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View Full Version : Handgun grip "comfort" Is it really important besides how it makes you feel?



Ian111
09-18-09, 20:34
Why is how a gun "feels" in your hand so important to some of you? I've owned and shot my share of various handguns too and there seems to be little to no correlation to how good a handgun feels in my hand to how it actually shoots. Hand fit is important. Being able to reach the trigger comfortably is important. The grip not shifting under recoil is important. But why do you believe a more comfortable feeling grip correlates to better shooting?

An Undocumented Worker
09-18-09, 20:53
I'm gonna go out on a limb and say, that at the very least, a comfortable grip helps mentally by helping your brain percieve the gun as just an extension of your arm.

Once you have nailed down the physical skills of shooting, or any sport for that matter. Anything that can help your mind get in the zone and "forget" about the fact that you are using a tool is beneficial.

Business_Casual
09-18-09, 21:32
I think it is stupid, to be perfectly frank.

A lot of non-gun guys join police and military units and shoot whatever is issued to them and they shoot it a damn sight better than 99.99% of the people wasting their time on the Internet, myself included.

I think the whole "feel" thing is a dodge to explain why someone spent money on a pile of second rate pistols. I think it is second only to the witchcraft behind 1911 magazines.

But, hey, I could be wrong. :)

M_P

CaptainDooley
09-18-09, 21:53
I think the whole "feel" thing is a dodge to explain why someone spent money on a pile of second rate pistols. I think it is second only to the witchcraft behind 1911 magazines.

Now that's funny.

John_Wayne777
09-18-09, 21:59
Why is how a gun "feels" in your hand so important to some of you? I've owned and shot my share of various handguns too and there seems to be little to no correlation to how good a handgun feels in my hand to how it actually shoots. Hand fit is important. Being able to reach the trigger comfortably is important. The grip not shifting under recoil is important. But why do you believe a more comfortable feeling grip correlates to better shooting?

I dare say for many "feel" is a term used to describe how a particular pistol fits their hand. While it's possible to shoot anything well given enough practice, if a pistol doesn't fit the user it makes it more difficult for them to use it as well as a pistol that does fit.

"Feel" isn't the same thing as fit, but the two often get lumped together.

skyugo
09-18-09, 22:10
Why is how a gun "feels" in your hand so important to some of you? I've owned and shot my share of various handguns too and there seems to be little to no correlation to how good a handgun feels in my hand to how it actually shoots. Hand fit is important. Being able to reach the trigger comfortably is important. The grip not shifting under recoil is important. But why do you believe a more comfortable feeling grip correlates to better shooting?

in my opinion a comfortable grip is one in which i can reach all the controls easily and control the firearm easily. I guess it just depends how you define comfort. I mean if the thing is hurting your hand with every shot, or after sustained practice that's not going to help you shoot better.
There does of course come a point where you have to shut up and learn to shoot the damn thing though. hence my use and carry of stock glock pistols good enough, and i've got a lot of time and ammo in on em. so i ain't changing!

dookie1481
09-18-09, 22:10
Why is how a gun "feels" in your hand so important to some of you? I've owned and shot my share of various handguns too and there seems to be little to no correlation to how good a handgun feels in my hand to how it actually shoots. Hand fit is important. Being able to reach the trigger comfortably is important. The grip not shifting under recoil is important. But why do you believe a more comfortable feeling grip correlates to better shooting?

Having come to the realization that I shoot a Glock better than a M&P, I don't think it is that important anymore.

Jay

IMSHAKN
09-18-09, 22:32
I feel that a gun that I find to be comfortable is one that I want to shoot more, I shoot more consistently, and I shoot better. Sure I can pick up a pistol and shoot it proficiently, but a gun that I truly find comfortable such as the M&P I'm in love with I can shoot it all day long consistently as it seems to fall into my hand the same way every time. It's like a glove that just fits. I can fire 300 rounds with my M&P on an extended range session, but after firing maybe 50-100 rounds through a Glock I find that my groupings just are not as consistent due to increased fatigue.

That's my perspective on this. I feel that with sufficient training you should be able to shoot well with most any pistol using basic fundamentals of good shooting. Whether it be a psychological or a physical issue due to the ergonomics of the weapon, I do believe that a gun that just plain "fits" will be the one that an individual may shoot the best and want to continue to enjoy.

Dunderway
09-18-09, 22:39
To me, comfort is being able to smoothly function all of the controls. It is also not having a grip that is way too large or small for my hand. There is almost always a trade off.

You see a lot of beginners putting giant cushy Hogue finger-groove grips on their 1911s (SIGS, Berettas, etc.), and they just don't work. I sometimes wonder if this doesn't carry over to ARs as well. I seem to be one of the few that still use the A2grip on an M4, because even with my large hands I have to strain to deactivate the safety with a Magpul or Ergo grip. Even though the A2 is a little uncomfortable when shooting, it is the most efficient for me when manipulating controls. Now I usually use whatever comes on the gun, and have spent a lot of $$ just to revert back to issue grips on just about every weapon I have owned.

Hope that makes a little sense.

ChicagoTex
09-19-09, 00:12
You're definetely on the right track in recognizing there's a crucial difference between "fit" and "feel". The way your finger reaches the trigger, in particular, is a crucial dimension to shooting accurately (one that many new shooters overlook, I myself went through three or four of my first handguns before I started taking this dimension seriously).

Assuming good fit, feel doesn't make a big difference functionwise, but if you're plunking down the money for the gun, you might as well go for something you like that feels comfortable - I mean, why not? If it's reliable, accurate, powerful enough for your purpose, and fits you properly, the only difference feel makes is how happy you are overall with your purchase, and since most of us aren't full (or even part) time commandos, why not go for what brings you the most joy?

DacoRoman
09-19-09, 00:40
I also very much agree that basic ergonomics as they relate to reaching all the controls while having a proper grip is more important than grip "feel". I've seen quite a few people that were pretty poor shooters rave about their gun having a great "feel" only to hold the gun in a piss poor grip and to shift their grip to reach the mag release and slide release, but the "feel" of their pistol sure was superior! ;) Also I've noticed that these people are often the same people that make a big fuss about bore axis interestingly enough :)

Alpha Sierra
09-19-09, 11:50
I dare say for many "feel" is a term used to describe how a particular pistol fits their hand. While it's possible to shoot anything well given enough practice, if a pistol doesn't fit the user it makes it more difficult for them to use it as well as a pistol that does fit.
That's it.

I will not buy a pistol that does not point naturally when I just grip it and point it without having to adjust my hand on the grip.

bkb0000
09-19-09, 12:04
for a lot of new shooters, if anything is uncomfortable, they wont shoot. my wife, for example, will only shoot if there's nothing uncomfortable about it- no rain, no wind, no other shooters, no uncomfortable guns, no heavy recoil, no shooting without gloves, etc.

other than that, i'm totally with you OP. for serious and/or experienced shooters, "feel" doesn't mean nearly as much.

JHC
09-19-09, 12:15
I also learned that how it feels is not important and so that is so low on my priority list I can't find it. With the exceptions of how dimensions and layout affect reaching the controls, it comes down to repetitions. In the late '60's and '70's as a lad I drilled and drilled with S&W K frames. They felt perfect. Then as an young adult in the early '80's, the 1911 felt awkward when I started with it but I dedicated myself to it and it became natural. For a good many years now, I've concentrated on Glock 9mm's which did NOT feel as nice as my 1911s, MkIII BHPs, or P7. But after thousands of reps, a G19 or G17 feels best and I have to re-warm up to the 1911. All of my perceptions of "feels good" were actually determined by what I was drilling with for substantial reps. I cannot shoot my 1911 as fast and sure as my Glocks now.

The only universal exception being those glorious K-frames. ;)

Erik 1
09-19-09, 13:08
As a new shooter, who isn't stuck with a particular gun, comfort was one of the things I paid attention to. The Glocks I tried hurt my hand after relatively few shots. The M&P fits me better, feels good and I shoot as well or better (which still leaves a lot of room for improvement). Why wouldn't I take that into account? I want to make it easier on myself and enjoy learning to shoot better. It's hard enough without making it more uncomfortable than it has to be.

JHC
09-19-09, 13:15
All else being equal that makes perfect sense Erik. (that's how my son is spelled too).

"Back in the day", there were advantages the 1911 had over my wheelies, and then IMO advantages the Glock had over the 1911 that I judged very important and the choices were not as varied as these days.

It's sort of a function over form equation I think. You are prioritizing function from your comparo experience and the form is icing. Good on ya.

Erik 1
09-19-09, 14:18
All else being equal that makes perfect sense Erik. (that's how my son is spelled too).

"Back in the day", there were advantages the 1911 had over my wheelies, and then IMO advantages the Glock had over the 1911 that I judged very important and the choices were not as varied as these days.

It's sort of a function over form equation I think. You are prioritizing function from your comparo experience and the form is icing. Good on ya.

That's a great way to put it. Comfort is a real part of the function calculus for me at my level.

Us Eriks have to stick together. Not so many around!

RogerinTPA
09-19-09, 14:39
Why is how a gun "feels" in your hand so important to some of you? I've owned and shot my share of various handguns too and there seems to be little to no correlation to how good a handgun feels in my hand to how it actually shoots. Hand fit is important. Being able to reach the trigger comfortably is important. The grip not shifting under recoil is important. But why do you believe a more comfortable feeling grip correlates to better shooting?

I equate that with wearing a pair of shoes 1/2 size too small or wearing someone else's prescription glasses. You might be effective using both, but it won't be optimum for you. That's the main reason why I traded in all my handguns for the M&P line. I shot my previous guns pretty well, now I shoot them very well and look forward to shooting them more, due to proper fit and comfort. For me, how a weapon fits your particular hand, has an effect on how well you shoot and employ that weapon. Most experienced shooters would do well with any firearm, but would be a lot more accurate and feel more comfortable if it fit properly. A lot has to do with enjoying what you are doing. If something isn't enjoyable, you're most likely not to repeat it, unless forced to do so, or just plain settle for what you got. With new shooters, as bkb mentioned, it can be a big turn off for them. To the 1911 guys, would you look forward to shooting your weapon if you didn't have an extended beaver tail on it, knowing it would cause you serious pain and injury due to hammer bite, in the web of your hand, causing considerable discomfort? Unless you are into pain and suffering, of course not.

Ian111
09-19-09, 15:37
All of my perceptions of "feels good" were actually determined by what I was drilling with for substantial reps.

I agree. My experience as well.




"Feel" isn't the same thing as fit, but the two often get lumped together.

Another one.

DacoRoman
09-19-09, 21:37
As a new shooter, who isn't stuck with a particular gun, comfort was one of the things I paid attention to. The Glocks I tried hurt my hand after relatively few shots. The M&P fits me better, feels good and I shoot as well or better (which still leaves a lot of room for improvement). Why wouldn't I take that into account? I want to make it easier on myself and enjoy learning to shoot better. It's hard enough without making it more uncomfortable than it has to be.

I understand what you are saying and you can often have a gun that both "feels" good in the hand and has the necessary dimensions allowing for reaching all of the controls while maintaining a proper grip and allows for a good grip that is neutral and secure enough to allow fast and accurate fire.

But for example I have some acquaintances that used to rave about how good their CZ's felt and how badly my USP's felt. Now I agree that the CZ has one of the best feeling grips of all time, at least for me. But if you looked at their grip, they griped the grip like you'd grip the handle of a sword or something. The pistol was over rotated right (right handed shooter) and not a good strong hand neutral grip at all. This poor grip accentuated how good the CZ grip felt, and how bad more blocky grips felt.

But if you corrected the grip (gun rotated properly toward the left to assume a neutral position, with a properly strong anterior to posterior grip between the 3rd-5th finger and with the middle to distal portion of the backstrap in the proper place essentially along the junction of the thenar and hypothenar eminences) the difference in the quality of the feel was greatly mitigated. With a proper grip what becomes more important is the anterior to posterior length of the grip and not so much the ergonomic undulations of the side panels. So even a so called square and blocky grip can give you an absolutely practicable grip that provides for excellent shooting control, which is what really matters.

Now I agree, the best of both worlds is both good practical dimensions that give a good fit and a good "feel", and on that note, with some guns you can have the fuller side panel on the right, filing that space more, and a flatter left side panel that allows a better seating of the support hand (for a right handed isosceles shooter), but personally I find that based on the criteria that really matter, the blocky USPs and Glocks allow for an absolutely excellent grip on the gun, especially the Glocks (17 and 19).

og556
09-19-09, 22:45
I think ergonomics are very important but with that said I found myself asking the same questions when I picked up a glock 19 for the first time. I had always used a high thumbs forward grip with pistols but the glock slide would cut up my firing hand thumb when shooting with a high thumbs forward grip. If only there was some beavertail on that grip it would be perfect.

Although this problem really turned me off to the grip of the pistol I loved every thing else about it. The short reset of the trigger, size, every thing else was great. I found that I had to tuck my firing hand thumb under the support hand thumb in order to keep my hand from getting cut. I shot it like this for a year or so until I realized that I can't control the pistol when shooting quickly as well as I could other pistols.

I have recently been experimenting with gripping it differently by wrapping my firing hand thumb around my support hand thumb. This gave me more control during firing but its not as comfortable as the firing hand thumb resting above the support hand thumb grip which I use with other pistols. The only drawback to this so far is having to make sure I remember to keep my firing hand thumb down and out of the way enough so I dont cut it up. The "proper" grip does allow me to control the gun better.

I guess if you like the pistol enough you can adapt and make it work for you.