Types of Grips a Pistol


There’s more to a proper pistol grip than just looks. Action heroes and bad guys in movies have way too much leeway to mess around, but in real life, safety is the top dog. Having the proper grip on your pistol is the difference between a fun day at the shooting range and a terrible accident. There’s so much that could go wrong with a wrong grip, and the best way to eradicate accidents is to find the grip that works best for you.

Table of Contents

Types of Grips

Several pistol grips have been developed to be used for a variety of purposes. Some for stability and accuracy, some for speed and efficiency. Other grips, though common, aren’t recommended at all. Let’s get into some of them;


one-handed grip is the one that’s more commonly seen, as this is the grip that your favorite action star would have on their film poster. It is also the grip that more advanced shooters utilize in emergencies. Using one hand, they draw their pistol, aim, and shoot.

While a one-handed grip ultimately looks cool, it is by far the most unstable. Unless if you’ve got god-like dominant arm strength, the recoil of the gun will be too much to hand with this grip. There is no support from your other hand, and so your forearm and shoulder receive a lot of recoil force.


Utilized by shooters of all levels, the two-handed grip offers significantly more stability and efficiency. Admittedly, this is the grip that looks legit. It helps you prepare for recoil and encourages accuracy. There are several variations to two-handed grips, each with its advantages.

Thumb-over-thumb Grip

This grip is great for beginners as is pretty easy to master. It offers great stability and encourages maximum control over recoil – which is something most beginners shudder at the thought of.

The pistol is secured by your dominant hand, with the thumb and index finger spread apart. The pistol’s backstrap is positioned between, making sure the back strap is positioned high.

The rest of the fingers of your dominant hand wrap around the grip, with the thumb, touch the middle finger from the other side. Your non-dominant hand then fills in the rest of the space, with the thumb going over the dominant hand’s thumb.

Forward Thumbs Technique

This is a trickier grip for beginners, but it has more speed and precision. Essentially, it features the same principle as a thumb-over-thumb, with the only difference being the positioning of the thumbs.

Instead of one thumb going another, both thumbs point forward – with the thumb of your dominant hand resting on top of the thumb of the non-dominant hand. Consequentially, this grip stabilizes the shot better – but can be difficult to execute on certain pistols

Big No-no Grips

You’ve probably seen a TV cop hold up their pistol like they’re serving a drink. This is quite common in real life, too. It’s known as tea-cupping and is not an advisable pistol grip. It’s unstable, inaccurate, and will ultimately lead to the worst-case scenario of your pistol flying back at you upon recoil.

Tea-cupping may look like a two-hand grip at first glance, but what you’ll notice is that the thumb of the non-dominant hand is far from the thumb of the dominant hand. Instead, it’s hanging out with the middle and ring fingers below. By lowering the position of the thumb, the non-dominant had offered little to no support from recoil.

Similarly, another thing to avoid is crossing your thumbs at the back of the pistol. This is a common mistake amongst beginners – one that is done unintentionally. Crossing your thumbs at the back of the pistol exposes you to the full force of the slide, which could end you up in a world of hurt. It’s important to be guided by a shooting range officer, or a professional shooter, on your first few days of shooting.

Know what works for you

Patience and discipline are key when it comes to pistol shooting. Mastering the basics of gripping will eventually lead you to get more accurate shots, as well as a speedier draw. Safety is of utmost importance, and a good grip on your firearm will make your experience at the range more worthwhile.

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