by Ben Jimenez 6 min read
Gina and her husband Tom went to the pistol range last weekend for target practice. A couple of months ago they learned how to hold and shoot a gun to get their concealed carry licenses.
They entered the range with their guns unloaded. They locked back the slides to show the safety instructor that the chambers were empty. Then they went to their lanes. They locked and loaded, and began shooting practice.
Gina hit her targets dead on. But Tom wasn’t doing so well.
His grouping was awful, and most of his shots didn’t even touch the silhouette on the target.
“I don’t get it,” he said, “I qualified at concealed carry class. Why am I such a bad shot now?”
“Let’s see your stance,” Gina said. Tom raised his gun to shooting level.
“Hmmm … your stance is okay, but what’s with that grip?” Gina said.
Tom had his supporting forefinger extended. His firing hand was about a half-inch below the top of the handle.
“Are you trying to shoot like Kiefer Sutherland on 24?” Gina laughed.
Tom rolled his eyes and sighed. “I guess I got lazy and stopped paying attention to detail.”
Properly holding a handgun is one of the most important basic skills for accurate firing. When you hold with a firm, uniform grip, your gun becomes an extension of your hand. Hitting your target will be as easy and natural as pointing with your finger.
A one-handed grip isn't as stable as two-handed. It's good to practice shooting with one hand in case your supporting hand gets injured.
This Straight-Thumbs grip was discovered in the 1980s by the International Practical Shooting Confederation Grand Masters, Rob Leatham and Brian Enos. It’s best used with a semi-automatic pistol. Expert shooters report that it gives them the most control in rapid-firing competitions. The US Army has been training soldiers to use this grip since 2017.
Keep your thumbs away from the slide and ejection port. This prevents injury and firing malfunction.
This is the best grip for firing a revolver.
Keep your thumbs away from the cylinder. You don’t want to risk getting powder burns.
As Seen on TV...
...And at the movies.
Believe it or not, until recently the palm-supported grip or Cup and Saucer was taught to the US Military.
To form this grip you’d place the palm of your non-firing hand at the bottom of the pistol grip.
Then wrap your fingers around the back of your firing hand, and place your thumb over the middle finger of your firing hand.
It’s very poor for recoil control. You’ll shoot much better with a proven grip.
To hold your gun for stability, apply isometric tension. It helps keep you steady and reduces barrel rise from recoil.
When you practice firing, try out different amounts of pressure to see what works best for you. You want just enough pressure to keep your gun stable.
With some practice, you’ll know your natural point of aim. In other words, you’ll find the most relaxed position for holding and firing your gun.
Keep practicing this until you have the same sight picture before and after.
Once you fire your gun, there’s no taking it back. There are no do-overs.
Whatever property damage …
… persons injured … or killed …
… that’s it.
So be sure to follow important gun safety rules.
Even if you’ve been shooting for years, it’s vital to know the basics. Just like most other skills - sports, dance, playing a musical instrument, professional skills - it’s easy to develop bad habits along the way.
Take some time at the range to practice the basics. It could make all the difference at a shooting competition …
… or an unexpected treat!
If you’re new to marksmanship, this article is no substitute for professional firearm training. When you shop for local firearms instruction be sure to check the instructor’s credentials.
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