Self Defense Training Articles
Self Defense Training Articles
This Pistol Doesn't Fit My Hand
I would ask that you don’t disregard this article as another one from a Glock fanboy, I own many firearms and though I love my Glocks, I love many others as well. When I talk about Glocks I simply find them useful as an example. And for those still wondering I actually carry and compete with a 2011. Again Glocks are just great as an example because they hit all the extremes.
The phrase “it doesn't fit my hands” usually aligns itself with a particular firearm (generally referring to a Glock,) or the converse point of “this one fits my hands really well.” The latter argument I see a lot with people that bought a poor quality pistol and are trying to justify their purchase to themselves or a fellow gun owner. If you fall into this category believe me when I tell you, most serious shooters have a literal or metaphorical box of holsters and guns labeled What Was I Thinking. As an instructor I hear these comments in referencing a particular firearm so many times I’d retire if each of them took a class from me. Let’s dissect this a little and figure out what is fact and what falls into the categories of myth and lore.
First, we can start by acknowledging the fact that everyone has slightly different biomechanics on how they are made up. Generally speaking we all have ten fingers and somewhere in there are two opposable thumbs, but the spacing between fingers, distance from the palm, length of fingers all of this changes from person to person. I realize this is fairly common knowledge (at least I hope it is) I only mention it to illustrate to the reader that I understand this and admit that it is in fact true. This will come to be more important later on.
Glocks have “beefier” grips then a lot of other firearms do and that’s where this notion that “they don’t fit my hands very well” comes from. A lot of it began with the FBI trying to utilize the Glock (and to a certain extent the S&W) 10mm pistol as their primary side arm. They ran into issues with both makes because the 10mm is a longer bullet and the guns were bigger and bulkier because of the pressures created by this monstrous round and the inherent size of the bullet. As such, smaller statured people struggled to retain a grip that wrapped all the way around the firearm and they became uncomfortable with it. Thus springing forth the notion that Glocks fatty grips were difficult to handle for people with small hands. One note to mention, is that the perceived lack of grip by those shooters was just that, a perceived lack of grip not an actual failure to grip the pistol.
When the original Glock pistol was designed it was actually correctly designed to fit naturally into a shooters hand. In 1911 when John Browning designed the grip angle he did so utilizing a group of Soldiers, who had been firing the Colt SAA their entire, lives; they had adjusted to an unnatural grip. Everyone is different, personally I find a 1911/2011 to be the most comfortable fit and most natural pointing pistol even though I actually started with a Glock.
The answer to adjusting to your preference is in the training. A trained shooter can pick up almost any gun made and be proficient with it. Some will feel less or more comfortable to the shooter but the excuse that “I can’t shoot them very well” is not in their vocabulary. A lack of comfort with any firearm is actually a lack of training with that firearm or with firearms in general.
So now we can jump into the biomechanics I mentioned earlier. Ask a shooter where their strength in their grip comes from and they will tell you front to back. Of course every aspect of our grip is important but pressure exerted front to back from our bottom three fingers is the foundation of our grip. So I’ll ask you a question about that gun that just doesn't fit very well, can you exert that pressure? do your fingers reach the front strap of the pistol? The answer is almost invariably “yes." My only point with this is that you need to find a better reason not to shoot that gun. You don’t have to like Glocks, plenty of respectable shooters don’t but don’t carry a junk pistol because you made a foolish purchase and continue to justify it.
The phrase "it doesn't fit my hand" has become ubiquitous with the lexicon of firearms language surrounding Glock pistols. However, the equal and opposite argument from the other side is “this one fits me.” Again we come back to this not being a valid argument, my brothers corvette fits me but my Jeep performs a little better off road. The right tool for the right job regardless of which one fits better. My framing hammer is my favorite hammer- it melts in my hand but it doesn't work well for finishing work. If the pistol you are using is not a quality self defense pistol then it is a moot argument to use it.
That’s another one of gun myths we hear spewed out of the mouths of the internet crowd “Shoot what you’re comfortable with.” Though that is true to a point, in the case of an M&P vs. a Glock 17 shoot what you are comfortable with. They are both quality firearms, the Glock is my preference but you would not be faulted in using either one. However, if we take a Kel-tec (pick a random model it doesn't much matter) and compare it to a Glock 19 obviously one is superior for a combat engagement so at that point it doesn't matter which one is more comfortable.
Choosing a quality firearm in a respectable caliber is paramount to what is comfortable (I have yet to see a Keltec I felt was built to the standard of a defensive pistol). The grip you elect to hold your firearm with is the foundation of your shooting and more importantly is the only thing that will likely remain constant. What I mean by this is that we know in an engagement we will never enter a good Weaver Stance. However, the closest we can get to a guarantee is that our grip will be solid, maybe not perfect, maybe even one handed, but it will still be solid.
The fundamentals of your grip come from front to back and our strength and power of our hands comes from the bottom 3 fingers. The point being that simply because the grip is fat, double stacked, too large a caliber, or whatever other reason you have, if you have achieved the former mentioned goal of proper pressure it’s only psychological and is not necessarily a biomechanics issue. I once worked with a Green Beret that was 5 feet tall and 145 pounds wet, the guy was tiny; but he never used the excuse that his gun didn’t fit, he simply trained until it did.
Others will make the argument that they don’t want to have to train their carry gun to the point of comfort but that it should be comfortable at purchase. I see this a lot when Mr. Smith buys Mrs. Smith her carry gun which was a pink .380Auto that looked “cute.” My response is always the same “quit carrying if you are unwilling to accept the responsibility of training.” As a responsible gun owner you have to be familiar and comfortable with your firearm don't shoot what you’re comfortable with but become comfortable with what you shoot.
I trained a student once that refused to use a quality firearm (in the name of keeping the peace I’ll leave out the particular brand he was using) in so doing he malfunctioned at least once every magazine, literally this is not an exaggeration. But he refused to listen to logic and reasoning and not have that be his carry gun he only continued with the argument that it was comfortable in his hands, even when I let him use my Glock 19 he used the other excuse that “it just doesn't fit.” He was a friend of mine and as such I worked with him multiple times over the coming months and that was really the first time I started to document this issue. What is really interesting about what I found out in my experiment was when I made him a deal.
I made him a deal that for an 8 hour training session I would let him use a Glock 19, I simply asked him to put his pride aside and give an honest opinion when the training was complete. He began the class uncomfortable with it but it took less then half a day for him to develop his level of comfort with a different weapon. The remaining portion of the day proved extremely successful and he eventually developed a much more lethal shot group and speed with the Glock 19, that he sold his pistol and transferred to the Glock (to be fair he carries an H&K VP9 now which I have yet to review).
If you take nothing away from this read I would ask only that you remember training is paramount to initial comfort. The old advice to try several guns and figure out which one is most comfortable to you prior to purchase can be deadly. Get your training, do your research and please buy a quality pistol.
is an entrepreneur and content creator. He lives on a small homestead in central Alabama where his wife and three children raise livestock and enjoy the quit life on their farm. He served as an Infantry Officer in the United States Army from Alaska to Afghanistan and currently owns, along side his wife, Timberline Security Solutions LLC based in Birmingham Alabama.
Amandalyn has spent her professional career doing a little bit of everything from being a licensed real estate agent, to a Private Investigator. Currently she operates, along with her husband, Timberline Security Solutions LLC to train civilians, military and police officers for the battle they may one day face. Together with Mackay they work as Private Investigators and conduct executive level protection details.