This week’s teachable moment comes from this photo of what happens when the shooter has poor grip on the pistol. Note the separation of hands. It is important to hold onto the gun by using force generated by both the strong and support hand.

With a weak grip, the recoil energy doesn’t travel through the arm to be absorbed by the body and instead flips the muzzle, making subsequent shots difficult to place on target without taking a lot of time to re-aim and adjust. This can also cause malfunctions if the gun isn’t able to harness the recoil energy properly to eject the spent casing and load a new round into the chamber.

How do we fix this? To maximize grip strength on a handgun, observe how the human hand applies the greatest amount of grip strength. A closed fist or grip around an object will have the thumb bent and strength applied through the thumb pad.

By using what is called the crush grip, the strong hand grips the gun with the thumb bent, applying pressure through all five digits. The support hand wraps around with the thumb pad pressing on top of thumbnail of the strong hand. This locks the hands together and allows both hands to be able to apply pressure through the thumbpad.

This also means that there is increased grip strength while using just one hand, either strong or support. Shooting with this grip one handed will offer a more stable platform and you can pick up speed and accuracy.

The crush grip is different from the two thumbs forward grip that is popular in firearms training for being faster and more accurate. Your speed and accuracy will depend on the time you spend training regardless of grip style. We’re not here to poo-poo other grips. Especially if you have spent a significant time training a certain way and have had good results, there is no reason to change (unless you want to. Don’t let some words on the internet tell you what to do!)

When we see shooters have trouble with grip, we teach the principles of crush grip as it offers more retention and better grip strength for those with weaker hands. With a more stable grip, other issues like poor marksmanship and malfunctions are easier to resolve.

About the Teachable Moments series:

When Brian blows the whistle and brings the class in for a teachable moment, we get a chance to learn from someone’s mistake. We’re hoping to encapsulate those moments in posts so more people can learn and improve their firearms safety, handling, marksmanship and overall understanding of self defense. These posts are not mean to shame or ridicule those who make mistakes. Instead, lets take a moment to say “thanks for the lesson in making that mistake. Now I don’t have to make it myself.”

You must learn from the mistakes of others. You can’t possibly live long enough to make them all yourself.

Have a teachable moment to you’d like to share? Whether it happens in a Monarch Defense class, on your own training time or in real life, we’re up for an opportunity to learn! Send your story and a photo/video (if possible) to media@monarchdefense.org