Get a Grip…

There are so many ‘fundamentals’, as the experts say, to shooting well. I have discussed some of the 101s, 201s, and Grand Master level theories. In a lot of my writings I discuss the mental side of the sport because it is often times overlooked. Today, I want share a technical tip, for some reason, I seem to relearn every time I shoot a handgun.
As a predominately rifle shooter, I love shooting my rifles!, picking up a handgun is fun with a lot of transferable techniques; IE eye movement, stage plan, etc. There is always one thing I continue to forget, GRIP THE GUN! This was a great reminder as I was working with a shooter on Steel Challenge stage Pendulum shooting Rimfire Pistol Open. As we have discussed in the past, your hits on the targets can tell you a story. In this session, the hits were all over the plate and some did not grace the plate with their presence. I then asked them how hard they were gripping the gun and they said loosely. With a handgun it is imperative to grip the gun hard. You don’t want to grip the gun too hard to the point you are shaking, but I would say around 80% of this pressure.


Then what happened next is what every coach or mentor would like to see, immediate improvement. They started to go ‘one-for-one’ on each shot making the wonderful sound of ringing steel! The next topic we discussed is hand placement. I try to grip the gun as high as I can and put about 60% of the pressure on the gun with my left hand(non-dominate hand). I want to only have 40% of the pressure from my right hand because I want to make sure my trigger finger moves freely and does not disrupt the front end of the gun. I also make sure my left hand is locked forward. This helps with controlling recoil and keeping my sight(s) on target. One other technique I use when shooting is to push slightly with my left thumb on the frame of the gun and it also helps stabilize the gun, thank you Dave Sevigny for this tip!. Make sure the palm of your support hand is pressing on the grip of the gun and cover as much surface area as possible.


Below is a picture of a left handed shooter with her natural grip she had been working on.




This picture is of the same person with some of the grip enhancements I discussed above. With making these minor changes they were able to improve their Rimfire Pistol Open times by 11%. The change and results were immediate.



Something to think about the next time you are at the range.


See you out on the range soon!


6 thoughts on “Get a Grip…

  1. Ok Steve, here’s the poser. With a center fire you want a strong grip to handle recoil. Can you over grip a rimfire and have detrimental effects?


    1. Hi Jeff – great question. As long as you stay to the guidelines in the post I don’t think so. I really noticed this on pendulum and five to go. For some reason I was letting up on my grip while I was shooting. The end result is the dot was moving A LOT!


  2. Hi Steve, great post and a great reminder even for competitors that have been doing this for awhile. Grip! Grip! Grip! and keep your eye on the sights!!! The latter being a subject for another day. Awesome shooting with you last week at the West Florida Steel Challenge Championships. You took home a lot of “wood” as usual. BTW, I didn’t know Accelerator could be shot in 1.6 seconds! Outstanding job. Thanks for the post, TwoGunTerry

    Liked by 1 person

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