"It Fits My Hand" | Buying a Comfortable Pistol – Big Tex Outdoors
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"It Fits My Hand" | Buying a Comfortable Pistol

Ike Stephens

 

Mackay Barr | Battle Drill 6 LLC

 

 

I would ask that you don’t disregard this article as another one from a Glock fanboy, I own many firearms and though I love my Glocks, I love many others as well. When I talk about Glocks I simply find them useful as an example.

 

The phrase “it doesn't fit my hands” usually aligns itself with a particular firearm (generally referring to a Glock,) or the converse point of “this one fits my hands really well.” The latter argument I see a lot with people that bought a poor quality pistol and are trying to justify their purchase to themselves or a fellow gun owner. If you fall into this category believe me when I tell you most serious shooters have a literal or metaphoric box of holsters and guns labeled What Was I Thinking.  As an instructor I hear these comments in referencing a particular firearm so many times I’d retire if each of them took a class from me. Let’s dissect this a little and figure out what is fact and what falls into the categories of myth and lore.

 

First, we can start by acknowledging the fact that everyone has slightly different bio-mechanics on how they are made up. Generally speaking we all have ten fingers and somewhere in there are two opposable thumbs, but the spacing between fingers, distance from the palm, length of fingers all of this changes from person to person. I realize this is fairly common knowledge (at least I hope it is) I only mention it to illustrate to the reader that I understand this and admit that it is in fact true. This will come to be more important later on.

 

Glocks have beefier grips then a lot of other firearms do and that’s where this notion that “they don’t fit my hands very well” comes from. A lot of it began with the FBI trying to utilize the Glock (and to a certain extent the S&W) 10mm pistol as their primary side arm. They ran into issues with both makes because the 10mm is a longer bullet and the guns were bigger and bulkier because of the pressures created by this monstrous round. As such, smaller statured people struggled to retain a grip that wrapped all the way around the firearm and they become uncomfortable with it. Thus springing forth the notion that Glocks fatty grips were difficult to handle for people with small hands. One note to mention is that the perceived lack of grip by those shooters was just that, a perceived lack of grip not an actual failure to grip the pistol. 

 

    
A Glock 10mm Pistol (Glock 20)


A size comparison on various rounds

 

 

 

When the original Glock pistol was designed it was actually correctly designed to fit naturally into a shooters hand. This was one of the mistakes made with a 1911 when John Browning designed the grip angle after a group of Soldiers, who had been firing the Colt SAA their entire, lives had adjusted to an unnatural grip. First time shooters often pick up a Glock and will feel like it melts into their hands, typically what we see is that people that grew up shooting have trouble transitioning because they have gotten used to a less then ideal grip.

 

The answer to adjusting to your preference is in the training. A trained shooter can pick up almost any gun made and be proficient with it. Some will feel less or more comfortable to the shooter but the excuse that “I can’t shoot them very well” is not in their vocabulary. A lack of comfort with any firearm is actually a lack of training with that firearm.

 

So now we can jump into the bio-mechanics I mentioned earlier. Ask a shooter where their strength in their grip comes from and they will tell you front to back. Of course every aspect of our grip is important but pressure exerted front to back from our bottom three fingers is the foundation of our grip. So I’ll ask you a question about that gun that just doesn't fit very well, can you exert that pressure? do your fingers reach the front strap of the pistol? The answer is almost invariably “yes” with a few exceptions out there. My only point with this is that you need to find a better reason not to shoot that gun. You don’t have to like Glocks, plenty of respectable shooters don’t but don’t carry a junk pistol because you made a foolish purchase and continue to justify it.

 

  

 

The equal and opposite argument from the other side is “this one fits me.” Again we come back to this not being a valid argument, my brothers corvette fits me but my Jeep performs a little better off road. The right tool for the right job regardless of which one fits better. My framing hammer is my favorite hammer it melts in my hand but it doesn't work well for finishing work. If the pistol you are using is not a quality self defense pistol then it is a moot argument to use it.

 

That’s another one of gun myths we hear spewed out of the mouths of the internet crowd “Shoot what you’re comfortable with.” Though that is true to a point, in the case of an M&P vs. a Glock 17 shoot what you are comfortable with. They are both quality firearms, the Glock is my preference but you would not be faulted in using either one. However, if we take a Kel-tec (pick a random model it doesn't much matter) and compare it to a Glock 19 obviously one is superior for a combat engagement so at that point it doesn't matter which one is more comfortable. Choosing a quality firearm in a respectable caliber is paramount to what is comfortable (I have yet to see a Keltec I felt was built to the standard of a defensive pistol). 

 

A Kel Tec PF9

 

 

 

Generally speaking the people that say “shoot what you're comfortable with” have gotten to that point because they are tired of the countless arguments of which gun is better. I've met very few that truly believed that this was the right opinion. So let’s move on from this and get back to training.

 

The grip you elect to hold your firearm with is the foundation of your shooting and more importantly is the only thing that will likely remain constant. What I mean by this is that we know in an engagement we will never enter a good Weaver Stance. However, the closest we can get to a guarantee is that our grip will be solid, maybe not perfect, maybe even one handed, but it will still be solid.

 

The fundamentals of your grip come from front to back and our strength and power of our hands comes from the bottom 3 fingers. The point being that simply because the grip is fat, double stacked, too large a caliber, or whatever other reason you have, if you have achieved the former mentioned goal of proper pressure it’s only psychological and is not a bio-mechanics issue. I once worked with a Green Beret  that was 5 feet and change and 145 pounds wet, the guy was tiny; but he never used the excuse that his gun didn't fit, he simply trained until it did.

 

 

Others will make the argument that they don’t want to have to train their carry gun to the point of comfort but that it should be comfortable at purchase. I see this a lot when Mr. Smith buys Mrs. Smith her carry gun which was a pink .380acp that looked “cute.” My response is always the same “quit carrying if you are unwilling to accept the responsibility of training.” As a responsible gun owner you have to be familiar and comfortable with your firearm don't shoot what you’re comfortable with but become comfortable with what you shoot.

 

I trained a student once that refused to use a quality firearm (in the name of keeping the peace I’ll leave out the particular brand he was using) in so doing he malfunctioned at least once every magazine, literally this is not an exaggeration. But he refused to listen to logic and reasoning and not have that be his carry gun he only continued with the argument that it was comfortable in his hands, even when I let him use my Glock 19 he used the other excuse that “it just doesn't fit.” He was a friend of mine and as such I worked with him multiple times over the coming months and that was really the first time I started to document this issue. What is really interesting about what I found out in my experiment was when I made him a deal.

 

I made him a deal that for an 8 hour training session I would let him use a Glock 19, I simply asked him to put his pride aside and give an honest opinion when the training was complete. He began the class uncomfortable with it but it took less then half a day for him to develop his level of comfort with a different weapon. The remaining portion of the day proved extremely successful and he eventually developed a much more lethal shot group and speed with the Glock 19 that he sold his pistol and transferred to the Glock (to be fair he carries an H&K VP9 now which I have yet to review).

 

The H&K VP9

 

If you take nothing away from this read I would ask only that you remember training is paramount to initial comfort. The old advice to try several guns and figure out which one is most comfortable to you prior to purchase can be deadly. Get your training, do your research and please buy a quality pistol.

 

Mackay Barr

Battle Drill 6 LLC


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