Pistol shooting remains the most difficult firearm platform to master. With a shorter sighting radius, every millimeter of movement delivers a dramatic impact on the intended target. To shoot a pistol well, one must master the fundamentals. Recoil control proves a critical component of those fundamentals.
Pistol Recoil Control 101
So we stumbled on this video from Speer, featuring professional shooter Patrick Kelley. If you don’t know Pat, the man is an absolute master. Even cooler, he’s always held down “real” jobs throughout his shooting career, not a product of the firearm industry. So just like most of you folks out there, Pat got it done on his own. And he’s one of the best do ever do it, across a host of competition disciplines. So when Pat speaks, we listen!
“Now it’s a whole body experience. So I start with a grip, as I always do, and work my way all the way back to my feet. So I want a good, firm grip, as we’ve talked about. I want my legs, my feet to be over shoulder-width apart, that same stagger we’ve talked about, maybe a little more aggressive. Press the gun out to the target with a really firm grip.
Squeeze That Pistol
Next, Kelly drills down on the grip itself. He reflects the teaching of other great shooters, such as Springfield Armory’s Rob Leatham: these guys put a legit vice grip around the pistol. They don’t merely push-pull on the pistol. They also squeeze in hard, from side to side. The torque creates a fulcrum. It doesn’t eliminate the recoil, but once mastered it enables the pistol to kick up much less. Better still, it quickly brings the front sight right back into view. Some would argue it comprises the real key to shooting fast.
“When you’re on the gun, you’re actually gonna try to torque the gun by pushing your arms, the top of your hands together. … “It applies a lot more energy into the gun.”
The pistol will always move when it goes bang. That’s just simple physics. But with the appropriate grip, application of fundamentals and lots of practice, we can limit those effects. As Pat likes to say, “now get on the range and practice.” It remains the one thing you can do that solves most every shooting problem.