You have your brand-new pistol and head to the range. You quickly set up, stand face-to-face with the target, yank your new blaster out, and start sending rounds downrange. Much to your dismay there is more of a Swiss cheese effect as opposed to a tight group. You do it again with the same results. Well, the gun is clearly broken. The sights are off, or my bullets are crooked. I know it stings, but this is a 99% user error. And learning how to hold a pistol properly will clean up much of this.

How to Hold a Pistol: Improving Accuracy Through a Proper Grip

There are many moving parts when it comes to handguns. It can be overwhelming for new shooters at times and, in some cases, even a bit much for experienced folks. There is indeed a great deal to consider when shooting and operating a handgun. One of the most basic and important skills is the grip.

A solid, consistent grip can make or break a shooter’s accuracy and ability to shoot at speed. While there are many ideas about what grip is best, there are some hard-core fundamentals that we can examine and embrace.

Find a Pistol That Fits Your Hand

Right off the bat, we need to acknowledge that hand size plays a role in grip. This is why it is important to find a handgun that truly fits you. With the growing trend in modularity, you should have an easy time of it. Before you buy a gun, you need to grip it and, if possible, even shoot it.

Here is a special note for women. It is going to hurt some feelings, but there is no such thing as a “ladies” handgun. A gun is a gun. What matters is how it fits in your hands.

Gun shops are notorious for suggesting a lady get a small pistol because it fits women better. I know men with tiny hands and some women with Amazon hands. It’s ridiculous, and you need to get a gun based on your personal fit.

Setting Your Shooting Hand Grip

First, form a “V” with the shooting hand and place the gun into the center of this "V."

To get started, with your dominant hand, form a “V” by spreading apart your thumb and index finger. Place the gun into the center of this “V” so that the front and rear sights line up evenly with your dominant arm. Make sure you place this “V” as high on the backstrap as possible. This will help to better manage recoil.

Now, wrap your middle, ring, and pinky fingers around the pistol’s grip. Make sure that you apply equal pressure with all three fingers. Likewise, use enough pressure to squeeze the gun’s grip into the back of your hand. Use your thumb to wrap around the other side of the grip, securing it in place.

Then, wrap your middle, ring, and pinky fingers around the pistol’s grip.

Adding the Support Hand

Now we will add the second hand. While it is a matter of hand size, you generally want to have the knuckles of the support hand lay on the knuckles of the strong hand. Now wrap the fingers of the support hand around your strong hand.

The thumb of the support hand should be pointed down the side of the gun, up close to the slide. Your wrist will be cocked forward to achieve this, but it is a great grip to manage recoil. Now, the thumb of the strong side hand should rest on the meat of the support side hand.

Now wrap the fingers of the support hand around your strong hand.

Lastly, with this hand, we want to make sure the bases of each thumb are touching the back of the gun. When you fire the gun, it will move toward the path of least resistance. If the hands aren’t together in the back, the gun will move slightly in that direction, making management more difficult.

Grip Pressure

The pressure of your grip on the gun is one of the most deeply debated concepts in the gun world. I suggest that your strong side grip be firm but not crushing. You want to have a mostly relaxed trigger finger, and if you grip too tightly, that won’t be possible. The support side grip, however, should be very firm.

Regardless of the caliber, the gun is going to move. You need to work to manage that movement. In the beginning, you will need to play with it to find the sweet spot. Ultimately, you want to have the exact same grip each time you draw the gun. This takes practice. I also suggest that you videotape yourself shooting to see if your grip is holding.

Understanding proper grip pressure is an important step in learning how to hold a pistol properly.

Some folks get the initial grip, shoot the gun, and then are forced to adjust their grip slightly. As with all things gun-related, practice is key. The more consistent your grip becomes, the better shooter you will be.

Sorry to Ruin Action Movies

The only downside to perfecting your grip is that it will absolutely ruin action movies for you. You will witness some of the most horrific grips on earth and be compelled to share it with your loved ones. From my personal experience, I can tell you that they will not share your enthusiasm. Consider yourself warned.

The author demonstrates how to hold a pistol properly.

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