One of the problems I see most often in my firearms training classes is the student not using the proper grip on his or her handgun. Gripping improperly can cause missed targets, malfunctions and even injuries. The grip must be firm, but not so tight that your hand is trembling. A two handed grip on guns is a “love-hate” or push-pull arrangement. Actually the same applies also to rifles and shotguns.
Years ago when I was working in a “big box” sporting goods store, a father with his 10 year old son came in. The father told me his son already had his own 22 rifle. Now dad wanted his son to have a shotgun, but the slightly built boy had become fearful of the recoil from his dad’s 12 gauge pump. Dad asked me about getting a 20 gauge or 410 gauge in a “youth model.” I did recommend the youth model as the stock is shorter to fit the shorter arms. Popular gun manufacturers often have the exact same model as sold to adults; they just make the stock shorter. An adult sized stock can be installed in just a few more years.
Even more important is the “grip” the young man was using. I pulled a youth model down off the rack, opened the action, showed them it was empty and with dad’s permission, handed the young man the gun. Kneeling down next to him, I explained how to push forward with the hand holding the forearm, while pulling back on the grip with his other hand. I also instructed him to ALWAYS keep his finger OFF the trigger until ready to shoot. Pushing forward with the front will absorb a lot of the recoil. I also showed him how to hold the stock firmly against his shoulder, so the gun would not punch him when it fired. Dad bought the youth sized 12 gauge, and the boy’s smile lit up the store as they left. The next day, the father and son came back in. They were anxious and excited to tell me about shooting some doves the day before and now the young man was no longer fearful of the shotgun!
Gripping a handgun should be the same, only you have both hands wrapped around the grip and trigger guard. Especially on semi auto pistols, the grip must be high on the back strap but not so high that the slide comes back and hits your hand (I can demonstrate this much better in class!). Gripping your gun too low can cause all kinds of problems. Again, the grip is a push pull affair so that one hand does not absorb all the recoil. We cover proper handgun grip in my classes, along with tons of other information so my students can safely and properly use a firearm.
Have a plan. In my Home Defense Class, I teach you how to have a plan, in case of a home invasion. What would you do? Imagine awakening during the night to discover some demented, drug-crazed thug has broken into your home. Do you have a gun? Is it loaded? Is it locked up somewhere? Can you get to it in time? Do you know how to use it safely and properly? Yes, you need to call 911, but after all, when seconds count, the cops are only minutes away.
Recently in North Carolina, an eleven year old girl retreated into an upstairs closet when she heard two men breaking into her home. She dialed 911, but when the two bad guys forced open the closet door, they found themselves staring down the bad end of a 12 gauge shotgun! The brave criminals fled the home and were arrested a short time later.
Out west, a 14 year old young man followed the plan his parents had taught him. When two thugs broke in the front door in broad daylight, the 14 year old took his 6 year old brother and retreated to a closet. In the closet were a 22 caliber rifle and a cell phone. Same as above, when the thugs opened the closet door and saw the rifle, they fled like scared rabbits.
These stories never seem to get published in the mainstream media. I find them at www.Gunsamerica.com
Paul Foreman is a retired Deputy Sheriff, and a NRA Certified Firearms Instructor. Paul can be reached through his web site, www.PaulForeman.com.
By: Paul Foreman