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Posted:  10/5/2012 8:02 AM #34447
CTD Blogger

Joined: 7/14/2009
Posts: 10828
Last Post: 8/20/2014
Subject: Grip & Trigger Pull
From The Well Armed Woman Getting a proper grip on your firearm is very important. Your firearm must become an extension of your hand and arm, it replaces the finger in pointing at an object. It effects your sighting (aim), your balance, your ability to work the hammer (on a revolver) to pull the trigger, to work safety mechanism (if your gun has one) and to absorb much of the recoil with as little discomfort as possible and your safety. There are some slight differences between the grip for a revolver and that of a semiautomatic pistol.

For self defense, a two handed grip is always better. It is however recommended to get comfortable gripping and shooting your gun one handed as well, in both dominant and non-dominant hands. This is in the event you are somehow disabled and forced to shoot one handed. The support hand stabilizes the handgun and makes the shooter more accurate. 

Because two hands are involved, each hand has it's own place and function in the grip. 

You want a firm and solid grip for maximum control and accuracy. Don't be shy and offer your weapon a limp handshake! Grab on and hold firmly! The higher the hand on the grip and the straighter the alignment of the barrel of your gun and your arm, the better a "shock absorber" your hand and arm are. This means you will have much better control over muzzle jump (the tendency for the barrel to rise quickly upon firing) and be better able to handle recoil. While you should grip the gun as high as possible on the grip, A revolver will not set in your hand the same as a semi automatic pistol due to the differences in design. On a revolver it will sit back and down a little more than on your semiautomatic pistol. This becomes increasingly prevalent the larger the revolver you shoot.



The grip for the revolver (whether for one handed or two handed grip) starts with placing the gun in your dominant hand with it pressed all the way into the web of your hand, high on the backstrap. The top of the barrel of the gun should be in line with your forearm which should be in line with the "V" created by your thumb and index finger. Your trigger finger lies flat along the frame of the gun and does not enter the trigger guard. 

For Single Action Shooting, in which you must cock the hammer to chamber the round, your thumb should be placed high on the side of the frame for access to cock the hammer.

For Double Action Shooting, in which there is either no external hammer to cock or cocking the hammer is not required, the grip is the same, but hte thumb is dropped down to grasp the handle to provide maximum leverage for the longer, harder trigger pull of a double action revolver.


For a two handed grip, the second, non dominant hand simply will wrap firmly around the shooting hand.This steadies the grip, allows for proper trigger pull and helps to absorb recoil and prepare for another round. The thumb of the supporting hand can be placed on top of the strong hand thumb and in the case of a single action revolver, be used to pull the hammer back.


When a semiautomatic pistol is fired, the slide will kick backward and forward with great power and speed, not a place you want your hand to be! So the grips on semiautomatics are designed to provide a shelf or hood that will keep your hand from crossing into this area.

Again, the higher the hand on the grip and the straighter the alignment of the barrel of your firearm andyour arm, the better a "shock absorber" your hand and arm are. This means you will have much better control over muzzle jump (the tendency for the barrel to rise quickly upon firing) and be better able you are to handle recoil. When gripping your semiautomatic pistol, you should see your flesh wrinkle some behind the backstrap and under the shelf or hood.

The gun is placed into the "V" created and firmly into the web of your hand. Your thumb is high and slightly curled downward to provide added grip strength and to rest under the safety mechanism (if your gun has one) for easy access. Your trigger finger lies flat along the frame of the gun and does not enter the trigger guard.

When you raise your arms to a firing position you will apply forward pressure (push) with the firing hand and pull rearward with the non-firing hand with equal pressure. This creates a stabilizing tension that steadies the weapon and reduces barrel rise from recoil. The supporting arm is bent with the elbow pulled downward. The firing arm is fully extended with the elbow and wrist locked. As you practice, you will need to experiment with these two pressures to find the right amount pressure that works for you.

Your gun will always be moving to one degree or another. No one, not even the best shooters can hold a gun perfectly still while they are shooting. A good strong grip and proper sight alignment will have the gun lined up on the target. Keep it in that zone and smoothly squeeze the trigger.


You want to get as close as you can to having the first joint of your trigger finger on the trigger. This will not only give you better leverage on the trigger, but it will also help to have a clean and straight trigger pull, front to back. Not having "enough" finger on the trigger will tend to result in shots going to the left and having the finger too far onto the trigger results with shots going to the right. (Right handed shooter) 

You already know how, I imagine you pull a trigger many times a week!

Choosing the gun that fits your hand and finger length is critical. A hand-me-down gun is usually not a good choice and the odds are it does not properly fit your hand. The same holds true if you are given a firearm as a gift.

Revolvers and semiautomatic pistols have different trigger pulls and these can vary model to model. Semiautomatic pistols tend to have lighter, quicker trigger pulls and revolvers will have a longer harder trigger pull. A double action revolver will have a very long and hard trigger pull. Revolvers typically do not have external safety mechanisms so the long, hard trigger pull acts as the safety as you must really intend to pull the trigger to fire the firearm.

Your trigger finger is extended along the frame of the gun until you have sighted your target and are ready to shoot. Once you decide to pull the trigger, keep it the trigger moving, do not try to control it or "stage" it. Pull firmly and with consistent pressure. You are either pulling or not, so don't begin the trigger pull until you are fully prepared to shoot your gun. Once you do - let the trigger return to it complete forward position without trying to stop or slow its progression.


It is very common, especially with new shooters to "jerk" the trigger. This really is a mental issue not a physical one. Anticipation and timidity are the culprits. Be confident in your sight, and commit to pull the trigger and pull it smoothly and firmly. This "jerk" habit must be mentally trained out of you. If left un-corrected, missing your target will be an ongoing issue and minimize your effectiveness in protecting yourself or the satisfaction of hitting your practice targets.


Many times a simple adjustment in your grip or trigger pull can make a world of difference in your accuracy. If you are struggling to hit your practice target after a reasonable amount of practice, professional instruction is recommended. It is difficult for us to personally see the necessary tweaks to correct what we are doing. It takes a trained professional with a trained eye to help us make the necessary corrections.

Right Handed Shooter Mistakes                                                       Left Handed Shooter Mistakes

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