bit harder. It keeps your thumb from dragging on the cylinder or getting slammed by the recoil shield behind it.

MrBorland
October 18, 2013, 08:23 AM
Thumbs-forward (and off the gun).

The great majority of my shooting is done with standard-powered ammo and a full-sized revolver. When shooting hotter stuff, or little J-frames, I adjust to a more traditional "revolver grip".

http://i415.photobucket.com/albums/pp239/becke016/GunsTargets/TomIDPA2012Worlds.jpg

hAkron
October 18, 2013, 08:30 AM
I do thumbs crossed, support hand thumb curled over my dominant hand. I've felt some pretty powerful shock waves coming from my GP-100 with full house 357 loads before moving to this technique.

If I'm firing SA, I cross my support thumb over the web of my shooting hand and thumb the hammer with my support hand. I don't really shoot SA unless I'm verifying accuracy of a gun/load

black_powder_Rob
October 18, 2013, 08:31 AM
I have usually gripped my revolvers with my thumb pointed up.

CraigC
October 18, 2013, 10:35 AM
Depends on several things. What you're shooting, how you're shooting and and why you're shooting. I'm primarily a single action shooter who prefers big bores and my grip reflects that.

http://photos.imageevent.com/newfrontier45/miscellaneous/large/Weak%2001.jpg

s4s4u
October 18, 2013, 10:56 AM
I cross my thumbs. But then I shoot my wheelguns single action most of the time and it is quicker to cock that way. It also helps to control the recoil of some of the heavy kickers cause you get a firmer hold.

RaceM
October 18, 2013, 11:32 AM
Cup & saucer, pushing with the trigger hand, pulling with the support hand.

PJSprog
October 18, 2013, 11:55 AM
Thumbs forward ... sort of. My "support" hand is more wrapped around front, using a push/pull grip.

Cosmoline
October 18, 2013, 12:50 PM
My thumbs stay well back and intertwined. I use a Chapman style stance with the little DA revolvers and a modified Weaver for the heavy ones. With the heaviest ones I bend my elbows quite a bit and use the weight of the revolver to create the tension, keeping it closer to my eyes than usual. Really works great. For single actions I just use bullseye. No way am I sticking my thumbs out there.

I'm a fan of tweaking stances to find what works best. There is no one-size-fits-all for people or handguns.

Godsgunman
October 18, 2013, 01:51 PM
Kinda depends on the revolver I'm shooting and the grips on it. I recently adopted a Smith M36 J frame with the original wood grips. I like the original grips since I can hold higher up with thumb kinda wrapped over. If I support with off hand its kind of a half tea cup/thumb forward hybrid. With my 3" m65 .357 its more of a thumbs forward overlapping finger technique.

Stophel
October 19, 2013, 12:37 AM
Like this:

http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v326/Fatdutchman/Picture329_640x480.jpg

Tophernj
October 19, 2013, 04:58 AM
Stophel, I hope that camera was on a timer...

Interesting that in 12 posts there are essentially 12 different answers.

C

Frag
October 19, 2013, 11:38 AM
What, no-one holding it sideways????

Jaymo
October 19, 2013, 04:00 PM
^
No. Because then, the windage screw would adjust elevation and the elevation screw would adjust windage. Way too much for me to remember just to look "gangsta".

Seriously though, no. Sideways is an inferior hold.

Driftwood Johnson
October 19, 2013, 04:39 PM
Ummmm..............

I usually hold my revolvers with one hand, pinky curled under the grip.

Like this:

http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v495/Driftwood_Johnson/Driftwood/pelham03_11.jpg

and this:

http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v495/Driftwood_Johnson/Driftwood/pelham03_07-1.jpg

and this:

http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v495/Driftwood_Johnson/Driftwood/fullrecoil.jpg

None of that two handed stuff for me.

By the way, just for fun a few years ago I did try shooting a stage holding the gun sideways. Holding a 45 with my right hand palm down, recoil pushed the barrel to the left, and I missed my targets to the left until I held way off to the right.

Grmlin
October 19, 2013, 04:48 PM
Driftwood Johnson, Are those roses in pic 2 and what are they for?

Rattus58
October 19, 2013, 05:13 PM
I cross my thumbs. But then I shoot my wheelguns single action most of the time and it is quicker to cock that way. It also helps to control the recoil of some of the heavy kickers cause you get a firmer hold.
Me too... crossed and single action.... :cool:

Rattus58
October 19, 2013, 05:19 PM
Driftwood Johnson, Are those roses in pic 2 and what are they for?
Hehe.... I saw that... a positive outlook I be thinking... :D

Sam1911
October 19, 2013, 05:21 PM
I think the OP was insinuating "practical" or "combat" type shooting using two hands and double-action in his question.

If he meant to open up the question to formalized target stances and reenactment/SASS perhaps he should clarify that.

Driftwood Johnson
October 19, 2013, 05:21 PM
Driftwood Johnson, Are those roses in pic 2 and what are they for?

I don't remember. That photo was probably taken 5 or 6 years ago. Sometimes the stage writer will have us hold onto something while we shoot, sometimes money bags, or a cup of coffee, or a glass of whiskey. Roses probably had something to do with the scenario, but I don't remember now.

Tophernj
October 20, 2013, 06:13 AM
I think the OP was insinuating "practical" or "combat" type shooting using two hands and double-action in his question.

If he meant to open up the question to formalized target stances and reenactment/SASS perhaps he should clarify that.
I am more interested in the practical/combat style holds. However to see different takes on the topic doesn't bother me in the least.

C

Sam1911
October 20, 2013, 12:53 PM
Ok, good then. Thanks!

Chuck Perry
October 20, 2013, 08:48 PM
Two hands, thumbs crossed. For me, crossed thumbs makes a big difference dealing with recoil when shooting 357's.

jerkface11
October 20, 2013, 09:12 PM
My H&R999 is ONLY accurate with a one handed grip like Driftwood is using in his first photo.

RetiredUSNChief
October 20, 2013, 09:15 PM
Cup & saucer, pushing with the trigger hand, pulling with the support hand.

Is your pinkie finger extended, too?

:neener:

2zulu1
October 21, 2013, 03:14 PM
I go back to the .357 mag carry years, left thumb over right, works great for the S&W target and Pachmyer mono grips. Pushing .357/.44mag DA split times and the reason becomes obvious, plus, I don't want any part of my body close to the cylinder gap during rapid fire magnum loads.

Place a cardboard target/box parallel with the cylinder gap and the escaping cylinder gap gases will blast a hole through it.

deputy tom
October 21, 2013, 08:56 PM
Old skool modified weaver with weak hand thumb over strong hand thumb with downward pressure. Same with semi-auto pistols. YMMV. tom. :cool:

RaceM
October 22, 2013, 11:51 AM
@USNChief- Was gonna post something rude since you're a squid but I'll refrain.

Make fun of the grip if ya want, it's been putting lead on target for 40+ years.

USCG veteran

IWAC
October 22, 2013, 03:35 PM
Like this:

http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v326/Fatdutchman/Picture329_640x480.jpg
Yeah! Keep ANYTHING flesh away from the cylinder/barrel gap! But...showin's better than tellin"! ;)

ZVP
October 22, 2013, 03:55 PM
This gives the option of S/A if you want to switch and shoot it that way and you still have a concrete platform for D/A shooting!
I am trying may hardest to learn D/A as my little CHief has a Bobbed Hammer (that;s why I bought it) though my Model 10 has no mods to the hammer.
Learning D/a is the hrdest style I have ever shot! I wiggle and wobble bad due to a set of flat sided Pacmeyer Presentation grips. There is a big flat void behind the trigger finger! Natural place for irregularitys to happen.
The Model 10 HB is a big heavy revolver in comparison to a Chief and I want to rid bad habita from both frame sizes!
BPDave

B!ngo
October 22, 2013, 04:35 PM
I go back to the .357 mag carry years, left thumb over right, works great for the S&W target and Pachmyer mono grips. Pushing .357/.44mag DA split times and the reason becomes obvious, plus, I don't want any part of my body close to the cylinder gap during rapid fire magnum loads.

Place a cardboard target/box parallel with the cylinder gap and the escaping cylinder gap gases will blast a hole through it.
This, and as similarly recommended by shooter Jerry Miculek. Best for stability, control and speed and keeps digits from wandering near the fire snorting parts of the gun. Some of the holds in the pics look a bit close to the danger zone.
B

RetiredUSNChief
October 22, 2013, 06:40 PM
@USNChief- Was gonna post something rude since you're a squid but I'll refrain.

Make fun of the grip if ya want, it's been putting lead on target for 40+ years.

USCG veteran


HAHAHA! If it works, what does it matter, right?

Don't worry...I plan on officially joining the wheel gun community next year with a Colt SAA. Then people like you will have to suffer through me being all giddy and excited about it.

(Though, to be honest, I get that way any time I buy a gun...)

;)

MrBorland
October 22, 2013, 08:45 PM
This, and as similarly recommended by shooter Jerry Miculek. Best for stability, control and speed and keeps digits from wandering near the fire snorting parts of the gun. Some of the holds in the pics look a bit close to the danger zone.


That it must be "best" 'cuz JM uses it is a non-sequiteur. JM is a great revo shooter for a number of reasons, but with or without JM's endorsement, the thumbs-forward grip is an excellent grip for stability, control and speed. JM's way isn't the only way. And many a clean and undamaged thumb will attest that "close" is relative.

Sam1911
October 22, 2013, 08:49 PM
That it must be "best" 'cuz JM uses it is a non-sequiteur. Agreed.

Watching his videos on grip technique, he used the left-thumb-over-right grip ONLY for the little J-frames.

2zulu1
October 25, 2013, 03:16 PM
For those of you who choose to grip thumbs forward, here's pic of an under max pressure AA #9 powder load, not much of a muzzle flash, as would be expected loading using this powder, but there's huge fireball at the cylinder gap;

http://i1103.photobucket.com/albums/g474/aztrekker511/357magAA9nightflash015.jpg

Start pushing max (max +pressures like the Ruger owners brag about) pressures and thumb integrity can become an issue.

Sam1911
October 25, 2013, 04:23 PM
Sure. But if we/they shoot this way regularly and don't experience any more problem than what a bit of soap and water can clean up, what difference does it make?

It's not like getting your thumb tips blown off is a cumulative problem that builds up over time.

CraigC
October 25, 2013, 04:37 PM
Light target loads are one thing but full house magnums will embed particles in your hide. Extra sucky if your alignment is not perfect and lead or jacket material sprays out.

Sam1911
October 25, 2013, 04:50 PM
That certainly could be the case. I personally shoot full power .44 Mags the same way I shoot 850 fps 200 gr. Specials. But, my thumbs don't pass beyond the cylinder gap, even when forward, so it's not a problem for me.

Deaf Smith
October 25, 2013, 05:33 PM
Like this:

http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v326/Fatdutchman/Picture329_640x480.jpg
When shooting one handed with the sights that is pretty much my way (but my hat is better looking.)

But if from the hip it looks more like this:

http://www.thellreed.com/html/the_original_combat_masters.html

Love those guys, even with the hokie speed holsters.

Deaf

Stophel
October 25, 2013, 07:19 PM
No way your hat is nicer! The Green Stetson is the most magnificent hat in the history of hatdom! :D

I am decidedly old fashioned in almost EVERYTHING, and care little for today's shooting styles and fads, and I don't have a problem with that. ;)

I've done some practicing with point shooting (not enough), and am not too bad at it. With a gun that fits your hand and points properly, it is surprisingly easy to hit fairly well at reasonably close distances.

Jaymo
October 25, 2013, 07:47 PM
How is a thumbs forward grip great for control, when opposable thumbs are necessary for good grip?
Reminds me of the AR15 fanboys and their strong side elbows tucked down by their sides.

When I shoot one handed, I hold it like Stophel.
BTW, Stophel, what revolver is that?
Nice Fedora. The pinnacle of civilian headwear.

When I shoot two handed, it's a white-knuckle, gun shaking from the tremors, kind of grip.
Just kidding. Thumbs locked down.

I remember the first time I saw someone shooting a handgun thumbs forward. Interesting fad that weakens your grip, but looks so tacticool that it must be the latest/greatest.
I can see it being ok for light loads. For anything generating real recoil, nah.

Stophel
October 25, 2013, 07:53 PM
That's actually my long-term project gun. An "oldified" S&W modern M21-4 .44 Special. Lock gone, hole plugged, reshaping here and there, squarified butt, etc. Eventually, I'll finish the thing!

Two handed for me is the old "cup and saucer" hold.

I am the least tacticool shooter you will ever meet. :D

Sam1911
October 25, 2013, 08:30 PM
I remember the first time I saw someone shooting a handgun thumbs forward. Interesting fad that weakens your grip, but looks so tacticool that it must be the latest/greatest.
Actually, if you believe that then the grip you're using is probably not very good. Thumbs forward does not weaken the grip strength because the thumbs should not be gripping anyway.

Two handed for me is the old "cup and saucer" hold.
Ahhh, I see.

MartinS
October 27, 2013, 08:24 AM
The thumb grips plenty if one is fighting to retain the gun.

Jaymo
October 27, 2013, 12:28 PM
Sam, you are wrong.
Opposable thumbs are what give us grip strength.
With your thumbs forward in that gun game fashion, you have NO grip strength.
You can disagree with me all you want, but you can't argue with physics or with anatomy.
If you were to actually shoot full power magnum loads with that grip, you'd not have control of your revolver.
That grip is fine for mouse fart powder puff toy loads, but for real loads it's useless.

murf
October 27, 2013, 01:08 PM
sam is right. handguns don't recoil sideways. the heel of your palm and three fingers of your shooting hand manage all the recoil (even the hard kickers). the same parts of the off-hand also help when using two hands.

the only thing the thumbs are good for is to push off the sight alignment while shooting.

murf

MrBorland
October 27, 2013, 01:37 PM
Sam, you are wrong.

Eh...no. And neither is murf. You can grip your revo as you wish, but thumbs don't do much for your grip. Note the grip of a Grip Champion below. Looks suspiciously like a thumbs-forward handgun grip to me.

Murf is spot on when suggesting thumbs can push sights off alignment. My grip when shooting standard pressure ammo is not only thumbs-foward, it's thumbs-off as well.


http://bretcontreras.com/wp-content/uploads/captain-crush-2.jpg

Sam1911
October 27, 2013, 06:39 PM
If you were to actually shoot full power magnum loads with that grip, you'd not have control of your revolver.
That grip is fine for mouse fart powder puff toy loads, but for real loads it's useless.

You really need to practice this to see the error, I suppose. As I said before, my grip is the same from very mild to as wild as I shoot. (That's 300 gr. at 1,250fps or so.)

BCRider
October 27, 2013, 09:09 PM
Is that great video by Jerry Miculek on revolver grip still out there? It was around for years but now I can't find it now. It was part of a 6 to 8 part series on revolver handling and shooting. A SUPERB resource from one of the masters and a great aid for questions like this.

CraigC
October 27, 2013, 10:04 PM
I see absolutely zero disadvantage to actually using your thumbs. The way I use my weak thumb against the recoil shield does not throw off sight alignment but helps with stability. IMHO, there is no single correct way to hold a handgun and no, I do not believe thumbs forward is appropriate for all handgun uses. Especially when it comes to revolvers.

back40
October 27, 2013, 10:33 PM
for wheel guns, i cross my support hand thumb over my firing hand thumb, cocking the hammer with the support thumb (i only shoot single actions these days). they are loosely crossed simply to keep them from the front of cylinder area. my thumbs aren't really used for grip strength even when firing full house .44mag loads, unless firing one handed.

an isosceles stance and thumbs forward grip on my autos greatly improved my control and follow up shots.

i say use what grip works best for your shooting. it amazes me at times at how stubborn some of you guys can be with regard to how someone else shoots. elbows down, or chicken wing...who cares? there are reasons that styles change. even JM commented on how everyone changed over to isosceles from weaver back in the day, because it simply worked better for competition.

Jaymo
October 27, 2013, 10:47 PM
I don't use isoceles, because it feels unnatural to me.
Plus, my shoulders don't like it.
For range time, I actually like duelist.
For defensive practice, I like one handed and Weaver.

back40
October 27, 2013, 11:02 PM
see...you don't like isosceles because it feels unnatural and doesn't agree with your shoulders. you like one handed, but you don't see me calling you a "renaissance duelist fanboy". there are reasons guys shoot with elbows down and squared to the target, instead of chicken wing and bladed. thumbs don't add much to grip that isn't already there. doesn't work for you? fine. to each there own.

Jaymo
October 28, 2013, 12:09 AM
Maybe I am a renaissance duelist fanboy.
But, it's only one hold I use, and it's only for fun time at the range. I doubt I would use it for serious social intercourse.
Elbow tucked down and squared to the target is another tacticool fad that requires unnatural positioning of the hand/arm.
So, I don't use it. Even with a black rifle.
I also don't hold the front by the magwell, or out at the end of the forend with my thumb over the top of the forend.

I think I'll post a pic of me holding my roscoe sideways, gangsta style, since no one has, so far.
Those who do hold theirs that way, swear it's the best way.
Their logic, if you can call it logic, is that recoil causes the gun to move sideways instead of up, and that it works much better for drive by shootings.
Yes, I was actually told this by someone who shoots that way.
Not that I have need for a better drive by shooting discipline.
Much like I have no need for a better gun gaming hold.

back40
October 28, 2013, 12:23 AM
elbows down and squared to your target is more than just a fad. it allows faster movement through tight quarters and better use of one's body armor. obviously, you aren't familiar with these concepts.

i can tell you are quite stuck on your ways and prone to poke fun at anyone who differs, no matter the reasoning behind their choice. have fun with that. you state that you have no need for a better gun gaming hold. has it ever occurred to you that someone else might have a need for a hold that differs from your own? that it might actually work better for their use?

and back to the topic at hand, thumbs have little to do with grip strength, and can adversely affect sight picture and trigger control. but again use what works best for you.

BCRider
October 29, 2013, 02:49 PM
Easy there back40, I read Jaymo's last post as actually agreeing with your idea that we should all be happy using what we find works best for us.

For my own competition shooting other than cowboy action I find that the isosceles stance with my elbows angled outward works very nicely. Using that method I find that my sight picture kicks less from recoil and that the sight picture is more stable and controlled which gives me faster and more certain transitions between targets.

For my cowboy action shooting I chose to go with duelist style simply because that's how John, Clint and Clayton did it in the movies.... :D

tomrkba
October 30, 2013, 12:09 PM
I used to hold it "thumb over thumb". I switched to thumbs forward since I can put pressure on the frame to keep the front sight from bouncing around as I work the trigger. My thumbs don't go much past the back of the cylinder. I found that if I work the reset smoothly, I can shoot very quickly with good accuracy.

philoe
October 31, 2013, 12:24 PM
Cup and saucer in a Weaver over here. That is when it comes to DAs. I learned quickly though that a cup and saucer doesn't work that great when shooting super magnums in SA :o. I equate it to getting hit on the fleshy part of the heel of your support hand with a rubber mallet.

Anmut
October 31, 2013, 11:54 PM
Just in case anyone here needs another reminder on why to keep your digits away from the front of the cylinder... here's a slow mo still shot of my 460 xvr going off.

http://www.thehighroad.org/attachment.php?attachmentid=190652&stc=1&d=1383278034

verb0s
November 1, 2013, 02:59 AM
I actually never thought about how I grip my revolver. With semi autos it's thumbs next to each other points about 45 upward-forwards. revolvers I think I just pick whatever grip feels best that day.
Whatever grip I use, and whether it's single or two handed the shots all go about the same place... which is about 4" low at 7 yards. I don't think I'm doing anything wrong, a friend says it's an issue with timing, I think it's the ammo, due to the shortage of components i had to alter my formula and use a less than optimal powder.

here's two photos i took of my double handed grips
http://i40.tinypic.com/hwbcco.jpg
http://i43.tinypic.com/334ooz8.jpg

What, no-one holding it sideways????
back when ammo was cheap and plentiful and i was sorta stupid, I have wasted several hundred rounds doing that, once you get the hang of it you can hit what you're shooting at most of the time... but not all the time. I prefer to hit my target all of the time and actually use the sights. the sights aren't on there for decoration! lol
i haven't tried gangsta with revolvers. I don't think gangsta works with revolvers.

RetiredUSNChief
November 1, 2013, 03:40 AM
i haven't tried gangsta with revolvers. I don't think gangsta works with revolvers.

Gangsta isn't there for accuracy...it's there for showmanship and intimidation. "Posturing", in other words.

:rolleyes:

Master Blaster
November 1, 2013, 02:38 PM
The thumbs have two roles in a proper handgun grip. Number One is to stay out of the way. Number two is to cock the hammer on Single action guns.
Here is Jerry Miculek's advice:

http://www.shootingusa.com/PRO_TIPS/MICULEK2/miculek2.html

Master Blaster
November 1, 2013, 03:13 PM
Here is what the Army Marksmanship Unit Manual says about grip:

C. GRIP.

The proper grip is one which provides the shooter with the maximum control of the weapon. To maintain a natural sight alignment, he must hold the weapon firmly and be able to apply positive, straight to the rear pressure on the trigger that will not disturb sight alignment.

1. Uniformity: For maximum control, all of the requirements for a proper grip must be uniformly applied at all times.

2. Requirements: The proper grip on a pistol is one that meets the following requirements:

a. The grip should be such that the front and rear sights will stay in natural alignment without any extra effort to maintain the relationship. Without this feature, there will be a tendency for the front sight to move over to one side of the rear sight notch, or be moved above or below the horizontal surface of the rear sight. Sight alignment, quickly regained after recoil without the need for correction, speeds up recovery and improves timed and rapid fire control. Maintaining sight alignment should be an effortless action before the next shot. Positive trigger pressure can be applied if the sight alignment is being maintained without effort. Sight alignment is easier to maintain if no adjustments are necessary such as moving the wrist or head.

b. Grip the pistol firmly enough while firing a shot so that shifting or slipping of the grip will not cause loss of control of the pistol. Recovery from recoil for the next shot in sustained fire is seriously hampered by the loss of sight alignment. The trigger pressure under these conditions is usually reluctant and timid. Unless the proper grip can be renewed quickly, (next to impossible in the middle of a timed or rapid fire string) maintaining sight alignment during the application of positive trigger pressure is a difficult operation. The tighter the grip, short of setting up a tremble, the better the control. The degree of pressure that should be exerted in gripping the pistol is determined by the condition of the muscles that do the gripping. Frequent practice, experience and certain exercises promote a strong grip and have a bearing on when a tremble will begin.

c. There must be no change in the tightness of the grip because a variation of gripping pressure will adversely effect sight alignment. Any degree of tightening or loosening of the grip from an established grasp will cause the sights to move out of alignment. The pressure of the grip must remain constant. It cannot be increased or decreased as trigger pressure is being applied because sight alignment will be altered.

d. The trigger finger should apply positive pressure on the trigger as an independent action, completely free of the other muscles of the shooting hand. The trigger finger should not touch the stock or the frame of the pistol because of the added friction and drag on applying trigger pressure. Dry fire a few shots watching the front sight carefully. If the front sight moves at the instant the hammer falls, reposition the trigger finger to the left or right, up or down, on the face of the trigger. Repeat the dry firing and adjusting the position of trigger finger until the release of the hammer causes no movement of the front sight in the rear sight notch.

e. There can be no variation in the grip from one shot to the next, from one series of shots to the next, from one day's shooting to the next, ad infinitum. In the final analysis, there is only one correct grip for each shooter. Each type of pistol, caliber . 22, caliber . 38, caliber .45 has its peculiarities and the shooter must adapt to each. The proper grip can be discovered through trial and error, practice and analysis. It must become, by extensive use, a familiar operation that eventually can be assumed without much difficulty. When the experienced shooter checks his grip out before shooting, it seldom needs adjustment. One of the frequent variations of grip that plagues new shooters is the grasping of the pistol grip with the hand slightly displaced to the right or left from the normal. As a result the placement of the trigger finger on the trigger will be different, thereby jeopardizing the requirement that the trigger be pressed straight to the rear.

f. The grip must be as comfortable as possible. The muscles of the hand and lower arm, after sufficient time has passed for the hand to become accustomed to the added stress, should experience little discomfort from the way the pistol is placed in the hand. If the grip is awkward and possible cramping and the hand muscles continue to tire easily, look for another solution or use an exercise device to strengthen the hand. To avoid the formation of painful, blisters, calluses and cracked tissue, reduce the tendency of the skin to stretch. Tautly stretched skin may also pull or exert force on the pistol frame in such a way as to cause eight alignment deviation. An equalization of the stretching of the skin and muscles of the gripping hand is paramount. Straight-in contact should exist between the skin of the fingers and palm and the surfaces of the frame and grips when the gripping pressures are brought to bear; not a sideward, sliding or grazing pressure.

g. The force of recoil must be controlled by being transmitted straight to the rear into the shooting arm. Recoil against the base of the thumb, which causes the weapon to twist in the hand, will allow a shift or grip and/or a bending of the wrist. Either event jeopardizes quick recovery from recoil in timed and rapid fire. The pistol should be held by being gripped normally, not by a choking grasp that endeavors to press on the stock in an all enveloping grab. The best points of pressure to hold the sight in alignment are the semi-flat grips on each side of the frame. However, the gripping hand cannot exert equal pressure on each of these surfaces simultaneously and such pressure would not overcome the effect of recoil. Therefore, the obvious pressure points of the shooting hand that will channel the effect of recoil straight to the rear and allow relative ease in maintaining sight alignment are: the middle bones of the three lower fingers, the base of the thumb high on the stock, the depression on the center of the heel of the hand, and last, the base joints of the four fingers along the upper palm. The primary pressure points on the .45 caliber pistol are the front surface of the grip and the mainspring housing-grip safety surfaces. The secondary points are: high on the left side of the stock near the slide lock and the forward curve of the right grip, each of which have to have gripping pressure applied equally to prevent loosening of the over all grip, and to maintain sight alignment. h. Holding the grip too long without an occasional relaxation will result in early fatigue. Fatigue destroys control. Excessive force of gripping for control of the pistol assures that fatigue will exist if the gripping power of the hand is weak. Undue fatigue in the muscles of the hand and forearm will also cause erratic application of trigger pressure. The tremble level is lowered to a point where the shooter cannot hold the pistol still, even for a few seconds, while trigger pressure is being applied.

3. Method of getting the proper grip: The proper grip must conform to all of the foregoing requirements plus it must be a hard grip and it must be adapted to the hand of the individual shooter.

NOTE: FOR THIS INSTRUCTION IN OBTAINING THE PROPER GRIP, THE WEAPON IS THE .45 CALIBER SERVICE PISTOL. THE FOLLOWING STEP-BY-STEP SEQUENCE WILL PROVIDE THE PROPER GRIP:

a. With the non-shooting hand, pick up the pistol by the barrel and of the slide, being careful not to mar the blackened sight and keep the muzzle pointed down range.

b. Spread the index finger and thumb of the shooting hand apart to form a "V", with the thumb held slightly lower than the index finger.

c. Bend the wrist slightly downward to obtain proper angle of contact.

d. Fit the pistol into the "V" of the thumb and index fingers by seating the grip safety straight and firmly into the loose "web" of akin in the "V".

e. Press downward on the barrel to pivot and push the mainspring housing firmly against the inside of the bulge of flesh at the base of the thumb and into the depression in the approximate center of the heel of the palm.

f. Stretch the fingers forward, letting the trigger finger come to rest flat against the pistol frame just above the trigger guard. Safety dictates the trigger not be contacted at this time.

g. The lower three fingers should come to rest closely touching each other, with the center bone of each finger resting on the curved front surface or "front strap" of the receiver. Little or no pressure should be exerted on the finger tips extending around the front strap to the surface of the left handgrip. Pressure exerted on the front strap by the little finger should be lighter than that brought to bear by the middle and ring fingers. Too much pressure with the little finger may cause the muzzle to depress slightly, resulting in the front sight aligning low in the rear sight notch.

h. The thumb should be raised to a level higher than the index or trigger finger. Only the joint at the middle of the thumb is high against the stock in the vicinity of the slide safety. The end of the thumb is turned up and away from the stock as it has no function. Pressure exerted on the aide of the pistol by the end of the thumb has a tendency to disturb sight alignment. The thumb should not exert great pressure on the aide of the pistol as early fatigue will result. Only required substantial supporting force should be exerted to hold the weapon firmly in place in the shooting hand.

i. A controlling grip can be affected by the three lower fingers directing primary pressure on the front strap straight to the rear, pressing the mainspring housing and grip safety firmly against the side of the center depression and the heel of the palm at the base of the thumb, and the loose flesh in the "V" of the thumb and index finger, respectively. This can be compared to a vise with the inner surfaces of the palm as the stationary jaw of the vise and the three lower fingers pressing on the front strap of the pistol as the moving jaw.

j. The non-shooting hand should be used to adjust the "fit" of the pistol into the shooting hand. A slight rotation of the weapon in the gripping hand as it is alternately gripping and releasing will allow the equalizing of a forceful grasp. The gripping hand must reach around to the right far enough to allow the trigger finger to reach into the trigger guard and also to position itself on the trigger at the exact point at which the trigger pressure can be applied straight to the rear. According to the size of the hand, the trigger finger will apply pressure with the tip, ball of the first section or the crook of the first joint or elsewhere. The primary concern is not what portion or spot along the trigger finger is the standard point of contact, but at what spot on the finger you can bisect the trigger, press straight to the rear without disturbing sight alignment.

k. When the "fit" is correct, remove the trigger finger from the trigger, free the pistol from the non-shooting hand and tighten the grip with great force until a tremor is noticed. Release a small percentage of this gripping pressure immediately, enough so that the tremor disappears and leaves the shooter with a hard, solid grasp that will result in absolute control. The tighter the grip, the better the control. The shooter is now exerting correct pressure for maximum recoil control.

4. Checking For Proper Grip: The proper grip is a natural grip that will meet all the requirements in paragraph 2, above. To assure a proper grip, it should be checked against the requirements. A deciding factor in knowing whether your grip is proper is one of familiarity. By use of the proper grip innumerable times, a flaw is immediately sensed.

a. To assure the sights will stay in alignment, the following test is made: extend the shooting arm and observe the sight alignment. If the front and rear sights are out of alignment, grasp the barrel with the non-shooting hand, loosen the grip sufficiently to slide the pistol in the hand, rotating it slightly away from the direction of error in sight alignment. Re-grasp the pistol firmly and extend the arm. Check the alignment without an effort being made to align them by wrist or head movement. If the alignment is natural, you may check for maintenance of sight alignment. With the arm extended, close the eyes, raise and lower the arm and settle. Open the eyes and observe. If the alignment has deviated, reposition the pistol in the shooting hand and repeat the closed eye test until natural alignment of the front and rear sights is achieved and maintained. During shooting, a constant check should be conducted of the tendency of the sights to continue to align themselves. The grip obtained at the beginning of shooting will not necessarily remain correct because the jolting recoil and build-up of fatigue will require correction to the grip to maintain sight alignment.

b. To check for a grip firm enough to prevent shifting after making sure the pistol is unloaded, have the coach bump the pistol rather forcefully, up or to the aide with the heel of his hand. Also, have the coach grasp the pistol by the barrel and make an effort to tear it from your grasp.

c. To check for variations in tightness or correctness of grip, it is best to dry fire a few shots before live shooting starts and watch for slight variations in sight alignment.

d. Checking for independent trigger action should be accomplished before shooting by a visual check of the trigger finger clearance from the grip. Check by dry firing to detect any drag or undue friction noticed in the trigger. Also, check for a sympathetic tightening of the muscles of the hand as trigger pressure is applied. This can cause as much disturbance of sight alignment as the failure to press the trigger straight to the rear.

e. The rapid onset of fatigue and soreness of the shooting hand is usually the result of an incorrect grip.

f. Checking for straight to the rear recoil directly into the shooting arm and shoulder can best be done in practice with an unloaded pistol by having a coach or team mate stand in front of you and forcefully and abruptly push against the muzzle of your tightly gripped pistol driving it straight back toward your shoulder in simulation of recoil action.

5. Aids to Developing a Good Grip: The great pistol shooters have: strong hands and a hard grip; a method of gripping without change unless analysis dictates a change that will improve it; a different grip mastered for each shape of stock or different type of pistol; molded, shaped or custom grips, that fit perfectly; and if they use powdered rosin or a like substance, they use it every time the hand becomes moist before they grip the pistol.

a. The "top guns" have a grip like a vise. Exercise devices such as rubber balls, spring grip builders, etc. will develop a strong grip. Exercise devices require constant use. Another approach, to reduce reliance on artificial exercisers, is to engage in work or a sport that places demands on your manual strength and dexterity, for example, chopping wood, digging in the garden, using hand clippers on the hedge; playing tennis, baseball, ping-pong, etc. Use of the hands in meticulous work also develops an exacting touch and coordination that is valuable to the pistol shooter.

b. Never thoughtlessly change your grip. A correct grip is a precious commodity. It evolves from much hard work, thinking, and planning, plus painstaking analysis. Each satisfactory grip found among the better shooters comes from trial and error. The good grip that is the end product of much effort should not be changed except when sharply critical analysis dictates a change that will improve it. The shooter who is desperately changing his grip hoping that he will chance upon the right solution will generally lower his scores. In the event that a better score is fired under these conditions it comes on an occasional basis with no tangible reason for the improvement. Analysis and trial, in a never ending quest to improve your marksmanship, is the answer.

c. A modification of the shooter's proper grip is necessary on different types of pistols. The firmness of the grip remains the same for all calibers and types of pistols and revolvers, but nature of the grasp must correspond to the shape and size of the grips in meeting all the requirements of the proper grip. For example, the caliber .22 grip is sometimes found to be smaller in circumference than a caliber .45 pistol. In this instance, the reach of the lower three fingers may extend further around the stock, resulting in one of the primary pressure points (the middle bones of each of the three lower fingers) coming to rest beyond and partially around to the left side of the front strap. Pressure exerted would not be straight to the rear. As it is fully applied in the normal grip, it would no doubt effect the natural alignment of the sights. Also, shooters with small hands have trouble with stocks of varying sizes. One example is having to compromise, due to a short trigger finger which can reach the trigger only with the finger tip, between a straight to the rear trigger pressure and the best position of the pistol in the shooting hand that tends to give natural sight alignment.

d. Shaped, molded or tailored custom grips are required to fit perfectly. Fitted grips are primarily used to help the shooter who can't consistently duplicate the proper grip when using standard factory grips. The individual shooter must first decide what features and characteristics of a shaped grip suit his hand. Stocks can be made to fit exactly, but it is a difficult job. Only an experienced shooter is capable of knowing what he actually needs in a custom grip, because only he knows what his proper grip looks and feels like.

e. Powdered rosin dusted on the hand can help to maintain a solid, controlling grip but it is not absolutely necessary. Normally, a strong hand and the checkering and stippling on the stocks and metal surfaces is sufficient. In hot weather when the hand may perspire or a hand that becomes wet in the rain may cause slippage, powdered rosin or a like substance, that will temporarily dry the skin of the palm and fingers, is then justified.

In the final analysis, there is only one correct grip for you. It is one that is firm; affords the individual shooter the maximum degree of control over maintaining sight alignment and allows positive, straight to the rear pressure on the trigger without disturbing sight alignment.

CraigC
November 1, 2013, 04:01 PM
The thumbs have two roles in a proper handgun grip. Number One is to stay out of the way. Number two is to cock the hammer on Single action guns.
Here is Jerry Miculek's advice:
So which is it, the Army's advice to keep the thumbs out of the way or Jerry's advice to use them??? Personally, I surmise that gripping an autoloader and gripping a revolver are two different things.

Anmut
November 1, 2013, 06:46 PM
One one hand, Jerry Miculek knows how to shoot a wheel gun - better than anyone in the army. On the other hand, Jerry M shoots some pretty custom guns.

boom boom
November 1, 2013, 07:05 PM
Right Thumb over Left Thumb and curled down for revolvers. Thumbs forward for automatics. Major issue for me is small hands--get a better grip with thumbs tucked. Used to use the same grip for DA/SA automatics and found it steering the gun as mentioned above. However, the reverse appears to be true for me shooting revolvers, especially snubby J Frame types. Also find it giving more control over full house .357 loads than thumbs forward. Biggest problem for me is that I have a DAO Third Generation Smith now and I am trying to figure out which grip works better at the range.

BTW, fwiw, Massad Ayoob professes that he tucks his thumbs on revolvers and I believe that he shoots thumbs forward on automatics. Think you will find that in his Combat Handgunnery 6th ed. and previous books. Using a crush grip, your thumbs shouldn't steer the gun in either position. I suspect using a light target grip might be a different story.

boom boom
November 1, 2013, 07:17 PM
BTW, if you dig some, you will actually find some old service manuals that cover shooting with a revolver. I have FM 23-35 dates Oct. 88 that covers revolvers, the M9 and the m1911 A1. somewhere around here. The Air Force used revolvers until the 1990's conversion to the M9. I learned to shoot revolvers using old S & W Model 15's as it was required for my secondary job of cargo courier in AF Civil Engineering. Most of the illustrations show thumbs curled downward and one shows the thumbs crossed.

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