Training and Shooting
Gripping the Pistol
If you over-grip or under-grip the pistol, your shots won't land consistently on target. Here's a brief overview on how to grip the pistol:
Comments on Grip Pressure:
- Pick up the pistol with your non-shooting hand and place it firmly in your shooting hand.
- The pistol is seated deep into the web of the hand (that fleshy area between the base of the thumb and the base of the index finger.) You're trying to make the pistol barrel a natural straight-line extension of your arm.
- The thumb is loose and relaxed along the thumbrest.
- The primary gripping pressure is produced by middle finger.
- Secondary pressure is provided by third finger (the one beside the little finger.) Also this finger can produce tiny changes in front sight elevation by increasing/decreasing its pressure.
- The little finger (or pinkie) is loose and not exerting any noticeable pressure. Essentially, it is just along for the ride.
- The fingertips do not exert pressure on the pistol grip. Imagine that your fingers are tri-sectional: they are essentially 3 bones with two joints connecting them, attaching them to the hand with a third joint. Your fingers should be in contact with the pistol, gripping it with the second or middle section of the fingers. This ensures that you are pulling the grip straight back into the web of your hand, not pushing or pulling the pistol to the right or left.
- The trigger finger must not be in contact with the grip at all.
- Lastly, the finger must be able to flex at the middle knuckle without moving the pistol OR varying the pressure of any other fingers. This is important and demands lots of practise. You must be able to pull the trigger without moving the other fingers. Unfortunately, the hand is made to work this way: you must train to overcome it.
- Make sure the grip is firm but not to the point where your hand starts to shake (that is bad.) A firm grip and locked wrist tend to have about 2 degrees of movement right and left from the point of aim; whereas, a loose wrist has about 5 degrees of play. Obviously, a firm grip and wrist is better.
- If your fingertips or nails whiten, you are gripping too tight. Back it off until colour returns to them.
- Similarly, you can look at your hand after gripping the pistol: areas on the hand where the skin is flushed may indicate that you’re gripping too tight.
- When you find a good grip (pressure), consistently maintain it.
- Lastly, spend some time just working on your grip, learning how to easily and consistently seat the pistol in your hand and grip it. Learn how it "feels", so you can duplicate it that much easier.
An inconsistent grip is really bad for shooters. If you lack some strength, then overgripping will cause your hand to tire and your pressure may become inconsistent. It may also lead to tremours in your hold. When your grip is too loose, you won't be able to hold it on target. With practise, you can master this fundamental and essential skill.
TargetShooting Canada - Copyright 2001: Patrick Haynes