A major lesson learned in our class debriefs is the positive effective of our crush grip. Without a solid crush grip you open the door to more problems; literally.
Somethings don’t change
Over the recent holidays there might have been an “incident” resulting in me dislocating my strong hand thumb. Aside from it being painful, it was a great reminder of the importance to a crush grip. My ability to close my grip, much less apply pressure was severely retarded. Luckily my grip strength is coming back and having dislocated this joint in the past it is more a process than anything. However, during the process I was keenly aware of the inferiority of my crush grip.
To go back a little bit. The crush grip is not simply squeezing the pistol firmly. It is about squeezing with a hulk like grip in the right places. As part of the crush grip brief I go to each student and shake their hands. Then I demonstrate the proper grip, after which I ask them to demonstrate it back to me. I am surprised by how many, like the vast majority of student who grip incorrectly. When I say incorrectly I mean, yes you are gripping the gun so it does not fall out of your hand, but how improved is your combat marksmanship. Ideally we want the sights to remain as close to the strike point during firing as possible. While there are other parts to the overall technique a major one is your crush grip.
Suck at everything, but the grip
You may have a shitty stance, shitty mount, but you cannot afford to have a shitty grip. It must be perfected and practiced from all conditions. Conditions such as two hand, strong hand and even weak hand only. You really learn about your own anatomy when you take it to these extremes. Shooting strong hand only is one of the best ways to learn about your crush grip as well as an opportunity to practice. Since the gun will discharge, physical forces are being imparted on both the gun and the shooter. Most shooters apply the majority of grip pressure right under the trigger guard and this is incorrect.
The laws of physics
It is incorrect in the sense you are working against physics at this point. No matter how hard you squeeze in this position it will always be weaker, inferior or wrong compared to applying more grip pressure towards the bottom of the pistol grip. If you think of the trigger guard as the fulcrum the further way from the fulcrum, the more leverage you can apply. While many of the students showed powerful grips, it was with the top two digits and therefore when applied to the gun it was inferior. The moment they transferred power away from the fulcrum you could see the improvement in their recoil management and combat marksmanship. Again, this is a part of the overall system, but what I consider to be a huge fundamental part.
What I noticed recently is while I understand and can apply a correct crush grip, when I was unable I was amazed as to how my performance suffered. Aside from it being painful to go through the recoil impulse, I realized how “open” my grip was when I could not close my grip by dropping my thumb down. By applying downward pressure, almost as if I was trying to make a fist around the gun. Even though I was gripping the crap out of the gun with the bottom two digits, without my thumb to close the grip it was not as effective. I have witnessed this before when we see students go “thumbs up”, but I had not personally experienced it until my injury.
Don’t get wrapped around the axle with how hard to grip. Apply pressure with the bottom two digits and drop your thumb; then crush the shit out of it for effect.