One of my goals for 2019 is to improve my performance in competitive pistol matches. I currently shoot USPSA matches and while I learn something and have fun at each match, I have lots of room for improvement. The goal this year is to become competitive and to that end I’m trying out a new grip technique.
Match scores depend on accuracy and speed. Competitors need to shoot accurately and fast. Stages generally require two shots on each paper target. The ability to shoot pairs accurately and quickly is critical.
The challenge for many is the second shot. The first shot of the pair hits exactly where you want but the second shot is off. This is due mostly to recoil and reflexes. Recoil in minimizing muzzle movement after the first shot. Reflexes in firing the second shot only after the muzzle is back in position.
A friend who is an extremely skilled competitor showed me the grip he uses and suggested I try it out. The grip involves sliding the support hand forward and using the base of the thumbs and torqueing inward to apply grip pressure to the gun. Bob Vogel, champion shooter, instructor, and former law enforcement officer explains the grip here.
I’ve been working to incorporate this grip into my shooting and have broken my training into the following three stages:
- Getting the proper grip from the draw– This can be done as dry fire practice at home. Since this grip is a little different than the grip I’ve always used, it’s taking some time to learn to come out of the holster in the proper grip. With the old grip, I can consistently come out of the holster and fire the first shot in about one second. That’s the goal for the new grip. Don’t worry about speed at first. Focus on getting proper strong hand placement on the gun. Then coming out of the holster with your strong hand positioned correctly and joining your support hand into the proper position. When your grip is correct consistently, you can gradually increase speed.
- Proper grip from draw with speed and accuracy– Once you’re drawing correctly with acceptable speed it’s time to go to the range. Practice drawing and firing one shot. The draw and first shot should happen in about one second. At five yards the hit should be in the alpha area. When you can do this consistently, try drawing and shooting a pair. Both shots should hit in the alpha area of the target at five yards.
- Proper grip from draw with speed, accuracy, and acceptable split times– Once your pairs are working correctly step it up to Bill Drills. Load six rounds and set the target at five yards. Draw and fire six rounds as quickly as possible using a timer to measure overall and split times. The goal is to hit six alphas in about two seconds with split times around 0.2 seconds.
I’ve been working with this for about a month and I’m at the pair stage. I’m not at my goal yet but I’m seeing a noticeable improvement in accuracy. Patience is key. Remember that great shooters spent many hours training to become so. It just takes some time and work and you’ll get there.
Remember also that there are people out there working hard to take away your right to own and enjoy firearms. As a gun owner you have a responsibility to fight to protect those rights.
If you want to keep your rights defend them by joining San Diego County Gun Owners (SDCGO), the California Rifle and Pistol Association (CRPA), and the National Rifle Association (NRA). Join the fight and help us restore and preserve our second amendment rights. Together we will win.
©2019 Joseph T Drammissi