By Jason Steiner
Here’s a quick exercise for making sure you get a good thumbs-forward grip on you semi-auto pistol. This grip offers a great deal of control (and therefore accuracy), which explains why it’s the standard grip for top practical shooters.
Bonus: this grip is also easy for novices to learn. It might feel a little awkward at first, so start practicing at home with no gun at all, just to get accustomed to it.
Here’s all you need to do:
- Stand square to the target.
- Take a half step forward with your left foot, and give the target a big thumbs-up with your right hand.
- Point your left thumb directly at the target. Your wrist will be angled down a bit.
- 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.
- Lower your right thumb so it’s also pointing at the target, on top of the left thumb.
- Press both hands firmly together.
Of course, southpaws will need to reverse this. Once you’ve tried this a few times, add a firearm (cleared and safe, no magazine, all ammunition removed from the room).
Grasp the gun in your strong (dominant) hand. Point it at the target, thumb high along the slide, trigger finger straight and off the trigger.
Bring both hands together with the support-side thumb pointed forward at the target. Your support-side palm is now firmly pressed against your strong hand fingers and the grip panel of the firearm, with your thumb pointing along the frame*, index finger wedged up against the bottom of the trigger guard (see the photo above).
Your strong-side thumb will naturally drop to rest on and disengage the thumb safety, if your pistol has one**. If not, rest it on your support hand thumb, pointing forward.
With both hands providing even pressure and lots of good contact with the handgun, you’ll find that this grip results in your pistol recoiling more vertically when fired. It will also tend to returns to a good sight picture naturally.
Again, this may not feel natural at first, but will with time and practice. Remember, you don’t have to restrict this exercise to the range. You can do at home any time, either by itself or as part of dry fire practice.
Good luck and be safe out there.
* Some shooters press on the frame with the support-side thumb, some don’t. Whether I do depends on what I’m shooting. With CZs, which have internal slide rails and lots of exposed frame area to press on, I press. With other guns, not so much, since I don’t want to interfere with the motion of the slide. Suit yourself.
** If shooting a SIG or similar pistol, 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. This will vary according to your hand size and particular pistol.