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SHO/WHO thumb placement question


jmac2112
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I shoot a CZ Shadow 2 with thin safeties on both side.  Shooting freestyle, I keep my strong hand thumb next to the safety, more or less where the "ledge" would be if I had that kind of safety.  My questions is, when shooting SHO/WHO, where should I put my thumb?  Should I keep it on/next to the safety, or lay it on the frame below the safety?  Pressure against the frame, or no pressure?  

 

My current thinking is to put the thumb against the frame below the safety, mainly because when shooting WHO I tend to rub the slide if I put the thumb on the safety.  This doesn't seem to be a problem with SHO since I have a lot more practice putting the thumb in just the right place.  Still, with either hand, the gun seems to be slightly more stable if I put some pressure against the frame below the safety.   Just looking for some input before I put a bunch more reps into doing it this way.

 

Thanks,

 

John

 

 

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I was raised shooting 1911's and the use of a thumb safety seems natural to me.  I only shoot 1911's occasionally these days.

 

I shoot CZ Shadow SP-01's and non-Shadow SP-01's regularly.  They all have ambidextrous thumb safeties.

 

I shoot them all with the strong hand thumb on top of the LH thumb safety when shooting freestyle and SHO.

 

I shoot them all with the support hand thumb on top of the RH thumb safety when shooting WHO.

 

It is a consistent approach that works for me, but as in most things about shooting pistols, one size usually does not fit all.

 

 

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51 minutes ago, jmac2112 said:

Thanks, 45Raven!  I'll just keep experimenting to figure out what works best for me.

Good luck.  I'm certain you will find the right combination that works for you, with patience and practice.

 

Oh, one more tip . . . . . don't overthink it!

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There really isn't a rule about thumb placement (or for the most aspects of the technique, for that matter). You need to be goal-oriented and try different things while observing the correct metrics. 

 

When shooting SHO/WHO your goal is the same as when shooting free style - first, you want to be able to press the trigger while maintaining acceptable sight picture; then, you want to be able to do it faster than just the "bullseye press"; after your trigger pull is sorted out, you want to control the recoil for follow up shots and transitions. There really isn't much more to it than that. As you move through the requirements, you will notice that your grip has effect on the outcome. Slow press is all about separating trigger finger motion from the rest of the hand. Fast trigger pull adds the grip into consideration, where the grip has to keep the gun steady enough through the pull, not merely separate the trigger finger muscles. Finally, recoil control will bring additional issues such as body positioning, what to do with your non-shooting arm, whether to cant the sights, etc. 

 

My personal style (and you should by no means accept it as-is) is different between Revolver and Limited. In Revolver, I put the thumb atop of the grip and let it follow the natural shape of the grip, which ends up pointing towards the trigger. It provides me more stability during the long trigger pull and that's what I need for Revolver. In Limited, shooting a 2011, I keep the thumb pointing loosely up and forward, not really touching anything EXCEPT in the webbing of the hand, where I use the lower part of the thumb to put pressure on the beaver tail (sideways force, feels like trying to pinch the beaver tail with my palm and the webbing). This gives me very good stability of the gun and allows the trigger finger to work faster without moving the gun. 

 

If I try to reverse the grip and hold the semi auto with a thumb locked down and revolver with the thumb up I end up with less accuracy with semi-auto because the trigger finger is not completely separated from the thumb and with slower and inconsistent trigger pull on a revolver because I don't have enough support to counter the trigger pull. 

 

That's just my 2c, you will have to experiment with different setups and find out what gives you the best results. Don't just go by the feel, throw in a timer and observe what, and more importantly why, gives you the best combination of accuracy and follow up shots. 

Edited by IVC
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As for canting, there are again different schools of thought (I know you didn't ask, but in case you are also looking into that aspect of shooting).

 

I used to do canting as a more natural position, but have switched to straight up-down some time ago. Canting works, but the recoil control wasn't consistent, even if it felt better - the sights recoiling back diagonally end up in strange relationship to the A zone on the target and correction is not natural as up-down on the gun moves it diagonally on the target. So, for anything that is even remotely further out, straight sights work better for me. This also goes for hard targets (I practice regularly on 50+ yard steel SHO/WHO, mostly as a fun way to finish the last few rounds before going home; nothing too organized, but gives me a good gauge). 

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OK, thanks, IVC!  I hold the gun straight up and down, and I'm at the point where I can shoot pretty accurately if I take my time and don't fight the recoil at all.  Now I need to speed it up, and issues of grip (like thumb placement/pressure) are becoming more important.  

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4 hours ago, jmac2112 said:

...where I can shoot pretty accurately if I take my time and don't fight the recoil at all.

That is a very good observation so you're on the right track in analyzing your shooting - not fighting the recoil and using your grip and stance to return the gun consistently to where it started is arguably the most important skill to master after the trigger pull itself. 

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