The Grip/Trigger Concept

By Roger Phillips, Owner of Fight Focused Concepts

From my experience the grip/trigger continuum varies seamlessly from my long-range precision grip, to my mid range standard marksmanship grip, to my “behind in the reactionary curve” combat shooting convulsive grip, to my “OH NO!” death grip.

Each section of the continuum has its perfect grip that gives you the very best accuracy, with the very best speed on the trigger (recoil control.) That is in line with the physiological response dictated by the urgency and distance of the encounter.

What is nice is that when I have time the body knows it and gives me a marksmanship grip. When I do not have time the body knows it and gives me a combat grip…….and it is a seamless continuum that works on a sliding scale approach.

The very best way to look at the grip/trigger continuum is from the typical physiological effects of a life threatening encounter. Distance equals time….time equals urgency…..urgency equals the level of activation of the Sympathetic Nervous System (SNS) of the fight or flight response.

It is the SNS that will dictate how tightly you will grip the gun and how hard and fast you will work the trigger.

What is very cool is how well these varying physiological effects work with what is the very best solution to the problem. We are talking about a very natural, instinctive, and reflexive “sliding scale” approach here.

If the urgency is very high (due to distance and time,) the more we are physiologically likely to crush the gun and work the trigger hard and fast. This in perfectly in line with the combat proven “convulsive grip” and perfectly in line with the balance of speed and accuracy that is necessary for the specifics of the encounter.

As we gain distance and time incrementally, we lose urgency incrementally. We lose the physiological desire to crush the gun and work the trigger fast and hard incrementally. We begin to shift “the balance of speed and accuracy” more towards the accuracy portion of the equation incrementally. The grip lightens and the trigger is worked with more finesse incrementally.

This is a seamless “sliding scale” approach that allows us to be the very best that we can be from one inch to two hundred yards.

And it fits perfectly into what is natural, instinctive, and reflexive.

To me the grip is all about the speed on the trigger. When we connect the “distance” to the “urgency” it is clear that the closer you are the faster you are going to want to be on the trigger. The faster you are going to want to be on the trigger, the more recoil control you are going to need.

For a precision shot at distance all I want is that “one perfect shot.” Now I may string a few of “the one perfect shot” together, but it is not about being fast and accurate. It is all about being accurate. Recoil control is low priority compared to trigger control. Relax, focus on the front sight, and prrrreeesss.

At mid range we are looking for that perfect balance of speed and accuracy. We are looking to get back on the sights as quickly as we can, as we recover from recoil. The grip tension is what gives us our quick “sighted shooting” follow through.

When behind in the reactionary curve and the activation of the Sympathetic Nervous System, the physiological response is to squeeze the gun tighter (convulsive grip) than we do on the range. This is perfect because we need excellent recoil control and the extremely quick point shooters follow through due to the higher urgency.

Way behind in the reactionary curve with extreme activation of the Sympathetic Nervous System. Death grip on the gun….working the trigger as fast as you can…..making the gun “sound like a machine gun.” The recoil control and the point shooters follow through comes out of the death grip.

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