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Grip Details, What are you really doing?

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Olde Pilot
jwax
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bruce martindale
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Post by bruce martindale 6/29/2020, 7:31 am

This thread evolved out of Mikes thd on time use in RF since grip ( and stance) are so important to good recovery.

I know the following will be hard for some to do since so much is subconscious and automatic. I know when I was shooting really well ( been a while) , I    just    did    it. Now I have to think about it more and focus on consistency.

For High Level shooters ( Master scores or better) Can you describe n detail how you grip the gun? Where is the pressure? What are fingertips and thumb doing? 

So here is an example with caveat that all hands are different. Spread your thumb and fingers keeping fingers together. Close them until thumb and index finger are parallel and form a U. **See Note 1 below.

Take the barrel in the non shooting hand and with bbl in line with fingers seat the gun solidly into the hand. Bring fingers around the frontstrap pressing against the sidepanels. 
**See Note 2

Ease fingertips off and feel the frontstrap load increase.

Increase pressure on lower fingers then relax it adding more pressure to the middle or birdie finger.

Allow index finger to naturally fall on trigger. Rock fingertip waaaaay around trigger ( in too far hitting opposite trigger edge) then rock back too far (hit other edge) . Now center it up in between. You are now square on the trigger and have a better chance of pulling straight back

Notice this sets wrist angle, sort of. 

Load gun

Close eyes and raise. Where are you pointing? Shift rear fot to establish position on target. You can now repeat this exercise and when you open your eyes, you are on target. 

Stance can be neutral (equal weight on both feet) shifted forward ( head moves about an inch forward) or rearward 1 inch. This all has an effect on wrist angle and recoil recovery, more later. I traditionally shot best with a slight forward stance.


Other factors, raise -tense shoulder (Sanderson) or not, How hard to push elbow, or not,

**Note 1 Enter 12x NPC ...He may say it better but while gripping this way, you can now adjust grip by kicking bbl slighty clockwise (right hand) and feel it seat. Tgr finger goes deeper in. Make note to uncurl tgr finger so you don't pull at an angle.

Note 2 With fingers hooked around frontstrap, 
Pull on arm to stretch fingers then wrap rear of hand around grip. When you relax, your hand is in compression without muscle tension.

Thumb alongside the grips but forward of joint is curled out. Or curled in to touch, not touch tip of tgr or middle finger. This can make a grip in and of itself.

Simple and totally automatic...what are you really doing? Can you describe it?
Thanks

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Post by mikemyers 6/29/2020, 3:04 pm

bruce martindale wrote:.......I know the following will be hard for some to do since so much is subconscious and automatic. I know when I was shooting really well ( been a while) , I    just    did    it. Now I have to think about it more and focus on consistency.......
Thank you for posting this.  I'll be back at the range Wednesday, and will try out some of the things you described.

You were asking people to describe how they grip the gun, with lots of detail.  I can describe one thing I do that I learned from Brian, and so many other things are based on this single thing.  Brian says the first joint on one's trigger finger should be hard up against the trigger, NOT the soft fleshy areas on either side of it.  For me, I grip the gun the way I've learned, as I am wrapping my hand around the gun, my trigger finger often won't go "in" as far as it should.  Whenever this happens, I start all over again, wrapping my hand so that the hard bony part of my first joint is resting on the trigger, and the rest of my finger "beyond this joint" is pointed to the left.  Once that is set, I'm only really pressing on the gun with my fingers pushing back on the front strap, and my "palm" pushing forward on the backstop.  My thumb has nothing to do, so I let it slide up against, but barely touching, the gun.

The other thing that I learned today! was to follow the suggestions of gripping the gun hardER, and to lock my right elbow, as the arm is pushed out in front of me.  As if by magic, the red dot started to return on its own to a position just to the right of my sight.  Amazing, sort of like magic to me.  Surprised


I'm real anxious to read what others post here.  Since the right hand is the only thing touching the gun, that, especially including the trigger finger, is front and center in my thoughts.
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Post by bruce martindale 6/29/2020, 4:14 pm

Nothing is written in stone . Try everything you can think of to see the effect on wobble and separately on the release because with all due consideration, all hands are different. Remember to dry fire with it. Everyone knows they should do it but, they don't. Including me.

Side note I was shooting heavy loads and picked up a flinch and tendonitis . I did win the Martinez trophy and State Hardball Championship so some good came out of it. You can train with lighter loads; they're harder to shoot well in my opinion but they're good for technique. This post is about grip, not trigger. However, "helping it along" in the last Oh-No second is really bad.

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Post by SteveT 6/30/2020, 9:27 am

Background: Right handed, Master shooter, though my scores have been more Expert for the last few years. I have fairly long skinny fingers.

The following describes my grip for slab sides. I use a 0.060" spacer under the right side panel, no spacer on left side. I used to replace the wood grips every couple of years until I got a set of G-10 laminate grips from Rock River. They are still nice and grippy after several years.

  1. Grip starts by pressing the grip safety fairly hard into the web between thumb and forefinger, then rotating the MSH down along the pad below the thumb.
  2. Press the gun sideways into the palm of my hand as I wrap the lower 3 fingers around the front strap. The finger tips wraps around and squeeze the left side of the gun fairly hard.
  3. The thumb is pressed firmly against the left side of the gun along the top of the grip.
  4. The trigger finger goes in so the first joint crease is on the left corner of the trigger. The finger tip wraps around and touches the side of the trigger. When the trigger is fully back the tip of the trigger finger touches the thumb tip and the frame just behind the trigger.
  5. I use a very firm grip. I like the adage "Squeeze until the gun starts shaking, then back off a little.

The above takes about 1 second. If needed I will adjust the gun right or left slightly to get it right,  open and close the lower 3 fingers to get the last joint crease to mate with the front edge of the grip and wiggle the trigger finger to settle in on the edge of the trigger, in that order.

I use an arched MSH. I like fairly course checkering on both MSH and front strap. Tiger Teeth are too sharp for my office hands, but 20 or 15 LPI is pretty good. Every few years  I will touch up the checkering to re-sharpen the points. On guns without checkering on the front strap I use grip tape. I haven't had the guts to try checkering myself. Maybe after I retire.

I use a fairly long trigger, but don't remember which one. I use a very short roll or a crisp trigger with a soft let-off. I tried using a long roll, but the feel was too much ingrained in me. My scores were only a little but worse with the roll, but even after a couple of years the roll trigger never felt right.

I tried a Zins grip, but with my long fingers the trigger finger placement wasn't right. I agree with the logic behind it, so I settled on a hybrid grip between a classic in line with the forearm grip and the Zins grip.
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Post by bruce martindale 6/30/2020, 10:04 am

Thanks Steve,
Does anyone kick the bottom of the palm out, away from the backstrap such that the backstap lies along your lifeline? This gets pressure off the lower frame and puts it up high, behind the grip safety. The trigger finger now comes in from slightly above, and at an angle.

While it gives a high grip, l suspect it lets the gun roll more as lower fingers are less involved.

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Post by mikemyers 6/30/2020, 10:17 am

SteveT wrote:

  1. Grip star.....
  2. Press the gun sideways into the palm of my hand as I wrap the lower 3 fingers around the front strap. The finger tips wraps around and squeeze the left side of the gun fairly hard.
  3. The thumb is pressed firmly against the left side of the gun along the top of the grip.
  4. .....

Steve,  I'm confused.  Twice you mentioned something I was specifically told not to do.  You've got your fingertips pressing on the gun towards the side, and your thumb doing the same thing.  So some part of your hand must be pressing against the right side of the gun to keep the gun from moving.  In what way does it help to be squeezing the gun from the sides?
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Post by SteveT 6/30/2020, 1:24 pm

mikemyers wrote:Steve,  I'm confused.  Twice you mentioned something I was specifically told not to do.  You've got your fingertips pressing on the gun towards the side, and your thumb doing the same thing.  So some part of your hand must be pressing against the right side of the gun to keep the gun from moving.  In what way does it help to be squeezing the gun from the sides?

Yes, you are right. I can't explain how the mechanics work, but I spent a lot of time on my grip trying to squeeze only front to back with no side pressure and pulling the trigger "straight to the rear" and I never got rid of the trigger jump to the right. When I do things "wrong" I don't see the jump. Go figure. Follow the general wisdom, but if something works for you, use it.
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Post by jwax 6/30/2020, 3:03 pm

Not sure if this applies here, but if I bench the gun and fire, the holes are an inch to the right of center. (25 yds) When I fire offhand, they hit in the middle.
Can't tell if that's flinch or grip. Happens with all guns- .22, .38, .45.
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Post by mikemyers 6/30/2020, 3:23 pm

jwax wrote:Not sure if this applies here, but if I bench the gun and fire, the holes are an inch to the right of center. (25 yds) When I fire offhand, they hit in the middle......
From a different perspective...

I think you're saying if you fire from a rest and presumably nothing is moving the gun, the holes appear in a certain spot, but if you're firing off-hand, the holes are off to the side.  How do you know when you're shooting from a rest, your trigger finger isn't moving the gun?   And if it isn't, then something you are doing seems to be changing the POI.
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Post by mikemyers 6/30/2020, 3:25 pm

SteveT wrote:
mikemyers wrote:Steve,  I'm confused.  Twice you mentioned something I was specifically told not to do.  You've got your fingertips pressing on the gun towards the side, and your thumb doing the same thing.  So some part of your hand must be pressing against the right side of the gun to keep the gun from moving.  In what way does it help to be squeezing the gun from the sides?

Yes, you are right. I can't explain how the mechanics work, but I spent a lot of time on my grip trying to squeeze only front to back with no side pressure and pulling the trigger "straight to the rear" and I never got rid of the trigger jump to the right. When I do things "wrong" I don't see the jump. Go figure. Follow the general wisdom, but if something works for you, use it.

Steve, next time, try a test.  Do exactly what you're doing, applying pressure to the trigger, but just before the gun would fire, quickly lift your trigger finger off the trigger.  If your gun suddenly moves to one side or the other, it means your trigger finger wasn't actually pushing straight back.  I know, because I had the same problem.  It's a fun test, so easy to do.  I posted this on The Firing Line forums many years ago, and I just got laughed at.  Oh well.
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Post by Olde Pilot 6/30/2020, 4:08 pm

Mike: Nobody should be laughing. This is an excellent exercise/test!

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Post by bruce martindale 6/30/2020, 6:13 pm

Interesting how during the shot, or during the string, your hand wants to tense up...thumb, fingertips etc and you can see the gun spring back when you undo the tension

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Post by orpheoet 7/5/2020, 2:47 pm

Just an Expert here but I try to grip with middle finger and ring finger. Thumb and pinky are along for the ride. I suspect that this has to do with the fact that my sandbagged zero and shooting zero are essentially the same. I used to have my tumb on the safety but I've brought it down. The backstrap is in the crease of my palm and my trigger finger is also on the 1st crease.
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Post by Jack H 7/5/2020, 3:53 pm

Back in the early 70s, LtC Miller had me training with 22 grip like this to really learn the straight back in front and straight forward grip at the rear. 
Middle and third finger tips fly away from the grip.  Thumb and pinky really fly. 
You have to squeeze hard with the thumb ham and the middle two fingers.  If you get enough ring finger in there it boxes the grip front to back real well.

Grip Details, What are you really doing?  Img_0319
Grip Details, What are you really doing?  Img_0318
Grip Details, What are you really doing?  Img_0320
Notice the fat thumb ham and stubby thumb.
And trigger finger?  Just put it where it needs to be.  Adjust the LOP if possible.  A straight back pull is far more important that what finger part pulls.
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Post by bruce martindale 7/5/2020, 8:48 pm

Jack, do you shoot that way or just do it to learn to feel front/backstraps?

Ed Hall had told me about s detrimental change to his grips, basically added putty that pressed a nerve or tendon in the web of the hand and this added a tic to the release if l remember correctly.

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Post by Jack H 7/5/2020, 10:25 pm

Bruce.
Training.  22 with standard grip can be shot that way if everything is indeed straight.  Thats the point of the exercise.  Works on revolver SF too.  Even 38 OMM.  Coach Miller was strong on the Colt revolver in SF for training the mental game.
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Post by mikemyers 7/6/2020, 9:20 pm

bruce martindale wrote:........Other factors..........How hard to push elbow, or not........
At some point I was going to ask about this.  Books recommend locking your elbow, but wouldn't the same thing be accomplished just by holding your arm out straight ahead?

My body feels most comfortable when I just straighten my arm.  Locking the elbow makes my arm feel more "tense".  Which do you do?
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Post by Jack H 7/6/2020, 11:08 pm

Locking the elbow by itself is not anything I would advise.  Some time back Lozoya wrote about the role of the forearm.  I believe the best arm firming starts in the forearm at the large muscles just below the elbow.  Setting the forearm there seems to stiffen the wrist.  And the overall lift seems to work best for me if I lift the wrist and the gun and arm follows.
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Post by SteveT 7/7/2020, 8:42 am

I don't know what "locking the elbow" means. I fully extend my arm, so the elbow is as open as it can be which is slightly hyper-extended. There is some muscle tension pushing the elbow open. I also have muscle tension pushing my knees full open. I've heard the old story that you can pass out if you lock you knees, but have never experienced anything like that. Maybe my anatomy is different.

The only thing I can think of is if the inside of the elbow is pointing to the side, the joint will prevent vertical bending. I rotate my arm so the elbow is more vertical than 45 degrees.
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Post by Wobbley 7/7/2020, 10:36 am

It takes a while to pass out by locking your knees.
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Post by bruce martindale 7/7/2020, 4:16 pm

Never orient your elbow such that the bending axis is side to side. Sure it stiffens the arm from recoil but it damages the joint. The AMU said that. I am going with SteveTs methods on finger pressure and it's working better.

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Post by mageepeak 7/9/2020, 4:06 pm

I was trained by Jimmy Dorsy ( trained Brian Zins) and he does not lock the elbow nor do I. Firm grip, for arm muscles firm, triceps relaxed. The but of the gun will rotate to the life-line crease in your hand so why not start that way? Something I've learned is to grip the pistol so the sights are perfectly aligned when you bring the pistol up you have no side to side, up or down movement to find your front sight or dot. This is my " natural grip of aim", ha.

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