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Hand size; is there a standard measurement?

Discussion in 'Handguns: General Discussion' started by Trey Veston, Nov 24, 2019.

  1. Trey Veston

    Trey Veston Member

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    In most discussions of various handguns and how they fit individual shooters, it seems the topic of hand size comes up in nearly every thread.

    Some posters say that they have larger hands so Gun A doesn't fit them, while others say they have smaller hands so Gun B is perfect.

    Some have mentioned glove size as a reference.

    Another poster just mentioned that he has large hands and measured from his wrist to his fingertip and it was 8".

    I consider myself to have large hands and did the same measurement and it was also 8".

    Is that the standard measurement to determine if you have large hands? Is there a different measuring standard to determine your hand size?

    I just thought it would be helpful if there was a standard measurement to reference in regards to hand size and whether or not certain handguns fit others differently.

    Of course there are many other factors in the individuality of the human hand such as finger length, palm size, etc that determine whether or not a particular handgun will feel good.
     
  2. sgt127

    sgt127 Member

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    I don’t think there’s a “standard”. It’s too subjective. I have dainty little girl hands. But, very strong. I prefer single stack guns. I want a solid wrap around grip on a gun. I can’t do it with a Glock. But, the Glock has a short trigger reach so, it’s workable for me. Though, not optimal.

    A 1911 fits my hand perfectly. Even then, I use thin grips. I also shot thousands of rounds in a 1911 when I shot IPSC, so, there’s strong familiarity and confidence.

    A Beretta feels huge to me. A Kahr T9 feels like it was made for my hand.

    I was finally issued a Glock 35 and later a 22. It did not fit my hand the way I would prefer but, I got good with it. Because I didn’t have a choice.

    according to this, I wear a medium glove.
    https://www.palmflex.com/glove-sizing.html
     
  3. IdaD

    IdaD Member

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    I think at the NFL combine they measure the tip of the thumb to the tip of pinky stretched out. Look at some of those numbers for quarterbacks and most of us have comparatively small hands.
     
  4. ATLDave

    ATLDave Member

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    I would conjecture about 85-90% of the adult male population have "normal" hands. I think people who have hands that are so big or so small that they encounter unusual ergonomic issues with guns are very likely to 1) already know it because 2) they probably encounter ergo issues in the rest of their life.

    I consider myself to have "normal sized" hands. Specifically, I take an ML cadet in golf gloves, which reflects a slightly larger than average palm and hand width with slightly proportionately stubby fingers. And I use regular-sized golf grips, because other than gloves, those little disparities don't really matter. Similarly, when I play the drums, I can use pretty much any drumstick size, but gravitate towards things in the middle of the size range (or slightly smaller just to control volume). When I shake hands, I don't routinely have problems getting my hand to "mate up" correctly with the other person's.

    I know a couple of guys with really big hands, and the above is not true for them. One of them plays golf and has to build up the club shaft with a bunch of tape before sliding a grip over it, or he buys special oversized grips to fit his Shrek-like mitts. Another one is a road cyclist, and he builds up the grip on his bikes to fat sausages.
     
  5. shoobe01

    shoobe01 Member

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    Yes. Lots of stuff on sizes and reach and so on for human factors work. Many measures, standardized. Most devices are built to address the median middle group, say the 90-percentile male (large end) and the 5th-percentile female (small end). For manufacturered goods, outliers can suck it.

    Back when things like shotguns were custom fitted to at least the landed gentry, hand size was pretty much entirely grippable diameter. Within reason, any shape worked, as long as the diameter was proper for the shooter's hand.

    The changeable backstraps we finally are getting almost standard on many pistols address this in large measure. Just change depth of the backstrap to change total grip diameter. Changeable trigger reach (Sig is esp good at this) is also a good one, but is more rarely seen in the modern day. It addresses finger length, and old custom guns would also position the grip at the right position to the frame to handle this.

    Yes, also other variations, but this is the primary measure and impact of hand sizes for firearms.
     
  6. Hartkopf

    Hartkopf Member

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    Then there is the hand shape issue some of us have.

    I have medium size hands with a lot of thumb muscle, which is mostly useless for gripping semi autos. By the book gripping does not work for me.

    My wife has freaky alien fingers :eek: with very thin hands. (I love her just the same:)) She can't find a trigger far enough away. A GP100 with a large grip is perfect for her but a bit heavy for carry.
     
  7. Slamfire

    Slamfire Member

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  8. labnoti

    labnoti Member

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    I think more often than not, it's the gun that is ill-fitting rather than one's hands being unusually small or large. Many guns compromise fit for features like double-stack 45's or long 10mm cases or compact heights or for recoil-absorbing rubber backstraps or to move the fingers below the trigger guard or the hand higher on the backstrap. There are a lot of competing factors that go into a grip shape and hand fit doesn't always sell as well as some of the others.

    Hand strength doesn't come from the fingers or even the palm. Instead, the fingers are connected via tendons to muscles in the forearm. Therefore hand size and finger thickness are not indicators of strength. Ripped forearms would be a better indicator, but it's also easy to test with a grip dynamometer.

    I am beginning to think there is a strong correlation between grip shape or design and the process of sight alignment. With some grips, it seems I'm frequently having to correct the sight alignment after presentation while with others I very consistently get good sight alignment upon presentation. It's not a matter of training or muscle memory either because I've had trouble with grips I used for a longer time and found improvement immediately upon switching to a different grip that I had not practiced with.


    FWIW, my wrist to fingertip is 8" and my thumb tip to pinky-tip is almost 9.75". I buy size "Large" gloves but consider my hands medium-large because I think XL gloves are probably at least as popular. I can play a 10th, but not an 11th (it barely reaches and I couldn't actually do it whilst playing music).
     
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  9. ATLDave

    ATLDave Member

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    My runaway favorite grip shape is the Tanfoglio large-frame grip (with relatively thin grip panels). It accommodates a double stack of 10mm. There's no compromise of fit.... I like it better than a 1911. I actually like double-stack 2011's better than their single-stack counterparts for grip comfort.

    I have hands that are very much in the normal part of the bell curve.
     
  10. fireside44

    fireside44 Member

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    There is no standard and there will sometimes be no rhyme and reason why someone likes the feel of a gun or not. I got long fingers but like thinner gunfighter grips. Older style double stacks feel like an unwieldy club to me.
     
  11. mdThanatos

    mdThanatos Member

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    I have never measured my hands really but decided to after reading this thread. From my wrist to the tip of my middle finger it is 8.5" and from the tip of my thumb to the tip of my pinky, with my hand stretched out, is 9.75". I am 5'11" tall, about 275 lbs, so my hands are pretty thick as well. I shoot a Beretta, Glock 17, and Glock 21 very well, as well as my 1911. I tried to like the Glock 43x but for me it felt too small and narrow in my hand. When I buy gloves, a Large feels too tight and short, and while an Extra Large feels good, my pinky finger doesn't come up as far compared to my other fingers (the tip of my pinky finger is 1.25" below the tip of my ring finger) so most gloves don't fit me in that sense, there is extra glove on my pinky finger.

    I personally don't feel I have large hands but almost everyone who has made a comment about my hand has stated they are big and meaty.
     
  12. ATLDave

    ATLDave Member

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    I think some of it is how we want to feel the gun aligned in our hands. Some people index primarily off the front strap, some people index primarily off the backstrap. I'm always going to jam the web of my hand up under the beavertail on a semi-auto, and have the centerline of the gun driving back into the fork of my thumb and hand. Other people have a particular knuckle or finger phalanx they want to align with the frontstrap in some way.

    Two people with hands of precisely the same physical dimensions might experience the same gun in very different ways if their gripping method is different.
     
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  13. GBExpat

    GBExpat Member

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    Most of the hand-measurement directions that I have encountered when buying gloves involved measuring around the knuckles of the hand.

    Those generally match my hands with the exception that my fingers are just a bit too long for that measurement so I almost always end-up with the gloves not being quite flush in the web-space between my fingers.
     
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  14. needmorecowbell

    needmorecowbell Member

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    Mine may just be odd. I’m 7.5 wrist to middle finger and 8.75 thumb to pinky. Wide fat palms with stubby digits. Can’t fit into medium gloves, always have to be large or xl, but also sometimes reaching for some triggers (my Glock 20 with no back strap is about my max) and my thumb won’t reach most slide releases. Like anything else, you learn to adapt.
     
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  15. bassjam

    bassjam Member

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    We have a very similar hand size. I'm 7.375 wrist to tip, and a span of 9". My ring size is between a 12 that hurts or a 12.5 that slides off over my knuckles when I wash my hands because my knuckles are almost indistinguishable from the rest of my finger. Medium gloves only fit if they're VERY stretchy so I normally wear a Large (or occasionally X Large) and deal with the slight extra length. I can't reach the slide release either on many guns, so I don't bother to use them and always slingshot to load a round.
     
  16. Pat Riot

    Pat Riot Member

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    I recall that back in the 90’s an acquaintance of mine knew a lot of people in the gun industry and he said that they, members of the gun industry, gave up on using a standard for hand size when it came to grip, trigger pull, hammer length, etc.
    He said each company used their own method of determining their “optimum” grip size, angle, thickness, etc. He said that no one could agree on a hand size standard for gun grip so they went their merry way.
    I have no proof of this, just my friend’s word.
    He did say that from his perspective as a marketing guy that he would not agree on a standard if he were selling guns. He said because placing hand sizes or grip standards on guns might drive people away from a particular product that they might buy should they actually pick it up and handle it.
    He used “Dirty Harry” as an example. “A guy comes into a gun store looking for “the Dirty Harry revolver “ because it was the gun used in Dirty Harry. If the guy knew ahead of time the gun didn’t fit his hand he might not come in to buy it.”
    Makes sense.
     
  17. Slamfire

    Slamfire Member

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    I believe this. Whoever Mr Hogue is, his grips fit my hands the best. Whoever Mr Pachmayr is, he and Rachmaninov ought to try a piano jam session.

    When you find a grip that feels good, treasure it.
     
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  18. Hangingrock

    Hangingrock Member

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    Ergonomics the interface between humans and machines.
     
  19. Varminterror

    Varminterror Member

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    I hate to burst a lot of bubbles, but there absolutely ARE standards for hand sizes.

    Glove sizing is common, albeit most folks don’t worry about critical fit for most work gloves, so descriptive sizing of small, medium, large, extra large works well enough. But the true standard for glove sizing is the circumference of the palm around the knuckles and pad of the finger-end of the hand (what would be analogous to the ball of your foot). Coupled with this, you’ll often see a “Standard, Long, or Short” modifier for finger and wrist-to-middle finger length, which doesn’t always coincide with what a person might intuit as their proportion, visually. Much like you might wear a size 10 1/2D shoe, you might wear an 8 1/2L glove. Different brands will have different proportions, just like shoes, so not all gloves of the same size will fit exactly the same, and equally, not all tasks require the same glove fit, so folks may wear an upsize from their base if they want greater comfort and can sacrifice some dexterity and control.

    Equally, when sizing gun grips, ring size often tells as much as anything about a hand size.

    For example, I typically wear a size 8 1/2 although in some cuts, I need a size 8L, and others, I need a 8 1/2L. My wedding ring is a size 13.

    Most importantly, our hand size really has very, very little to do with how well a pistol grip fits our hand. Trigger reach is a very critical dimension, but nobody ever seems to talk about it - too busy focusing on how a grip feels in their hand. There ARE extreme instances where under or oversized grips can be problematic for control - but often these are exacerbated by a disproportion in the grip - for example, the Ruger Redhawk grip, with a very small diameter neck and a larger diameter heel. But anecdotally, we see many top level competitors, many with VERY different hand sizes, shooting the same few pistol models - across all different disciplines. Men and women, large and small, in any respective sport, there will be 3-4 models being used among all of the top competitors. The only instance we see extremely focused grip design, uniquely molded to the shooter’s hand, is in Bullseye, where alignment without fatigue is critical, however, in any action sport, we don’t see these custom fit grips - we see the same pistols among top shooters.
     
    Last edited: Nov 26, 2019
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  20. Varminterror

    Varminterror Member

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    I heard the same anecdote as @Pat Riot in the ‘90s about a meeting which allegedly happened in the early ‘80s, but Glock didn’t get invited and started outselling everyone else with their “weird” grip angle, and the “agreement” among the others was dropped. One of those gun counter yarns which I heard as a young man overhearing old men speak...

    All signs point to the legend of this meeting - in any era - being 100% fabricated, as there was never and would never be any financial motivation for any manufacturer to modify their design just to standardize, and any unique market each design felt they might have because of their grip shape would be sacrificed. Today, manufacturers are far more happy to incorporate modular designs to allow further sales and licensing opportunities for aftermarket grip options, such as the Ruger SP/GP/SRH/LCR grip stud designs, Gen4 and higher Glock backstraps, bulged vs. straight 1911 mainspring housings, or Sig 320 grip modules. The idea of design sharing and collusion among competing firearms companies for such a trivial - yet costly - redesign just wouldn’t happen.
     
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  21. RETG

    RETG Member

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    I would consider myself with normal hands; about 7.5 wrist to middle finger tip, span about 8.75 on left hand (fingers wide apart), but only 7.5 on my right hand (my gun hand). The difference is due to I no longer have a right little finger knuckle at the base of the finger. And I still prefer double stack mags for the wider grip. For gloves....depends on the glove.
     
  22. ApacheCoTodd

    ApacheCoTodd Member

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    Horse traders'll tell you there is; 4 inches!:)


    Todd.
     
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  23. Varminterror

    Varminterror Member

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    And they’ll tell you every damned 14h2 pony they own was 16h as a 2 year old - but they haven’t measured since and it’s only gotten bigger since!
     
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  24. DeepSouth

    DeepSouth Member

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    Surely their is an average hand size, who knows what it is?
    Personally I don’t really think it matters, as how a grip “feels” is extremely subjective.
    I’m a big guy at 6’6” and 280 and the most comfortable grips to me are smaller ones, KAHR comes to mind. I despise the feel of nearly all double stacks I can think of.

    On the other hand, I like big thick shotguns. But that’s a different discussion I guess.
     
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  25. rskent

    rskent Member

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    My random thoughts on a very Interesting discussion.

    Comparing my hands, I seem to have weird hands. By Varminterror’s sizing I have a size 9 ¼ hand. However, from wrist to middle finger I’m only 7 ½” with a trigger finger that is 5/8” shorter. Tip to tip, measures only 8 ¼”. I guess I should be thankful I can even pick up a handgun let alone shoot one.

    It does seem like there should or could be a better way to size hands relating to firearms. Using your glove size doesn’t look like the right way. Probably the circumference of your grip. You could compare it to the circumference of a pistols grip at the trigger. I have no idea how you would measure a person’s grip circumference. But measuring the grip, including around the trigger would take into account the shape of the rear of the grip and help you determine if your finger can reach the trigger. Or you could just pick one up and see if it fits.
     
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