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The Seven Deadly Sins of Handgun Shooting: The Cup and Saucer Grip

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This is from OutDoorHub.

When I was new to handguns I was told to use this method, it did not feel right to me.

I moved to the two hand grip.

 

Cup-and-saucer-handgun-grip-800x531

 

We’re starting a new weekly column here at OutdoorHub.com and we’ll be covering a variety of shooting-related topics including how-tos, industry observations, and some occasional commentary about shooting and Second Amendment issues. I thought it might be fun to start with a how-to series on what I consider the Seven Deadly Sins of Handgun Shooting.

One of my very favorite things is to take new shooters to the range. My second favorite thing is simply seeing new shooters at the range. My least favorite thing is to see folks launch into their shooting career without any instruction, thereby developing a bunch of bad, and sometimes unsafe, habits. To help them along, I’ve put together some tips that will help improve anyone’s handgun shooting skills. After all, it’s much cooler to look like a pro on the range, even when you’re brand new to the sport.

I have scientific proof that the “cup and saucer” handgun grip is bad and bordering on evil. Check this out. If you rearrange the letters in “cup and saucer” you get the following secret phrases:

Arcane Cud Pus

Uncaused Crap

Rude Caca Puns

Freaky isn’t it? Who knew that “cup and saucer” was some type of satanic code?

Now that we can agree that a cup and saucer grip is bad form and just plain spooky, what exactly is it? More importantly, how does one go about exorcising that demon?

The cup and saucer grip

The cup and saucer grip simply refers to a handgun grip style where your support hand acts more like a tea set saucer than a support. The butt of your handgun simply rests on top of your open support hand palm.

Let’s face it, if you’re having tea with Prince Harry, you’ve got a tea cup on one hand and a saucer in the other. The cup holds the tea, so what purpose does the saucer underneath serve? Obviously it drives up the stock price for Royal Doulton China and adds complexity to the job description of footmen. Other than that, the saucer only serves to catch things that spill. It’s a waste of a perfectly good hand that could be used to eat scones.

It’s exactly the same with shooting. While your dominant shooting hand will be a little stronger, why waste all those nearly-as-strong muscles in the non-dominant hand? If you’re simply resting your dominant hand and gun on top of a wimpy-looking hand-saucer, you’re not getting any benefit from the support hand, are you?

Other sports figured this out a long time ago. Ever see a golfer use a cup and saucer grip? Or a designated hitter in Major League Baseball? Even fishermen figured out the value of using two hands. Apparently we shooters can be a little slow on the uptake.

Performing the exorcism

Well, for starters, we can blame the guy who invented the term “handgun.” After all, if the best way to shoot them is with two hands, so shouldn’t they be called “hands-guns?” If the name were more intuitive, that would certainly help people think about using both hands effectively. Just saying.

Since that’s not likely to happen, let’s focus on some things we can do. Here’s how to achieve a solid and proper handgun grip.

Cup-and-saucer-golf-club-400x357

Here’s a cup and saucer grip being used for golf. Don’t see this much on the PGA tour do you?

 

With your primary shooting hand, open your thumb and index finger. Push the web of your hand as high as it will comfortably go on the handgun grip, making sure that the barrel of the gun lines up with the bones in your forearm. Wrap your fingers around the front of the grip, making sure to keep your index finger out of the trigger.

Proper-handgun-grip1-400x400

 

Do you see some free space on the inside grip panel of your handgun? Good, that’s where the bottom part of your support hand palm is going to go. Smack it on there and don’t worry if there’s not enough room to get your whole palm on the inside grip panel. There won’t be and that’s OK.

Proper-handgun-grip-1-400x400

 

Now wrap your support hand fingers around the front of your dominant hand fingers. Your support hand fingers should be high–to the point of pressing against the bottom of the trigger guard.

Proper-handgun-grip-2-400x400

 

You’ll know you’ve got it right if both of your thumbs are somewhere near parallel to each other and touching.

Next time you shoot, notice how much less your muzzle jumps. Your support hand can do wonders to help control recoil when you actually put it to work! Plus, a proper handgun grip looks really cool–you’ll be a hit at the range. And those forward-facing thumbs? They naturally help you aim. Things tend to go where you point.

If you have trouble shaking the cup and saucer grip habit, try these emergency counter measures:

  • Bag the tea and drink coffee.
  • Next time you go fishing with a buddy, use a cup and saucer grip with your fishing rod. The tsunami of taunting and hazing will break your cup and saucer habit almost instantly.
  • Smear a dab of crazy glue on the bottom of your handgun butt. You’ll only make the cup and saucer mistake once! On second thought, using Crazy Glue may not be the wisest idea. Perhaps some lard?

Happy (and safe) shooting folks! See you next week!

Images by Tom McHale

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7 Things You Need to Buy With Your Handgun

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This is from The American Rifleman.

These are words of wisdom for all gun owners and future gun owners.

 

If you are in the market for a handgun, then you have plenty to think about in regard to choosing a make, model and caliber that will fill your needs. But it’s a mistake to think that buying the gun is where the purchase ends. Handguns are not ordinary tools that can just be tossed in a drawer like a wrench or a hammer. To properly store, maintain and use a pistol or a revolver, you need to stretch your shopping list to include several more items:

1. Safe Gun Storage
Absolutely first and foremost on the to-buy list is a device or system for securing your handgun against unauthorized access. There’s something out there to fit every budget and situation, portable quick-access strong boxes, and heavy duty fire-resistant gun safes.

2. Gun Case
You’ll need a way to safely transport your handgun from place to place. Soft side and hard side gun cases do a great job of protecting handguns from dings and scratches. They are readily available at most sporting goods stores. Many of these affordable cases are also lockable, which may be necessary to meet your local regulations for the legal transportation of a firearm.

3. Cleaning Kit
Guns are machines, and so like any other mechanical device they need proper care and maintenance in order to keep running properly. An affordable way to get started is to pick up a simple caliber-specific or universal cleaning kit, like those offered by Hoppes, KleenBore, andWinchester. Recreational firearms can be cleaned as needed. However, concealed-carry and defensive guns should be cleaned and lubricated after every trip to the range and checked regularly.

4. Ammunition
Having enough of the right type of ammunition is the key to making the best use of a handgun for its intended purpose. Generally speaking, handgun ammunition is available in practice-grade loads and defense-grade loads. Practice grade ammunition costs less due to the use of simple bullet styles (full-metal jacket, lead) and less-expensive components. Defense-grade ammunition costs more because of the sophisticated bullets (hollow points) and high grade components they contain.

But how much should you buy? When I started collecting handguns, I couldn’t afford to stock up on thousands of rounds. So I started by stocking enough for three or four trips to the practice range. The plan included 50 rounds of practice ammo and two or three reloads (about 20 rounds) of defense grade ammunition per trip. This evened out to keeping 200-rounds practice and 60 to 80 rounds of defense-grade ammunition on hand at home. As time goes on, ammunition can become a monthly budget item so that more can be stored away for a rainy day. Be sure to buy the right cartridges for your gun  because ammunition usually can’t be returned once it leaves the store.

5. Practice
Along with ammunition, time and money will need to be set aside for practice at the shooting range. Some ranges provide hearing and eye protection, others don’t. Luckily it’s not hard to find affordable safety glasses, ear plugs or muffs and a range bag at your local sporting goods store.

6. Holster
For those who plan to legally carry a handgun, buying a quality holster makes all the difference. Cheap, low quality, or poorly designed holsters can make wearing the gun a miserable experience. Often the gun gets blamed for the discomfort. But the same firearm in a good holster that provides the right amount of support and stability will become almost forget-it’s-there comfortable to wear. Plan to spend about 15 percent of what you paid for the gun on the holster, which will usually be enough money to get the right rig for the job.

7. Training
Last, but certainly not least, the new handgun owner needs to seek out as much training and shooting related information as they can afford. One-on-one classes with professional instructors using live-fire practice is the best option available, but it can be expensive. If this kind of training is not accessible, then invest in quality books and videos until you can get into a class. Just a few useful resources to consider include the NRA Guide to the Basics of Personal Protection in the Home [], the NRA Guide to the Basics of Personal Protection Outside the Home, I.C.E. Training’s Counter Ambush Home Training Course, and Concealed Carry and Home Defense Fundamentals by Michael Martin.

Proposed medical marijuana rules: Your pot or your gun

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This is from the Chicago Tribune.

If your smoking marijuana medical or not I do not want you with a concealed carry handgun.

If your drinking heavily and are falling down drunk I do not want you with a concealed carry handgun.

 

Long list of planned regulations up for public comment.

 

Patients who want to qualify for medical marijuana in Illinois would have to be fingerprinted for a background check and pay $150 a year — and give up their right to own a gun, state officials proposed Tuesday.

The plan outlines how adults who have any of 41 specified medical conditions, such as cancer, AIDS or complex regional pain syndrome, may apply to get a patient registry identification card to purchase medical pot.

The proposed rules are the first in a series of parameters expected to be outlined over the course of the year to govern how medical marijuana can be legally grown, sold and purchased. The Illinois Department of Public Health will take public comment on this set of rules until Feb. 7 and then submit them to a legislative panel for approval by the end of April.

Most of the rules address how a patient can qualify for an ID card to buy up to 2.5 ounces of marijuana every two weeks — or more if a doctor certifies that it’s necessary.

One new proposal states that a qualifying patient or caregiver may not possess a firearm, even if they have a state firearm owner’s identification card or concealed carry permit, and violators may be subject to sanctions by state police.

Todd Vandermyde, lobbyist for the National Rifle Association, said the NRA takes no position on the issue but that the rule seems to be an attempt to interpret federal law. A U.S. Department of Justice firearm application form asks if the buyer is “an unlawful user” of marijuana or other controlled substances.

Illinois regulations make clear that pot possession is still prohibited by federal law, and the state denies liability for damages arising from the program, including federal prosecution.

“It presents a novel legal conundrum,” Vandermyde said. “The courts are going to have to reconcile it.”

The rules would allow patients to designate a caregiver who could legally purchase and carry marijuana for them. Patients and caregivers would undergo a background check by Illinois State Police and would be rejected for any felony conviction for a violent crime or for possession of a controlled substance, including marijuana or methamphetamine.

A proposed exception would be if the patient proves that a drug conviction involved “a reasonable amount (of) cannabis intended for medical use,” and that the patient had a debilitating medical condition at the time.

Also, each patient must be at least 18 and have a “bona fide” relationship with a doctor who would certify the patient’s medical condition.

The state would have 180 days to act on an application. A patient would need to reapply annually to maintain the certification.

The possession or use of marijuana would be banned on school grounds or school buses, in any other vehicle and at child care businesses and correctional facilities. An exception is made to transport marijuana in a vehicle if it is in an inaccessible sealed container. Smoking marijuana also would be prohibited in health care facilities, anywhere that tobacco smoking is prohibited or in “any public place where an individual could reasonably be expected to be observed by others.”

The law also would prohibit use of medical marijuana by police officers, firefighters, school bus and commercial drivers, and anyone who is not a qualified patient.

On the production side, cultivation centers would need to track inventory and have 24-hour surveillance systems. They could not operate within 2,500 feet of a school, child care center or residential area and could not sell directly to the public, only to registered dispensaries.

The state Department of Agriculture still must develop rules for cultivation centers, and the Illinois Department of Financial and Professional Regulation still must draw up rules for dispensaries.

The proposed patient registry rules were developed by Bob Morgan, medical marijuana coordinator and legal counsel for the Department of Health, in consultation with staff members and officials from other states that have medical marijuana, agency spokeswoman Melaney Arnold said.

She expects tens of thousands of applicants, and many comments from the public.

Patient applications will be accepted for those whose last names start with A through L in September and October; the remainder may apply in November and December. After that, all applications will be accepted year-round.

A nine-member advisory board of health professionals and one patient advocate, all appointed by the governor, will review proposals for adding ailments to the list of qualifying conditions. The Department of Public Health director will make the final decision.

Illinois is the 20th state to allow medical marijuana. The proposed rules may be seen at mcpp.illinois.gov.

Arizona Concealed Carrier Stops Possible Mass Shooting by Shooting Man Armed With a Rifle

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This is from Guns Saves Lifes.

A more accurate headline would be a mass murder was

prevented by Arizona Concealed Carrier.

This story will see little or no coverage by the Obama Media.

 

This is a story of a mass shooting that might have been if not for the efforts of a concealed carrier. However, don’t expect to see this story on the national news since there were no fatalities.

Several guests, in their 20′s and 30′s were attending a party at a Glendale, AZ home when one of the guests, identified only as a 27 year old male, got into an altercation with several people at the home.

The 27 year old was asked to leave, which he initially did. However, shortly thereafter, the 27 year old returned, this time armed with a rifle.

The suspected shooter fired rounds off outside the home and when he pointed the gun at other guests, a 39 year old guest drew a concealed handgun and fired on the suspect, who was hit by the gunfire.

The concealed carrier waited for police, explained what happened and was released after giving a statement to police.

According to AZCentral.com,

The shooter has been cooperative with investigators, she said. He was questioned and released by detectives.

“This is standard procedure under these type of circumstances,” Breeden said. “Information and evidence detectives have gathered leads them to believe the 27-year-old was not only firing his rifle, endangering partygoers, but also pointed the weapon at other partygoers, endangering them, prior to the 39-year-old displaying a weapon and shooting the 27-year-old.”

The shooter is being treated for injuries described as potentially life threatening at an area hospital.

We of course have no way to know how many lives were saved by the actions of the man carrying a handgun, however, based on the actions of the suspect prior to being shot I think we can safely conclude he did not return to the party with honorable intentions.

No license is required to carry a handgun a in the state of Arizona.

Sources: AZCentral.comAZFamily.com

 

Springfield Armory Issues Safety Recall for XD-S Pistols

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This is from Guns And Ammo.

Springfield Armory has issued a voluntary .45 ACP and 9mm XDS pistols.

 

Springfield Armory has issued a voluntary safety recall for their .45 ACP and 9mm XD-S pistols.

Issued Aug. 28, 2013, the recall identified the following issue:

“Springfield has determined that under exceptionally rare circumstances, some 3.3 XD-S 9mm and .45ACP caliber pistols could experience an unintended discharge during the loading process when the slide is released, or could experience a double-fire when the trigger is pulled once. The chance of these conditions existing is exceptionally rare, but if they happen, serious injury or death could occur.”

According to Springfield, no injuries have been reported to date. The recall applies to a select number of XD-S pistols based on their serial numbers. Pistols affected by the recall include: XD-S 9mm pistols with serial numbers between XS900000 and XS938700, and XD-S .45 ACP pistols with serial numbers between XS500000 and XS686300.

To arrange for recall repairs, follow the instructions on this recall registration page. You can also contact the Springfield Armory Call Center at (800) 680-6866 to send in your pistol for service at Springfield’s expense.

Read more: http://www.gunsandammo.com/2013/08/29/springfield-armory-issues-safety-recall-for-xd-s-pistols/#ixzz2drJ9EkHJ

 

Words of Wisdom

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I was in Wal-mart in Terre Haute,Indiana on Wednesday.

I was open carrying my Glock .40 when a lady approached me.

She said I need to ask you about that.(My Glock)

She asked if I was a police officer,I told her “No I am not.

I am thinking this is going to go down hill quickly.

She then asked if it was legal for my to wear it in the open.

I told her yes it is as long as you have a License To Carry A Handgun.

Indiana’s law is silent about how to carry. so open and concealed is

is legal in Indiana.

She then tells my I am from England and we can not have guns.

The people who do have them are regulated heavily and watched.

She asked if she could take my picture to send to her family in England.

I consented to the picture.

As we parted she had these very profound words to pass along to me.

“Do not let Obama turn America in to England.”

I was surprised by her words as they were thought-provoking.

What’s wrong with a .38 Special?

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This is from The Daily Caller.

I listen to people bad mouthing either the .22 or .38 calibers.

I ask them one simple question about the caliber they are bashing.

Are you wiling to be shot by that caliber?

If not why not? After all you think it is a bad caliber.

We all have a favorite hand gun and caliber.

But we need to be respectful of someone choice of a gun or caliber.

Hitting with a .38 is better than missing with a .45.

 

Let me stress heavily I’m no self-defense expert, I’m no guru on home defense handguns and my total law enforcement career consists of being deputized in 1982 for all of 8 hours. Never, not once, have I had to resort to any firearm in a crisis situation. That said, to some family friends and even distant relatives I’m the only “gun-guy” they know. So it’s not easy to fend them off when in this current political climate I’m asked what sort of guns they should buy for home defense. That puts me on the hot seat because I don’t think novices to firearms should buy any gun unless they include some sort of training as part of the picture — and I stress that to them.

Even so I know some of the males think, “Yeah, yeah, just give me some info, I’ll figure out the rest for myself.” The Daniel Boone Syndrome is not dead. And, I know they will never go to the effort to get training or perhaps not even visit a range to gain experience further than taking their new gun to see if it actually goes off.

My stock answer to someone wanting to buy their first home-defense handgun is, “What’s wrong with a .38 Special?” Some people, mostly those with just a grain of knowledge, have acted downright offended and say. “Why, that’s not state of the art!” Here’s where it gets hard because they have to be told, “You’re not state of the art either.”

RELIABLE AND PREDICTABLE

In my honest opinion, double-action .38 Special revolvers may not be “state-of-the-art” but they are stable in the art. To me, it’s a no brainer. Double-action .38 Special revolvers are easy handguns to train with. Opening one for loading consists of no more than pressing a latch or button and swinging the cylinder out. There’s no trick to getting chambers charged since cartridges can only fit in one direction. I’ve actually seen novices try to load semi-auto magazines with the rounds backwards. Then the cylinder is pushed closed till it clicks in place. That’s all there is to it.

A double-action revolver requires merely pressing the trigger to fire. There’s no safety to remember, and no moving slide to bite fingers. Most double actions can also be fired single action, which is an aid when gaining familiarization with the handgun, or weak hands, even if not optimum for a potentially deadly situation.

Then there’s the ammo factor. Some semi-autos can be amazingly finicky about ammo. I own one .40 S&W that will not feed certain types of factory ammo, yet runs 100 percent with others. That fact may not have even revealed itself to me if not for having access to many different types of factory ammo due to my occupation.

Conversely, a .38 Special double-action revolver always works if it’s in good repair. They’re about as foolproof as a handgun can get. Good quality factory ammo ranges from very light full wadcutter loads meant for target shooting, to +P types meant for personal defense. The .38 Special might have a bad rap among those who see nothing less than big bores as effective, but effective only counts if hits are made. Almost anyone can learn to handle a .38 Special with proficiency. That’s not true of big-bore handgun calibers.

Read more: http://dailycaller.com/2013/07/01/whats-wrong-with-a-38-special/#ixzz2YJezRBip

 

The Seven Deadly Sins of Handgun Shooting: The Crossed-thumb Grip

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This is part two from OutDoorHub.

Crossed thumbs shooting grip

Friends don’t let friends do this! It makes a really big mess.

This week’s Seven Deadly Sins of Handgun Shooting Tip involves keeping (most) of your body parts attached.

Specifically, we’re talking about your thumbs. You see, opposable thumbs are one of the things that give us humans a real advantage over the rest of the animal kingdom when it comes to important things like opening Pringles cans and getting those straws into juice boxes without making a big mess.

Admittedly, the odds of actually slicing off one or more thumbs is fairly low, but the wrong thumb position may cause you to bleed all over the shooting range. We don’t recommend it. I can share this new-shooter tip from a vantage point of, ummm, let’s call it personal experience.

Remember Ghostbusters? And how it’s really bad to cross the streams of the Proton Pack particle accelerators? Well there’s a similar rule of thumb (pun fully intended) for shooting semiautomatic pistols. Don’t cross your thumbs as in the picture. Sooner or later, that thing called a slide is going zoom backwards at Warp 17 and slice the dickens out of the webby, sensitive skin between your thumb and your index finger. Again, trust me, I know this from experience. And as a side note, the bottom of the slide on a Series 1 Colt Woodsman is really, really sharp. Just as a disclaimer, this happened a really long time ago–back when I thought I did not need any instruction on how to properly shoot a pistol. Don’t worry, I’ve learned many things the hard way since then.

Every time I go to the range, I see new shooters using the crossed-thumb grip with semiautomatic pistols. This presents a real dilemma. Do you walk over and interrupt like some kind of know-it-all and offer to help? Or do you let them learn the hard way? While they may not get thumb-reduction surgery that particular day, it’s bound to happen sooner or later. And lessons learned the hard way are the best right? Hmmm.

Proper handgun grip

A grip like this one is much safer with a semiauto pistol.

Fortunately there’s an easy way to avoid bleeding all over your range. Don’t cross the streams. Point both thumbs forward and keep them on the weak hand side of your handgun. Your hand, and your Doc In A Box, will thank you.

Since gun stuff is never simple or logical, there are some notable exceptions.

Since a revolver has no slide that zooms backwards, you don’t have to worry about getting cut. So technically there’s no harm in crossing that support hand thumb over the backstrap. In fact, if you look at how Jerry Miculek of Team Smith & Wesson grips a double-action revolver, he uses both styles. It’s hard to argue with Jerry’s grip choices as he shoots a revolver better than James Bond wears a dinner jacket.

For larger revolvers with adequate grip and frame area, Jerry tends to keep both hands on the support side of the revolver, curled downwards–much like a semiautomatic pistol grip. For small revolvers, like a J-Frame, he actually crosses the support hand thumb behind his firing hand. Basically that is helping to support the backstrap–just on top of the shooting hand since there’s not much exposed backstrap area to work with.

Of course there’s another exception: single-action revolvers. Here’s where things get crazy. Those super fast cowboy action sheriffs and villains tend to use a the firing hand only to support the revolver. The support hand is actually somewhat disconnected and only serves to rapidly cock the hammer without disturbing the gun’s alignment in the firing hand grip. So with the single-action revolver, most cowboy action two-hand styles have the thumb crossing over the backstrap as well. Again, no matter since it’s a revolver. As a side note, if you haven’t seen some of the cowboy action shooters strut their stuff, watch a Single Action Shooting Society match sometime. It’s amazing what those folks can do with single-action revolvers.

As a rule of thumb (there’s that pun again) I simply teach new shooters to use a grip that keeps both thumbs on the inside–either curled downwards or pointed straight ahead towards the target. Once they break that natural tendency to cross thumbs over the backstrap you can start to introduce gun-specific variations.

Bottom line? Think about that grip. And what particular gun you’re shooting. Because bleeding all over the range is embarrassing.

This article is the fourth part in a series on the Seven Deadly Sins of Handgun Shooting. To learn more about how not to shoot, check out last week’s article on

The Seven Deadly Sins of Handgun Shooting: Unnatural Point of Aim

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This is from OutDoorHub.

I am posting three more articles about what not to

while shooting.

Un-natural point of aim handgunIf you see something like this when trying to find your natural point of aim, you’re not there yet. Keep trying!

Do you want supernatural shooting results?
Are you tired of listening to friends talk about shooting one ragged hole in their targets?
Want to lose that extra five pounds before 3-Gun match season?

If you answered yes to any of these questions, let’s talk about natural point of aim.

Natural  [ˈna-chə-rəl]

Adjective

1. Occurring in conformity with the ordinary course of nature
2. Being in accordance with or determined by nature

When it comes to shooting, rifles, handguns, or shotguns, natural point of aim simply means assuming the stance and position where your body naturally wants to point the gun. Perhaps the easiest way to illustrate natural point of aim is to look at unnatural point of aim.

Unnatural point of aim refers to any position where you have to “force” or “muscle” the sights of the gun onto the target. The most extreme example of unnatural point of aim would be standing with your back facing the intended target. If you could manage to get your gun pointed at the target from that position, it might be an example of supernatural point of aim, as in something from the movie Poltergeist. Less dramatic examples would be assuming any shooting position that requires you to move your arms, shoulders, waist, or hands to “force” the gun into alignment with the target.

If you have to expend any effort at all to “force” your gun to the target, you are creating fatigue in your muscles, eyes, and brain. The second you relax one or more of those, your gun will come off target.

It’s one of those “oh, duh” things when you think about it. Shooting from a naturally relaxed and comfortable position will help you shoot more accurately, more consistently, and with better shot-to-shot performance. You’ll also get the sights on target quicker if your body is already somewhat aligned when you look for that front sight.

How to find your natural point of aim

Important notice: We’re talking a lot about going natural, but don’t worry, you can still use deodorant and shave whatever parts of your body you’re accustomed to shaving. There’s no need to go French just to shoot naturally. 

The best place to work on finding your natural point of aim is at the shooting range–mainly because it allows you to see your results as you practice. It’s also safer because you’re already in a place where you can point your gun safely at a target and backstop.

First, ensure your firearm is on safe and unloaded. Next, assume your normal shooting stance with your gun pointed at the intended target. Make sure your sights are lined up at a very specific point on the target.

Now get ready to become one with Dionne Warwick and go all Psychic Hotline.

Close your eyes. Take a couple of deep breaths. Think about all those who have passed before us. Do NOT try to force your gun to stay on target. Don’t cheat. Remember what Miss Ninnymuggins used to say back in fifth grade: you’re only hurting yourself! Just be natural for a sec–with your eyes closed.

Now open them. What do you see? Are your sights still lined up on the target?

If you open your eyes and see a view like the photo in this article, then you haven’t found your natural point of aim. If you open your eyes and see a pterodactyl listening to eight-track tapes, then double check the source of those mushrooms on your last Domino’s order.

If your sights are now lined up to one side or the other of your desired aiming point, that’s an easy fix. Just have the range master move the target a bit to the side. But seriously, you can do a scaled-down version of the Ickey Shuffle to get your sights back on target. If you don’t know what the Ickey Shuffle is, just Google “Best Football End Zone Dances Ever” and you’ll get it. Simply put, shuffle your feet to realign your whole body so your sights line up on target.

If you find your sights pointed a bit high after opening your eyes, try moving your back foot forward just a tad. That can help lower your sights a bit. The opposite works if your aim point is low–move that back foot back just a touch more.

Now that you’ve done a little Gun Range Blossoming Lotus Yoga, start over. Aim at the target. Close your eyes. Take a couple of deep breaths. Listen to the sound of my voice…

When you open them, reevaluate and readjust your body position to get your sights on target again. Just like before. Repeat this exercise until your body position is just right.

Now load your firearm, return to the natural aiming point you’ve discovered, and shoot the target. Wasn’t that fun?

Do this exercise repeatedly to make sure your stance is naturally consistent and aligned with your target. Soon, you won’t have to close your eyes and dance anymore. You’ll find that when you assume a shooting position, your body will find its natural point of aim.

Before anyone gets all cranky and questions the practicality of scooting around blindfolded to find your natural point of aim, the idea is to build a habit when you are practicing at the range. With repetition, you won’t have to think about it–it’ll just happen.

Naturally, that’s the whole idea of natural point of aim!

Safety note: While we like to have a little fun with these articles, guns are serious business. Exercise caution when closing your eyes while aiming a gun. To achieve natural point of aim, you only need to do this for a second, while aiming at the target. Don’t do anything silly or dangerous like waving your gun around with your eyes closed. You can also do this exercise at home during dry fire practice. Of course, ALL dry fire safety rules apply. Put ALL ammunition in a different room. Check your magazine AND chamber (or cylinder if applicable) to make sure your gun is completely unloaded. And always use a safe backstop as an aiming point.

This article is the third part in a series on the Seven Deadly Sins of Handgun Shooting. To learn more about how not to shoot, check out last week’s article on “doin’ the Bernie” here.

 

The Seven Deadly Sins of Handgun Shooting: The Cup and Saucer Grip

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This is from The OutDoorHub.

I am guilty of using this method when I first shot a semiautomatic.

I was also limp wristing and got a jam and a lecture.

I was shooting with a former Navy man.

While the lecture was not harsh it stuck with me through the years.

 

Cup and saucer handgun grip

Using a cup and saucer handgun grip is just about this effective.

We’re starting a new weekly column here at OutdoorHub.com and we’ll be covering a variety of shooting-related topics including how-tos, industry observations, and some occasional commentary about shooting and Second Amendment issues. I thought it might be fun to start with a how-to series on what I consider the Seven Deadly Sins of Handgun Shooting.

One of my very favorite things is to take new shooters to the range. My second favorite thing is simply seeing new shooters at the range. My least favorite thing is to see folks launch into their shooting career without any instruction, thereby developing a bunch of bad, and sometimes unsafe, habits. To help them along, I’ve put together some tips that will help improve anyone’s handgun shooting skills. After all, it’s much cooler to look like a pro on the range, even when you’re brand new to the sport.

I have scientific proof that the “cup and saucer” handgun grip is bad and bordering on evil. Check this out. If you rearrange the letters in “cup and saucer” you get the following secret phrases:

Arcane Cud Pus

Uncaused Crap

Rude Caca Puns

Freaky isn’t it? Who knew that “cup and saucer” was some type of satanic code?

Now that we can agree that a cup and saucer grip is bad form and just plain spooky, what exactly is it? More importantly, how does one go about exorcising that demon?

Cup and saucer golf club grip

Here’s a cup and saucer grip being used for golf. Don’t see this much on the PGA tour do you?

The cup and saucer grip

The cup and saucer grip simply refers to a handgun grip style where your support hand acts more like a tea set saucer than a support. The butt of your handgun simply rests on top of your open support hand palm.

Let’s face it, if you’re having tea with Prince Harry, you’ve got a tea cup on one hand and a saucer in the other. The cup holds the tea, so what purpose does the saucer underneath serve? Obviously it drives up the stock price for Royal Doulton China and adds complexity to the job description of footmen. Other than that, the saucer only serves to catch things that spill. It’s a waste of a perfectly good hand that could be used to eat scones.

It’s exactly the same with shooting. While your dominant shooting hand will be a little stronger, why waste all those nearly-as-strong muscles in the non-dominant hand? If you’re simply resting your dominant hand and gun on top of a wimpy-looking hand-saucer, you’re not getting any benefit from the support hand, are you?

Other sports figured this out a long time ago. Ever see a golfer use a cup and saucer grip? Or a designated hitter in Major League Baseball? Even fishermen figured out the value of using two hands. Apparently we shooters can be a little slow on the uptake.

Performing the exorcism

Well, for starters, we can blame the guy who invented the term “handgun.” After all, if the best way to shoot them is with two hands, so shouldn’t they be called “hands-guns?” If the name were more intuitive, that would certainly help people think about using both hands effectively. Just saying.

Since that’s not likely to happen, let’s focus on some things we can do. Here’s how to achieve a solid and proper handgun grip.

Proper handgun grip

With your primary shooting hand, open your thumb and index finger. Push the web of your hand as high as it will comfortably go on the handgun grip, making sure that the barrel of the gun lines up with the bones in your forearm. Wrap your fingers around the front of the grip, making sure to keep your index finger out of the trigger.

 

 

 

 

Proper handgun grip (1)

 

Do you see some free space on the inside grip panel of your handgun? Good, that’s where the bottom part of your support hand palm is going to go. Smack it on there and don’t worry if there’s not enough room to get your whole palm on the inside grip panel. There won’t be and that’s OK.

 

 

 

 

Proper handgun grip (3)

 

Now wrap your support hand fingers around the front of your dominant hand fingers. Your support hand fingers should be high–to the point of pressing against the bottom of the trigger guard.

You’ll know you’ve got it right if both of your thumbs are somewhere near parallel to each other and touching.

Next time you shoot, notice how much less your muzzle jumps. Your support hand can do wonders to help control recoil when you actually put it to work! Plus, a proper handgun grip looks really cool–you’ll be a hit at the range. And those forward-facing thumbs? They naturally help you aim. Things tend to go where you point.

If you have trouble shaking the cup and saucer grip habit, try these emergency counter measures:

  • Bag the tea and drink coffee.
  • Next time you go fishing with a buddy, use a cup and saucer grip with your fishing rod. The tsunami of taunting and hazing will break your cup and saucer habit almost instantly.
  • Smear a dab of crazy glue on the bottom of your handgun butt. You’ll only make the cup and saucer mistake once! On second thought, using Crazy Glue may not be the wisest idea. Perhaps some lard?

Happy (and safe) shooting folks! See you next week!

Images by Tom McHale

 

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