When you bring up the topic of grip angle among firearm enthusiasts, be prepared to hear some pretty strong opinions. This is especially true when mentioning particular brands, which have caused controversy with their different style. The question is, does grip angle really matter?
What Is Grip Angle?
There are four common measurements used to describe firearms: the grip circumference, the grip width, the trigger reach, and the grip angle. Grip angle describes the angle of the grip in relation to the firearm's bore. This angle has an effect on comfort and where the firearm is pointing when you bring it upward to the firing position.
What's Different about Some Handguns?
Most semi-auto handguns have a similar and somewhat standardized grip angle. This comes from the classic 1911, designed by John Browning, designed more than 100 years ago and is still the gold standard for pistol ergonomics. The angle he chose mimics the angle of the wrist of most people when they throw a punch. Some handguns have angles that are a few degrees higher than this traditional firearm angle.
Why Does Grip Angle Matter?
Many people have a distinct preference for one grip angle or another. Why do they feel so strongly?
- It’s a matter of consistency. When you're shooting a handgun, the ideal is an aggressive, athletic posture. This ensures your ability to shoot quickly and accurately. You need to be able to instinctively point the muzzle at a target quickly in a defensive situation. A comfortable and repeatable grip on the gun is aided by a natural grip angle on the handgun. The grip angle in reality is just a matter of individual users comfort. The shooter determines which is preferred. Most shooters and therefore handgun manufacturers stay with the tried and true to maintain consistency between models and brands. This also aids in the shooters ability to easily adjust from model to model, brand to brand.
- With the initial gripping of the holstered gun, the shooter must be able to safely and positively control and draw the gun. Consistency is key here and learning to draw well is an issue of training and muscle memory. The grip angle while holstered is a combination of the angle the holster sits on the body and the grip angle of the gun. Gripping the gun properly is easier and in many ways more comfortable when the holstered grip angle requires less bend in the wrist to get a proper “Master Grip”. This, of course, makes controlling the gun much easier.
- It helps conceal. A handgun's grip angle and length affect how concealable it is. The severe grip angle of certain firearms can make for an uncomfortable grip and can be hard to control when firing.
We can all agree grip angle matters, as it continues to stir debate among firearm enthusiasts. At the end of the day, many firearm users will have a preferred grip angle. There is likely no particular grip angle “correct” for everyone; rather, it depends on your body, your hands, and the kind of shooting you tend to do.
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