How to Grip a Pistol

gripping a pistol

Experienced shooters can sometimes criticize the way actors hold their guns on television shows and movies. Actors who are not adept at gun handling has this terrible pistol grip that you would really wonder how they can even hold, aim and shoot it. 

Learning how to properly grip a pistol is like learning the basics of “tea cupping” wherein shooters learn how to hold the base of the gun into the palm of the support hand while keeping the pistol safe.  While a proper pistol grip can spur lengthy discussions on its importance, a good grip on your pistol actually is the building block of quick and accurate shooting. Regardless of how you wield your gun, you should always hold it as you mean it, and this will lead to an enjoyable shooting experience for life.

The Importance of a Good Pistol Grip 

Handguns or pistols are difficult weapons to shoot with. They are small and the trigger pull sometimes requires more strength that you’d use to hold the gun. The only way for you to deal with this is to develop a good grip.

Proper grip is critical for shooters to enjoy shooting accuracy as well as follow-up shots. A good grip shows that the barrel is in line with the bones of your strong side forearm. The web of your primary hand is placed high on the back of the pistol and full under the gun’s back strap. This is the basic position for the strong side hand no matter what type of post you choose for your support hand.

Thumbs Forward 

The most common grip for serious and professional shooters is the “thumbs forward” grip.

This shows the thumbs pointing down the slide as you grip the gun with your strong side hand. Your support side hand also has the same firm grip as your primary side. With this type of grip, your fingers will be wrapped over the top of your first hand and your thumb will also be pointed down the slide. Your strong side hand thumb will rest over the top of the muscle of your support hand

With the thumbs forward grip, the large muscles of your thumb are settled against the gun creating a 360-degree strong grip that is devoid of any weak spot openings. This allows shooters to achieve accurate shooting as well as some quick follow-up shots

The Interlocked Thumbs

Another reliable and generally preferred pistol grip type is the “interlocked thumbs.” This type of grip starts with a base that is similar to the strong side hand. The only difference here is that the position of the thumb of the support side hand.

Instead of having the support side thumb down the slide of the gun, it rests on top of the strong side thumb near the pistol lock box. This will still provide that 360-degree strong grip and holding the pistol this way is more comfortable for some shooters.

The “interlocked thumbs” is a great alternative for shooters with shoulders or wrists issues. The challenge for some is on extending the arms equally, but it has served most shooters very well over time.

Proper Pistol Grip Equals Better Shooting Experience

Whichever type of pistol grip you prefer, it is very important that you stay consistent with your hand position. Practice everything you know on holding, gripping and positioning by repetition. A good grip is developed properly with how you firmly hold the gun and position your fingers.

A firm grip on your gun means you can better manage recoil and keep your gun on your sight as much as possible. But some shooters also have thoughts about “over-gripping,” but there is no way of gently holding the gun. You don’t have to crush your gun with your grip, but a light grip will only lead to your gun-jumping on recoil.

Of course, you will notice that some people have other grips and are still effective shooters. Some people have even developed their own grips over time. Some of these grips are very interesting and not the traditional ones, yet they still perform well in their shooting style. But new shooters are encouraged to try these two basic types of grips to start with.

Build a solid platform with your posture and use a firm grip to hold your gun properly. With this, the recoil will be absorbed by your body and you can better manage it. Keep in mind that a firm grip is not only about managing the recoil, regardless of your strength, but the gun will also always move due to the speed. And knowing how to grip a pistol properly is the foundation of recoil management and an enjoyable lifetime shooting experience.