An observation on my grip

During a recent dry practice session, I noticed something about my grip.

First, I’ve been working hard on ensuring a consistent and crushing grip during my dry work. Since there’s no recoil, it’s really easy to slack off, so I’m working to mitigate that by overly crushing the grip when I do dry work. That will build up my grip muscles/endurance, and when I’m not crushing it’s easier to notice and thus correct myself. Plus anything I can do to make a stronger grip will help with not just recoil control, but it sure does help offset when pressure ramps up and the trigger gets slapped/yanked. It’s not an excuse for poor trigger control, but when you do have a crushing grip it helps mitigate the effects.

During this particular dry session I switched from two-handed to one-handed work. As usual, my weak-hand work needed more work. I strove to really crush things and noticed something I was (and wasn’t) doing in my grip.

I need to back up a bit and explain some things about grip.

Grip the gun in a two-handed grip. Really try to determine the direction of your hand pressure. Sure, there’s a generalized, all-around crushing pressure, but at least in my grip I find that my strong-hand is applying more pressure “front to back”. That is, there’s more pressure coming in on the front-strap and back-strap of the grip than against the sides of the grip. That makes sense given how the hand is working and clamping — the fingers are bringing things together, not your tips and palm into each other. Then there’s the support-hand, which winds up applying more pressure against the sides of the grip (well, your strong-hand since the support-hand is overlapping it) than the front- and back- straps. Again, this is from the same directional clamping force that your fingers are giving (vs. tips and palm into each other).

So when you have both hands gripping, there is 360º of crush force: front-back by the strong-hand, side-side by the support-hand.

As well, because of your hand wrapping/overlapping, with proper technique you wind up with a lot of skin against grip – that contact, that friction plays a big part. Airspace between the grip and your hands gives “wiggle room” and doesn’t lead to the strongest grip. The best grip puts as much possible skin-to-grip contact over as much surface area as possible. That contact, that friction, helps to manage recoil because now there’s more friction (and other resistive forces) that the recoil must overcome.

So understanding that, what did I experience and observe?

While it’s there when I go strong-hand-only, it’s more pronounced in weak-/support-hand-only. That I am only getting 50% of that grip pressure — there’s only the pressure against the front- and back- straps. I’m crushing – or perhaps more descriptively, clamping – my grip against the front and back, but there’s really no pressure against the sides. There’s some light skin contact between sides and palm/tips, but not a lot of pressure into them. But more so, it’s just light contact – I could actually wiggle something (finger) up in there between my palm (specifically, at the metacarpophalangeal joints) and the grip. In light of the prior explanation, can you see how this is not an ideal grip?

So I worked to put more skin in FIRM contact with the grip, and work to try to make a grip that was giving more 360º pressure, than just the front-to-back-pressure, if you will. In a way, it was “collapsing the tent” created by my metacarpophalangeal joints as the hand wraps around the grip. It’s a little awkward, and it does cause some frame rub against my thumb’s metacarpophalangeal joint. I expect there will be some refinement of this, and I’ll have to see how it pans out in live fire. I expect my results will be greatly improved, tho I may wind up with a raw thumb joint.

Take a look at your grip.

Are you maximizing contact? Are you gripping it HARD? How does your grip change when you go 1-handed? Can you adjust your grip (1- or 2- handed) to improve contact and pressure?

Update

I wrote this earlier in the week. I then had a chance to go to the range and try it in live fire.

Results were not good. 🙂

I shot horribly.

Why? I’m not sure. It could be because the technique just sucked, or it could be because it was a change and I need to adapt to the change. There may be other side-effects from it that I have to work through.

Alas, that range session needed to be focused on other issues, so I didn’t investigate this grip work. I just reverted to my old way and everything was peachy. Perhaps something to learn from that as well.

Am I overanalyzing? Perhaps. Again, I went back to my old way and was just fine. But I’d like to think there’s something in this, at least for me. Because for sure as much crush/clamp grip as you can have the better, and for sure when you only have 1 hand you won’t have as strong a grip as 2 hands. So if there’s some way to improve my 1-hand grip through mechanical advantage (vs. just pure strength), why wouldn’t I want to explore that avenue?

Maybe next live-fire session I’ll get a chance to work on it. For sure in my present dry work, I’ll be doing more 1-handed work, and we’ll see where it goes.

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