Know How

How To Grip A Pistol

If you’re reading this article, you’re likely on a quest to enhance your marksmanship skills with a handgun. You’re in luck because this guide will take you through the essential aspects of how to shoot a pistol properly, complete with examples of what not to do. So, grab your unloaded firearm, and let’s dive into the world of pistol shooting!

The Basics of a Solid Pistol Grip

A crucial foundation for accurate and consistent shooting lies in your pistol grip. Think of it as an extension of your body that ensures better control over recoil and overall firing precision. Follow these steps to achieve the perfect grip:

1. Start with Your Non-Dominant Hand

Hold the gun in your non-dominant hand and place your dominant hand as high as possible on the grip’s back strap without obstructing the slide’s movement.

2. Minimize Muzzle Flip

By keeping your hand high, you mitigate muzzle flip—the upward movement of the muzzle when the pistol is fired. This leads to better recoil control and improved accuracy.

3. Extend Your Arm

To maximize the grip’s effectiveness, keep your arm outstretched in line with the pistol.

4. Support Hand Positioning

Nestle your support hand thumb forward just under your strong hand thumb. Wrap your fingers around the grip starting from below the trigger guard.

5. Ideal Support Hand Angle

Aim to grip the support hand at around a 45-degree angle, covering as much grip surface as possible. Ensure the back knuckle of your support thumb runs parallel to the frame.

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6. Avoid Slide Interference

Be cautious not to obstruct the slide with your fingers or hand, as this can hinder the gun’s proper cycling. Also, keep your hands clear of the slide lock to prevent interference with the slide’s locking mechanism.

7. Trigger Finger Placement

Place your trigger finger halfway up the first section of your finger, ensuring equal pressure from all contact points on the gun.

Dispelling Grip Misconceptions

Palm Under Magwell and Index Finger Forward

Holding the pistol with one palm under the mag well or extending an index finger in front of the trigger guard might appear in movies, but they’re not recommended techniques. These positions can compromise accuracy and lead to less reliable shots.

Gangster Style

Holding your gun sideways might seem cool, but it won’t do anything for accuracy and can even make your firearm less reliable due to ejection issues.

Testing and Refining Your Grip

Consistency and Grip Strength

A solid grip ensures consistent shooting. If you struggle to hit your target consistently, it could be due to a weak grip. Practice gripping the gun firmly.

Dry Firing for Improved Trigger Control

Your trigger pull should involve equal, gradual pressure straight backward. Dry firing can help you identify any flinching tendencies before hitting the range.

Shooting One-Handed and Handling a Revolver

One-Handed Shooting

Shooting one-handed is more challenging due to reduced points of contact. Maintain a straight-arm stance with your wrist aligned to improve recoil management.

Shooting a Revolver

Revolver shooting follows similar principles as pistols. However, avoid placing your hands around the cylinder to prevent exposure to escaping gases and potential burns.

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A solid grip is paramount for effective pistol shooting. Focus on perfecting your grip and trigger control for noticeable improvements in your marksmanship. Practice diligently, and over time, you’ll become a more skilled and confident shooter.


Q1: Why is grip important in pistol shooting?

A proper grip enhances control over recoil, leading to improved accuracy and consistent firing.

Q2: Can I use the index finger in front of the trigger guard?

While some experienced shooters prefer it, it’s not recommended for new shooters due to potential accuracy issues.

Q3: Is shooting sideways effective?

No, holding your gun sideways hampers accuracy and can make ejection less reliable.

Q4: How do I improve my trigger control?

Practice dry firing to develop better trigger control and identify any flinches.

Q5: How to grip a pistol grip putter

With a pistol grip putter, use an exaggerated version of a proper handgun grip – thumbs pressed forward below the shaft, both hands gripping tightly to prevent twisting or flipping at impact. Keep elbows tucked into the sides.

Q6: What is the correct pistol grip?

The ideal pistol grip has the dominant hand high on the grip applying rearward pressure while the support hand firmly grips the lower area. Fingers on dominant hand wrap firmly around grip without thumbs crossing. This allows maximum control and recoil mitigation.

Q7: Can I apply the same principles to revolver shooting?

Yes, many grip fundamentals apply to revolvers as well. Avoid placing your hands around the cylinder to prevent burns from escaping gases.

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