"Combat Grip"

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"Combat Grip"

Post by mikemyers on 8/14/2017, 10:23 pm

I went to the club range this morning bringing only my 45.  After lots of dry-firing at home, and again at the range today before I loaded any ammo, my "first" live shot went right to the X.  This happened several times.  But, the second shot was off a little, and the third was off even more.  When I was done for the day, feeling rather frustrated, I got to talking to another shooter, Vinny, who told me he is an NRA instructor.  He suggested that I look at YouTube articles on "anticipation" and "grip", and he suggested I modify my grip.  As always, there are lots and lots of articles and videos online of what is good.  What I probably need the most is a good coach, and I may have just found one.  

This article is for two-handed "combat shooting", not one-handed "bullseye shooting", but it makes for interesting reading:  

http://www.handgunsmag.com/tactics-training/tactics_training_combatg_100306/
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Re: "Combat Grip"

Post by BE Mike on 8/15/2017, 7:37 am

mikemyers wrote:I went to the club range this morning bringing only my 45.  After lots of dry-firing at home, and again at the range today before I loaded any ammo, my "first" live shot went right to the X.  This happened several times.  But, the second shot was off a little, and the third was off even more.  When I was done for the day, feeling rather frustrated, I got to talking to another shooter, Vinny, who told me he is an NRA instructor.  He suggested that I look at YouTube articles on "anticipation" and "grip", and he suggested I modify my grip.  As always, there are lots and lots of articles and videos online of what is good.  What I probably need the most is a good coach, and I may have just found one.  

This article is for two-handed "combat shooting", not one-handed "bullseye shooting", but it makes for interesting reading:  

http://www.handgunsmag.com/tactics-training/tactics_training_combatg_100306/
There is some useful information in that article that could benefit a bullseye pistol shooter, but there is just as much information that isn't relevant to one-handed bullseye pistol shooting. Check out www.bullseyepistol.com Being that I'm old as dirt, I still like the articles in Gil Hebard's "The Pistol Shooters Treasury". Bill Blankenship has an article about grip in there. Brian Zins, has his own method of gripping the pistol. Check it out. The grip is just one part of the whole, but is important.
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Re: "Combat Grip"

Post by Chris Miceli on 8/15/2017, 7:40 am

Everytime i read the pistol shooter treasury something new pops out to me. 

When you are firing the 2nd 3rd shots is it in a string or is it slow fire?
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Re: "Combat Grip"

Post by jmdavis on 8/15/2017, 7:47 am

Me too Chris. Each reading brings out something that I didn't notice or wasn't ready for earlier. 

I also second the question about the strings. Have you fired 5 or 10 shots slow fire with no time limit?
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Re: "Combat Grip"

Post by mikemyers on 8/15/2017, 7:59 am

On the advice of either someone here, or Linda Dillon from the Hollywood Rifle and Pistol Club (I think it was her) I bought that book two years ago.  Time to start re-reading it.

To answer the question, very slow firing.  Load one bullet in the magazine, shoot, remove magazine, start all over again, and carefully (try to) fire the next shot just as well.  

I've changed my grip so my support hand is now "locked" and angled downwards, and re-positioned my thumbs so they are one next to the other, pointing ahead.  It does feel like a better grip to me.

(The most annoying thing about my Les Baer, is the grip safety, which by the time everything else is right, doesn't seem to stay in, unless I put the bony part of my hand right over it.  I did find one position where everything seems to work, along with my re-positioned support hand with the wrist now "locked".)

Wonderful book - last time, with my cataracts, I had trouble reading the fine print.  Better now!
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Re: "Combat Grip"

Post by Chris Miceli on 8/15/2017, 8:04 am

sorry can't help, haven't shot a Handgun with 2 hands in a while.
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Re: "Combat Grip"

Post by Tim:H11 on 8/15/2017, 8:12 am

It's called a HAND gun. Not a "hands" gun. Master one hand and two handed will he a piece of cake.
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Re: "Combat Grip"

Post by james r chapman on 8/15/2017, 8:54 am

Be careful of the " two thumbs forward" style of semi auto shooting, it's very easy to have the slide drag on them.
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Re: "Combat Grip"

Post by mikemyers on 8/15/2017, 9:16 am

Tim:H11 wrote:It's called a HAND gun. Not a "hands" gun. Master one hand and two handed will he a piece of cake.
Well, that's not the reason, but after being here for a while, I recently started dry-firing using one hand.  It was really more like Keith Sanderson's "holding drill".  I planned to do it for half an hour, but after 20 minutes I started to feel uncomfortable around my neck and shoulders.  So, I stopped, and the next morning I was a little sore.  After that went away, I'm going to continue.  Eventually I'll build up whatever muscles I need, and I'll get better at it (or at least get more comfortable holding the gun out in front of me).  

This is with a .22, with sight.  I guess after that, I'll maybe be able to fire my 45 that way.  It's all part of a learning curve.  Meanwhile, I want to to shoot my 45 better using both hands.
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Re: "Combat Grip"

Post by mikemyers on 8/15/2017, 9:58 am

I should add something to what I posted above.  All I wrote was "I've changed my grip so my support hand is now "locked" and angled downwards, and re-positioned my thumbs so they are one next to the other, pointing ahead.  It does feel like a better grip to me."


I should have posted this link, showing what I am now trying to do:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KJrA7wMXuuQ&t=33s
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Re: "Combat Grip"

Post by Magload on 8/15/2017, 10:28 am

Two hand grip is a totally different grip.  I use 40/60 or there about.  60% of the grip or even 70% is with the support hand.  That support hand doesn't just grip it pulls the gun back into your main hand, everything gets locked up tight.  I like two handed am I shoot it very well but worked a year getting it right before switching to BE.  The Action Shooting I don't care for.  Tried IDPA and would have the best target scores but the slowest times.  I can shoot fast I just don'r like to.  Work at it Mike you will get it.
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Re: "Combat Grip"

Post by mikemyers on 8/15/2017, 11:42 am

I'm willing to wait and practice however long it takes.  Regarding the 40/60, or /70, what I've been doing is to get ready to shoot, and then physically "relax" my right hand most of the way, so the left is doing most of the work.  (I didn't do this before).  That makes sense.

Plan for next time is to take five or six magazines, load them all with 1, 2, or 3 rounds, mix them up, and select them at random.  The gun will eventually fire on an empty chamber, and eventually the front sight will remain stationary.  As you guys suggested, my concentration will be 100% on the front sight - everything else can happen automatically.  And I will no longer "take the shot" as I was before - just keep adding pressure to the trigger finger until the gun fires - and then keep the finger there.  Another mistake I was making.

A relative suggested I start shooting more quickly.  To me, that's pointless until I can shoot better at slow fire.  

(I can post the list for what I will check myself on for every round I fire, but I think you'd all just laugh at it.  I'm going to put it on the table in front of me, and check that I do each of the 7 steps I made for myself.  Otherwise it's all to easy for me to skip one of them, and get back into old habits.)
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Re: "Combat Grip"

Post by mikemyers on 8/16/2017, 6:51 pm

Chris Miceli wrote:Everytime i read the pistol shooter treasury something new pops out to me......
I started reading the book again, from page 1, paying special attention to anything that was different from what I've been doing.  After a few hours, I got out the gun, and read again, doing what these fellows suggested in dry-fire drills.  Ouch.  Now I have found there are SO many things to do that are different from what I've read, or been told, or did on my own.  

For most of today, I've been practicing, half an hour of my dry-firing cycles (one minute of dry-fire, then a minute of rest).  

For starters, I wasn't gripping the gun correctly.  When I read the book, I found that I need to get a good tight grip between the front strap and the rear strap (with safety).  

I did the following, somewhat in slow-motion, finishing one step before doing the next:

  • Clamp my right hand as tight as I can, on the front/back.  
  • When finished, with my support hand, I do what I've been doing, filling in the empty area of the left grip with my left hand, clamping down with my hand as tight as I can (to where the grips hurt my hand).  
  • When that's done, while staring at the target, use mostly my left hand to raise the gun up and out, while moving my trigger finger into place. Left hand is supporting more of the weight.  Right elbow is locked.  Left wrist I'm not sure....  maybe locked.
  • I push the gun out towards the target, and as it is getting close, move my eyesight to the very top edge of the front sight.*****
  • Apply increasing pressure to the trigger until 'click'.  
  • Finally, hold for five seconds, lower the gun, breathe, and repeat.


I am not rapid, let alone "fast", as I don't do any step until the preceding step is completed.  I figure if I do this over and over, eventually I'll start doing it automatically, and only then will I try to get a little faster.  (And don't laugh too hard at me, but I am very conscious of doing each individual step, and if anything isn't right, I stop and start over again - no bad habits.)

I can't get to the range until Friday, but I will say one thing now - my hands/arm/gun feel like a rigid assembly, everything locked together.

I'm also amazed at one other thing - for the first time in my life, when I raise the gun and move it forward towards the target, as of half an hour ago, the gun ends up pointing pretty much directly at the target.  I've never been able to do that before, and could never figure out a way to do it.


*****note - from what the book says, I don't need to pay attention to the spaces between the front and rear sight.  What I read was to let my subconscious figure that out, and concentrate fully on the TOP of the front sight, making sure it's level with the rear sights.  I guess I was wrong before about what I need to be paying attention to.

Good or bad, I'll post a sample target here before next Monday.
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Re: "Combat Grip"

Post by mikemyers on 8/18/2017, 5:13 pm

Got to the range today for 90 minutes before I got too hot.  Not sure if I should be pleased or frustrated, maybe a little of both.

Gun was Les Baer Premiere II, ammo was 230 gr Winchester White Box, full loads.

Targets were at 15 yards.  The goal was to see if all the stuff I wrote about earlier would help me control the gun better.

Target is posted below.

If I had shot this normally, it would be the best I've yet done with a 1911.  Unfortunately, the only way I could control my "anticipation" was to load magazines with one round each, and dry fire between magazines.  When I attempted to shoot more normally (as in 5 rounds loaded in the magazine), the second shot was bad, and the third shot was worse.

Explanation - the first target (left) was shot with my shooting glasses, for which the prescription isn't perfect for the 1911.  The front sight is reasonably sharp, but not "crystal sharp".  The target at the right was done using my progressive lenses, where I can find the perfect spot for a crisp, clear, view of the upper edge of the front sight.  That seems to have made a difference.  As to right/left, I'm trying to let my subconscious keep the front sight centered.  If I can reliably do a 3" group at 15 yards, I'll be happy (at least for now).

Oh yeah - dry-firing at the range?  Everything seemed perfect.  The tip of the gun never moved.  But I found when I fired with a nonexistent next round, the tip of the gun moved down.  Not much, but yuck....   I need to convince myself to not flinch.




I think I'm going to go to the range Monday with a box of ammo, and a huge sheet of white paper for a giant target, with no bullseye.  I'm going to get ready to shoot using my right eye, then try to "watch the gun" with the left eye, hopefully seeing how it moves up an down.  Maybe if I don't care about the anticipation, and just shoot for a while, I'll get more used to it.

If anyone has some better advice, I'm all ears!   (Maybe move down to a 38 for a while?)
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Re: "Combat Grip"

Post by Magload on 8/18/2017, 8:08 pm

Mike if you shot like that at the indoor range I go to you would be in the upper 98% of the shooters there.  Of course 75% of them would miss that target at 7yds.  These are people who are carrying to protect themselves and there love ones.  As 15 yds is probably farther then I need to shoot for SD I seldom shoot two handed past 10yds.  At that range I can keep them all in the X but you just might beat me at 15 yds with that shooting.  I like my 45 best but have a 9mm RO that I had the slide milled for a Vortex dot.  It is my best shooting SD gun.  You are doing good keep at it.  Don
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Re: "Combat Grip"

Post by mikemyers on 8/18/2017, 9:00 pm

Thanks, Don.   Yeah, I look around every so often at other shooter's targets, and to me they look like they were done with a shotgun, but that doesn't make me feel any better.  

Each of the shots in the above targets were done after a minimum of three or four dry-fires.  That's not "realistic", but it does mean the potential is there.


Mr. Borland, the forum moderator of the revolver forum on TheHighRoad forums (https://www.thehighroad.org/index.php?forums/handguns-revolvers.32/) constantly told me that shooting well isn't "magic", and nobody should feel they can't do it - or that those who can do it are some kind of superman.  His thoughts were that anyone can do it, if they work at it.  He would get upset at me when I implied that I can't do what those guys do - he was saying, of course you can do it, if you spend the time and the effort.  Anyway, my way of dealing with it, is to set goals, and if I accomplish one, to try for an even better goal.

It sounds like you're doing quite well!  If I were to make a suggestion, it would be to ignore that 98%, and every time you go to the range, just try to improve on what you did the last time.  

Oh, and try shooting at a very small target.  The smaller the bull, the less there is to miss.   Shocked

(I was going to suggest buying a copy of "The Pistol Shooter's Treasury" from Amazon, but then I tried to see if it's still available.  I bought one for $30 last year - now, it's $150.  Ouch.  There is even one for sale for $200!!)
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Re: "Combat Grip"

Post by Wobbley on 8/18/2017, 10:02 pm

Magload wrote:Mike if you shot like that at the indoor range I go to you would be in the upper 98% of the shooters there.  Of course 75% of them would miss that target at 7yds.  These are people who are carrying to protect themselves and there love ones.  As 15 yds is probably farther then I need to shoot for SD I seldom shoot two handed past 10yds.  At that range I can keep them all in the X but you just might beat me at 15 yds with that shooting.  I like my 45 best but have a 9mm RO that I had the slide milled for a Vortex dot.  It is my best shooting SD gun.  You are doing good keep at it.  Don
I was told by my combat pistol instructor not to carry until you can do a mag dump in 11 seconds into a 5 inch circle at 5 yards.  10 yards is SEAL team operator qualification.  These times are from the holster.  You can't do it without sight alignment and trigger control.  Just like bullseye.

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