View Full Version : Grip pressure
12th September 2007, 11:01
Apologies if this has been covered before...
In all other shooting disciplines I have participated in, grip pressure was defined as sufficient to hold the firearm and not much more.
The best analogy I have heard was: "Hold the gun like a bird - tight enough so that it doesn't escape, but not so tight that you crush it."
Shooting practical pistol places emphasis on regaining your sight picture rapidly which would seem to require a much firmer grip to control muzzle flip.
So how do you "pros" approach grip pressure?
12th September 2007, 11:06
Like a firm handshake.
12th September 2007, 11:53
If you were to take the combination of both hands as a percentage of grip on the gun, the hand holding the gun would be about 20% of the grip, whereas the support hand will be the "vice" and provide the other 80% of the grip.
In other words, no white knuckles on the gun, but ok for white knuckles for the support hand.
12th September 2007, 12:07
Support hand should account for 70-80% of grip pressure. A good thing to practice is to squeeze the gun until you shake. Then, let off just til you stop. Fire.
12th September 2007, 13:27
I use a firm but not tight grip -- whatever that means. I guess masterPsmith's "firm handshake" and Ping Ping's "backing off from the shakes" are good descriptions. Recoil management to permit quick recovery and follow up shots is only partially a function of grip. It also is a product of appropriate muscular tension through the arms and shoulders. Like most everything else in shooting, and a lot of other things, the more you consciously and conscientiously practice it, the more it becomes second nature.
12th September 2007, 13:54
I've also heard the grip force likened to that which you'd apply to gripping a hammer, or a tennis racket. I think my grip is more nearly equal, strong and weak hand. The strong hand is essentially squeezing the gun front/rear, and the weak hand is squeezing left/right; you want the grip balanced so that you don't apply forces that would cause the gun to move in a direction other than straight up and straight back down.
12th September 2007, 17:19
Not advocating just an anecdotal statement.
I hold the 1911 as tight as I reasonably can given the duration
- I'll hold the forend of a clay bird shotgun like a fistfull of eggs and a benchrest rifle off sandbags even more lightly - free recoil. Tight sling rifle is tight; conceptually I am one with the rifle and in a giant's hands would shake as one unit but my hands are relatively unstrained..
- On the 1911 I do practice not milking the grip or holding so tightly as to affect the trigger finger - the advantage of the broken wrist grip angle is that the grip is weakened and the connection between the gripping hand and the trigger finger is weakened - the advantage of the 1911 grip angle is a strong hold on the pistol. Just the same I hold the 1911 pretty tight and I even exercise to hold it tighter without fatigue and trembling. Although I don't use free pistol style grips I do fit my 1911 with the grip thickness and trigger length that makes the pistol line up with the forearm and the trigger finger fit just so in the trigger guard to neither push nor pull the shot when it breaks. I like a gripping surface on the frontstrap and mainspring housing and my carry grips are smooth ivory - I also like some Ahrends grips with serrations but I don't mind checkered grips.
By no means can I say my success should lead anyone to follow me. I'd suggest start with Bill Jordan and Bill Blankenship, or maybe Colonel Askins, on handgun grip and trigger control and working forward until something makes sense then practice until it becomes a habit whatever the choice.
12th September 2007, 18:18
As with anything, you can overdo how you hold a pistol. A grip that's to tight will tire you quickly. That will create far more trouble than a slightly loose grip. However you decide to hold, be sure you can maintain it for a reasonable period of time. To me that's minutes, but that may not be true for you.
12th September 2007, 21:38
13th September 2007, 00:20
The analogy that hit home with me was "hold it as tight as swinging a hammer" just enough not to drop it.
16th September 2007, 03:00
High on the safety like a handshake and tight enough to leave those wooden diamond marks on your hand, shooting one handed. Like Wichaka stated, 80/20, 70/30, 60/40; somewhere in that range when shooting isosceles position. Remember to consciously relax the stress that can build up in the shoulder muscles and keep them along with your forearm/wrist muscles relaxed, but firm.
Personally, I find double action shooting with .357mag/.44mag improves grip, trigger control and gives optimum alignment with wrist/forearm etc etc that is a direct carry over to making me a better 1911 shooter. :D If your wrist is a couple of degrees out of alignment with your forearm; the recoil of the .44mag will find it. :)
16th September 2007, 13:50
I think this depends on the sort of competition that you shoot. In conventional pistol (bullseye) the legendary Brian Zins has been described as holding the pistol so firmly that it looks as if he's trying to squeeze the oil out of it. But bullseye is shot offhand (one-handed); to touch the pistol with one's free hand during a string is a foul.
In practical pistol, the better shooters that I've watched by no means grip limply, but they grip the pistol with their trigger hands much less firmly than a BE shooter. Then again, they are regaining the sight picture with two hands, rather than one.
16th September 2007, 18:00
The single best way I know, to find the best defensive grip-tension possible, is to put a full mag, into an 8" target, rapid fire (<.5sec), at 7yds. Doing that will tell you everything you need to know.
As to positioning the hands, refer to Brian Enos (http://www.brianenos.com/store/books.html)' "Practical Shooting".
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