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Grip... and Accuracy?


Sin-ster
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We typically talk about these two things being unrelated; proper sight alignment and a trigger pull that doesn't disrupt it will result in precision. (Provided the gun, sights and ammo are all up to snuff.)

But something's been bugging me lately... And I wanted some other opinions.

Regardless of the cause, disrupted sights during the firing cycle will lead to bad hits. But does a stronger hold on the pistol (or perhaps I should say a more stable pistol in general) negate or at least minimize some of those twitches?

We're not talking about death grip here-- your normal, optimal, balanced grip. But if it were more firm, could you get away with more in terms of trigger control?

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Not sure if I can answer your question but, in my experience, if I grip the pistol as tightly as possible I shoot more accurately than if I grip it more loosely. And I'm talking so tight the gun shakes a little.

Also the modification that improved my scores the most was adding grip tape.

Do some experimenting.

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My understanding is that trigger press should be independent of grip. Miking and heeling a shot is when the pressure of the hold changes during trigger press and are to be avoided not just gotten away with. Strong hand only or support hand only shooting will magnify bad trigger press habits.

A stronger hold could reduce movement due to bad trigger press but that is treating a symptom and not a cure to a problem.

Having said that a stronger hold would help with recoil management which helps with splits and transitions not accuracy. I've experimented with bill drills and grip. Matt Burkett has a drill where you unload a couple magazines into the berm to work out the ideal personal grip pressure. Definitely something to investigate and it's a lot of fun blasting away watching your sights return close to the target.

DNH

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My understanding is that trigger press should be independent of grip. Miking and heeling a shot is when the pressure of the hold changes during trigger press and are to be avoided not just gotten away with. Strong hand only or support hand only shooting will magnify bad trigger press habits.

A stronger hold could reduce movement due to bad trigger press but that is treating a symptom and not a cure to a problem.

Yeah, traditionally (as per my original post) we consider these two things separate. But are they really?

What's the difference between avoiding something and "getting away with it"-- in terms of the end result, anyway? Even TGO refers to the fact that trigger press will break down at speed, no matter how good you are. I would assume anything that can counter that would be a good thing-- even if it only rarely comes into play?

The fact that SHO and WHO shooting magnifies bad trigger press... only serves to reinforce what I'm thinking.

Treating a symptom or curing a problem-- if it results in better hits consistently, does it really matter? Obviously it's not an excuse to ignore trigger press, but nonetheless...

Look at Stage 11 of last years LPR Nationals. There are guys who can put up AMAZING points at RIDICULOUS speeds who dropped 3, 4, 5 penalties on that stage-- and shot crummy points t'boot when they were in the brown. Weak hand aside, is that possibly/partially indicative of what I'm talking about?

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I think your really on to something here. Ideally you want the grip firm to counteract recoil and muzzle flip, not controlling it but having the gun return to a consistent position. You want the grip neutral so it's stable in space but you don't want the fingers that are griping to influence the trigger finger. The fundamentals are sight alignment and trigger pull, but they are really sight alignment through good trigger pull. Most shooters don't have trouble pointing the gun and getting an acceptable sight picture, it's when they pull the trigger and the sights move. For most shooters the strong hand fingers work together in an all or nothing grip, A tight strong hand grip disables the trigger finger somewhat. What some shooters do is to rely on the weak hand for most of the grip so the trigger finger is free. Problems arise because the grip isn't neutral and the recoil become circular instead of up and down. Also when the weak hand is doing most of the griping it's easy for the strong hand fingers to lose position. The grip is the foundation that holds the relationship position for a consistent trigger pull. If the grip is not consistent the direction of the force put on the trigger won't be either.

So what's the answer? I think the bullseye guys have it. They have a stable grip and shoot better with one hand than most do with two. The middle two fingers hold the gun clamping but not torquing or milking. The pinky and the thumb are along for the ride and the trigger finger independently comes in, not influenced by the others, to operate the trigger. If you combine this grip with a firm support hand, it helps hold this relationship in a neutral way that doesn't introduce tension, because you aren't over gripping with either hand. I'm working on this to get a, one solid grip feel, that will subconsciously maintain itself, as I consciously feel the trigger pressure slip in the first joint (revolver).

Edited by toothguy
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I think Grip is for speed and trigger/sights is for accuracy, you can be very accurate shooting with just about any grip (see the bullseye one handed grip) but the games we are playing we need to be accurate enough as quickly as we can. the challenge is balance. I believe the most important thing is the sights return to where they left from. a firmer grip may get that to happen faster but too firm or uneven and they may not return reliably.

Mike

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I think Grip is for speed and trigger/sights is for accuracy, you can be very accurate shooting with just about any grip (see the bullseye one handed grip) but the games we are playing we need to be accurate enough as quickly as we can. the challenge is balance. I believe the most important thing is the sights return to where they left from. a firmer grip may get that to happen faster but too firm or uneven and they may not return reliably.

Mike

I'm thinking of it as one connected thing. An even neutral grip, firm but without tension, that brings the sight back will also hold the sight picture as the trigger is pulled.

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I used to preach on this pretty regular...and I think my perspective comes from running a light gun (Glock) at Major...and also running a gun that is light in comparison to the trigger weight.

I recently said, on another forum, that my trigger control starts with my support hand grip. It does...in a few of ways.

- First, it frees up my strong hand so that I don't have to grip so hard. That allows my trigger finger to be more independent.

- Second, the gun is more stable as the bullet travels down the barrel. Really. It is more consistent. (I posted on this with a video of me shooting at a match once.)

- Third, my trigger pull weight might be three pounds, while my gun might only weigh a pound and a half. The weight of the gun is not enough to offset the pull of the trigger. Without a solid grip, the gun is more likely to move around as you press the trigger.

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I used to hear TGO talk about how important the trigger press was. Honestly, I never got that. Along the same lines, Anderson used to ask me how I liked the glock in dry-fire (since you don't get a true trigger feel on each dry shot).

My thinking on both of those things can be summed up in the observation that...during dry-fire...I kinda mash on the trigger pretty hard. I do so with the idea of pulling the trigger straight back into the gun and not disturbing the sights much. But, I do mash on it good. For that to work, that means my grip (mostly support hand) has to figure out how to keep the gun relatively still and on target with the sights aligned.

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The fact that SHO and WHO shooting magnifies bad trigger press... only serves to reinforce what I'm thinking.

Treating a symptom or curing a problem-- if it results in better hits consistently, does it really matter? Obviously it's not an excuse to ignore trigger press, but nonetheless...

Look at Stage 11 of last years LPR Nationals. There are guys who can put up AMAZING points at RIDICULOUS speeds who dropped 3, 4, 5 penalties on that stage-- and shot crummy points t'boot when they were in the brown. Weak hand aside, is that possibly/partially indicative of what I'm talking about?

Yeah I would say you have this wired. I this is one of the cool things about gripping down really hard on the gun.

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I used to preach on this pretty regular...and I think my perspective comes from running a light gun (Glock) at Major...and also running a gun that is light in comparison to the trigger weight.

I recently said, on another forum, that my trigger control starts with my support hand grip. It does...in a few of ways.

- First, it frees up my strong hand so that I don't have to grip so hard. That allows my trigger finger to be more independent.

- Second, the gun is more stable as the bullet travels down the barrel. Really. It is more consistent. (I posted on this with a video of me shooting at a match once.)

- Third, my trigger pull weight might be three pounds, while my gun might only weigh a pound and a half. The weight of the gun is not enough to offset the pull of the trigger. Without a solid grip, the gun is more likely to move around as you press the trigger.

Flex, do you use the same grip throughout or do you bear down on close targets and lighten up on hard shots? Since your gripping mainly with the support hand do your arms and shoulders have equal tension?

Edited by toothguy
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Yeah I would say you have this wired. I this is one of the cool things about gripping down really hard on the gun.

Sweet, glad to hear some input from some of the guys who got me thinking in this direction. So many of the top dogs advocate (or at least maintain) massive grip strength, it's hard to ignore. Yourself, Mink, Max, Vogel-- I figure there's got to be something there.

Flex-- VERY interesting observation about the weight of the gun vs. the weight of the trigger. Having just switched from M&Ps to CZs myself, it really speaks to me. I went out in my first practice session with the Shadows and put up my best 3 Bill Drills and best 5 El Pres runs... ever. Even having only 500 rounds through them, and coming out of a 3 month off season without a single day of practice, live or dry. (I did however continue to improve grip strength during that period...)

I've never really struggled with returning the sights properly and quickly despite my bird wrists and girl hands, but this new (to me) revelation gives me the warm and fuzzies inside. :cheers:

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I'm glad you started this topic. I've known for some time that on occasion I find myself gripping the gun even harder in an effort to make up for poor trigger control or whatever I'm doing wrong that is disturbing the sights. Now I wonder if I'm doing it more often than I think. Some may say that it's ok, if my accuracy is good, but I think I would rather work on whatever mistakes I'm making with the trigger, and keep the grip consistent. Trying to make up for poor trigger control with a harder grip is kind of like adjusting the sights to make up for other poor shooting. In the practical shooting game we will always do one thing to make up for another, but I think I would rather keep the mind set of always wanting to close the gap as much as possible.

Great post, Sin-ster. Thanks.

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I am new to this forum and competive shooting.

I am right-handed. Many years ago in the Republic of Vietnam, my right thumb and right little finger were severly cut when I grabbed a bayonet that was thrust at me. I went through a series of surgeries and I can only shoot a 1911 comfortably. A polymer black gun causes too much pain resulting in a not so pleasurable or accurate shot.

I grip the pistol hard with my right middle and ring fingers and even harder with the weak or left hand. I can't ride the safety of a 1911 because my thumb won't allow it.

Other than that, I am in great physical condition for my ripe old age!

My question is this:

Do any of you guys who shoot 1911's not ride the safety and how do you grip the firearm? I shoot decently, but want to improve.

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I am new to this forum and competive shooting.

I am right-handed. Many years ago in the Republic of Vietnam, my right thumb and right little finger were severly cut when I grabbed a bayonet that was thrust at me. I went through a series of surgeries and I can only shoot a 1911 comfortably. A polymer black gun causes too much pain resulting in a not so pleasurable or accurate shot.

I grip the pistol hard with my right middle and ring fingers and even harder with the weak or left hand. I can't ride the safety of a 1911 because my thumb won't allow it.

Other than that, I am in great physical condition for my ripe old age!

My question is this:

Do any of you guys who shoot 1911's not ride the safety and how do you grip the firearm? I shoot decently, but want to improve.

Can you move your thumb out, not touching the safety and let it rest on the base of the weak hand thumb? If not you may need to cross thumbs like a revolver grip. If you cross thumbs be careful during recoil to not engage the safety. Neither is as good a grip as putting the thumb on top of the safety, but if you are in pain you won't have much fun shooting.

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I am new to this forum and competive shooting.

I am right-handed. Many years ago in the Republic of Vietnam, my right thumb and right little finger were severly cut when I grabbed a bayonet that was thrust at me. I went through a series of surgeries and I can only shoot a 1911 comfortably. A polymer black gun causes too much pain resulting in a not so pleasurable or accurate shot.

I grip the pistol hard with my right middle and ring fingers and even harder with the weak or left hand. I can't ride the safety of a 1911 because my thumb won't allow it.

Other than that, I am in great physical condition for my ripe old age!

My question is this:

Do any of you guys who shoot 1911's not ride the safety and how do you grip the firearm? I shoot decently, but want to improve.

Can you move your thumb out, not touching the safety and let it rest on the base of the weak hand thumb? If not you may need to cross thumbs like a revolver grip. If you cross thumbs be careful during recoil to not engage the safety. Neither is as good a grip as putting the thumb on top of the safety, but if you are in pain you won't have much fun shooting.

My thumb has some strength but has no sensation except for some on the outside. I can place it under the safety and parallel to the slide comfortably; however, due to joint fusions, grafts, etc. there is not sufficient mobility to get in on the safety.

I guess my real question should be whether my thumb is to be involved with the grip or should I let it play a neutral role? Do some people not ride the safety?

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Do some people not ride the safety?

Yes. There is a trick to it, however. If you aren't riding the safety, it is easy enough to bump the safety on accidentally during recoil. One way to negate this is to wrap the thumb of the support hand over the strong hand thumb, locking it down and helping to keep it out of the way

The first couple of results in this image search might be of help.

https://www.google.c...iw=1280&bih=868

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I don't know anyone that shoots with there thumb under the safety. But if that's what you need to do, make it work for you. Practice taking the safety off and on with the support hand thumb and trapping the strong hand thumb with the support hand thumb. Get the web of your hand high onto the grip safety and clamp hard with the support hand. It's really a traditional revolver grip.

ProTipsJerry.gif

Edited by toothguy
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"I am right-handed. Many years ago in the Republic of Vietnam, my right thumb and right little finger were severely cut when I grabbed a bayonet that was thrust at me."

This will serve as a reminder for me to NEVER complain about physical discomfort.

Please return to your grip discussion.

SA

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When the primer ignites the powder the recoil of the gun will begin while the bullet is still in the barrel. If the handgun is gripped in a consistent manner... whether using moderate or hard grip pressure... the bullets will leave the barrel in a consistent manner and impact where your sights are set.

If the grip pressure is inconsistent, the POI will be inconsistent because the gun will recoil differently for each shot and the bullet will leave the barrel with the gun in a different position. A consistent grip and pressure on the gun is needed for a consistant POI. I learned that many years ago in bullseye competition as a US Navy team pistol shooter.

Whether you 'crush' the gun, or use a 'firm handshake' grip... if you keep it consistent your accuracy will be consistent. Finding the level of grip pressure that allows you to control recoil and allow the gun to recoil to a consistent position for follow up shots is... IMHO... important for maximum accuracy. That also depends upon how much accuracy you need. If I can shoot consistent 6 inch freestyle groups at 50 yards in ICORE I'm happy. In IDPA I'm happy with 6 inch groups at half that range... as long as I can do them quickly.

But... the grip does affect accuracy.

Edited by GOF
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  • 2 weeks later...

i recently took a class with Bruce Gray and we worked on just this element for some time. I was particularly surprised at how much more gently he gripped the pistol as compared to what i was doing. He tends to absorb the recoil with somewhat bent elbows and not fight it with an intransigent posture or grip.

I don't think he would mind me paraphrasing some of the lesson (in no specific order):

1)The object is to safely, reliably and consistently hold the pistol with the intent not to control recoil but rather to maintain a neutral positioning so that so that the sights fall back into position without lateral or oblique deviation.

2)That while for short sessions a very tight grip might work for some, this posture is exhausting and for most shooters would tend to result in a break down of fundamentals over the course of a tiring competition.

3)Trigger manipulation should be refined and not exaggerated or disturbed by the grip proper

This helped me tremendously

Edited by wanttolearn
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Old Bullseye shooter here. All elements are indeed separate. Whether this matters in IPSC is debatable - you decide.

For the most repeatable grip and the most consistent recoil movement, Bullseye shooters traditionally run the mainspring housing on the crease on the heel of your hand (in palmistry, the "life line") for a nearly gun-to-bone contact. No squishy palm parts to upset the gun's movement as the bullet moves toward the muzzle. Thumbs and pinky fingers are off the gun for further consistency.

OK, this is the textbook, theoretical data that may have little or nothing to do with gripping a pistol drawn from a holster. Strangling the grip may help to eliminate inconsistent recoil movement but at the same time may cause you to "milk" it, squeezing with all fingers as you pull the trigger. Personally, I grip mostly with my support hand. Just my preference, YMMV. Take the info you can use, discard the rest.

Mark

Distinguished Pistol #1500

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Gross motor, big muscles to grip the gun, fine motor, small muscles to press the trigger. One way to sort out your issues is to fire groups, both dry and live. You are asked to do many things shooting our sport, but it comes down to accurate shots in the shortest time possible. I think Flex gave you the answer that works for many. You will find out about your grip shooting small steel, and never forget that accuracy must include what you do with vision.

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