Does Your Handgun Fit Your Hand?

Do you know how to determine whether a handgun fits your hand?  This is crucial when you purchase a handgun.  Just as you need shoes that fit your feet in order for you to be able to walk comfortably, you need a handgun that fits your hand in order for you to be able to shoot properly.  If your handgun does not fit your hand, all of your shooting and gun handling will be compromised.

The rear of the grip of your handgun is called the backstrap.  This must be inserted into the center of the web of your hand between the thumb and index finger.  Once you press the backstrap into the center of the web of your hand, close your fingers around the grip.  The top of your middle finger should also be in contact with the bottom of the trigger guard.

Looking down from above (top view) when gripping the handgun, an imaginary line through the center of the barrel should extend down the middle of your wrist and forearm.  This aligns the forces of recoil with the skeletal structure of your arm, and you thereby use the natural structure of your arm to support the recoil.

Conversely, if the barrel of the handgun is lined up against your thumb rather than the center of your hand, wrist, and forearm, your thumb will be taking the brunt of the recoil.  It will be hurting after shooting only a few rounds.  This is a common result when the trigger reach is too long for your hand and trigger finger.  In order to reach the trigger, you rotate your hand around the grip.  This aligns the barrel against your thumb rather than with your wrist and forearm, and a sore thumb is the predictable result.

You also want your hand to be as high up on the grip as is possible to minimize muzzle flip when you fire your handgun.  Muzzle flip is caused by the barrel being located above your hand.  The force of recoil is in the center of the barrel.  The higher the barrel is above your hand, the longer is the lever arm that cause muzzle flip.  By placing your hand as high up on the grip as is possible, you are minimizing the length of this lever arm and thereby minimizing muzzle flip.

Once you have acquired a proper grip, place the middle of the first pad of your trigger finger on the trigger.  If you can reach the trigger comfortably, the gun fits your hand.  If you cannot reach the trigger properly, either trigger reach is too long or the grip is too large.

If the trigger reach is too short for you to place your trigger finger comfortably, you need a larger grip or a handgun with a longer trigger reach.

You will find photos illustrating the above on pages 38-41 in Martial Art of the Gun.  Click on the photo of the book cover in our website for more information: