Building an accurate shooter is like building a house. Everything starts with the foundation. Without a good foundation, your house is crap. Same thing goes with shooting, you have to work on your foundation. I’m talking about 1) overall fitness level, and 2) grip strength. If you are trying to become one of those responsible gun owners everyone is always talking about, then you need to start by working on these two factors.
Here’s the deal with overall fitness level. I tell anyone who will listen that the isosceles stance is the best stance for defensive pistol shooting. If you don’t know why I say this, then either go watch How to Shoot a PIstol Part 2, or drop me a question in the comments. When you are in the isosceles stance, your feet are about shoulder width apart, and your torso is bent forward slightly at the waist. This posture gives you the best chance to absorb the recoil and remain on target for follow up shots. A proper shooting stance is an aggressive stance, hence the forward bend.
Now let’s just say you are one of those people who are overweight or one of those people who carry a significant amount of belly fat. Because of the forward leaning nature of the isosceles stance, all of that extra belly weight is going to be pulling against your spine, and pulling you out of the optimum shooting posture.Can we get this to 25 shares?
Of course, there are many overweight shooters who have learned to compensate for their belly fat by standing straight up when they shoot. And as they continue to shoot, they eventually begin to lean backwards because their back muscles get tired of fighting gravity. Don’t get me wrong, there are some excellent, even expert, overweight shooters. But, all other things being equal, greater overall fitness level means greater shooting ability.
Now let’s talk grip strength. When you shoot a pistol it recoils. Duh! This ain’t rocket science. The pistol naturally want to rock up violently, thereby throwing off your follow up shots. In the real world you need follow up shots. There is a point at which increasing your grip strength will no longer have any effect on your accuracy, but if you have a weak grip you are not going to be a good shooter. That’s a fact. You have to learn to control the recoil, and get back on target for follow up shots, or maybe never come off the target for follow up shots.
When I’m teaching someone how to shoot, I tell them to grip the pistol as tight as they can until the pistol starts to shake, and then let off just until the pistol stops shaking. That’s how tight you should grip it. If you don’t know the proper way to grip a pistol, go watch How to Shoot a Pistol Part 1.
As far as controlling the recoil goes, the question to ask is, “Where does the recoil make you rotate?” The point is that you want to absorb the recoil with the entirety of your body mass. This is how you shoot multiple accurate shots, and in order to do this, it all starts with grip strength.
Here’s the deal. We will take an imaginary shot in slow motion and follow the recoil.
So we start by pulling the trigger. The trigger releases the striker, the striker strikes the bullet primer and BANG the bullet leaves the barrel of the gun at some 800+ feet per second. For every action there is an opposite and equal reaction so the pistol kicks back at you with the same amount of force. At this instant in time the pistol wants to rotate. This recoil force first travels to your wrist joints. But you are holding the pistol with a nearly insane grip so the recoil does not cause your body to rotate at the wrists, and the pistol stays on target. Then the recoil force travels to your shoulders, but your shoulders are tightly locked in place, so your shoulders do not rotate upwards, and the pistol stays on target. Now the recoil force travels from your shoulders to your waist / hips / abdomen, but you have a strong, tight, sturdy torso, so you maintain your forward aggressive lean and the pistol stays on target, Then the recoil force travels from your torso to your knees, which are already bent because you are in the perfect isosceles stance. The recoil force flows through your knees right down to your feet, which are planted firmly shoulder width apart…and the pistol stays on target, at which point you take an accurate follow up shot. All of this happened in the span of a few milliseconds.
The recoil was absorbed by the whole body. Here’s why I say it all starts with grip strength. The most obvious reason is because if you have a weak grip, your wrists are going to be loose, and the pistol will rotate upwards, and the gun will come off target for follow up shots. Now of course, in reality, this is going to happen to some degree. But with a strong grip, it will not be unmanageable. The less obvious reason why it all begins with grip strength is because of what effect a tight grip has on your entire body.
I used to be a weight lifter, and I learned to bench press by watching videos by a guy named Dave Tate. He always stressed grip strength for a strong bench press, which most people consider a chest exercise. But what every big bench presser knows, is that the bench press is actually a whole body exercise. If you want to push 500+ pounds off of your chest, your entire body has to be “tight,” and I mean tight like a rock. Your abdomen, back, rear deltoids, and butt have to be like one giant concrete block lying on the bench. If this is not the case,then you will have no “force transfer,” and it will be like pushing against a limp noodle instead of pushing against a concrete block. In order to move the weight you need the force transfer, and without the force transfer, you get crushed under 500 pounds.
Now Dave Tate doesn’t tell people to think about tightening their rear deltoids, tightening their lats, tightening their abs, tightening their hamstrings, quads, and toes. That’s too much to think about when you are trying to generate 500+ pounds of upward force in a single instant. So the fix is just to grip the bar as tight as humanly possible. Take both of your hands and ball them both into a fist.
Now make that fist as tight as you possibly can.
NOW MAKE THAT FIST AS TIGHT AS YOU FREAKING CAN!!!!
NOW MAKE IT A LITTLE BIT TIGHTER!
Do you notice that your whole body is getting tight? Your shoulders are tight, your chest is tight, your upper back is tight, your abs are beginning to burn, your butt cheeks are puckering, your toes are starting to get tight. That’s what happens when you squeeze your grip as tight as you can.
So when you are shooting you don’t have to think about keeping tight shoulders, tight torso, tight body. All you have to do is grip the pistol as tight as you can and your body will naturally tighten up, allowing you to absorb the recoil with your entire body, thereby keeping on target for follow up shots.
Overall fitness level and grip strength. That’s the foundation of every good shooter. If you are fat, you need to get un-fat. If you are weak, you need to get un-weak. I’m going to offer you a few solutions.
The Diet Solution Program. This is a weight loss program that focuses on making weight loss easy through some common sense dieting. It costs $47 and was created by a really pretty woman named Isabel. If you click on this link and buy the program, I get a commission.
Turbulence Training. This program is only $39. I get a commission if you buy it, so don’t click the link unless you want to help me out :). If you are in a situation where you need to lose weight quickly or get in shape quickly, then you should skip the other programs and use this program.
The Completely Free Option to getting in shape, losing weight, and becoming a better shooter.
- Join My Mailing List. Once you join my mailing list, I will send you a FREE copy of Defensive Pistol 101. After you receive it, send me an email asking for a FREE copy of Bullseye Strength & Conditioning (or you can just wait a week and I’ll send you a copy in the second email to anyone who is on my mailing list). A word of warning, although I’m going to give you Bullseye Strength & Conditioning for free, it is a program that I wrote myself and it is kind of hard core. If you follow the program you will get stronger, and you will lose weight, but you also might die so use it at your own risk. If you want to get in shape and you just don’t have $39 or $47 to spare, then join my mailing list, try my program for free, and if it is too much for you, you can always come back later after you have saved a few bucks and try one of the other programs above.
Good luck and stay tuned for more great stuff.