Get a grip

Get a grip

When we say ‘get a grip’, we’re all for the importance of grip and trigger as two of the most important factors in shooting accurately with a handgun. With proper grip, you can shoot any calibre firearm – from the .22, all the way up to the .500 Magnum.

Marksman’s Nest chief ranger Geoffrey Coetzee emphasised that good grip would make you a more consistent shooter. “Your shooting grip is just one of the factors that go into becoming a great shot and learning to shoot well. The better and stronger it is, the less you’ll feel recoil. Also, whether using a semi-automatic pistol or a revolver, the right grip will not only reduce the movement of the firearm, but will also maximize the speed and accuracy of your follow-up shots.”

According to Geoffrey, the old cup and saucer shooting grip is just plain bad. “It’s so much better to use the Thumbs Forward technique, which almost always improves accuracy. And it’s imperative to maintain the same grip, shot after shot.”

On the draw

When taking hold of your gun in the holster, the web of your shooting hand must be in the top tang on the back-strap and no higher. If it’s higher, the slide will bite your hand and if too low, the gun will move more with recoil.

It’s important to have both thumbs pointing at the target. That means the heel of your non-shooting hand should cover the exposed area on the grip. To create a solid grip foundation, align the gun with your forearm.


A one-hand grip usually affects accuracy negatively. So, use both hands, with your non-dominant hand supporting your shooting hand. Don’t grasp too tightly: otherwise your hands and arms will tire easily. But don’t grip slackly either because then it increases firearm movement.

Ensure that your thumbs don’t interfere with the slide or controls. However, you also shouldn’t cross them behind the slide. The recommended position for your thumbs is having them either on top of each other or overlapping and pointed forward on the opposite side of your trigger finger. You’ll know you’ve got it right if both of your thumbs are almost parallel to each other and touching.

Remember, your arms, fingers and wrists all coordinate to get a grip for bull’s-eye shooting.

Nothing beats training

All the above will become as natural as tying your shoelaces with continuous training. So the mantra is: train, train and train.

To build up forearm and wrist strength, exercise with a stress ball, tennis ball, or grippers. Reverse curls using rubber bands of different strengths to spread the fingers apart are also good. And nothing beats regular pull ups to work out your upper body!


Concealed carry requires training

Concealed carry requires training

Make no mistake: concealed carry requires training. Many gun owners are mistaken in thinking that with a gun licence and being able to point a gun, they’ll be able to defend themselves when the need arises. “Not so,” said Marksman’s Nest chief ranger Geoffrey Coetzee.

“The long and short of it is, if you want to be capable of defending yourself from a deadly threat, get training and carry a firearm. Chances are, you might not ever use your firearm, but surely it’s safer to have it and not need it than to desperately need it when trying to defend yourself?”

Developing skills

Refining your skills and nerve in a threatening situation is key to your safety. And concealed carry training will get you there.

There are many factors involved in this training. Firstly, being able to shoot fast and on-target under extreme stress. Only regular practice gets you there, because the time and effort you spend on learning to operate a firearm properly definitely will pay dividends in effectiveness.

Secondly, you need to be comfortable with every aspect of putting your concealed carry gun to use. So comfortable in fact that you should be able to draw, shoot, clear malfunctions and reload on auto-pilot.

Unconscious thought gets you there

“If you have to use conscious thought to accomplish these tasks, your ability to defend yourself is already diminished,” Geoffrey said. “Because remember, as a concealed carry citizen, you may only use deadly force when you’re in fear for your life or the life of someone else.”

Stress levels soar when in a life-or-death situation. Which is why there’s no substitute for the confidence gained from regular practice, which ensures pin-sharp motor skills.

Training and more training

Operating your gun in a life-threatening situation should come as naturally as driving your car. For this reason, Geoffrey recommends an initial intensive training course, followed by regular practice on the range for best results.

“We ensure that new shooters first use a mental checklist to master the fundamentals. Thereafter, with regular practice, a new shooter will be able to react with conditioned operational thinking. But it’s imperative to learn doing things in the correct way when developing fast responses. That’s why we emphasise that concealed carry requires training.”

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