Opinion: What is the best pistol grip?

Let’s examine the pros and cons of each of these currently taught two-handed pistol grips in less than 500-words.

Cup and saucer

Cup and saucer

Cup and saucer, 007-style.

Now here’s an old school grip that we have no business teaching in the new school. This handgun grip, quite literally, needs to get a grip.

Simply put, the support hand does virtually nothing of consequence holding the bottom of the pistol in this manner.  It’s almost like shooting one-handed.  (You might as well say, “tallyho” and stick your pinky finger in the air too.)

Thumbs crossed

thumbs crossed handgun grip

Crossed thumbs pistol grip (photo: Liberty Firearms Training).

Some shooters cross their thumbs when they shoot.  I think it has more to do with these folks not knowing what to do with their primate knobs (a.k.a. opposing thumbs) than actual technique, although I can’t deny that I know this has been taught as a serious grip method by serious instructors (and can have seriously painful consequences if you aren’t careful of the slide when shooting semi-autos).

On one hand (no pun intended) I can see how some shooters might surmise that crushing their thumbs together will allow for greater stability.  Additionally, I have seen this grip work decently on certain revolvers.  But really it does not add as much control as you might think just by looking at it.  It just puts more pressure against the one thumb and ultimately this uneven pressure doesn’t snug the gun frame in your mitts.

Thumbs down

Thumbs down pistol grip

Thumbs down handgun grip (photo: USCCA).

In my opinion, if you’re shooting a revolver, crossing your thumbs or gripping thumbs down is the way to go.  I go thumbs down when blasting revolvers instead of my normal thumbs forward grip.  Why? Because there’s a possibility of a hot load or even regular rounds not being too nice to your skin if your thumb is near the cylinder.

With a semi-auto pistol however, putting your thumbs down can cause you to accidentally depress the mag release on ambi models.  This happens sometimes for right handed shooters using this grip and often/always for lefties.

But the biggest problem in my assessment with the thumbs down position is that the shooter isn’t taking full advantage of the physics when it comes to stabilizing the entire frame of the pistol for better control.

Thumbs forward

Thumbs forward pistol grip

Thumbs forward pistol grip (photo: Jeffrey Denning).

When the thumbs forward grip is done correctly, there is absolute control of the weapon.  With the wrist canted forward at a 45-degree angle, the wrist locks into position and keeps the gun from hopping around.

If you haven’t guessed, my favorite grip is the thumbs forward grip.  It works the best for me, and regardless of your own preferences and shooting abilities, I’m sure it will work very well for you.

The views and opinions expressed in this post are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the position of Guns.com.

Safety warning: Jeffrey Denning is a long time professional in the art of self-defense and any training methods or information he describes in his articles are intended to be put into practice only by serious shooters with proper training.  Please read, but do not attempt anything posted here without first seeking out proper training.