Succeeding with the Fundamentals: Get a Grip »

Succeeding with the Fundamentals: Get a Grip

By Michelle and Chris Cerino

The primary role of grip is to aid in managing recoil, and a modern “high thumbs forward grip” is what successful shooters use. This grip allows you to put the most “meat” on the gun. A solid grip allows for more aggressive trigger operation and aids in keeping sights and sight picture in recoil. This all allows for faster, more accurate follow up shots when firing multiple shots, or engaging multiple targets.

Obtaining the high thumbs forward grip is easy once you understand it. Be high in the back strap and tight to the trigger guard with your strong hand. Use front to rear pressure, like your trying to flatten a can. “Hitchhike” your thumb to get it out of the way. The space now available is filled with your non-dominant hand. Correctly placed, the knuckles of your support hand should be at almost a 45 degree angle, and your thumb should point forward as if it were a flashlight, alongside the frame and slide. The support hand should be high on the frame, almost to the slide. It almost scoops up the front of the gun, tight to the underside of the trigger guard. Pressure is side to side. The strong hand thumb can now come to rest on the support hand thumb knuckle.

Mostly conducive to semi automatic pistols, don't worry about your thumb or hand coming too near the slide. You won’t feel it, nor will you stop its movement.

* * * * * * * * * *

Michelle Cerino is a competitive shooter, an instructor and a writer for Women’s Outdoor News, Harris Publications, and other outdoor and firearms publications. She can be reached at Chris Cerino is an internationally known firearms instructor and shooting competitor. He trains law enforcement officers, military operators and civilians at


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Michelle Cerino demonstrating the modern High Thumbs Forward Grip.

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Step 1 - High in the back strap, tight to the trigger guard, with a front to rear pressure. 

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Step 2 - The thumb of your support hand points forward with fingers at a 45 degree angle. 

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Step 3- Filling the open space with your support hand allows for more meat on the gun. 

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Step 4- Side to side pressure with the support hand while the thumb of the strong hand relaxes.


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