Pistol Shooting Grip and Stance

Most basic shooting problems come from an improper grip (this includes tension and hand placement) and incorrect upper body position.

The basics: Keep the head up and straight - not canted to the gun. Shoulders square. The arms bent. Hands together. Trigger finger free for movement.

Place the strong hand on the grip as high as possible, both front and rear. The strong hand thumb should always be on the safety. (when shooting weak hand the thumb should also always ride the safety) I relieve the bottom rear of the trigger guard on my guns to put my right hand at a more natural angle and reduce the pressure on the joint of the middle finger.

The trigger finger should not touch or rub on the gun anywhere other than the trigger. The pad of the finger should be used - not the first joint. This will provide better trigger control.

The placement of the weak hand in a freestyle grip is where most people make mistakes. First the fingers should all be under the trigger guard. Your weak hand index finger should never be on the front of the trigger guard. Second, there should be total hand to hand contact at the left rear of the gun. (this is based on being right handed) The left hand should not sit straight forward on the gun. It should be canted at an angle with the back of the hand being higher on the gun than the front. If you trace you thumb on your left hand back past the knuckle to the base by the wrist, this should be in between the first joint and the knuckle of the right thumb. This is going to cock the left hand at an angle and complete the contact between both hands. This also serves another purpose of bringing different arm muscles in on controlling the gun. You should feel the muscles on the top of the left arm by the elbow doing the work. If the hand is straight you will feel the strain on the bottom of the arm.

Both thumbs should be pointing at the target and your arms should be pushing out in a positive tension against the gun. Several schools teach a push/pull technique. Why should you pull on the gun when it is already going that way during recoil? Also be sure not to lock the arms out. This transfers all of the guns energy into your shoulders also does not allow you to work on the recoil of the gun.

The left arm should be more straight than the right arm, which is probably the opposite that you've been told. (If your shoulders are relaxed, not hunched up, and you are standing square to the target, your left hand has to be further out than the right hand.)

Grip tension should be about 60% weak hand and 40% strong hand. Do not strangle the gun. More tension in the shooting hand = less trigger speed. If you have a proper grip, you will be surprised at how little work you have to do to control the gun.

This grip may feel uncomfortable at first. Try it out for a couple of weeks and I bet you will see a difference.

Until next time DVC!!

Matt Burkett

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This page was updated on 5/3/2007 2