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Grip Strength

Discussion in 'Handguns: General Discussion' started by 94045, Feb 3, 2020.

  1. 94045

    94045 Member

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    Grip Strength
    Usual Recommendation - As hard as you can.

    I find though that comes with some provisos though

    1. Without the gun shaking.
    2. Can move the trigger finger without moving the whole hand.
    3. Can hold for more than a shot or two.

    I occasionally read a Grandmaster that doesn't advise this and simply says just grip firmly enough to control the gun.

    When I started shooting a lot more often I found as firm as possible was not a bad prescription. Now with increased hand strength and endurance I find myself simply settling into a comfortable amount of force (which is likely above what I used to be capable of). This amount of force is likely fairly high. If I don't freshly trim my nails before I go to the range I will cut my support hand palm with my primary hand nails. I find more force tends to make me want to muscle the shot (The opposite of what I have been taught). Do I need to keep endeavouring to add even more force and try to train out of the side effects or is palm cutting force enough?
     
  2. Pat Riot
    • Contributing Member

    Pat Riot Contributing Member

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    I would say you are over doing it. I am no champion but I have found that too tight a grip can be just as bad for consistent accuracy as too loose a grip.

    If you are breaking skin with your grip I would say you are definitely over doing it. Also, if you have to grip it that tight to be accurate it is possible you are using the wrong gun.
     
  3. Corpral_Agarn

    Corpral_Agarn Member

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    off hand hangs onto the gun.

    "strong" hand focuses on smooth trigger pull.
     
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  4. 94045

    94045 Member

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    So I take it you don't abide by the 60/40 rule or strong hand grips front to back as strong as possible and still allow an independent trigger pull. Weak hand grips side to side as strong as possible without shakiness or fatigue within just a few shots.

    Yes, but I'm gripping hard enough with my "natural grip" with my support hand that I force the palm into my nails and cut the support hand palm (if nails are not freshly trimmed).

    If I endeavor to bear down harder I have a tendency to "muscle" the shot.

    I'm at the point whether to decide if as hard as possible is the advice I should follow. The appears to be the majority opinion.

    Or as hard as necessary to control the gun which is a minority opinion but seems to be well represented even among Grandmasters.
     
    Last edited: Feb 3, 2020
  5. Reinz

    Reinz Member

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    I’ve heard that you grip about the same force as you would hold a hammer. Do I do that, I don’t know. I adjust the amount of grip force pertaining to the pistol I am shooting.

    ‘I hold a 10mm tighter than a 9, a 44 mag even tighter. If I hold a pistol too tight, I find that proper trigger control is harder to achieve.

    I’m self taught at this and learned from trial and error I suppose. I just know what feels right for ME and what doesn’t.
     
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  6. ATLDave

    ATLDave Member

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    If someone asks, "how much force do I need to exert to lift this 60 pound barbell with a biceps curl?" you'd likely tell them "at least a touch more than 60 pounds, and more if you want to lift it quickly." You wouldn't tell them "as much force as you can generate" nor "half as much force as you can generate." Although one of those statements would be good advice for everyone whose maximum effort is, say, 75 pounds or less of force... and the other statement would be good advice for very strong people capable of generating more than 150 pounds of curl force.

    Just like the barbell, the gun doesn't know who is shooting it. It's not going to recoil harder or try to rotate more if it thinks a big tough guy is using it but take it easy on a 12 year old girl just learning to shoot. There's no possible way to accurately describe how much force to use in reference to fraction of personal strength and have it be true across the population.

    If you shake hands with high-level practical pistol shooters, you will find that almost all of them have quite a bit of grip strength. For them, they may not need to consciously try to "grip hard." Their "firm" grip may apply, say, 100lbs of clamping force. Which may be enough to have the sights return as fast as their index finger can run the trigger. On the other hand, for someone whose max-effort is, say, 40lbs of clamping force, they have less than enough force at full effort, so they have to try very hard. So you have to take into account how much force the person giving advice is likely applying in absolute terms.

    As to what you, specifically, should do, I'd say you should experiment with watching how your sights behave in recoil. I'm afraid I have yet to reach the level where I like how the sights or dot behaves with less, rather than more, left hand pressure - so as hard as I can manage with my left hand remains valid for me. At the same time, I don't find that a bunch of conscious attention to my right/firing hand is necessary (with a 2-handed grip)... if I'm gripping hard with the left, the right seems to adequately grip on its own, and I sometimes try to actively relax it.
     
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  7. ATLDave

    ATLDave Member

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    I personally think that's lousy advice for someone trying to learn recoil control. You want a hammer to have a bit of whip to it, and too-tight a grip would make the whole kinetic chain rigid. In contrast, you do not want the gun to whip.
     
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  8. 94045

    94045 Member

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    How would.you define grip strength?

    How to define grip strength....most people know how easy it is to rack a slide so I guess that would work.

    On a .40 S&W M&P M2.0 Compact I can take my thumb and middle finger and pinch the slick part of the slide with my weak hand and rack the slide but not with my ring finger and thumb.

    I also shoot the same split times with the .40 S&W and 9x19mm barrels but I'm slow (About 0.21-0.22).

    Would I consider that a weak or strong grip?
     
  9. Reinz

    Reinz Member

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    This is a good topic. The good thing is hearing different points of view.

    All it takes is for someone use the word or phrase that “connects” with someone.

    Six people can all be saying basically the same thing, but only one of them may connect with the one trying to understand and learn the topic at hand.

    For example: I’ve heard all of my life “SQEEZE the trigger”. That just does not compute correctly with me. When I try to implement that, I shoot like a monkey.

    I’ve heard, “Don’t PULL the trigger”. But for me, if I hold the gun solid and then pull/press the trigger Straight back, that is how I get the best accuracy.

    We all say and hear things differently. I hope we can all learn from each other here.
     
  10. ATLDave

    ATLDave Member

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    You could actually measure it. https://www.amazon.com/CAMRY-Dynamometer-Strength-Measurement-Capturing/dp/B00A8K4L84/ref=sr_1_4?crid=2NXM3UEVS7V3Z&dchild=1&keywords=grip+dynamometer&qid=1580762330&sprefix=grip+dyno,aps,135&sr=8-4

    I think the guy who has done the most real, thoughtful analysis on this topic is Charlie Perez (CHA-LEE on the Enos forums). You may enjoy this video - if you skip towards the end, he illustrates with slow motion video the effects of grip force on his (exceptional) recoil control.

     
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  11. 94045

    94045 Member

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    Soft grip isn't a problem for accuracy. I've shot.my DW15-2 in SA Mode like this for years plinking empty shotgun hulls.at 15 to 25 yards (with younger eyes) but it just doesn't work.when.your trying to get your split times down.
     
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  12. LiveLife

    LiveLife Member

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    :eek::eek::eek:

    No.

    "Death grip" is not required. A firm neutral grip that allows relaxed free movement of the trigger finger, which won't move the front sight, is a better option if you are concerned with muscle fatigue moving the front sight.

    And transferring the work of grip to larger shoulder/back/chest muscles will reduce muscle fatigue that will reduce gun shaking, move trigger finger without moving the whole hand and hold for more than a shot or two - https://www.thehighroad.org/index.p...ith-this-glock-22.861829/page-5#post-11358512

    At 1:55 minute of video, Rob Leatham demonstrates this grip.


    1. Grip your pistol with shooting hand and extend out with "V" of palm high on back strap/beaver tail (partial or full extension)
    2. Form a "hook" with support hand and pull back squeezing shooting hand fingers while resisting movement with shooting hand/arm - Try to make full contact of support hand palm with pistol grip (With your trigger finger relaxed)
    3. Increase push/pull until pistol can be held steady with work transferred to shoulders using chest/back muscles
    4. While watching the front sight, quickly press trigger until you hear "click" without moving the front sight
    NOTE: On step #2, my support arm elbow torques down and "locks" to form a neutral push/pull grip, an isometric grip.

    I prefer 50/50 neutral grip that is firm enough to hold the front sight steady while the trigger control "dynamically" compensate for movement of the front sight until the hammer/striker is released - https://www.thehighroad.org/index.p...ith-this-glock-22.861829/page-5#post-11358483

    When I teach/share defensive point shooting, especially with female/small framed/elderly shooters with weak hand strength, I shatter the "death grip" notion by demonstrating shooting various 9mm/40S&W/45ACP subcompact (Shield 9mm) to fullsize (Sig 1911) with just 2 fingers (Thumb and middle finger around the grip) to control even fast shots at multiple targets. I then have them demonstrate this themselves to their shock ("My goodness! Gun did not fly off your hand!" ;):D)

    After "death grip" shooting notion/myth is shattered, I then tell them, since they are able to shoot and control guns with just 2 fingers, our focus needs to be on trigger control and neutral grip so as to not move the front sight when the hammer/striker is released.

    Once they learn the 50/50 push/pull neutral grip and transfer the work to shoulder/back/chest muscles, I have them hold even larger/heavier fullsize/1911 pistols with partial/full extension and hold it (For a long time). When they start to feel muscle fatigue setting in (because they are using smaller hand/forearm muscles), I have them reaffirm transfer of grip work to larger shoulder/back/chest muscles and Presto! muscle fatigue shake of front sight goes away.

    Then we focus on doing fast draw fire on multiple targets unsighted (eyes closed) and sighted point shooting as demonstrated by my idol Jerry Miculek (To me, "BANG" means draw to bang and trigger reset in one smooth and fast motion while READY to engage the next target ;)). When they grumble "But Jerry Miculek must have superman grip strength ...", I reaffirm the 50/50 push/pull neutral grip and tell them, "Master the grip technique until you can hold the gun extended indefinitely". :eek:

     
    Last edited: Feb 3, 2020
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  13. Olon

    Olon Member

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    Maybe I'm not fully understanding what you're asking but I'd say if gripping the gun harder makes you shoot worse, you shouldn't do that. I'm not an expert but I don't think about grip pressure on the gun unless A, I'm pushing the gun around with the trigger or B, the gun is about to jump out of my hand. Never do I try to quantify the percentage of my grip strength that's necessary to shoot well with a gun. If something doesn't feel right I mess around with it until it does. I don't think there could possibly be a hard and fast rule as to how hard you should grip the gun except "Just hard enough." Especially considering the wide variance of grips and the several ways people hold guns.
     
  14. Corpral_Agarn

    Corpral_Agarn Member

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    I guess?

    My left hand is the vice, I put the gun in the vice.

    My tendons are connected in my right hand, so if I grip too tight with the right, my trigger pull is impacted.

    My right hand isn't limp. It's holding the gun. But its not nearly as tight a grip as my left hand.
     
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  15. ATLDave

    ATLDave Member

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    To further expand on this point, you almost never see any shooters except rank novices have the gun moving around relative to their right (strong) hand. The beavertail, the bottom of the triggerguard, and other physical-interference-fit points helps prevent any gun-grip relative movement.

    On the other hand (ha!), lots of moderately-experienced shooters have totally ineffective weak hand grips. They fire a couple of shots and they have to re-grip the gun with their left hand, because the gun is moving around relative to their left hand. If the gun is moving relative to the hand, the hand isn't doing much to stabilize against recoil forces.

    Whether it's because they don't have enough contact area between the left hand and the gun or because they're not gripping hard enough with the left hand, I would say the majority of shooters that I see outside of pistols matches have an ineffectual left hand grip. So, for large portions of the populace, yelling at them to "grip harder and better" with the left hand is reasonably good advice. Similarly, telling them to get their right thumb out of the way so the heel of their left hand is actually on the gun is also good advice for big chunks of the shooting community.
     
  16. Corpral_Agarn

    Corpral_Agarn Member

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    The bold is one of the first things we address in the classes I teach.

    often proper grip takes a shooter from completely missing the 8x10 paper at 5yrds to punching out a 4" center at 5yrds.

    The importance of grip cannot be overstated.
     
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  17. ATLDave

    ATLDave Member

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    Logically, the left/weak hand shouldn't have a dramatic influence on accuracy... but it often does. Of course it provides a little bit of extra stability (wobble zone reduction), and it also provides a little mitigation against an off-straight trigger press. But beyond that, it helps people get into the feel of neutral recoil control. Rather than having a timed push against recoil as the method of control, a firm, neutral grip holding the gun still in space becomes a plausible thing to do. Of course there's still a timed push element, but the more one can subordinate that to neutral control, the easier it is to avoid mis-timing the timed push with a pre-ignition shove down and left.
     
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  18. bdickens

    bdickens Member

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    Target shooting or self-defense?

    I ask because if someone is trying to kill you, such issues are purely academic.
     
  19. Corpral_Agarn

    Corpral_Agarn Member

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    hmmm... Not sure if I agree. But I could be misunderstanding the post.

    I figure that if you have two hands available to shoot, and you are shooting to put rounds on target fast, the proper grip techniques are important.
     
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  20. Corpral_Agarn

    Corpral_Agarn Member

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    I agree.

    In theory, you could have the weakest grip of all and so long as the sights are aligned and the gun holds still for the shot, that's all you need.

    I think that the effect is often as much mental as it is... physical/technical(?)
     
  21. ATLDave

    ATLDave Member

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    I'm at a loss as to how things like recoil control become "purely academic" in self-defense situations.
     
  22. 94045

    94045 Member

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    This is something I had to learn. I have 8" hands with great big palms and short fingers. An M&P M2.0 Compact is a two and a half finger gun for me. I end up with two fingers on the gun butt itself and one-half finger on the base plate. (I'm also dangerously close to getting slide cut but it hasn't happened yet despite how scary close it is).

    My inclination was to use smaller backstraps because they "felt" right in my hand and it felt more secure in the strong hand. For controlling a double action pistol in single hand fire that might be the right idea. But for a proper two-handed grip it was all wrong. Not only was my trigger reach wrong it closed up the grip on the weak side to the point I couldn't get good contact. Now I use the biggest backstrap they have and while the trigger reach is good I think it's more important that it really opened up the grip on the weak side allowing me to to get good contact with the support hand.

    Just goes to show what "feels" right isn't always and you need to experiment.
     
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  23. ATLDave

    ATLDave Member

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    They are correct. Jerry's grip strength (and the sheer size of his hands) is legendary.
     
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  24. LiveLife

    LiveLife Member

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    That's why I shatter this shooting notion/myth by having students shoot with just 2 fingers (Thumb and middle finger). Besides, you should practice until you are proficient with shooting using one hand (strong or weak) along with two hands. And whether you are shooting for competition or self defense, proper grip/trigger control should not matter as we fight like we train.

    When they are able to shoot everything from Shield 9mm to Glock 27 to Sig 1911 with just two fingers and control recoil to where they are able to shoot fast at multiple targets, they realize 4th/5th shooting hand fingers and support hand/fingers can often add input to grip to deviate POI away from POA.

    Think about that.

    Don't believe me? Take out your guns and dry fire with 2 fingers. Practice until you can hold the front sight steady and on your next range trip, shoot with 2 finger grip.

    I now have my students practice dry fire until they can steady the front sight before the first range session. Most do several hundred dry fire practice. One did over a thousand dry fire practice and having never shot before, did great on his initial point shooting session - https://www.thehighroad.org/index.php?threads/trigger-control.834737/page-2#post-11244660
     
    Last edited: Feb 3, 2020
  25. LiveLife

    LiveLife Member

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    But if they lack Miculek's superman strength (like me), they must rely on proper grip technique to steady the front sight.
     
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