Jason Steiner: Get a Grip

Here’s a quick exercise for taking a good thumbs-forward grip with a semi-auto pistol. It offers a great deal of control, which might explain why it’s currently the standard grip for top practical shooters. Fortunately, it’s also easy for novices to learn. It might feel a little awkward at first, so start practicing with no gun at all, just to get a accustomed to it . . .

  1. Stand square to the target.
  2. Take a half step forward with your left foot, and give the target a big thumbs-up with your right hand.
  3. Point your left thumb directly at the target. Your wrist will be angled down a bit.
  4. Grab your right fist with your left hand. The left index finger should be in the groove between the index and middle fingers of the right hand.
  5. Lower your right thumb so it is also pointing at the target, on top of the left thumb.
  6. Press both hands firmly together.

Of course, southpaws will need to swap this. Once you’ve tried it a few times, add a firearm. (Unloaded, please, unless you’re on a hot range.)

Grasp the gun in your strong hand, point it at the target, thumb high along the slide, trigger finger off the trigger. Bring both hands together, support-side thumb pointed at the target. Your support-side palm is now firmly pressed against the grip panel of the firearm, thumb pointing along the frame*, index finger wedged up against the bottom of the trigger guard. And your strong-side thumb will naturally lower to rest on & disengage the thumb safety, if you have one**.

With both hands providing even pressure, and lots of good contact with the handgun, you’ll find that the it recoils vertically, and returns to a good sight picture naturally.

* Some shooters press on the frame with the support-side thumb, some don’t. Personally, it depends on what I’m shooting. With CZs, which have internal slide rails and lots of exposed frame to press on, I do. Other guns, not so much, since I don’t want to interfere with the slide. Suit yourself.

** If shooting a SIG, you might want to angle that thumb out a little, away from the frame, over the left thumb. This will keep you from riding the slide release, preventing the slide from locking back once the magazine is empty.