Three Subcompact Shooting Tips

Shooting A Subcompact Pistol Hard & Fast

I love shooting demonstrations in classes, especially with subcompact pistols. I typically share three subcompact shooting tips to help improve your performance on this tiny blasters.

Get Stronger, It Fixes Most Problems

Shooting Subcompact Pistols Well
Heavy Farmers Carry

Nothing in this world is free. You have to pay in some way, shape or fashion. If you want to shoot subcompact pistols well you will have to improve your grip strength. There is no getting around this through equipment or after market modifications. There is no averting this fundamental truth, just get stronger. Grip strength is one of those subjects talked about a lot, but not often in a manner that produces results. Avoid any flexing and extending exercises for high repetitions. Instead, you want exercises focusing on isometric tension. Since this most closely resembles shooting when applying and holding a crush grip. The biggest mistake I see in shooters who want to develop their grip strength is relying on hand grip strengtheners as their sole means of improvement. While they can help to build the strength in your overall grip, we want to hold onto to something with a powerful grip for an extended period of time. My personal favorite are heavy farmers carry, but with a twist. Pick up something with a handle, then point your trigger finger straight down. Carry the item for distance, then switch hands or carry two at the same time. Over time, this will help you to clamp down on your grip versus milking your grip.

Get As Much Friction As Possible

While most subcompact pistols barely fit into the average size person’s palms you still need to obtain a solid firing grip. Start by identifying the five points of contact, then ensure you occupy as much surface area as possible. Using an in-line thumb grip gives you the best access to the pistol’s surface area. Your goal when shooting subcompact pistols is to create as much friction as possible through your grip. With the short frames many are tempted to use pinky extensions or extended magazines. Using these for your reload magazine is no problem. Part of the reason you are carrying a subcompact is the reduced profile for optimal concealment. Adding length to the frame produces more you need to conceal. Instead, curl your pinky finger underneath the base of the magazine. Take it one step further and press the tip of your pinky finger into the palm of your hand while applying your crush grip.

Take It Slow, Concentrate More

The last thing to do is slow down. These subcompact pistols are not as forgiving as their full size counter parts. The extra weight and size of larger pistols allow the average shooter to get away with less than ideal technique. Not the case with the subcompacts. You need to concentrate on slowing down in two major areas. The first has to do with obtaining the optimal firing grip. If you take a little bit more time in the beginning to ensure the best grip it will pay dividends when shooting subcompact pistols in rapid fire mode. Then slow down your shooting. Take more time to align the sights. Many subcompacts come with a poor sight system so sighting errors can be compounded. Slowing down your trigger management will also allow you to work with the suboptimal triggers usually found on the subcompacts.

Practice Drills For Peak Performance

When it comes down to performance evaluation I typically run two drills. The first drill is a Bill Drill where I fire six rounds total in rapid fire mode. I fire these from the 7-yard line as prescribed, but I do it versus a six inch target with six second par time. My goal is to be sub-par with 100% accuracy. To do this drill well you have to focuses on a solid, crush grip. Decent recoil and trigger management will net you a passing score. Then for accuracy, I take the subcompact pistol back to the 25-yard line and run a TRICON bullseye qualification. This is five rounds in ten seconds for score versus a bullseye target with 80% as passing. Both drills allow you as the shooter to gauge your skill level and focus on where you need the most practice.

I love shooting subcompact pistols and they offer many people who would not normally carry concealed the option due to their size. With a little practice shooting them well is easily achievable.

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