Grip angle.....smrip angle!
I shoot Glocks and S&W revolvers 99.9999% of the time. I had a student beg me to shoot his XD's. Not really caring, I just picked it up and began running it through the movement matrix.
It shot just fine...did everything that I expected it to do. Good example of why I recommend XD's right along with Glocks.
I did not use the sights once and did not even consider the difference in the grip angle. I just simply picked the gun up and shot it fast and accurately.
I have zero idea what people are talking about when they talk about being a slave to a grip angle.
Some of the things that I have accomplished over the years is to get people to look at the common sense of things, to break away from the status quo, and to get people to realize that fluidity is much better than dogma. That has made me some enemies, but has also made me many loyal friends and students.
Now days I tend to poke fun at things that make no sense to me.
I've veiwed thousands of gunfight video clips and one thing I see over and over again in reactive gunfights is "line of sight" trained shooters shooting "below line of sight" when their lives are on the line. FOF has shown me the exact same things. There is something about the brain starving for visual input of the entirety of the encounter in a life threatening situation.
Some may ask what does this have to do with grip angle.
It is as simple as this. If you do not use your wrist articulations to appropriately index your gun onto the targeted area dependent on the grip angle of the weapon, you will not be able to articualte your wrists when your brain is screaming at you to shoot below line of sight.
Inability to adapt to a grip angle on a specific weapon means that you have an inability to index onto a targeted area below line of sight or while working inside of the retention concept.
I knew some people would take offense to the term "being a slave to a grip angle." But it is intentionlly done to make people realize that they are allowing the wrist position to dictate them, instead of being the one that dictates the wrist position. To be a versatile and well rounded shooter we must use our wrists in a "fluid tension" manner. The wrist does not need to be locked into one shooting position.
Sure, there is the one optimal locked wrist positon at line of sight. But as soon as we drop below line of sight or work any where in the retention concept, that wrist must unlock and adapt to the new positional angle.
So, grip angle is not just about your choosen weapon system. It is also about the necessary height of the gun (see what you need to see inside of the fight) and the necessary extension of the gun (only extend out far enough to guarantee the hits at the same time protecting the gun and gun hand from an attack).....dictated by the situation.
The situation is the dictating factor, not your locked wrist angle.
Do not allow yourself to be a slave to a grip angle. Free your mind and your rear end will follow.
As soon as you have the skill sets to index your gun right to the desired targeted area, at any height, and at any level of extension, the grip angle on a specifice weapon should mean nothing.
There is a Wrist in Shooting
Inside of fast and accurate "shooting to live" we have optimal shooting positions and we have suboptimal shooting positions. Optimal is full extension, at line of sight, inside of a proactive situation with locked wrists/elbows, and hopefully acquiring a perfect hard focus sight picture
The locked wrist and elbows gives use "structure." This structure allows for the facilitation of excellent "point" characteristics. One of the most obvious of those is the ability to align the gun up with and point with the forearm. Since we are pointing with the forearm there is significant structure behind the gun to manage recoil so the gun cycles correctly.
"Get behind your gun!" is a phrase that I picked up from a serious guy that goes by Ranger5. It means get some rear end behind the gun (structure) so that it works as it was designed to work. The aligned forearm gives you outstanding structure.
Too bad most gun fights do not come down under optimal circumstances.....unless you are on the offensive side of an ambush.
When we look at the reality of the fight "suboptimal" is where we are most likely going to be working from. This is what Suarez International gives its students. We give the optimal, but we also teach you how to excel in the suboptimal.
There are a few basic guidelines that we need to look at to help all of this come together.
The higher the gun is to line of sight the more accurate you are going to be, but the less that you will see inside of the entirety of the confrontation.
The further out the gun is extended the more accurate you will be, but also the slower you will be and the more open for a retention problem you are going to be.
When we look at “the perfect balance of speed and accuracy” we must also take in consideration the necessary visual input of the entirety of the confrontation and the necessary extension of the gun inside of the retention concept.
The reality of these guidelines prove that there are many situations that will require suboptimal positions of the gun. If we accept the retention concept and the physiological desire to get the gun out of our face so that we can take in visual input of the entirety of a reactive encounter, it is plan to see that we will need to learn how to shoot within suboptimal positions. These positions my not allow for pointing with the forearm, your favorite locked wrist position, or locking of the elbows. It is clear that we need to learn how to “get behind the gun” when our structure has been compromised and the wrist and elbows have been broken from their optimal locked positions. It is also clear that we need to develop a “fluid tension” concept when it comes to our wrists and elbows so that we know how to get/stay indexed onto the targeted area of the threat no matter what situation arises. This is where the whole concept of the grip angle must be addressed.
When we look at “below line of sight” shooting, on the most part the wrists and the elbows need to work in conjunction with each other. When the angle changes at the shoulder (like Gabe Suarez's contact ready) if you want to stay index right on your primary targeted area you must make adjustments at the elbows and/or the wrists to compensate for that angle change at the shoulder. Where you make your angle adjustment may not be the same place that I make my angle adjustment. I tend to articulate both the wrist and the elbows simultaneously. I see the elbow articulation as a gross adjustment and the wrist articulation as a fine adjustment. Basic geometry principles explain the difference between the two. To use my elbows for fine adjustments is just not the way to go in my eyes…..so, in comes the wrists.
When we look at shooting inside of the retention concept the wrist take on a much larger job that just vertical articulation. This brings in a third basic guideline.
The more that you are able to keep the gun on your visual centerline the more accurate you are going to be, but the more that you will have to break your wrist and compromise your structure. So it is plain to see that the whole optimal “point the forearm” does not cover the retention concept very well at all.
When we begin to compress dramatically such as the compressed ready, count three, or half hip the wrist must begin to compensate horizontal angles along with the vertical angle compensations. When we are compressed the shooting side forearm angles toward the centerline to achieve the visual centerline. This dramatic angle must be compensated for in the wrist. So, now we have a sharply bent elbow and a sharply bent wrist. The structure has completely broken down. Yet we still need to “get behind that gun” so that it operates correctly. This is where the whole “Grip and Trigger Continuum” come into play. What we lose in skeletal support we can make up with “fluid tension.” Convulsive grip, tensed wrist, flexed forearm, tensed elbow, flexed upper arm, tensed shoulders, tension across the back, chest, and the lats, and an aggressive forward lean. The near entirety of the body gives you the structure that you will need to work that trigger as fast as you can, keep all of the shots inside of a fist size group, and allow for the gun to cycle correctly.
I have smallish hands, wrists, and forearms if I can make this work (and I do) with a .40 almost anyone should be able to make it work with a 9mm.
There is a wrist in self defense shooting. Break away from thinking that there is only one locked wrist position…..that is entry level stuff. Learn the reality of the dynamics of a fight and accept the fact that you may very well need to rely on the suboptimal to win. Learn to index that gun right where you want the bullets to go…..no matter what the situation is. Learn to “get behind the gun” to insure that you have the tools that you need and are both efficient and effective inside of the correct context of the fight.