Proper Pistol Grip – Navy SEAL Teaches How to Grip a Pistol

I’m retired Navy SEAL sniper instructor
Chris Sajnog founder of the new rules of marksmanship in this video I’m
gonna teach you how to grip your pistol properly now let’s go ahead and get
started the importance of a proper pistol grip
cannot be overemphasized what I want you to think about anytime you’re shooting a
pistol is making it an extension of your body don’t think about your pistol is
just something you’re holding on to and trying to control really make it part of
your body and if you use the techniques that I describe here it’s gonna feel
that way a proper shooting grip is the cure for the common recoil one of the
things I’m going to talk about in a little bit is not letting the tail wag
the dog okay before I get to that let’s go ahead and show you how to set up a
proper pistol grip now the first thing that I want you to do is always start
with your pistol outside of any holster just start with it in your non-shooting
hand put your shooting hand up on the back of the beaver tail is high up as
you can get it and you want to have your skin tenting up up there don’t make it
so high that it’s going to interfere with the slide but as high up as you can
possibly get it and that’s gonna really help ensure that you are supporting the
gun as well as possible because the energy when this gun fires is going to
go straight back now because of the way these firearms are designed you cannot
put your hand directly behind that energy so we want to get it up as high
as possible to have a mechanical advantage now when we do that you also
then want to make sure that your arm is directly in line with your firearm with
the barrel of the firearm so you can see my arm is in line with that and this is
why it’s so important to start outside of the holster because when most people
grab a firearm from the holster they’ll grab it like this and they’ll pull it
out and you can see that I am nowhere near in line with that so that means the
energy is going to be coming straight back in forcing my elbows to bend in my
whole structure to break down okay so we’re not going to do that so grab the
gun place it in there ten up your skin get your arm is straight
back as you can behind the gun to support that energy now you’ll see my
thumb is forward here if you look at this space in here you can fit your hand
by panting your reaction hand or your support hand down at a 45 degree angle
and placing it right into that space so what you want to do is you want to take
away any spot on the gun that that energy could go to because energy is
always going to go to the path of least resistance so if I have an open space in
here the energy is going to be forced into them so say for instance I have a
little space right here where the energy could go to and I’m allowing the gun to
do that well some of the energy is going to push back this way and I’m going to
be pushing to that side we don’t want to do that so we are going to cover this up
as much as we can hand down at a 45-degree angle
and you’ll see my thumbs are forward and that is a perfect pistol grip now I
talked earlier about not letting the tail wag the dog now this is one of the
biggest misconceptions or pieces of just bad information that I have heard for
over 25 years in teaching firearms and that is that your finger needs to go a
specific place on the face of this trigger and that could not be further
from the truth the place this came from is that
professional shooters with very heavy guns and very light triggers they didn’t
need to worry about having a good grip and they didn’t need to worry about
manipulating their trigger properly all they had to do was just touch that
trigger and the gun was gonna go bang but on self-defense pistols like you are
shooting that gun to trigger weight ratio is the difference that makes
shooting harder so it’s going to be more important that I can control the gun
with a proper grip if I grip it properly and and I grip it hard I can do pretty
much anything I want to that trigger and it’s not gonna move but if you’re trying
to put your finger somewhere on a trigger where somebody tells you to like
the Hat of the tip of your fingers something like that it’s not gonna work
for you all right you need to set up your grip first and then let your finger
land where it may on the face of that trigger and that’s going to be the
perfect spot for you remember we’re all different
as shooters so with that some things that you can test to make sure that you
are in a good shooting position number one is point your gun straight up and
your thumb of your reaction or support hand and your trigger finger should be
about even if they are like this or like this that’s going to mean that that your
grip is canted one side or the other another thing you can do here is let go
of the gun with your bottom fingers and the gun should stay straight so that
means that the top of my gun I’m supporting it as well now when I teach a
pistol grip I teach a 100 and 100 percent grip because if you’re in a
competition if you are shooting at somebody who’s shooting at you you’re
gonna be holding your grip with 100 and 100 percent grip strength I guarantee it
so why not practice like that it’s the most stable thing to do you don’t have
to worry about a 60/40 grip or a 4060 grip you don’t have to worry about some
crazy push pull with your different hands just grip the gun hard imagine if
you put your gun in a vise you could do anything you want to that trigger and
it’s gonna go where you want now another way that you can test to make sure that
you have a good grip especially having your arm behind the gun here is just
bring the gun up and look down the sights and just squeeze the grip as hard
as you can and you’ll see my gun is shaking because I’m literally squeezing
as hard as I can but if I can’t my gun off to the side so now I’m one of these
people who grab their gun like this and now I squeeze the gun you can see what’s
happening is the gun is going off to that side so that’s going to happen
every time I shoot this gun if I grip the gun like that now if I were to have
it over like this and it’s too far off to this side now when I squeeze the gun
is naturally going to be shooting to the left people all the time are saying oh
all my shots are left and low or whatever all of these
things can be diagnosed by yourself and fixed right at home by using a proper
grip a couple of the last ways that you can check to make sure that you have a
proper grip are are you shooting consistently in the center of your
target if you’re not one of the first culprits could be your grip so make sure
you check that and you’re doing it properly when you shoot does the gun
jump out of your hands and what I mean by that is I’m shooting and the gun goes
bang and you have a big recoil because you don’t have a proper grip and then
you find yourself keep having to readjust your grip if you’re always
readjusting your grip on the range you’re not starting off with the proper
grip so make sure you’re doing them a little piece of bonus advice and that is
to work on your grip strength it’s super important the stronger your hands are
the more you’re going to be able to control that gun input rounds where you
want to so that’s it for now until next time keep paving your path to perfection
hey I really hope you enjoyed watching that video and if you did I put together
my top three videos for learning to shoot at home and I want to give those
to you absolutely free now all you have to do is click the I card that just
popped up or you can go to Kris sign on Comm forward slash free videos and I
will send you not only those top three videos that I have for learning to shoot
at home but I will also send you a free PDF copy of my new rules of Marchman
ship manifesto click the card go to Kris
I can send you those videos keep paving your path to perfection guys

100 thoughts on “Proper Pistol Grip – Navy SEAL Teaches How to Grip a Pistol

  1. Hey Chris, great vid. Haven’t fired a pistol since 1980 (Colt 1911). Thanks for the refresher. I was on the range messing with my new xds yesterday and wasn’t too pleased -it was my grip. Tried texting to 44222. Is your site still available?

    Thanks for serving! Steve HM3 1976-80

  2. thumb on his left hand is all wrong. having that thumb place there your thumb got to be stronger than your arm. the thumb on left hand should be over the right hand thumb and not touching the slide.

  3. This was the best block of instruction I heard on pistol grip. I have been taught by academy instructors but for some reason this was more detail and thorough. Thank you!

  4. Excellent video!!!! Everyone who's about to purchase a sidearm should watch this. Gun shops won't take the time to explain some of this so non military personnel have no idea what they may be doing wrong and just get frustrated at the range and probably won't be confident with the sidearm.

  5. there is NO right way….other than a couple basics for New shooters. Everything else is Preference….period. There is a difference between Combat and Competition shooting grip….and the PROS do it completely Wrong and against the Books too!! People tweak their Own individual style.

  6. Great tips, but I found in a gun fight in the field I didn't have time to use the neat techniques I was train to use… know stance, grip, sight picture………our instructors were Nam vets who also trained us to shoot on the fly with one hand. Remember the bad guy doesn't care if you don't have time to get ready.

  7. I’ve been taught at least 3 absolutely correct ways to hold a handgun by certified instructors. I’m pretty sure they are all perfectly fine.

  8. So the secret is exactly the same thing every other "expert" on youtube and the real world is teaching. Did I miss the "secret" part?

  9. The barrel "inline" with your forearm was great, when everyone used the weaver stance. Not so good now, using the isometric triangle stance(isosceles). Your gun natural wants to point to the left this way. I move my strong hand slightly around the gun, to put it in a better spot for the triangle. This also helps you get more of your support hand on the grip, in a HIGHER, MORE FORWARD position. Which is perfect for recoil management. I also pull back on the front of the trigger guard, with the pointing finger, of my support hand. I used to miss left, until I changed to this grip. Try it!!!

  10. Surprised you didn’t mention stabilizing the recoil by putting the supporting hand’s index finger around the rim of the trigger guard. Trigger guards like the ones on Glocks are design for that, and note that many guns have grip texture (like the Glock) on the trigger guard so the index finger has grip to help keep the gun as straight as possible upon firing. Keeping the gun balanced so it won’t fly up. Your method on little hands, still allows play room for the weapon to jump up. This is the way i was thought by a marine.

  11. The proper pistol grip is….the one that works for you. May be exactly as described in this video, maybe the slightly different, may be something not even close. Try them all, yours will evolve into something that works, let the holes in the paper show you which is correct.

  12. It's impossible to have the gun in line with your arm and see down the sights unless you tilt your head way over or have a double jointed elbow.

  13. This was the second time I watched the video and it really came together for me this time. I was doing a couple of things wrong, and I think you've sorted me out. Just small things, but already my grip feels right, where before I was uncomfortable. This seems to have worked practicing at home. We'll see how I do at the range. I'm just a novice, so every bit helps right now. There's so much to learn, and it's going to take patience. I'll check back in in a few days, hopefully with a better target group. Thank you.

  14. So as you reach a blind 90 degree corner – the first thing to show the guy hiding around the corner is the gun then your arms. So a pipe or cane can smash your gun or arm because they are sticking out in the breeze.
    Why not hold it against your hip and eliminate that scenario.

  15. By the time you do all of these things in a gun fight the other guy will have emptied his magazine in you and you're on your way to the morgue

  16. In 2009, I came home from a deployment and my oldest son, who was 3 or 4 at the time, wouldn’t eat for almost 2 weeks… Being a father I was obviously concerned, so I asked him about it and his answer really hit me hard… He said, “Dad, if I eat I’ll grow up and if I grow up I’ll become a daddy. And if I become a daddy, I’ll have to leave my family.” My boys barely knew who I was and I couldn’t let them grow up without a father…

    I realized at that moment my family needed me a lot more than the Navy needed another SEAL. So I put in for retirement the next day…

    Back then I knew I wanted to be with my family more than anything, so I made changes in my life that allowed me to be at home.

    We all want more time to spend with the people we love or doing the things we love. That’s why I’m here to help!

    Once you read my New Rules of Marksmanship you will learn how you can stay at home, and save time and money while you improve your shooting! I promise this works… try it now:

  17. Excellent points Chris. A good check on the placement of your support hand, especially thumb placement, is natural sight alignment. A sidearm should be a natural extension of your body and once you can master grip placement the sights become irrelevant especially in close combat. The ability to put a bullet in a vital area that will neutralize the attacker should be as natural as walking. This also requires a sidearm that fits the shooter instead of the shooter adjusting to the sidearm. Great video!

  18. USA Active and Reserves there are approx 2,100,000 who are .. it seems.. EVERYONE last one a NAVY Seal.. … or low life scum ?????? If you stand around with both arms and both hands holding the pistol.. You're an easy TARGET for even a spitball.


  20. What do you think of these 2 short clips on an UNUSUAL, but EFFECTIVE grip technique?

  21. All fine and dandy if you are in a controlled environment plinking static targets. This method is irrelevant in dynamic situations where (speed X efficiency) is the answer to living or dying.

  22. My biggest issue is having my brass flying over my head and going behind me. Hope to practice your grip and see if it helps me. Thank you also for your service.

  23. I've also seen great shooters use the Weaver stance and lock the shooting hands thumb under the weak hand thumb for a extremely ridged grip, steady as a rock but not ideal for rapid shooting as the gun often does not recoil straight back.

  24. Chris this is awesome instruction! I have been shooting a long time and still I've learned a lot from you. Thanks for posting, and Chris Thank You for your service! God Bless America!

  25. What about shooting with an injured hand? About a year ago my non dominant hand was cut at the thump. The knife went through my muscles and nerves in the palm of my hand under my thumb and half way up the thumb. How do I adjust for that. Limited movement and strength in it. Really need some advice. Please and thank you

  26. @ChrisSajnog thank you. I am right handed with a left arm that won't fully extend (old football injury). Any guidance on how to work with that?

  27. 1:58 Make sure that your arm is directly in line with the barrel of the firearm.

    Would you please demostrate how this is possible when someone is holding the firearm with two hands.

  28. I have noticed with a lot of firearms with a very high grip , your fingers can ride the slide stop . Hence preventing the slide from locking on your last round . Particularly the thumb on your supporting hand .

  29. Funny the best shooter in the world tells you to use the front of the trigger guard..and he places skate tape.. Keeping the flip from happening.. . for the next shot.. and be relaxed..

  30. The placement of the trigger finger is probably the most discussed and disagreed point in any discussion about pistol grips. People new to guns tend to put their fingers wherever it ends up when they grab the gun; proper grip or not. It's just how they pick it up and shoot. Then someone who is trained, experienced, been shooting all their life….etc., will come around and tell them "this is how you pull a trigger". That's where the disagreements come in – finger tip, first knuckle, between tip and first knuckle, or wherever it lands. I've always told people to put their finger where it lands naturally because in a self-defense scenario, that's where it's probably going to be anyway so make it natural and consistent with training. In a high stress, life and death situation, most people are not going to be thinking about trigger pull so don't make it a requirement for good marksmanship. Instead, make it easy and instinctive.

    Now here is where the caveat for that above statement comes in. When someone with ginormous hands or long fingers wants a pocket pistol, their finger is going to be completely in the trigger well up to the second knuckle and around the other side. Some people don't like that and I really don't either but if you think about how that fits into many self-defense situations, it's really not that much of a negativity. Pocket pistols are designed for up close encounters. Their 1-2" barrels are not very accurate at 100 meters, but when someone is in your face at the ATM, they are very accurate. At that range, if your finger is up to the second knuckle and you point the gun at center mass of a man-sized target, you will hit the target. Yes, it's much better to carry a gun that fits, but since we all don't have that luxury because of dress, work and legal restrictions, we have to do what we can do.

    Don't sweat the small stuff. Learn to shoot the gun you have. Learn to shoot it naturally. Learn to react consistently.

  31. Good video! So I have a question I am right handed and left eye dominant. I shoot all my long guns and bow left-handed. I grew up with guns as a regular part of life mostly for hunting and sport shooting probably 40 + years. I have had handguns for some time but never did much shooting with them. I find myself more comfortable gripping the pistol right-handed. As far as shooting my accuracy is not that bad 30 yards I can hit a coffee can. Looking to do some tactical training in the near future. Just wondering if you think accuracy would be better if I trained to shoot Lefty? I have a full carry concealed and based upon the current world we live in thinking I should exercise my right. Just looking for a little advice on what you may think would give me the best end result. Thanks again like the video

  32. good grip advice .. and my left thumb  is used to pull my trigger finger   Magic accuracy and no snatching .

  33. Oh my god….you didn’t check for empty! Oh my god….you pointed at the camera!…oh my god….you pointed at ME! You almost killed me. Oh my god…this was so disturbing.

  34. I was a Glock 19 and a safariland 6360 duty holster and I have a problem getting a solid grip when drawing from the holster. Any advice on how to establish a solid grip when drawing from the holster. I think the problem is because the holster covers most of glock 19 handle. When go on target from the from holster I’m always adjusting my geip

  35. If you have something in our hand, or you are behind some object, or you are otherwise encumbered, always request that any assailant stop momentarily so that you can get into proper position. They would be less than a gentleman if they failed to comply. OTHERWISE, learn to shoot with one hand, including the non-dominant hand, practice shooting to either side, and from various positions. In reality, a person who means to do you harm will NOT give you time to "strike a pose".

  36. My wife is getting into shooting so I had her watch this video first. We went to the range and her shooting and understanding increased immensely. We both shot better. Excellent video…. Basics! Basics! Basics!

    Thank you Chris

  37. Awesome, Awesome, Awesome. Thanks Brother In Arms. The Front Sight Video Was Also Amazing. It Really Works. I'm 60 and it changed my whole way of shooting. Wish I was 18 again. Lol.

  38. I certainly agree with you, a proper grip is most fundamental along with a proper stance, but shouldn't the first thing you do before such practice or training, make sure the firearm is unloaded and made safe? I guess it's my NRA training that is kicking in.

    I've taken a lot of firearms courses and proper grip is something they seem to assume you know. It was Massad Ayoob who had us try different grips and stances to find how they compared. Now I'll continue watching. Jim

  39. I certainly agree with you, a proper grip is most fundamental along with a proper stance, but shouldn't the first thing you do before such practice or training, make sure the firearm is unloaded and made safe? I guess it's my NRA training that is kicking in.

    I've taken a lot of firearms courses and proper grip is something they seem to assume you know. It was Massad Ayoob who had us try different grips and stances to find how they compared. Now I'll continue watching. Jim

  40. Wow, I'm so glad I found this video. I just bought my first hand gun and want to learn correct grip and the reasons why it is correct. Thanks!

  41. Thank you for your service, sir and thank you even more for your dedication to your family and sharing that with all of your followers. Simple messages like that get lost in our every day lives. Family first.

  42. Very informative video, thankyou. An honor to get instruction & tips from someone in the Special Forces community. Thank you for your dedication & service.

  43. Hey Chris, just wanted to let you know that this video helped me out bigtime. Yesterday I was in the range practicing for my qualifications that was set for today. Out of a score of 250, i was at 212-215. I went home last night, watch your video and practice gripping my weapon. I qualified witha score of 240. The video was and is very helpful, thank you!!

  44. Hello, my name is Enrique., I enjoyed the video, very interesting very good techniques, just a quick observation the firearm was never demonstrated that it was safe and unloaded for security reasons. Thank you for serving one of the most respectful units (SEAL) thank you for your service Sir!

  45. Thank you! I’ve been using full-size pistols for years, now training with compacts. It’s hard for me to get the sites lined up. After watching this, it became simple.And THANK YOU For saying finger position on trigger doesn’t matter. I’ve been arguing with people for years on this. God bless and thank you for your service sir!

  46. Chris, should the grip on a pistol be the same for every pistol and or revolver. I shoot anything from a .22 to a .40mm, my favorite is either my .9mm or my .380 Thanks.

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