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A more in-depth set of question on the thumbs-forward grip


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#1 ER_STL

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Posted 06 May 2009 - 03:03 PM

As some of my past posts indicate, I've been studying the thumbs forward grip in detail for the last three years. I've really wanted to understand and analyze why it works and why someone can't simply grip an auto with their thumbs locked down and achieve the same results, provided that they stay neutral. After all, if people have been shooting revolvers fast for decades, why can't they run an auto the same way? To me it's a much more natural grip and concept - to simply make fists and grip down on the gun.

In understanding how to deal with muzzle flip (and ignoring the backward force of the recoil itself that is usually absorbed in the arms and body) I looked at how an auto moves in your hands when a shot is fired. You can obviously see that a pivot point is created where the tang of the gun meets the web of the strong hand. Given where we can put our hands on the gun (the grip and not the slide, where we would have the most leverage to counter muzzle flip), we can achieve the most leverage with the strong hand by keeping it has high as possible on the back of the gun. This part makes sense to me.

What confuses me though is why the support hand is used in the manner that it is. Why do we rely on a side-to-side pinching action of the hand to generate enough friction to try and snap the muzzle back down to target (and to keep the hands from coming apart)? I know that personally, if I don't grip with enough force to hang onto the gun, my hands will start to separate during rapid fire (assuming everything else is neutral and I'm not pushing and pulling). That's fine but to me this puts a requisite on grip strength. A G19 with ball ammo may not be a problem but what about shooting guns that are lighter and more powerful? Also, what happens if my hands are greasy and sweaty?

Physically, the area in which we could apply the most leverage to the flip of the gun is at the bottom of the frontstrap. The lower we go on the frontstrap the more torque we can apply to the gun counter to the direction in which it is rotating when it is in recoil. Why not then focus on a fully locked support wrist exerting pressure against the bottom of the frontstrap (through the pinky) to counter the flip of the gun? The strong side would take the recoil and push and the support side would resist muzzle flip. A slight push-pull could be used to keep the hands together.

One of the benefits of the Isosceles stance is that it is supposed to allow for a relatively equal dispersion of the recoil impulse over both shoulders. But the only way that the support side can receive any recoil at all is if 1) it is behind the gun, which I haven't been able to accomplish with my Glock or M&P without moving my strong hand into an unnatural one-handed grip, or 2) enough friction is generated by the pinching action to keep the support hand on the gun. The first point is important because I'm committed to ensuring that my strong hand grip is in the same position for a one-handed grip as it is for the two-handed grip. The second is important because grip-tape isn't an option with these two CCW guns and my hands may not always be dry and ready to go.

Any thoughts? I'm hoping to better understand how and why the grip is being used. I'm definitely and over-analyzer and I really enjoy understanding down to the details how and why something works the way it does.

Edited by ER_STL, 06 May 2009 - 03:03 PM.


#2 jodus

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Posted 06 May 2009 - 06:20 PM

when i torque and try crazy things happen, when i relax and let the fluidity(if thats a word) of the motions take care of themselves everything is nice. like a car, your driving it but let the machine do the work u just enjoy the ride
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#3 benos

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Posted 06 May 2009 - 06:53 PM

I don't have much time now - but a couple thoughts off the top of my head...

For most shooters, the modern day auto grip allows the sights to track up and down more consistently, day in day out, than a thumbs down revolver grip. I believe that's why it evolved to where it is now.

A reason it provides consistent tracking is that both hand contact the grip in a very similar way and place. With a thumbs down revolver grip - the strong hand thumb's position prevents the weak hand from contacting a large part of the available are on the pistol's weak hand grip side. Which renders the grip almost "strong-hand only" in a sense.

Also a point competitive shooters eventually realize - what matters most is that the sights return to exactly where the left from, every single time, without little or any physical, mental or visual effort from the shooter. It doesn't matter how high the front sight lifts, as long as it comes right back to here it lifted from, every time.

What is called "recoil control" is eventually learned to happen just from your own simple will for the sights to get back to where the left from, as quickly as possible. With an even, consistent grip, this will happen on its own, if you learn how to watch it and let it.

To a large degree, "recoil control" doesn't come from gripping strength. Actually I don't like the term the long-overused term "recoil control," because it's misleading. So I'm not going to say it any more.
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#4 ChrisMcCracken

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Posted 06 May 2009 - 06:56 PM

If you look at what the thumbs forward grip does to the weak hand it might make more sense. To push the weak hand thumb forward actively rotates the hand and puts pressure on the 5th digit against the grip. It also puts the center of gravity of your hands higher and better placed to counter recoil of the slide moving. Mainly though, I just commited to the technique and learned my doing. I saw a huge difference in rapid fire group size. I carry a Glock 30 with corbon defensive loads. That combo kicks like a mule. This grip change made it much more manageable. I recommend just trying it until it feels normal. You can always go back, but I doubt you will.

Edited by Erucolindon, 06 May 2009 - 06:58 PM.

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#5 R.Elliott

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Posted 06 May 2009 - 07:47 PM

Best thing is to set up an experiment and test it for yourself. That's what I way back when the Weaver stance was still being taught as the method du-jour. Try both methods on some simple, repeatable multiple target drills and measure the hit factors. Keep it to just shooting; no fancy stuff like draws, reloads, etc., and make sure there is some variation in the target distances so you can't just close your eyes and spray. Do the same drills multiple times and on different days to get a wide enough data sample, and just see what method nets you out with the most consistent hit factors.

I have a sneaky suspicion I already know how this experiment will turn out.....

Good luck!
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#6 benos

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Posted 06 May 2009 - 08:21 PM

Best thing is to set up an experiment and test it for yourself.

Yes.

Grip your pistol with a high (as possible) grip and fire a few shots. Then do the same thing with a low (as possible) grip. The reduction in muzzle rise due to the superior leverage provided by a high grip will be obvious.
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#7 ER_STL

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Posted 06 May 2009 - 09:04 PM

Thanks for the replies. Brian - I'm especially glad that you replied since I've been using a lot of your archived posts here and your interview on the Combat Grip article for reference.

In order for a higher (support hand) grip to be more effective than one that's lower, it must be using friction against the frame of the gun (and to the strong hand fingers) to "hold" down the muzzle, correct? It's almost as though you're trying to reach up and pinch the slide and resist the gun's upward movement. That's the only type of force it can be applying. If it's related to the pressure the pinky and ring finger are putting on the frontstrap to counter the flip of the gun then lower is going to provide more torque.

Part of what I'm getting at might be a different question but it's this: what keeps your hands together during rapid fire? Is it a deliberate, side-to-side pinch of the support hand that gives it enough friction to hang onto the gun or, like the act of willing the gun to return to the same spot, is it something you simply will to happen and let your body sort it out? In an effort to keep a neutral grip on the gun the support hand either has to be somewhat behind the gun or it must have enough of a grip on the frame of the gun itself to stay put. I've found grip-tape to solve this problem but it's not a CCW option as it was tearing up my clothes. :unsure: I haven't been able to get any substantial amount of support hand behind the gun. Granted, I have only an M&P9 and Glock and not something with a more rounded grip like a 1911.

Does it matter if the gun swims around in your hands as long as the front sight returns to the same spot?

Here's the funny thing... When I first learned this grip from a lesson with an IDPA shooter, I immediately went to a local range and rented an M&P9 to try out. With no grip-tape or anything on it I was amazed at how well the gun came back on target. I was using target focus to watch my shots hit the paper and found that I could keep about a 6-8" group at 7 yards with a .30 to .40 split-time. This was an incredible leap for me since prior to that lesson I really had no concept of rapid fire. That was three years ago and since that time I have analyzed, modified, and beat the grip issue to death.

#8 Nik Habicht

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Posted 06 May 2009 - 11:49 PM

Part of what I'm getting at might be a different question but it's this: what keeps your hands together during rapid fire?

The side to side grip keeps my hands together during rapid fire. When I first transitioned to shooting the .40 at major (from 9mm minor), I discovered that I needed to increase the amount of force applied to keep my hands together. With practice this became fairly natural....

Does it matter if the gun swims around in your hands as long as the front sight returns to the same spot?

Yes, but only in so far as the swimming alters how the sights return and how your hands interact with/allow for trigger manipulation that doesn't disturb the sight picture....

In my limited experience, consistency in grip position and sight return seems to be an aid in making and calling the shot....
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#9 R.Elliott

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Posted 07 May 2009 - 05:36 AM

In order for a higher (support hand) grip to be more effective than one that's lower, it must be using friction against the frame of the gun (and to the strong hand fingers) to "hold" down the muzzle, correct? It's almost as though you're trying to reach up and pinch the slide and resist the gun's upward movement. That's the only type of force it can be applying. If it's related to the pressure the pinky and ring finger are putting on the frontstrap to counter the flip of the gun then lower is going to provide more torque.


It's actually more about leverage advantage than it is about friction. The higher the hand rests on the gun, the lower the bore axis relative the the wrist. You're just trying to move pivots points closer together, and this changes the recoil pulse from rotational (flip) to linear (straight back). The weak hand wrist is slightly in front of the strong hand wrist and cammed out against the joint with the thumb pointing towards your target, so you have an eccentric pivot point off-set which again gives you a mechanical leverage advantage without adding the punitive measure of unnecessary tension. This is what makes the gun return so quickly, and done correctly the gun shouldn't displace in your hand during recoil (light clamshell pressure is usually enough). Instead, the gun and hands should both recoil as one solid unit through a predictable and repeatable arc. If you find yourself crushing the gun to keep it from sliding, something's wrong with the grip mechanics, and until you isolate what it is you will never be able to "shoot in the moment" You'll just be fighting the gun too much.

When building your grip, take note if there are any spots where your hands are either not in contact with each other or not in contact with the grip surface. If you have any of these "air pockets" the gun will try to recoil into them, so what you are looking for is a maximum possible skin-weld. A way to check this is to see if the base knuckle (pivot point) of the weak hand thumb is fitting into the space created by the joint of the SECOND knuckle of the strong hand when the thumb is on the safety. Thumb should rest on top of thumb. This will weld the hands together and ensure the wrist is properly cammed out, and ensure that the weak hand pad has good contact with the grip surface.

Also don't forget; the job of the beaver tail is to spread recoil over a larger area, and it acts like a cast on a broken bone by essentially locking two parts together so they can move as one unit. For this to work though, you have to have your hand wedged into it pretty solidly.
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#10 kgunz11

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Posted 07 May 2009 - 05:56 AM

There's a whole lot of simple physics involved in the grip. Fulcrum points, leverage, support, distribution, not to mention the bio mechanical things going on with the body such as shock absorption, muscle tensing and eventually fatigue, bone on bone, extended tendons...

The less the sight moves the faster the follow up shot can be. The more consistent the sight track the easier it is to call the shot.

I use a canted wrist forward style grip with the support hand pinky against the magwell countering the flip point I can control (I can't control the muzzle, but the front strap side of the magwell movement is proportionate with the muzzle flip). I have downward bend in my elbows so they point at 4 and 8 o'clock. I get as much strong hand and support hand contact on the grip as possible. I paid $1k to attend a class primarily to learn muzzle control one time, and it was worth every penny. Before that class I used a mod-Weaver stance and thumbs up grip.
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#11 benos

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Posted 07 May 2009 - 03:28 PM

In order for a higher (support hand) grip to be more effective than one that's lower, it must be using friction against the frame of the gun (and to the strong hand fingers) to "hold" down the muzzle, correct? It's almost as though you're trying to reach up and pinch the slide and resist the gun's upward movement. That's the only type of force it can be applying. If it's related to the pressure the pinky and ring finger are putting on the frontstrap to counter the flip of the gun then lower is going to provide more torque.


It's actually more about leverage advantage than it is about friction. The higher the hand rests on the gun, the lower the bore axis relative the the wrist. You're just trying to move pivots points closer together, and this changes the recoil pulse from rotational (flip) to linear (straight back). The weak hand wrist is slightly in front of the strong hand wrist and cammed out against the joint with the thumb pointing towards your target, so you have an eccentric pivot point off-set which again gives you a mechanical leverage advantage without adding the punitive measure of unnecessary tension. This is what makes the gun return so quickly, and done correctly the gun shouldn't displace in your hand during recoil (light clamshell pressure is usually enough). Instead, the gun and hands should both recoil as one solid unit through a predictable and repeatable arc. If you find yourself crushing the gun to keep it from sliding, something's wrong with the grip mechanics, and until you isolate what it is you will never be able to "shoot in the moment" You'll just be fighting the gun too much.

When building your grip, take note if there are any spots where your hands are either not in contact with each other or not in contact with the grip surface. If you have any of these "air pockets" the gun will try to recoil into them, so what you are looking for is a maximum possible skin-weld. A way to check this is to see if the base knuckle (pivot point) of the weak hand thumb is fitting into the space created by the joint of the SECOND knuckle of the strong hand when the thumb is on the safety. Thumb should rest on top of thumb. This will weld the hands together and ensure the wrist is properly cammed out, and ensure that the weak hand pad has good contact with the grip surface.

Also don't forget; the job of the beaver tail is to spread recoil over a larger area, and it acts like a cast on a broken bone by essentially locking two parts together so they can move as one unit. For this to work though, you have to have your hand wedged into it pretty solidly.

Yes to all of that - you saved me a reply. ;)
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#12 Pat Harrison

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Posted 07 May 2009 - 04:59 PM

If you find yourself crushing the gun to keep it from sliding, something's wrong with the grip mechanics, and until you isolate what it is you will never be able to "shoot in the moment" You'll just be fighting the gun too much.

This from the guy that can squeeze a steel frame hi cap gun hard enough to prevent the mag from falling out!...lol
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#13 Matt Griffin

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Posted 07 May 2009 - 07:24 PM

A couple of quick thoughts/observations:

Side-to-side pressure is used because it doesn't move the sights. You can squeeze harder or softer, but you don't push or pull the gun. This allows consistent performance when pressure is on and things are dynamic.

Thumbs share nerves with the index fingers, and thus tension slows down the finger and causes sympathetic movement in the thumbs, which can move the gun laterally. Again, consistent performance under pressure.

Lastly, while a lower grip would combat recoil more, it would also reduce contact area between hands and increase the chances of the support hand breaking loose, again when things get dynamic. The bottom of the trigger guard is a constant reference point so that you don't have to worry about the vertical position of your hand. Repeatability is the key.

My ultimate grip does very few things. It allows me to work my trigger finger lightly and separately. This is critical. It doesn't change when running, shooting, etc. And it lets me forget about it, so that I can focus on my trigger finger and the stage at hand. Otherwise the recoil control is secondary, I may not split the gun as quickly, but .24 or so is plenty fast for nearly every shot in a match. If I can concentrate on entering and leaving, planning, not missing any shots, etc. I'll make up the extra .4 seconds I might lose to not having an optimal recoil controlling grip.

Or put another way, when I first started competing, I concentrated on going fast. The next year, I concentrated on planning. This year, I'm concentrating on just pulling the trigger. I think trigger control is probably the last and ultimate thing that separates the whales from the rest of us.

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#14 ER_STL

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Posted 07 May 2009 - 08:07 PM

Thanks again to everyone replying - this is helping quite a bit.

It's actually more about leverage advantage than it is about friction. The higher the hand rests on the gun, the lower the bore axis relative the the wrist. You're just trying to move pivots points closer together, and this changes the recoil pulse from rotational (flip) to linear (straight back). The weak hand wrist is slightly in front of the strong hand wrist and cammed out against the joint with the thumb pointing towards your target, so you have an eccentric pivot point off-set which again gives you a mechanical leverage advantage without adding the punitive measure of unnecessary tension. This is what makes the gun return so quickly, and done correctly the gun shouldn't displace in your hand during recoil (light clamshell pressure is usually enough). Instead, the gun and hands should both recoil as one solid unit through a predictable and repeatable arc. If you find yourself crushing the gun to keep it from sliding, something's wrong with the grip mechanics, and until you isolate what it is you will never be able to "shoot in the moment" You'll just be fighting the gun too much.


What I think I see in your post is what might be my most recent *iteration* of the grip. I exchanged emails with shootingcoach on YouTube a few months ago and he was adamant about a strong grip not being needed to drive the gun. Rather, concentrating on keeping your hands together should be enough while allowing the gun to do its thing.

After talking with him I started to work more on a total, 360 degree grip around the gun -- wrists locked -- without paying much attention to how hard I was gripping the gun. In fact, I took all of the grip-tape off of both guns and started to try and feel the grip as one, total structure with the gun nested inside. When I did this the thumbs-forward grip came together more naturally than it has in the last three years but I still wasn't able to convince myself as to how the support hand would stay on the gun (and, thus, how it would contribute to bringing the sights back on target). Unfortunately I'm part of the no ammo, no primers crowd so I was only able to put 100 rounds through the gun with this grip. Because of infrequent shooting I'm starting to fight a flinch again.

When building your grip, take note if there are any spots where your hands are either not in contact with each other or not in contact with the grip surface. If you have any of these "air pockets" the gun will try to recoil into them, so what you are looking for is a maximum possible skin-weld. A way to check this is to see if the base knuckle (pivot point) of the weak hand thumb is fitting into the space created by the joint of the SECOND knuckle of the strong hand when the thumb is on the safety. Thumb should rest on top of thumb. This will weld the hands together and ensure the wrist is properly cammed out, and ensure that the weak hand pad has good contact with the grip surface.

Also don't forget; the job of the beaver tail is to spread recoil over a larger area, and it acts like a cast on a broken bone by essentially locking two parts together so they can move as one unit. For this to work though, you have to have your hand wedged into it pretty solidly.


So here's what I've been doing. First, strong hand grip on the gun, high, with the thumb pointing forward and just floating out in space. If you were to view it from the top the barrel lines up with my forearm:

Posted Image

The hand comes up hard under the beavertail. On Glocks I end up with slide-bite:

Posted Image

The support hand indexes under the trigger guard so the the base knuckle of the support hand index finger rests on the support hand side of the trigger guard:

Posted Image

The support hand fingers wrap around first, pull to tighten the skin on the support hand fingers, and then the support hand wraps around. The thumbs line up as you described:

Posted Image

I use the bend in my elbows to lock the wrists. IOW, my wrists aren't *set* until I extend the gun with the elbows bent:

Posted Image

[continued]

#15 ER_STL

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Posted 07 May 2009 - 08:14 PM

Posted Image

There's plenty of good information in this thread for me to digest. Unfortunately it's going to be months before I get more primers so I won't be able to shoot to prove and/or adjust what I'm learning until then.

One final thing of interest is that I have tested various types of grip back to back through about 500 rounds and the method I described in my original post (i.e. locked support wrist, elbow out, push-pull to keep the hands together) reduced muzzle flip the most. Now, that doesn't mean that it was the best grip overall, just that it brought the front sight back down the fastest. A more relaxed and neutral thumbs-forward grip was just behind it (with a little more flip).

Honestly, I'm still learning to see the front sight all the way through the recoil cycle. I followed the advice to run Bill Drills into a berm without a target and that helped quite a bit but I found myself struggling to try and take in too much at one time. Specifically, while trying to track the sight plus articulate the trigger through the rapid fire plus *see* what my hands were doing...all at the same time...would sometimes prove to be too much. If I just slapped the trigger as fast as I could the front sight was all over the place.

I'll take in what I've learned here and will get back to running the drills again once I get ammo. I'll report back when I do to see whether or not I'm able to better understand how the support hand plays a role in a neutral grip.

#16 kgunz11

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Posted 07 May 2009 - 08:52 PM

I have the feeling Flex is bookmarking this page and we'll see it for many years to come. GREAT share of information here!
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#17 Ray Ninness

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Posted 20 May 2009 - 08:03 PM

What most people forget is that the grip on the gun and the trigger finger are to seperate issues, and neither should effect the other.. If they are they you are doing something wrong..

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#18 CHA-LEE

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Posted 20 May 2009 - 09:42 PM

I think people are missing Brian’s main point in stating that the thumbs forward grip produces a more consistent return of the sights after the shot breaks and the gun has cycled. As he says, it does not matter how high the muzzle flips in recoil as long as the front sight returns to the same spot every time. Sure there may be other grip methods that allow you to fight/reduce the actual muzzle flip, but most of those methods will not return the sights to where they should be post shot on a consistent basis. I think its a common misconception that you need more recoil control in order to shoot faster. You don't, all you need is consistent control of the sight alignment post shot in order to shoot fast. The more you try to muscle the gun and fight the recoil the less accurate you will be because you will be inducing inconsistent misalignment into gun as it cycles.

I know that when I shoot my Limited gun which has grip tape it has very little muzzle flip as I shoot. But the sights return to where they should post shot. When I shoot my XDm-40 for fun I use the same grip and grip pressure. The XDm-40 does muzzle flip higher than my Limited gun but it still returns the sights right back to where they should be post shot.

I think the moral of the story is to pick a Grip method that produces the most consistent sight alignment post shot. I know from my testing that the thumbs forward grip does that the best. I could care less how much the muzzle flips as long as the sights return where they should so I can pull the trigger again instantly when I see that the sights are still aligned.

People should think of recoil management instead of recoil control. You will never be able to 100% control the recoil of the gun, all you can do is manage it. I have found that it is a lot easier to manage recoil with my elbows verses trying to lock out my arms and take the recoil impulse all the way back to my shoulders. Use your elbows as mini shock absorbers to manage the recoil. Use your grip to manage the consistent return of the sights while shooting.

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#19 CHA-LEE

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Posted 20 May 2009 - 09:55 PM

I also want to point out that there is a big difference between one persons grip pressure and another’s. You can’t apply a rule stating that you need X pounds of grip pressure because for one person they may not be able to do it without straining because they have weak hands. Then on the other side of the street you have another person that is under gripping the gun at the same pounds of pressure because they have strong hands.

You need to use a moderately strong grip that does not put a strain on your hands. So what does moderate mean? Well for me, when I first started shooting a moderate grip was pretty weak. From a scale of 1 – 10, probably a 4. Since then I have been doing hand exercises and a lot of shooting so I would venture to say that my current moderate grip is probably twice as strong as it was when I started, so probably an 8 out of 10 now. Sure, there is a direct link to overall grip pressure and reducing of muzzle flip. But you don’t want to circumvent trigger control and consistent sight tracking by over gripping the gun with too much tension with the only goal of reducing muzzle flip. If you want to manage the muzzle flip better while retaining trigger control and sight tracking strengthen your hands. Raise your “Moderate Grip Pressure” bar so to say.

Go up to just about any GM or Master shooter and ask them to shake your hand. 9 out of 10 times they will be capable of crushing your hand like it’s a twig if they wanted. That in its self tells you that their “Moderate” grip pressure is probably far stronger than most others.

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Fortune Cookie says.... "Focus only on the present tense”

Favorite Quote.... "If I just shoot as fast as I can call my shots, I will be fast enough" by Brian Enos


#20 ER_STL

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Posted 21 May 2009 - 08:29 AM

I also want to point out that there is a big difference between one persons grip pressure and another’s. You can’t apply a rule stating that you need X pounds of grip pressure because for one person they may not be able to do it without straining because they have weak hands. Then on the other side of the street you have another person that is under gripping the gun at the same pounds of pressure because they have strong hands.

You need to use a moderately strong grip that does not put a strain on your hands. So what does moderate mean? Well for me, when I first started shooting a moderate grip was pretty weak. From a scale of 1 – 10, probably a 4. Since then I have been doing hand exercises and a lot of shooting so I would venture to say that my current moderate grip is probably twice as strong as it was when I started, so probably an 8 out of 10 now. Sure, there is a direct link to overall grip pressure and reducing of muzzle flip. But you don’t want to circumvent trigger control and consistent sight tracking by over gripping the gun with too much tension with the only goal of reducing muzzle flip. If you want to manage the muzzle flip better while retaining trigger control and sight tracking strengthen your hands. Raise your “Moderate Grip Pressure” bar so to say.

Go up to just about any GM or Master shooter and ask them to shake your hand. 9 out of 10 times they will be capable of crushing your hand like it’s a twig if they wanted. That in its self tells you that their “Moderate” grip pressure is probably far stronger than most others.


Great posts. I think it's often overlooked that one person's "light grip on the gun" is another person's death grip. I shook hands last week with a new employee here who competes in power lifting. I thought I had a firm handshake until this gorilla crushed my hand.

It's been hard to organize my thoughts into posts on the board and it would have been much easier if we were all sitting around talking at the range where we could demonstrate grip techniques on guns. But, one of the main overall questions I've had throughout the process is how the support hand stays on the gun. Whether or not you prefer a 60/40, even grip...fully cammed wrist or just canted...try to fight muzzle flip or just let it happen...I don't think it matters. Assuming that you're not applying a push-pull, the support hand needs something to keep it in contact with the strong hand and the gun the entire time, so it must either stay on the gun by clamshelling down with enough force to provide the necessary friction or it must be behind the gun enough so that the gun is driving into it. It should be obvious in looking at just one-handed shooting why the single hand never has a problem - it's in a good position to accept both the reward and flipping components of the recoil. It's in line with them, and the web of the hand is accepting one while the fingers around the front-strap is accepting the other. The support hand wrapping around the front of the gun however is not in this position.

Usually when this topic comes up on the board, Pro-Grip and grip-tape are recommended. Since I'm trying to develop my techniques for my carry gun these won't apply (I don't walk around with sticky hands and grip-tape is chewing up my clothing). So, I've been working these techniques on naked, slippery guns like my Glock and M&P. Thus, the conclusion I've started to draw from my studies is that I need a gun that has better traction on it than my Glock, has a more rounded grip like a CZ or a Sig as this allows me to get more of my support hand behind the gun, and fills out my bony hands such that I have less pockets or gaps. Is this reasonable or should the thumbs-forward grip work for everyone with all hands on all autos?

One final thing: I can run a Bill Drill on my stock M&P without grip-tape and the gun isn't flying out of my hands or anything like that. I have the ability to keep the gun there. Now granted, as a beginning to intermediate shooter, I'm still having trouble tracking the front sight during very fast split times but my groups are close enough to demonstrate that my grip is allowing the gun to return to close to the same spot each time. But when I'm at home dry-firing, where I'm doing most of my practice, I feel like I have very little support hand control over the gun. This is where I lose confidence in my ability to keep the support hand on the gun.

Edited by ER_STL, 21 May 2009 - 08:33 AM.


#21 Singlestack

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Posted 21 May 2009 - 09:21 AM

You have to squeeze hard enough for it to stay there. If your hand is in the right place, thats all there is left.

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#22 ER_STL

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Posted 21 May 2009 - 11:08 AM

You have to squeeze hard enough for it to stay there. If your hand is in the right place, thats all there is left.


From my first post:

What confuses me though is why the support hand is used in the manner that it is. Why do we rely on a side-to-side pinching action of the hand to generate enough friction to try and snap the muzzle back down to target (and to keep the hands from coming apart)? I know that personally, if I don't grip with enough force to hang onto the gun, my hands will start to separate during rapid fire (assuming everything else is neutral and I'm not pushing and pulling). That's fine but to me this puts a requisite on grip strength. A G19 with ball ammo may not be a problem but what about shooting guns that are lighter and more powerful? Also, what happens if my hands are greasy and sweaty?

I'm definitely not trying to argue - just learn. What happens when you combine slick hands with stout recoiling loads?

#23 Singlestack

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Posted 21 May 2009 - 11:42 AM

You have to squeeze hard enough for it to stay there. If your hand is in the right place, thats all there is left.


From my first post:

What confuses me though is why the support hand is used in the manner that it is. Why do we rely on a side-to-side pinching action of the hand to generate enough friction to try and snap the muzzle back down to target (and to keep the hands from coming apart)? I know that personally, if I don't grip with enough force to hang onto the gun, my hands will start to separate during rapid fire (assuming everything else is neutral and I'm not pushing and pulling). That's fine but to me this puts a requisite on grip strength. A G19 with ball ammo may not be a problem but what about shooting guns that are lighter and more powerful? Also, what happens if my hands are greasy and sweaty?

I'm definitely not trying to argue - just learn. What happens when you combine slick hands with stout recoiling loads?


You have a situation where your hands might come apart. :D

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#24 R.Elliott

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Posted 21 May 2009 - 11:48 AM

You have to squeeze hard enough for it to stay there. If your hand is in the right place, thats all there is left.


From my first post:

What confuses me though is why the support hand is used in the manner that it is. Why do we rely on a side-to-side pinching action of the hand to generate enough friction to try and snap the muzzle back down to target (and to keep the hands from coming apart)? I know that personally, if I don't grip with enough force to hang onto the gun, my hands will start to separate during rapid fire (assuming everything else is neutral and I'm not pushing and pulling). That's fine but to me this puts a requisite on grip strength. A G19 with ball ammo may not be a problem but what about shooting guns that are lighter and more powerful? Also, what happens if my hands are greasy and sweaty?

I'm definitely not trying to argue - just learn. What happens when you combine slick hands with stout recoiling loads?


It's just a question of degree. If the gun isn't friction-welded to your hands it will displace in recoil. This will happen even with lighter recoiling guns, even though it may be a very small amount which you aren't aware of. AND it won't matter how hard you squeeze or what grip technique you use, carry gun or competition. I think you'll probably find that taking the grip tape off will make you subconsciously squeeze harder to keep the gun from twisting in your hand. This will induce tension, which will guarantee inconsistency. My suggestion; the technique being described here is valid, so use the grip tape in competition because it gives you an advantage over the gun.

You want to have maximum skin contact all the way around the gun, and whatever pressure is being applied by the hands will tend to be evenly distributed in this way...front to back and side to side. If the pressure is uneven, recoil will try to go to the path of least resistance. Don't think of it as "pinching" with the weak hand so much as just "holding." That's all you're doing with either hand actually. Done correctly, the gun and hands should move together in recoil without any displacement, and the other the thing to remember is that the offset pivot points in your wrists gives you mechanical advantage over the recoil impulse, without the penalty of excess tension.

By the way: I NEVER think about how much pressure I'm applying with which hand. I have never been able to think about that sort of thing and shoot at the same time, so I just let my subconscious drive and apply whatever pressure is necessary for the type of shot I'm making at the time. If I'm paying attention, I do notice the pressures change automatically according to demand. kind of like what happens when you swing a hammer at a nail.

Hope this helps...

Edited by R.Elliott, 21 May 2009 - 01:18 PM.

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#25 Tim James

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Posted 21 May 2009 - 01:09 PM

I have the feeling Flex is bookmarking this page and we'll see it for many years to come. GREAT share of information here!

I'd better get in on the first page then. This space available for advertisements!

The leverage from a high support hand was a new one for me. It's useful for me to understand these things because I teach a lot of new shooters and want to be able to explain it if they ask.




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