Once you have chosen a handgun, you will need to consider grip and stance. Your grip on your firearm and stance while shooting are going to play a big role in how accurately you are able to hit your target. It also affects how well you absorb the recoil and how quickly you are able to get back on target for a follow up shot. This article is meant to help increase your understanding of how all of these elements work together and how you can become a better shooter.
Before practicing your grip, make sure your firearm is unloaded. Keep it pointed in a safe direction at all times and keep your finger off the trigger and out of the trigger guard. Your trigger finger should point straight ahead and rest along the side of the slide until you are ready to fire your weapon; this is known as keeping your finger in register. That being said, let’s begin.
Begin by coiling your right hand around the grip of the gun, making sure that the back side of the grip, which is called a backstrap, is positioned in the middle of your palm. You will know the position is right when you can extend your arm out and the barrel of the gun forms a straight line with your forearm. This will help recoil to be more evenly distributed, so that your hand does not absorb all of it. The webbing between your thumb and index finger should come all the way up to the top of the grip. Semi-automatic handguns should have a beaver tail or some kind of recess at the top of the grip to protect your hand from the slide as it cycles. You want the webbing of your hand to look as if it is glued to the beaver tail. Remember to keep your trigger finger in register.
Now, wrap your middle, ring, and pinkie finger around the grip. However, do not squeeze with your fingertips to stabilize your grip or all your shots will hit down and to the left of where you aim. Instead use about the middle knuckle of these fingers to pull the grip straight back into your hand. Place your thumb straight up and gently rested against the slide (when applicable) or just point your thumb forward.
Now bring your left hand up to mirror your right hand. Your left palm will rest against the right fingers on the grip. Your left fingers (all of them) will wrap around your right hand. Place your left thumb straight up and rested against the slide or pointed forward (it will be in front of your right thumb). If this grip does not give you enough stability while shooting, try positioning your left hand a little higher so that your index finger meets the frame and rests against the outside of the trigger guard. Tilt your palm up slightly and point your thumb forward; it will feel a little bit like you are cradling your right hand and the bottom most part of the trigger guard.
Finger placement is also important. With your firearm unloaded and pointed in a safe direction, place the tip of your trigger finger on the trigger and pull back. Do not place your knuckle over the trigger or your shots will hit to the right of where you aim. If you are unable to pull the trigger this way, I suggest dry fire practicing. This is done by unloading your firearm, gripping it in the way we have just discussed, and pulling the trigger repeatedly. This will help you build muscle strength, develop better muscle control, and form muscle memory. These things are important because the more you struggle to pull the trigger, the more your firearm will tremble and that will affect your shot placement.
Remember these are the basics but the key is to practice. You can establish quite a lot of groundwork at home without ammo. This is all muscle memory so get familiar with your firearm and above all be safe.
In addition to grip, your stance while shooting plays a big role in how accurately you are able to hit your target. It also helps you absorb the recoil, and helps you get back on target, quickly for your follow up shot.
Before practicing your stance, as with grip, make sure that your firearm is unloaded, keep it pointed in a safe direction at all times, and keep your finger off the trigger and out of the trigger guard.
As you fire your gun, the recoil will push you back, so you must counteract. There are many schools of thought on how you should do this. It all boils down to getting a sturdy footing and leaning forward enough to counter the recoil. One example of footing is to stand with your legs hip width apart or slightly wider, unlock your knees, and shift your weight to the balls of your feet as if you are preparing to pounce.
Another example of footing is to stagger your stance. If you are a right-handed shooter, stand with your right foot behind you (so as not to muzzle sweep yourself). Now with your right leg straight, put your left foot in front of your body with your left leg slightly bent. Bend your knee enough to engage your quads for stability, but not enough that you begin to tremble or fatigue as this will also affect your shot placement. Experiment with these methods until you find what works for you.
Once you have chosen your footing, grip your unloaded handgun firmly as we discussed in part one, point the barrel forward, and extend your arms out in front of you, elbows unlocked, until you are able to look down the barrel and use the sights. Next, lean forward bending at the waist engaging your abdominal muscles, to help stabilize yourself and prevent unnecessary strain on your back. I suggest doing this in front of a mirror so that you can really see your form.
In order to determine how far forward you must lean, I suggest that you get into your stance without your gun. Have your palms facing forward and have a friend gently push against them. Now, adjust your lean until you are effectively braced against the palm push.
Regardless of the type of handgun you prefer, a semi-automatic or a revolver, the steps are the same to find the best grip and stance. Also remember these are the basics but the key is practice. You can establish quite a lot of groundwork at home, in front of the mirror, without ammo. Once you build the muscle memory, your range sessions will be a breeze. And your aim will be better. Happy shooting.