A Great Grip Helps

Shooters of a certain age will remember Bill Jordan and his book No Second Place Winner. Jordan was a gunfighter, alright. He had the attitude and the skills needed to stay alive when things went from bad to worse along the border. If you want to know one of the reasons he was so good with that big revolver, take a close look at his hands in any of the old photos. They were enormous and were likely very strong.

These days, you will hear lots of firearms trainers tell you how to hold a pistol. Some will say the strong hand should be squeezing with a certain percent and that the support hand should follow on with a different percent. Some say to push with one hand and pull with the other. The best explanation of grip I ever got was from Massad Ayoob. His rules were simply high hand, crush grip and trigger press. Ayoob’s reasoning for the crush grip (gripping the pistol as tightly as you can) was simple. “Under extreme stress,” he said, “that is the way you will be gripping the pistol anyway.”

That statement still makes sense to me. Of all the things that would run through my mind if I were fighting for my life, I think the percentage of my grip strength as it relates to my strong and support hands would be low on the list. I am going to hold the gun tightly, move toward cover, attempt to focus on the front sight and try not to jerk the trigger. That’s why I say a great grip helps.

Being able to control your handgun under recoil will greatly affect how well you shoot. Therefore, stronger hands are better. If you can improve your grip strength, you will shoot better. You will shoot better, that is, if you are doing everything else correctly. When I say, “everything else,” I mean to remind you to make sure your sight picture and sight alignment are correct and stress that you operate the trigger without adding any additional movement to the muzzle. Do those things correctly and increase your grip strength, and you will improve your shooting.

For those of you who might argue with me on this, let’s first agree on the fact that changing your grip from shot to shot is a problem. If your handgun moves in your hand after the shot and you are forced to re-establish a good firing grip, your accuracy will suffer. The stronger and more stable your shooting platform, the more accurate your shots will be.

This is not an invitation for you to ignore the fundamentals of marksmanship and just start pumping iron. Remember, all of these elements, including a strong grip, work in combination.

Don’t be afraid to grab your gun like you mean it. Also, make a conscious effort to get stronger. It will help your shooting.