Friday, February 5, 2016

Firearms Friday: Grips

When practicing my pistol grip the other day I started thinking about all the other sports when I found myself in this routine. It really is interesting when you think about the commonalities that can be found across three completely different sports… golf, baseball, and shooting. Of course there are drastic difference between the three as well but for the sake of this post I will focus my thoughts, as I did the other day, on the grips.

Like most kids growing up I played baseball every year and over time I picked up more and more techniques and learned the proper way to do things including many of the basics including how to properly hold a baseball and, as it pertains to this stream of consciousness, how to grip a bat. While most see a bat and simple grab it there is actually a method to the grip to maximize bat speed. Basically, you start the bat at the tips of your fingers and roll the bat toward the palm. For some the knob is part of the grip to capitalize on the leverage gained by the additional circumference. By gripping the bat this way you completely free up your wrists allowing for full extension during your swing.

Gripping a golf club is completely different from holding a baseball bat but it also brings us a little closer to a handgun grip. While you want your wrists to be as free as possible when swinging a bat, your wrists should be locked when holding a golf club. This is why you place the club in your palm and you’re your fingers around it with both your thumbs in line pointing at the ball. Strength is also not your friend when it comes to golf as you should have a firm grip on the club but only enough to keep it in your hand. Any more and you risk tilting the head and sending your shot right or left. You can see this at the range all the time.

That last part sound familiar, doesn’t it? When working on my pistol grip there is actually more commonalities with a golf club grip than that of a baseball bat. I do my best to get a high purchase, line up my thumb just below the slide, bring my support hand with my fingers at a 45 degree angle along the front pulling toward my body and down, and line up my thumb just under the other. The part I am really working on is that support hand angle as this is what is really locking in my wrists, forcing the recoil into my shoulders, and allowing me to be firm but not flex with my other hand. This allows for relaxed initial engagements, quick follow up shots, and little in the way of pushing or pulling the trigger. Again, you can see this at the range all the time.

Understandably this is a very basic overview but it was an interesting chain of thoughts that I wanted to share. I am sure I am not the only one that has had this slinky moving through their mind and it just goes to show how closely muscle memory and actual memory are tied together. If we can tap into that it might be a little easier to retrain yourself at the range… you never know. It might work.