How to Hold a Handgun
How to Hold a Handgun

How to Hold a Handgun

Some people may think that the way you hold your gun when shooting does not matter. That belief could not be more wrong. The way you hold any firearm is a vital part of using it. Improperly holding any gun can result in injury.

This article focuses on how to hold a semi-automatic pistol properly. Do not use the following techniques to control a revolver or any gun that is not a semi-automatic handgun. In that case, it could result in severe burns and injury.

Picking The Right Stance

Many aspects go into how to hold a handgun, including your stance and grip. There are multiple techniques that are all considered safe, so you have to find the one that feels right with your particular firearm.

The Isosceles Stance

The Isosceles stance is named after the isosceles triangle because your arms and body appear to be a triangle in this position. An isosceles triangle has two sides that are equal in length, which will be your arms. It also has one shorter side, which would be your chest.

This stance is popular among beginners and experienced shooters because it is efficient and easy to master. Competitive shooters and beginners alike can use this stance successfully to hit their target in the range.

To get into the Isosceles stance, extend both arms in front of you and hold the gun about chest height with a two-handed grip. The choice of whether to lock your elbows or not is up to you. If you lock your elbows, it will help control the recoil after you fire, whereas a slight bend allows for more flexible movements.

Your feet should be about shoulder-width apart, making your legs the two equal sides of the triangle. The ground will be the shorter third side of the triangle. This will brace your body so you can have better recoil control.

The Isosceles stance is straightforward but significant. You can pair this stance with a grip that feels right, and your body should feel comfortable in this position. 

The Weaver Stance

The Weaver stance is more modern than the isosceles. Its name comes from Jack Weaver of the Los Angeles Sheriff’s office. He was an officer in the 1950s, and Jeff Cooper adopted his shooting stance. You will see it used in ranges across the United States by people learning how to properly hold a handgun.

The Weaver stance uses more bent angles to steady the recoil. To get into this stance, hold the gun in your shooting hand (your strong hand) and fully extend that arm with only a slight bend in the elbow. Bring the supporting hand up and support with a bent elbow.

Your feet will be in a similar pattern. Your strong leg will be slightly bent and in front of the other leg. Turn the support foot sideways for a sturdier stance, while keeping the leg straight for balance and support. 

This stance has a faster recovery from the recoil after shooting, but there are some downsides. Rotating from side to side can be challenging, depending on which side is dominant for you. The more dominant arm usually can’t go as far as the support arm, making shooting to one side more difficult. 

The Modified Weaver Stance

The final stance we are going to go over is the Modified Weaver stance. This stance is a combination of the Isosceles and the Weaver. 

To get into position, hold the gun in your dominant hand and fully extend that arm. Having a fully extended arm like the Isosceles offers more support than the bent elbow in the Weaver. Bring the support arm up and grasp the gun with a bent elbow.

Your feet are in a different position. Your stronger leg will be slightly in front of the other, with both knees bent a little bit. Bending your knees gives you a strong foundation and tight grip to handle the recoil, but also the ability to rotate freely.

This stance takes longer to get used to than the Isosceles because it will feel slightly foreign. Although it takes time, it is an excellent stance for competitive shooting at a range.

Handgun Grip Techniques 

Keep in mind to use a firm grip when holding the gun. Regardless of the firearm, you are shooting, there will be some recoil. Having a good grip on the weapon will help prevent injury and improve accuracy.

Another technique is to cover as much of the grip as you can with your non-dominant hand. You have to use your dominant hand to put your finger on the trigger, so the non-dominant must maintain a secure grip on the gun.

You also want to try to get the skin between your shooting finger and your thumb as high up as you can. You don’t want to get the skin jammed in there, but as close as you can safely. 

Additionally, do not bend your wrist to the side. Keep your hand and arm in a straight line at all times. If your arms are raised up at an angle, it is ok to bend your wrist slightly down, so the gun is level before pulling the trigger. 

How to Hold a Handgun for Maximum Accuracy

If you want to achieve maximum accuracy when firing a handgun, you need to pay attention to details. You have to weigh each stance’s pros and cons and determine what is best for you and your gun.

How you should hold a handgun for maximum accuracy really depends on what you’re comfortable with and the grip. When you are at a shooting range, the target is typically straight ahead, and you do not have to do a lot of side to side rotating. Any stance will work fine, but paying attention to the grip you have may be the difference between accurate shots and ones that aren’t. 

Make sure you don’t squeeze too hard since this can make your hands tired. Once this happens, you will see your groupings becoming wider after a few rounds. It is one of the most common mistakes people make when learning how to hold a handgun.

Above all, safety is the most important thing when holding a handgun. Take your time to learn your new grip and triple check your positioning before taking a shot.  

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