Pistol Add-ons Part 3 Handgun fit, getting a grip.

In Part 2 of this series we talked about some upgrades that should be considered. In this article we will talk about handgun fit, which probably should have been part of your purchase decision, I apologize.

Your pistol needs to fit your hand correctly. If it is too small or too large you will not have a proper grip and will have trouble aligning to the target.

I recommend you contact a training academy near you and set a time to visit an experienced instructor and ask for help getting a proper grip on your handgun. They should be willing to guide you in this well before you take a class. This way you can get the most out of the training when you go. Every one of the instructors I know personally will do this for free. I do not recommend the local gun / pawn shop or big box retailer for this information. There are too many incorrect theories out there.

With the grip you need to consider your whole hand. Your palm and fingers combined. Make sure it fits your hand. You need to be able to wrap around the entire pistol and properly reach the trigger, safety, magazine release and, if applicable, de-cocker with minimal (or better yet, no) hand movement. All combines for controlling the weapon and the best recoil management.

The trigger location and web of hand location is critical for control
No grip modification is going to make this backup gun work as a primary one.
This is just way too small of a fit. Yes, it can work as a backup pistol. It’s the fit we are talking about here.

Replacing grips (or “stocks” as they are called on revolvers) used to be common. The manufacturers couldn’t know your hand size. They had to go with the one size fits most theory. Replacement grips can be thinner, thicker, wrap around, with or without finger grooves.

Here are some 1911 grip thicknesses. Notice the cut outs for your thumb at the top of them.
Here are two different revolver stock styles. Thank you 417 Guns for letting me take a picture.
Some people use rubber sleeves. I don’t recommend them. They don’t add much.

Today many pistols come with replaceable back-straps and side panels to create a better hold of the gun. If your weapon came with them, you should, with an unloaded gun, experiment and see which ones make the pistol fit your hands better.

Glocks now come with a variety of backstraps

Ideally, with a semi-automatic pistol, you will have no space in the back of the handgun

The blue circle indicates no gap, this is proper.
The red circle points out the gap, this is not good.

Your thumbs will be able to wrap around and either point forward or “flag” up.

One hand grip with thumb flagged up and trigger properly reached.
Two handed grip, thumbs forward, no gaps.

Your trigger finger should fit on the trigger, through the entire length of pull in one of two places, depending on the school or thought you are taught. The first is the pad of the tip of your trigger finger, the second choice (normally used on revolvers and pistols with long trigger pulls) is the joint of your trigger finger.

The pad of the finger on single action and striker fired handguns is probably the best location.
The hammer is down. Revolvers and double-action triggers have a long and heavy pull and may require the finger be deeper.
When the trigger is pulled all the way back, I almost require my first joint to be on the trigger. It can and does cause me issues.
This image for the internet gives an idea of what happens with improper trigger finger placement.

When you have a proper two-handed grip on the gun, your wrist should be almost perpendicular to the barrel, locked out. They should not be twisted in or out. The point is for the entire body to absorb the recoil. If your wrist is pointed in or out too much, they take more of the recoil and can easily shift the gun, causing you to fix you grip between shots.

Proper wrist alignment, centered in web of hand and no gaps.
Improper fit, the wrist are not aligned, the web is not centered and there are gaps in the thumbs and palms.

The key here is to find out how your handgun fits you now and what, if anything you need to do in order to get a more solid grip. You may need thicker or thinner grips. You may need to add or remove depth instead of width, or most likely change both width and depth in order to get your individual hands properly around your individual handgun.

There is more to shooting than this. Such things a the right way to “pull” the trigger, the proper way to grip your strong and weak hand palms and fingers, especially the pinky fingers are things that must be mastered in order to shoot accurately. To learn this, we go back to my 2nd paragraph above. You need to take a basics / fundamentals handgun class at an academy that has a good reputation with professional instructors.

Until we meet again, keep your booger hook of the bang switch until you are on target and ready to fire.