Handgun Grips: What To Do And What Not To Do

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December 25, 2020 / Comments (3)

Gun Safety Guns & Weapons

Are you having trouble hitting the marks during shooting practice? You might be holding the gun wrong. Here are the best and worst types of handgun grips for all kinds of shooters to use!

RELATED: A 5 Step Shooting Training Regimen To Become A Better Shooter

The Best and Worst Handgun Grips to Use When Shooting a Gun

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Bad: Thumbs Crossed Behind Slide

Human hand holding gun, hand aiming a handgun, .45 pistol. | complete dedication

Keeping the thumbs crossed behind the gun’s slide feels comfortable. That’s why many rookies opt to hold their guns this way. However, if you’re shooting a semi-automatic pistol, crossing your thumbs behind the slide can lead to a bloody, painful wound.

The slide of a semi-automatic pistol flicks backward as the trigger is pulled. This is the recoil produced by the slide’s spring that pushes it back as the pistol blows out a bullet.


Your supporting finger could get caught by the bottom edge of the slide if you keep your fingers behind the slide. Note that the thick, heavy pistol slide is loaded by a powerful spring-like mechanism, so it’ll leave more than just a scratch if it catches the edge of your skin.

What to Do:

Make sure to maintain composure if you cut yourself while shooting a pistol. Dropping the gun after the shot will just lead to more accidents.

The gun probably won’t go off, but it might land on your toes. Talk about a double whammy!

Instead, flick the safety switch on and gently lay it down on a flat surface. Afterward, wash the wound with soap and water, treat with disinfectant, then wrap with a quality bandage.

USPATRIOTGEAR TSHIRT

Good: Thumbs Stacked on Top of One Side of the Gun

Instead of crossing your thumbs behind the pistol’s slide, opt to stack them on top of each other on the side—it doesn’t matter whether you choose the left or right side. This handgun grip makes it easier to control the gun and keeps your fingers away from the slide during recoil.

Bad: The Teacup Grip

Man aiming a gun in a dark ghetto street | handgun grip

We’ve all seen this in 90s cop films. The hard-boiled cop or detective corners the criminal, he whips out his trusty pistol, assumes a seemingly judicious and precise teacup grip, then proceeds to shoot the enemy. Is it really a good grip?

The teacup grip is where the supporting hand cradles the dominant hand and is resting under the gun’s grip. It was a standard among old-school military personnel.

It might seem correct, but trust us, it’s not. Having your supporting hand cradling the grip greatly cuts your recoil support and compromises your control over the gun.

If you’re going to insist on using the teacup grip, you might as well shoot with one hand.

What to Do:

Shooting with a teacup grip will most likely cause you to lose control over your gun. If this happens to you, try your best not to drop the gun or shoot anything you’re not supposed to.

On the other hand, if a fellow shooter insists on shooting with a teacup grip, stay away from them. Trust us, you wouldn’t want to be anywhere near them when the gun goes off and they don’t have full control over it.

Good: Both Hands on the Gun

Grab the pistol’s grip firmly with two hands and each palm firmly pressed against the grip. This is the best way to gain proper control over your gun, absorb recoil efficiently, and improve shooting accuracy.

Bad: Index Finger Resting in Front of the Trigger Guard

Man holding gun in hand, the ship ready to shoot for self defense the criminal concept | gun stocks

We’ve heard shooters say that placing the index finger on the trigger guard allows one to gain better recoil control when shooting. Some even go as far as to use this grip in competitions.

Is there any truth to these statements? This kind of handgun grip might work for some people, but it’s not something the majority of newbie and experienced shooters should add to their mix of favorite custom handgun grips.

Placing your finger in front of the trigger guard compromises the strength of your overall grip. This will cause the gun to slightly shift to the side of the supporting hand when you shoot it.

Good: Fingers Wrapped Around Dominant Hand

For maximum recoil control and shooting precision, wrap your fingers around the dominant hand. Make sure both sides of the grip are firm and steady. Remember that the gun will always shift to the side if there are any gaps or inconsistencies with your grip of choice.

Bad: One-Handed Shooting

Ripped man with gun against grey background | gear accessories

One-handed shooting is one of the most popular—and infamous— handgun grips. It’s often used to emphasize the strength and vigor of the protagonist. However, many shooting experts are against the practice of shooting with just one hand.

Different shooters have varying opinions, but what we can all agree on is that one-handed shooting is not safe for beginners to use. It leaves one prone to accidents, misfires, and injuries.

Unless you’re an experienced shooter and are guided by a knowledgeable mentor, we do not advise practicing one-handed shooting.

What to do:

You can reduce the recoil damage on your dominant arm by bending the elbows a bit. Just make sure not to bend too far. Otherwise, you’ll compromise your overall shooting accuracy, precision, and control.

Safety Note: You can try shooting handguns with one hand, but don’t ever attempt to try one-handed shooting on a shotgun. The Terminator may have been able to pull it off, but the average shooter won’t. A lot of people have already hurt themselves trying out this stunt.

Overall, the best way to see what handgun grips work for you is through exploration. Ask your shooting mentor or browse through the net to learn more about how different shooters grip their handguns. There are dozens of options to try out!

Here’s an infographic guide that you can use. Feel free to download, save and share it with your loved ones:

Combat Pistol Grip

Whatever you do, however, do not blindly imitate action movie characters. Some of the weirdest and dumbest handgun grips we’ve seen are those that come straight out of unrealistic, fictional flicks. Remember: just because the grip looks badass doesn’t mean it’s good.

What are the best and worst handgun grips you’ve seen shooters use in real life? Share your thoughts with us in the comments section below!

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3 Responses to :
Handgun Grips: What To Do And What Not To Do

  1. Litolff Jr Edwin W says:

    I’m already a subscriber

  2. GlennVA says:

    I’m 76 and pretty efficient with handguns. I started, practice and utilize the one hand technique. Maybe it’s my age, but one handed never failed me on the course or in Viet Nam.

  3. DEFENDER says:

    Or seek out a Certified Instructor.

    What he is trying to describe is called the “Modern Professional Grip” or “Combat Grip”.
    ie Both thumbs forward.

    For controlling the gun(Firm/Steady Control and Recoil Recovery) in rapid fire.

    Most All Combat Competition shooters now use this grip.

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