Paul Carlson

Proper Grip When Using a Defensive Handgun

Paul Carlson
Sign in
Duration:   3  mins

Paul Carlson of Safety Solutions Academy discusses how the fit of a handgun affects efficiency during a defensive incident. A handgun that fits properly absorbs recoil and allows for faster follow-up shots and more precision when you need it. Plus if the handgun malfunctions, that can be handled more easily as well.

Visit for more personal defense tips and modules that will help you be better prepared to defend yourself. Also, further the discussion by leaving a comment below or sharing this video with your friends!

Share tips, start a discussion or ask one of our experts or other students a question.

Make a comment:
characters remaining

12 Responses to “Proper Grip When Using a Defensive Handgun”

  1. nancy bennett

    Positioning a semi-auto in the web of the hand and aligning with forearm bones is essential for SA operation. I learned from reading "Teaching Women to Shoot" (by Vicki Farnam and Diane Nicholl) that back when women were beginning to join the military or law enforcement they were simply issued a standard firearm, and it sometimes would not fit their smaller hand. So they twisted it a bit to be able to reach the trigger, which pushed recoil into their thumb joint. It not only hurts a lot, but it doesn't always provide enough resistance to hold the gun steady while the slide is moving. That, in turn, caused more stovepipe and misfeed malfunctions among those women than the other shooters. A really good thing to know if you are teaching a woman to fire a semi-auto! Those malfunctions are a good clue to check the fit and grip position..

  2. john

    While much of what was presented is standard instruction, I still disagree. While there are times when a possible threat has not been fully identified that the “trigger” finger should not be on the trigger, but too often I see in videos and portrayed on TV when an encounter is imminently anticipated that the trigger finger is not on the trigger. Allegedly to help avoid an accident. But the second or even microseconds required to move the finger to the trigger can be fatal. I have read that in those Old West gunfights, the fastest draw could still be killed since the time it took the first fired bullet to reach its target still allowed the opponent to get off his shot. Yes, the hero had the faster draw and fired first, but still died. That is not the outcome I had in mind. And, BTW, I have some arthritis in mu “trigger finger”. But pain or no pain, I still need to fire when and if required.

  3. nancy bennett

    The title "Proper Grip" is a bit misleading. I was hoping to see PDN's recommendation for position of the support hand in a two-handed defensive grip. Good info, but "Proper Fit for a Defensive Handgun" would have been more descriptive of what this presented, in my opinion.

  4. Stephen

    The video is very well done and has a great deal of good information. However, I do not agree with the placement of the gun in the hand so that it all lines up with the arm. In theory this makes since as it should give you the best control and shot recovery possible through recoil management. However, if you will take an honest look at the grip, when you line everything up as shown and then bring the pistol up to shoot, now don't bend the wrist, you will see that the sights are not in line with the eye. This will require that you twist or bend your wrist to enable the proper sight alignment to be achieved. Once you do this you decrease the control ability of recoil and the gun will not come back to the same position after each shot. If you grip the gun with about a 15 degree cant off the center of the webbing, the sights will align properly with the eye without having to manipulate the pistol. Also, after each shot the gun will return to it's "HOME" position after each shot without any extra manipulation, thereby permitting faster followup shots. I hope I have explained this well enough for people to understand. If not, I will gladly try again.

  5. Grant Bruner

    Your video is very informed & impressive I believe they will be helpful

  6. Robert Farnlof

    Good video. I looked up Safety Solutions Academy and was surprised to find it in Ohio, assuming the shirt you were wearing is a work shirt, because the desert behind you is my neighborhood !

  7. Roy Messer

    Outstanding video! The camera is right-on. Voice, clarity and simplicity of instructions are excellent. When and if the need arises, you only get one moment to get it right. These basic fundamentals of firearm ownership help make it happen.

  8. Michael Walsh

    Good video. I am passing it on to some friends that want to get into shooting. It will be a big help for them to getting into the shooting sports and learn self defense. Thanks for making the video.

  9. steven guglielmo

    my sportsman pistol permit is in the mail to me, need all the info i can absorb to help make a proper choice on my firearm purchase, this video filled another spot in that quest, thank you....

  10. Marcus

    Great video, though I think grip across the rest of the hand is far more important than control manipulation for most carry guns. Generally speaking, you're not doing combat reloads off-duty.

Get exclusive premium content! Sign up for a membership now!