Proper handgun grip

I was asked a question recently about how to properly hold a handgun.  There are many methods, each with their own pros and cons.  The one I prefer and am going to show you, offers the most recoil control and comfort.  The only con to this one is that the proper stance used with this requires you to be squared up to the target, which is OK for paper and steel that aren’t shooting back at you, but if you are trying to use cover and concealment, this may not work out so well.  This is aimed at the new shooter for the most pleasurable shooting experience.

These images are reversed by Photobooth, but the mechanics are the same.

Let’s start off with the firing hand.  You should attain a high and firm grip on the handle, like this:

Photo 14You want the webbing of the hand to be nice and high under the area of the gun called the “beaver tail”.    From the back it looks like this:


Photo 15 Photo 12And from the top.

The idea behind the high grip is to bring the centerline of the barrel as far down and as in line with the bones in the forearm.  This minimizes the muzzle flip during recoil.

Next, we bring the support hand into the equation.  You should be making 360 degree contact with the grip of the handgun.  Reasoning for this is that, under recoil, the gun will try to follow the path of least resistance.  Using this two handed grip will cause the recoil to push gently straight back into the arms and upper body with as little muzzle flip, or “snap” as possible.

Photo 13 Photo 21 Photo 22 Photo 23


I am going to finish with improper firing grips.  These will either get you hurt or will cause new shooters, not used to recoil, to possibly loose control of the gun.


Low grip, not properly under the beaver tail:

Photo 24

Thumbs wrapped around the back.  This feels good and very strong, which is why so many people seem to use it.  At least only once.

Photo 27And this is the reason why the people that use it, only use it once.  That slide is coming back at some serious speed and will try to take your thumb with it.

Photo 28

Lastly, is what is known as the “Teacup” grip.  Many older gentlemen and ladies like this because it was taught by most schools and police academies during the 60s and 70s.  It is also very common in Hollywood actors.  It is supportive and will let you be pretty accurate but the recoil management is not there, making follow-up shots very difficult.

Photo 26 Photo 25

That is all for now, hopefully this helps some new shooters out.

Dive! Dive!



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