Let’s return to a familiar topic before everyone gets their Christmas guns. No single marksmanship fault impacts as many shooters as improper grip. In my book, The Perfect Pistol Shot (Amazon) I discuss the elements of a good grip, and in this blog, on several occasions, we have discussed the need for a light grip. But let’s take another look at grip solely from the standpoint of pressure. How much pressure is really needed? To begin, we have to know the reasons for applying pressure to a handgun, or any object for that matter. The purpose is allow the firearm to be held in the hand and adjusted for the purpose of sighting and operation. We don’t want to drop the handgun, right? But we don’t want to drop cell phones, babies, or pencils either. Do we hold an 8 pound babe as if he weighs 100 pounds? If we do, we’ll rightly go to prison for murdering a child. Our cell phones are held lightly because if we squeeze them tightly they will shake and make it difficult to use the key pad. In other words, we only use enough pressure to hold the object in place. Someone will scream about recoil at this point but recoil management has very little to do with the hands. Recoil is the direct rearward force from the explosion of the round. It is the shooter’s body that manages recoil not the hands. Bad posture exaggerates recoil but that has nothing to do with the hands. How much pressure does a 40 oz. handgun need to hold it in place? About 40 oz. Any pressure applied to an object beyond what is necessary to hold that object will be dispersed through movement. Energy is movement. Extra energy, that is energy not absorbed by the task of holding weight, will be shed in the form of extraneous movement. This applies to every human being and physical object in the universe. If a man grips an aircraft carrier and squeezes with all his might the ship will not move but the man will shake violently. If the man over-grip a handgun, the gun will shake. People outweigh guns and therefore the majority of extraneous energy is dispersed by the lighter firearm. I have instructed more shooters than I can count and I have never seen over-grip improve a single shooter, but I have seen hundreds of shooters improve accuracy by lightening their grip. There’s no argument here. The less you impose yourself on your handgun the less movement and negative influence you will experience.

So how much pressure should you use when gripping your handgun? Only enough to keep the weapon in place between shots and not one ounce more.

I wish you all a very Merry Christmas.

The Author
Albert League is a former Marine and law enforcement firearm instructor who consults on a variety of security topics.