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revolver handhold

Discussion in 'Handguns: Revolvers' started by boltbender, Feb 3, 2011.

  1. boltbender

    boltbender Active Member

    When i took my first firearm safety course, admittedly not long ago, my instructor said; "since you're shooting a revolver you can place your support thumb over the strong hand because the slide is not an issue. My next gun was a glock 17 so i went with the more conventional two thumbs together grip. Recently, since i only shoot revolvers now i have found that i can control a much stronger load with this arrangement. I use the Ayoob "max grip" method and am shooting really well.
  2. Starter52

    Starter52 Well-Known Member

    No matter how hard I try I cannot shoot with my thumbs together. I learned to shoot handguns in the 1970's and in those days the two-thumbs-together hold was not used.... at least I never saw it. I still shoot with my support thumb well below and behind my strong hand. This works for me with autoloaders and DA revolvers but not so well with SA revolvers.
  3. BCRider

    BCRider Well-Known Member

    Boltbender, just don't let that support hand thumb slide forward too far or it'll get singed really badly. The cylinder gap side blast from a .357Mag cuts like a surgeon's scalpel. I prefer both thumbs along the support hand side as well. But when shooting revolver I make sure my support hand thumb is curled down to keep it well away from the front of that cylinder.
  4. David E

    David E Well-Known Member

    He wasn't much of a shooter, was he!

    Ayoob teaches "thumbprint over thumbnail." If you shoot really well this way, don't change.
  5. Brass Rain

    Brass Rain Well-Known Member

    I'm a lefty, and found the little recess on the cylinder shield (is that a term? It's opposite the latch) of a Ruger GP-100 to be the perfect place to brace my right thumb for a really secure grip.
  6. MrBorland

    MrBorland Moderator

    IMO, thumbs do relatively little to effectively grip the gun, yet they can easily push on it as you shoot, which can really hurt accuracy. And as your speed goes up, the tendency is to tense up and push harder. Thumbs, then, are additional (and unnecessary) points of contact that just have to be kept consistent between shots.

    All said, though, experiment to see what works best for you.
  7. Sam1911

    Sam1911 Moderator

    In Jerry Miculek's videos (which I can't seem to find online anymore) he showed both ways, but said he only used the weak hand thumb-over grip on J-frames.

    I prefer thumbs forward, myself, as it translates well to whatever platform I'm shooting.
  8. 340PD

    340PD Well-Known Member

  9. Sam1911

    Sam1911 Moderator

    Yes! Stills and text from the old videos, but pretty good, nonetheless.
  10. BCRider

    BCRider Well-Known Member

    The 5th photo shows how I like to do it with that support hand thum turned in so it doesn't tend to hang forward into the "danger zone".

    It sure was nice when those vid segments were on the web. If anyone knows which DVD they were from it would be well worth buying that one for the tips it had in it. Superb stuff it was.
  11. MrBorland

    MrBorland Moderator

    They still are:

    I've seen the pics of a thumb that got too close to the gap blast from some ├╝bermagnumboomer, but at least for non-magnums, the danger from a thumbs-forward grip is exaggerated, IMO. I shoot my 686 and 625 .45acp thumbs-forward (and off the gun) with nary a problem. Check out the IDPA & ICORE National Champion. He really sticks his thumb forward, and he's still got his thumb intact. Note how the blast from the gap mainly goes "out", rather than "down".

  12. boltbender

    boltbender Active Member

    Thank you 340pd this exactly what i am refering to. i am not looking for advise, since I've just shot a half dollar 5 shot pattern at 15 yrds with my 642. I'm wondering if anyone else is shooting this way.
  13. asm19

    asm19 Member

    I've never been a fan of the "thumbs forward" grip, although it seems to be the only thing taught today. I place my support thumb over my firing hand thumb and this works for all platforms. I think consistency is key here and this grip keeps my digits well clear of any moving slides, revolving cylinders, slide stop levers, and my own trigger finger no matter what handgun I am holding. This grip also allows me to maintain firm control of the gun through one-handed and two-handed shooting without breaking my grip - even for a split second - to add the support hand as is required in the "thumbs forward" grip. The support hand should compliment your shooting hand, not change your grip altogether. But I'm not an "expert" so what do I know?
  14. CraigC

    CraigC Well-Known Member

    I agree with asm19 and shoot like Jerry has pictured on the 5th one down. With my weak thumb wrapped over the strongside thumb on my DA's.

    However, since getting the suggestion from a veteran single action shooter, I've been using my weak thumb to brace against the side of the recoil shield and find this to be very helpful in steadying my hold. Which also puts it in good position for fast weak thumb cocking. Unlike some of the "modern" holds, it is compatible with sixguns of any recoil level, from .22LR right up to .475Linebaugh.
  15. ExMachina

    ExMachina Well-Known Member

    that sounds very interesting! i'm going to try that next time out.
  16. Sam1911

    Sam1911 Moderator

    You can wrap your support thumb over your strong hand when shooting an auto pistol?

    How do you keep from getting your thumb cut by the slide? Is your firing grip especially low on the gun?
  17. ExMachina

    ExMachina Well-Known Member

    i wonder how many times i've done this w/o even knowing it?! nice to know that it's not the thumb-severing lightsaber that you hear stories about.

    still, it seems like a questionable habit to develop if you even occasionally shoot magnums or random other wheelguns with loose barrel-cylinder gaps.

    thanks for the link.
  18. Sam1911

    Sam1911 Moderator

    It isn't generally enough of a problem to worry about. (If it was, it would have happened to more than a handful of people posting on the 'net. -- as in, every wheelgunner would have some familiarity with this.)

    The real shocking pictures that were posted a few years back came from someone shooting a .460 Mag XVR -- who somehow managed to get his thumb SO far forward as to lie against the front of that mile-long cylinder.

    I've had .44 Mags cut up a bench bag when rested against the front of the cylinder. There IS a lot of pressure escaping there.

    But (it seems) 99.99% of revolver shooters don't have long enough thumbs, or a distorted enough grip, to endanger themselves this way.

    Kind of like how most folks don't have toes so long they routinely get whacked by the lawn mower. The danger area clearly exists, but routine, recommended procedure doesn't bring your body into contact with it. :)

    The fellow in the picture above has probably put a few hundred thousand rounds downrange with that grip, and still has all the skin left on his thumb.
  19. CraigC

    CraigC Well-Known Member

    I really don't think there's much danger in the way he's gripping his S&W, at least with standard .44Spl's to moderate .44Mag's. In doing my best to duplicate his hold, the end of my thumb is near the end of the cylinder and there is no scorching. However, I find it to be extremely uncomfortable, even with mild .44Spl's as it accentuates recoil and pounds my palm. Just places too much of the palm up into the hump to grip that high. But then again, I'm not shooting competition and am just as likely to walk out back to shoot .22LR as I am to shoot heavy .44Mag loads, though not in the same quantity. So I try to grip them all the same.

    Any idea what kind of loads the gent pictured above would be shooting?

    It's difficult enough to get your thumb that far forward on a standard revolver, much less one with such a long cylinder. The shooter 'must' have been trying something along the lines of the taco hold some shooters use with T/C's, probably to support a revolver that weighs as much as a carbine. Far as I can remember, he never owned up to doing anything wrong. Though it's obvious that he was.

    Please note that the weak thumb is placed in such a way that it simply slides off to the side during recoil. If you press it against the recoil shield in such a way that it does not glance off, it can surely break the thumb.
    Last edited: Feb 5, 2011
  20. Sam1911

    Sam1911 Moderator

    That's really interesting. I'd love to be able to shoot with you and watch exactly what you're doing. I always strive for the highest grip I can get, and always with thumbs forward, just like what he's doing. And that works for me with .22s, and with 300 gr. .44 Mags, as well.

    If you watch through Mr. Jerry's videos, HERE, he explains this very clearly. Revolver bore should be as close as possible to the centerline of the arm bones. That means down into the grip as low as possible. Better control, faster follow up.

    He also goes into what to do with your thumbs to achieve the most control.

    And, when and why he uses a thumb-over grip -- with J-frames.

    He also demonstrates how to adjust your grip to handle big guns -- like the .500 -- with a lot more recoil. Then he does keep the gun higher to let it roll more. That makes his wrists take more torque, but he finds it more comfortable than having his arms absorb it all. He STILL has his thumbs wrapped on the support side -- not thumb-over.

    I've often said, if there's something about shooting a wheelgun that Jerry M. doesn't teach -- you don't need to know it.

    Probably a pretty mild load, but it's .38 Spc... so they're ALL pretty mild loads. :)

    That was my first thought... OUCH.

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