Many factors come together for accuracy in pistol shooting. This includes stance, trigger control, sight alignment and proper pistol grip. A good grip allows for a smooth trigger pull and helps reduce recoil, which provides faster follow-up shots.

Whether firing in training, competition or self defense, a good grip is truly important. In fact, grip is one of the most important factors, particularly in self defense. Stance might have to change due to terrain, movement or even comfort, but a change in grip can be catastrophic, regardless of whether using a single- or two-hand grip.

In this video, Max Michel, captain of the SIG Sauer shooting team, explains the importance of grip when shooting, along with how to obtain a proper pistol grip.

Michel begins by discussing how proper grip starts with getting leverage on the pistol. Shooters need to get high on the grip to prevent the pistol from slipping. He also explains how shooters need to obtain three points of contact when gripping the pistol. This begins with getting two contact points with the shooting hand. The first requires placing the web of the hand as high as possible along the backstrap. The second contact point requires getting the middle finger of the shooting hand high against the trigger guard. A low grip allows pistol recoil to move the gun in the hand.

The support hand provides the third point of contact, Here, shooters should place the index finger of the support hand against the trigger guard along the shooting hand. At the same time, shooters should point the thumbs downrange toward the target. This helps index the pistol and ensures the support hand is at a 45 degree angle. This is important because the support hand performs most of the work in a two-hand shooting grip.

Proper Pistol Grip Relies Greatly on Support Hand

Many shooters don’t realize that the support hand should control the majority of the pressure during the grip. In fact, Michel claims the support hand pressure should be around 60 to 70 percent; the shooting hand holds at about 30 to 40 percent pressure. This allows, according to Michel, the trigger finger to more naturally pull for the shot. He compares the amount of pressure needed for the shooting hand to holding and swinging a hammer. The support hand should have double the pressure.

All this combines to provide good grip that allows shooters to properly place the finger on the trigger. This is crucial to both accuracy and speed. Shooters need to center the middle pad of the finger along the trigger. Too much or too little allows shooters to push the pistol to the right or left, disturbing the sight picture. This leads to misses, which means an irritation in training, a loss in competition and a disaster in a self-defense situation.

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