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Thread: Grip, trigger control and trigger speed

  1. #1

    Grip, trigger control and trigger speed

    The goal of practical shooting is to hit what you are aiming at, as fast as possible. Lately, I have been thinking about the relationship of grip to trigger control and trigger speed. It seems complicated, and likely different, depending on where you are in your development process.

    In the beginning, we just want to hit what we aim at. As Rob Leatham demonstrates, if you have good trigger control, it doesn’t matter how you hold the pistol — it can be upside down with two fingers, and you can hit your target. Unfortunately, trigger control doesn’t come in the box with the pistol, and as shooters we are or should be working to improve and retain our trigger control, as long as we are serious about shooting. When our trigger control is less developed, it helps to grip the pistol firmly, so a less than perfect press has less chance of moving the pistol out of alignment with the target. This is especially so with a lightweight pistol with a relatively long and heavy trigger pull. I believe shooters can do pretty well, hitting what they are aiming at, if they have a very strong grip on the pistol. That may break down when they go to shoot with just one hand, and that might be a reasonable diagnostic test of pure trigger control.

    The other advantage of a strong grip is recoil control. All things equal (meaning technique), the harder you hold the pistol, the less the pistol moves in recoil. As you grip the pistol harder and harder, though, it can become more difficult to move the trigger quickly. At that point, you need to try to understand how your grip is interrelated to your trigger control, trigger speed, and recoil control. The obvious way to measure this is points per second.

    I got to the point where holding the pistol too hard became a major problem for me. I didn’t need that grip to help trigger control, and the tension impaired my ability to shoot fast splits. My pistol was very flat in recoil, but my splits were slower than they should be. The first thing I did was experiment shooting 25 yards groups with much less grip force, and I noticed no degradation there. Actually, what I did notice was it was easier to shoot tight groups quickly because there was less tension in my strong hand. Then I tried to assess how the gun moved in recoil. Not surprisingly, since there is generally no free lunch, the pistol moved more in recoil. What I was surprised to discover was while the pistol moved more, it also returned quicker, making it ready to shoot earlier. Finally, less tension, especially in my strong hand, made it easier to move the trigger quickly. An unintended benefit was it improved my draw, because I have so much less tension in my arms.

    I am now at the point of doing those 10,000 repetitions, or what is required, to burn less grip tension into my subconscious. It might be worthwhile to think about your own grip and how you think that interacts with your trigger control and trigger speed.
    Likes pretty much everything in every caliber.

  2. #2
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    Very interesting. Thanks for taking the time to articulate this point.

    In a podcast with Mike Seeklander, Eric Grauffel said he also uses a more relaxed grip. If I recall, Graufell said his relaxed grip is more sustainable during very long practice sessions and/or matches. Here's the podcast if anyone is interested.
    https://americanwarriorshow.libsyn.c...s-best-shooter

    There appears to be much more to grip than just "squeeze it as hard as you can".

  3. #3
    Quote Originally Posted by Mark D View Post
    Very interesting. Thanks for taking the time to articulate this point.

    In a podcast with Mike Seeklander, Eric Grauffel said he also uses a more relaxed grip. If I recall, Graufell said his relaxed grip is more sustainable during very long practice sessions and/or matches. Here's the podcast if anyone is interested.
    https://americanwarriorshow.libsyn.c...s-best-shooter

    There appears to be much more to grip than just "squeeze it as hard as you can".
    I agree that it isn’t “just squeeze as hard as you can.” Experimentation is warranted to figure out what is your optimal amount of grip to achieve maximum points per second.
    Likes pretty much everything in every caliber.

  4. #4
    I think Clusterfrack made this point in another thread but in my view once you reach the point where the gun does not shift around inside your hands under recoil, and the hands don't separate, there's not much to be gained by gripping harder and harder. I also think there are a lot of little nuances that make this easier to achieve or harder to achieve depending on your grip strength. I don't have particularly strong forearms but if I get my hand placement right, I can achieve that surprisingly easily (without any pec squeezing, push-pulling, or arm torquing) vs when I was in the mindset that I should just crush the gun. Now I think the next logical step is to see how much strong hand pressure I can remove while still maintaining an effective grip.

  5. #5
    Site Supporter CCT125US's Avatar
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    Excellent. I continually work on accurate speed. One of my personal tests is my hit factor drill. Ran several reps today, and I can attest that being more relaxed and working the trigger properly is a good thing for me.
    SWYNTS
    Just because it "feels good", doesn't mean it's best.

  6. #6
    King of Craft Clusterfrack's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by GJM View Post
    ...shooters can do pretty well, hitting what they are aiming at, if they have a very strong grip on the pistol.

    The other advantage of a strong grip is recoil control. All things equal (meaning technique), the harder you hold the pistol, the less the pistol moves in recoil.
    ...

    ...with much less grip force,... ...the pistol moved more, it also returned quicker, making it ready to shoot earlier.
    Very interesting thread. I went along a similar path. If a shooter has a very weak grip, recoil control will be poor. However I now question whether a very strong grip has much to do with recoil control--if one can learn to manage wrist and arm tension separately from grip force. As well, we need to separately address passive recoil control, and actively returning the gun after recoil.

    In the other thread, I wrote about:

    Quote Originally Posted by Clusterfrack View Post
    1) Confusion between gripping hard and locking the wrist. It is not obvious that these can be done independently unless you work on it.

    2) Confusion between gripping the gun hard and returning the gun after recoil. These are not the same thing, and aren't directly related unless the gun is slipping inside the grip, or the grip is coming apart.

    3) Confusion between how everyone needs to grip guns, and how a particular gun fits one person's hand.
    "BJJ is sort of like nonconsensual yoga"
    "You don’t really graduate from certain problems or certain things… like you always have to work on trigger control and pulling the trigger straight. " --Ben Stoeger 1/24/2018

  7. #7
    King of Craft Clusterfrack's Avatar
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    Grip, trigger control and trigger speed

    Right now, my training has been focused on doing everything (draws, transitions, movement, grip, returning the gun, etc.) with as much relaxation as possible, while maintaining just the necessary tension.

    I’m starting to get good results, but it’s taken a long time. Here’s a draw-2 and 4 Aces:


    "BJJ is sort of like nonconsensual yoga"
    "You don’t really graduate from certain problems or certain things… like you always have to work on trigger control and pulling the trigger straight. " --Ben Stoeger 1/24/2018

  8. #8
    Quote Originally Posted by GJM View Post
    I am now at the point of doing those 10,000 repetitions,
    So, you'll be done by the end of this week, eh?



    As I am halfway through a 22 oz bottle of my favorite 10% ABV beer, I find myself in a philosophical mood. I think everything is relative. What's harder? What's softer?

    - Hey, Ben, how hard do you grip?

    - Hard, but not that hard. Nothing like Vogel.

    - Hey, Ben, can you squeeze my arm with your left hand like you'd hold a gun. K, thanks, you can let go. I can't generate that much force with my support hand at all.


    That's the support hand talk, which is less controversial but we shouldn't exclude that the same applies to a strong hand pressure. I have lightened my strong side grip as well, but I try not to go by some specific perceived amount of force that I am applying. My current goal is to grip as hard as I can without causing two things:
    - inability to move trigger finger freely
    - printing left / low left on a target.

    I may change my mind later. Maybe as soon as I finish that beer.
    “Well," said Pooh, "what I like best," and then he had to stop and think. Because although Eating Honey was a very good thing to do, there was a moment just before you began to eat it which was better than when you were, but he didn't know what it was called.

  9. #9
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    Grip is a funny thing because it’s so ridiculously subjective. We don’t yet have an objective way to really measure it, we have to do everything by feel. When we were new shooters we definitely needed to grip the pistol harder because we simply weren’t supporting the gun enough. As we figure stuff out, we become adept at gripping enough. What was “gripping hard” before is now simply “Tuesday’s dryfire session”. Cluster and GJM are totally right, there’s a point where gripping harder simply doesn’t do anything for you and begins to hinder you.

    I’ve played with different grip pressures and it’s interesting. I’ve found that I typically WAY over grip with my strong hand. In relaxing just the strong hand it’s absolutely mind blowing to me how relaxed that hand can be while still getting good hits at speed. My support hand still needs to maintain pretty stout pressure, but not quite so much as I once thought.

    This is where immobilizing your wrists becomes key. I say immobilizing instead of “locking” your wrists because, as humans, we can’t actually mechanically lock our joints like other animals can. This is where I’m at currently in figuring out how to do this in a consistent and repeatable manner. If I can figure out how to do this, it’ll be really interesting to see how much I can relax behind the gun.

    Another step in this whole deal that I’ve heard other high level shooters talk about is implementing some sort of push-pull dynamic, but from a modern thumbs forward isosceles grip. Shooters like Eric Grauffel and Hwansik Kim. I’ve tried this before, but with not much success.

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by GJM View Post
    Then I tried to assess how the gun moved in recoil. Not surprisingly, since there is generally no free lunch, the pistol moved more in recoil. What I was surprised to discover was while the pistol moved more, it also returned quicker, making it ready to shoot earlier. Finally, less tension, especially in my strong hand, made it easier to move the trigger quickly. An unintended benefit was it improved my draw, because I have so much less tension in my arms.
    So, like, how much more are you allowing the pistol to move now vs when you were keeping it flatter yet slower?

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