Grip angle really does matter (and Glock has a better one)

I have never been an advocate for grip angle making a difference because all of my guns have sights.  And saying that you can’t shoot a Glock because it “points” low is like saying I can’t shoot that target because it is too low.  All you need to do is put the sights on the target and press the trigger.  Accurate shooting really is that simple.

However, over the past two weeks I haven’t been able to think of much else than what makes a good holster design (I’m sick I know), but I think I have decided 50% of a good design is how well it fits with your body mechanics.  If that is true, then it should also be true for the gun as well… right?

I believe the grip angle affects how efficiently the gun performs for you at three critical times.

1) When you are shooting a gun you want to be in a relaxed, athletic posture and having a gun the naturally “points” well is important to being able to make fast, accurate hits.    However, you may want to think about what you are shooting at.  Are you shooting at a typical IDPA or IPSC level target at 7yds or a Bullseye target at 25yrds?

If you are exceptionally tall, a standard IDPA target might force you to shoot downward frequently, so a lower natural point of aim may be better.  If you are more diminutive, you might find yourself shooting upwards at those close targets. (At longer distances the angles aren’t as drastic)

Simulating a 3:00 holster position

Simulating a 4:00 holster position

2) When you are establishing your master grip the angle of the grip should be at the same angle your hand falls naturally to reach the gun.  This angle changes based on how high or low the gun sits in the holster and where around the circumference of the body the holster is worn.  At 1st it may seem that this affects the holster decision and not a gun decision but since all of our gear is part of a system it affects both.

If the cant of the muzzle is important to you because you want a straight drop for IDPA or you want the muzzle sightly forward for appendix carry, you may want to consider the grip angle to help you establish a good master grip naturally on the draw.

3) When you are simply carrying the gun in the holster the grip angle and its length affect the guns concealability as well as its center of gravity.  A more severe grip angle (like a Glock or Styer) allow the muzzle to be more forward in relation to the (less cant) for any grip position.  This makes it less likely to print and allows the center of gravity of the gun to stay closer to the muzzle.   This allows the holster to be narrower and have the belt loops closer together and still have an even weight distribution.

For me, the more severe grip angle “points” naturally, for a mid-chest shot on an average sized man between 3-10 yards, and allows me to use less cant in my holsters increasing concealability making it better for me.

I would love to see similar photos from others to see what their mechanics would suggest as a “proper” grip angle.


  1. says

    An even more aggressive grip than the Glock would be substantially better for recoil control. Imagine the grip at a 60* angle or more. To point the gun properly the thumbs would have to be driven towards the target drastically locking the wrist and eliminating flex in the joint forcing the larger bones and muscles to absorb recoil. Of course then we would have feeding,draw and trigger and all kinds of other problems so it comes down to that balance of all the factors to make a gun work properly.

    On the other side of the coin what does grip angle matter when we compare one type of gun that works to another that is a reliability failure? ;) I guess maybe that is a post for another day!

    • says

      Obviously there are certain function standards that need to be addressed before form is even a consideration.

      For the record, properly assembled my 19 functions fine and a new slide stop spring is on the way. (I may save this one for tap rack drills ;) )

  2. says

    Did you have a major Glock 19 issue? I was making fun of 1911′s in my comment as opposed to a Glock 19. We had a MAJOR issue with a Gen 4 19 this weekend. Slide jumped the rear rails. not pretty.

    • Balloon Goes Up says

      LOL. I thought you were referring to me telling you that my slide stop spring has worn out and turns it into a single shot if the spring isn’t under the 3rd pin.

      I have a spare in but the new one should be here today.

      • says

        First of all the math problems seem to be getting harder each time. do frequent commentors need to understand differential equations? ;)

        Second, isn’t it funny how our own bias creeps into the statement of others!

        Finally, I see a practical issue with grip angle that relates to task familiarity. I used to shoot 1911′s hated reloading a glock when I switched because my brain didn’t take into account that little difference in angle. this weekend I shot a hundred or so rounds in a course with the Caracal F. The grip angle is different again. Trouble with reloads. This is not an insurmountable issue, it is however something to think about. It is hard to get good at something when that something is always changing!

  3. says

    There is nothing about grip angle that cannot be overcome through training and establishing muscle memory. The wrist itself is limited only by amount of travel and is flexible. If a gun doesn’t “point naturally” you can make it do so by training through repetition. In an old book on motor learning (muscle memory) it stated that it takes 3-500 repetitions to learn a new motor pattern (say, drawing a gun and aiming with a certain grip angle) and 3-5000 repetitions to erase and correct a bad motor patter (known in shooting as “bad habits). “Pointing naturally” is a learned motor function.

    Sometimes it really IS the Indian and not the arrow.

  4. Kristopher says

    Get a holster that conforms to a 1911 grip angle.

    Just because holsters are conforming to a GLOCK grip angles does not mean that Gaston Glock got it right.

  5. says

    Right off the bat the problem I had with your early comments was that all guns had sights. We are all aware that not all shots are fired using sights especially in combat or self defense situations.

    I am a big believer in tailoring firearm choice to a person’s natural grip angle. This alone is why some shooters are better with one pistol than another with no training on either. While this may not apply as much to seasoned shooters it is definitely a consideration for new shooters who have not yet learned any habits (good or bad).

    Just look at all the different shapes and sizes of people out there. We are fortunate to live in a time where there are hundreds of choices available and we are able to choose a pistol that fits us instead of making us fit the pistol. A bit like golf clubs if you know what I mean.

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