Monday, June 27, 2011

Pistol Shooting: Grip, Grip, Grip - That's What It's All About...

...well, almost what it is all about. It certainly was what it was all about for me at the NRA instructor's training course I just completed as far as my shooting went. When the class began on Monday, one of the instructors (an old coot like me, maybe even older than me) asked if anyone in the class had a grip that included wrapping the index finger of the support hand around the front of the trigger guard. No one raised their hand, including me. Later on the range, my coach/instructor and I got a yelling at, a jovial good natured one at that, for me having my left index finger wrapped just that way. That my coach/instructor had not caught it was no surprise, that I had not realized that I held my pistol that way was a surprise. Imagine being that out iof touch with how you do something not to realize how you do it. Chances are that I have been doing it for years and it had become part of my natural grip - so much so that I did not even think about it when asked. I got caught doing it several times over the next 3 days, I think I was broke of it by day 4. Sometimes my coach/instructors saw me doing it; other times one of the instructors for the class would catch me. They frowned on it as a poor grip, they insisted we not use and harped on our us when we were acting as coach/instructors to catch our shooter when he or she was doing it. Each day we were split up into teams of 2, each taking turns, throughout the day, as shooter or as coach/instructor.

Okay, so I stopped doing it. What was the result? Truth be told, the result was that I was shooting better. I had been shooting a bit to the left with each of the handguns I carry on the job - my Glock 26 and my issued SIG 229. How would changing that grip with my index finger around the trigger guard to one with all 4 fingers around the grip change my point of aim? I am guessing that the index finger around the trigger guard was pulling slightly to the left and with it up high around the trigger guard it had enough purchase to twist the grip ever so slightly to the left. I was not using too much trigger finger, I did not change how I applied the old booger picker on the right side, so it seems that had to be it.

I mention the trigger finger because other folks in class obviously had a lot of problems with how they applied pressure to the trigger, almost all of those problems based upon how their trigger fingers connected with the trigger. The important thing for me about both of these points, other than I improved my shooting by improving my grip, is that I was reminded of a couple of very basic things to pay attention to when teaching others the basics, or when trying to correct for deficiencies (aka acquired bad habits) even when it is an experienced shooter who I am overseeing at the range. While the finger being wrapped around the front of the trigger guard is an obvious thing to look for, improper finger/trigger connection is not quite as easy to spot. One tip we were given is to look at how the trigger finger aligns along the frame of the pistol. A bit of space between it and the frame is an indication that just enough finger is on the trigger. On the other hand, if the finger is right up against the frame, chances are there is too much finger on the trigger. This is not a definite for each shooter if only because peoples fingers and hands differ in size as do various pistols. It is simply something by which one can begin to judge whether or not the shooter is getting it right and is one of the first things to look at after the grip when watching a shooter to see if he or she is getting it right.

I have to say, when folks listened to what needed to be corrected, and then did what needed to be done, with regard to their grip and or with regard to trigger push (that is what they are calling it now), their shooting improved markedly. In addition my instructing skills got a well needed reminder.

All the best,
Glenn B

Insomnia, That Old Friend Of Mine...

...has paid me a visit once again. I am hopeful that soon after July 7, the date of my next sleep study, the visits will cease. Time will tell, perhaps.

Back under the covers for me, I need to try to catch some Z's.

All the best,
Glenn B
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