Escape your life for a little while — come play in mine.

Get a grip!

Posted by Lissa on April 20, 2010

Good morning all!  We had a fabulous time at the range this past weekend.  It was crowded, sure, but that was because the Second Amendment Sisters were having their monthly Saturday shoot.  I found myself lending Siguette to three different n00bs — two female first-timers and a male with his first gun — and proclaiming the superiority of Sigs to anyone who would listen.  Sigs rule!

I also found myself trying to do what Shoothouse Barbie and Dr. Boyfriend did for me in about sixty seconds, i.e., fix their grips.  All three were using a more-or-less teacup grip, which as y’all know imparts little stability during shooting.  I didn’t really succeed with any of the three — perhaps I didn’t explain it right, or perhaps they need to think about it more — but my father was interested.  He’s been using what he calls a “modified baseball grip” (I think it looks something like the last picture here) and was very interested in the high-thumbs grip (also known as forward-thumb).  Unfortunately we didn’t figure this out until after we’d gotten home, but we played around with the blueguns and he’s planning on trying it out his next range trip.

For anyone unfamiliar with the term (or the grip), the high-thumbs grip has your strong-hand thumb about as high up on the gun as your shooting finger (when up out of the trigger guard).

The weak hand thumb aligns underneath and forward of the strong hand thumb, which nests your two palms together and allows you to cover practically the entire grip between your palms.

Everyone admire the lovely scratches on my hand. Damn shelter kitties!

It allows a greater degree of control and stability. It works.

Which means, it works for me. It may or may not be the best grip for you.  The best grip is the one that you can fall into smoothly, accurately and consistently, which will put the bullets on target.  In my case, it also means that I can shoot pretty accurately with most semiautomatic pistols; the grip is always the same, so it’s just a question of getting used to different sights and staying consistent with technique.

I proved this last weekend.  The male shooter — a “Mike,” LOL — was firing a new Smith & Wesson M&P 9 mm (not the compact, the full-sized) with a teacup grip.  He mentioned that it was his first gun and so I immediately offered to let him shoot Siguette (because Sigs rule!!).  He wasn’t putting the bullets on target, though, which was sad, and so I asked in my sweetest-most-pleasant manner if offering a tip on grips would be friendly-neighbor-ish, or if it would be rude-obnoxious-mind-your-own-business-in-which-case-I’ll-immediately-shut-up.  He said that tips would be appreciated so I attempted to Shoothouse-Barbie his grip.  (He had a little better luck.)  Then, when he returned the gun-lending-favor by offering me his M&P, I shot mostly through the middle of his target and sent one through the red dot.

Was I showing off a bit?  Yeah, probably.  I’m horrible like this.  But dammit, I proved the grip worked!

P.S. And he didn’t seem to mind the showing off.  I returned the M&P with an exclamation of how ridiculously long the trigger pull was, and he shook his head in amazement and told me he’d never seen anyone pick up a gun and do that well on the first go-round.  I told him what I’m telling you — the grip works!  Thanks again, SB and Dr. Boyfriend 🙂

/ego trip

9 Responses to “Get a grip!”

  1. secretlivesofscientists said

    beautiful 🙂

  2. Mike said

    She was totally showing off! And the poor guy was struggling with his 10.5lb MA-compliant M&P trigger (they can be made much better with some relatively simple parts swaps, but damn do they suck out of the box). The good news is that, if he learns to shoot with that, he’ll be able to handle just about any trigger he ever encounters.

  3. I personally have better luck with the opposite thumb on top.

    Even more with my right thumb on top of the safety of my 1911 (doesn’t apply to your pieces that are delightfully sans safety switch)

  4. Jeff said

    Looking very good. One thing you didn’t mention in the explanation, but I can see that you’re doing is camming the support hand wrist forward. This gives you more leverage on the gun to control recoil, and helps get more hand on the grip, as you mentioned.

    http://www.handgunsmag.com/tactics_training/combatg_100306/ is a really good article on the history and practice of the thumbs forward grip. The only thing I don’t like about that article is the suggestion of thumb on thumb being easier to learn. I think everyone should start with the thumbs forward grip like you are showing here.

    Good post.

  5. Caleb said

    Wait, hold on. The trigger on a MA compliant M&P is 10.5 FRIGGIN’ POUNDS? What the balls?

    • Mike said

      Well it wouldn’t be safe for consumers to have it be less than that! It’s one of our attorney general’s useless rules that any double-action pistol either have a manual safety or a 10+lb trigger.

      Some DA/SA models (meaning Sig) qualify without trigger modification, but others require changes like heavier springs (S&W, but they have them anyway for sale to police forces that prefer heavier triggers) or a safety (Kahr, which didn’t want to mess with the trigger).

      Fortunately, the M&P is common enough (and designed to be very modular too) that it’s easy to get the national stock parts or third party drop-in ones to fix the ridiculous MA trigger.

  6. chronos said

    Was taught the very same grip this weekend by a certified pistol instructor. I have been shooting “wrong” since i was a kid.

  7. Jon said

    Interesting. Not the grip I use (I’m a fan of the Todd Jarrett Death Grip) but I’ll try it. I can see some ergo differences just switching between the 2 on an empty piece.

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