Thumbs forward - why?

Thumbs forward - why?

This is a discussion on Thumbs forward - why? within the Defensive Carry & Tactical Training forums, part of the Defensive Carry Discussions category; I have been shooting revolvers and pistols since 1985. I've always wrapped the left (weak) hand around the right, with one thumb on top of ...

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Thread: Thumbs forward - why?

  1. #1
    Member Array FRT007's Avatar
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    Thumbs forward - why?

    I have been shooting revolvers and pistols since 1985. I've always wrapped the left (weak) hand around the right, with one thumb on top of the other. I have seen many photos of shooters with both thumbs forward - when I try it, I feel my grip has been weakened. What advantages does thumbs forward give a shooter?


  2. #2
    Distinguished Member Array kazzaerexys's Avatar
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    I have been trying both ways. I agree that the thumbs down position gives a stronger grip, but I am beginning to come to the conclusion that thumbs forward, along the frame, gives better left/right stability as well as speeding up my aim. I definitely have a tendency to jerk left on my trigger, and the result is much less noticable with thumbs forward (being a right-handed shooter).

    As for aiming, if I practice draw and point, then look down along the sights to see how close I am to my intended aim, I do a much better job of pointing with the thumbs forward. Nothing that would matter at, say, four or five yards, but might be significant at seven to ten and beyond.

    I would say just try out both. If you shoot better thumbs down, then shoot thumbs down.

  3. #3
    Senior Member Array allenruger's Avatar
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    I shoot like you do... with thumbs "stacked" if you will. I shoot fine this way and don't really see any reason to reinvent the wheel at this point. As long as you hit your target then do whatever works and FEELS best for YOU.
    Allen

    -"I may get killed with my own gun, but he's gonna have to beat me to death with it, 'cause it's going to be empty." -Clint Smith

  4. #4
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    Thumbs forward sets you up for a more natural pointing grip. Its for combat shooting, not for punching holes in paper.
    You dont need a death grip on your pistol, that will only start to throw your shots.
    "Just blame Sixto"

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    Member Array Tye_Defender's Avatar
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    Using your left thumb as another slide rail.

    The only thing I can think of that would make thumbs forward more favorable is if you are worried that the slide might go across your top thumb as it cycles. I try to get as high a grip as I can and I think crossing my thumbs would put my skin to close to that slide.
    GunTrooper likes this.

  6. #6
    VIP Member Array Kerbouchard's Avatar
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    A revolver grip with a pistol can cause your weak hand thumb to get caught in the slide as it recoils.

    Well, that's what I get for posting without refreshing...Tye beat me to it. I've seen several people new to SA that were revolver shooters that ended up with gashed up hands.
    There are two sides to every issue: one side is right and the other is wrong, but the middle is always evil.

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    Member Array stmcelroy's Avatar
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    Consistency.
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    Check it out for quality reasonably priced leather and kydex Pocket, IWB and OWB Holsters......

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    Member Array 1911NM's Avatar
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    Competition grip, thumbs forward, weak wrist cocked forward to minimize muzzle rise and get back on target fast. I find it's a very solid grip, and repeatable.
    NRA, USPSA SS & Lim-10
    Blessed are they who, faced with danger, think only of the front sight. J. Cooper

  9. #9
    Member Array FRT007's Avatar
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    I do not have the weak thumb high on the strong hand - there is no possibility of slide gash. My weak thumb is pressing down on the strong thumb.

  10. #10
    VIP Member Array Kerbouchard's Avatar
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    then shoot however you feel more comfortable. you asked why most photos have both thumbs forward...it is because of the slide or at least that is what I've been taught. I started shooting with revolvers, and switching to a 'pistol' grip, took some getting used to.
    There are two sides to every issue: one side is right and the other is wrong, but the middle is always evil.

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  11. #11
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    Preface - I shoot "thumb over thumb," though I've been working on "thumbs forward" for a while now...

    It's not about slide bite, per se, either grip will keep your thumbs well out of the way of the reciprocating slide. What it does help with is arm/wrist/hand alignment, and it also puts as much "meat" on the weapon as possible. More flesh to weapon contact is usually better for recoil control... Another benefit for folks who have frame or slide mounted safeties is that it puts your thumbs in a more natural position to manipulate them...

    All that said, the differences aren't that great, and you should do what most other folks have said - shoot how you are most comfortable, controlled, and accurate.
    A man fires a rifle for many years, and he goes to war. And afterward he turns the rifle in at the armory, and he believes he's finished with the rifle. But no matter what else he might do with his hands - love a woman, build a house, change his son's diaper - his hands remember the rifle.

  12. #12
    Senior Member Array dgg9's Avatar
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    I started out with thumb on top of thumb. But even with a death grip, the gun would still shift a little after each shot. You can be a lot more relaxed and still get a firm grip with thumbs forward. I will say that thumbs forward works well on Glocks, with their grip angle.

  13. #13
    Senior Member Array agentmel's Avatar
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    Check this out. Todd Jarrett explains the "thumbs forward" grip.

    YouTube - Todd Jarrett on pistol shooting.

    Mel
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  14. #14
    Senior Member Array allenruger's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by agentmel View Post
    Check this out. Todd Jarrett explains the "thumbs forward" grip.

    YouTube - Todd Jarrett on pistol shooting.

    Mel
    Great link there. Someone like Todd can teach you so much in a short period of time. He's a true professional at what he does. I'm going out on a limb here and say that none of us are going to be able to dunk like Michael Jordan used to or shoot like Mr. Jarrett but practice got them to their level. We can sure try to better ourselves.
    Allen

    -"I may get killed with my own gun, but he's gonna have to beat me to death with it, 'cause it's going to be empty." -Clint Smith

  15. #15
    Member Array Troy Price's Avatar
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    Thumbs forward gives you more "meat" on the grip as stated earlier and consistency as stated above. But it actually goes further than that.

    The goal of any grip is to return the pistol to the exact aiming point as fast as possible shot after shot. The thumb forward grip gives you this by not allowing the pistol to twist (it is minute but it does happen) by eliminating the gap, on the support side of the pistol, created by the fat pad of the thumb being pulled off of the grip in order to go "thumb over" or "thumb stacked".

    It also aids in recoil management by putting pressure equally around the grip instead of front/back pressure created by the "thumb over" method.

    Many shooters associate the thumbs stacked with the "push/pull" force created by the Weaver Stance with the elbow pulled down and the thumbs forward with the Modern Isoceles.

    For me the thumbs forward is a faster and more natural grip to attain, under stress, while I am doing other things associated with a lethal/deadly force encounter like moving and communicating.
    Deputy Director of Training
    LMSDefense
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