Over the weekend, I gave a private shooting lesson to a young man who’s looking to become a police officer. This kid is having trouble with the shooting portion of the academy and came to me because he’s not sure he’s going to be able to qualify.
The truth is, most police department qualifications are a joke. They don’t raise the bar very high because they want to be able to get as many officers through as possible (I can say this because I witnessed it myself when I was a police officer). However, when you move up to the Federal level, such as FBI, Secret Service, etc., the qualifications do become more challenging.
So, when I heard this kid was having trouble qualifying at first I thought he might just be a terrible shooter. But before I started training him I asked him how he had been taught to shoot, the grip he was using, and how he drew the gun from the holster, etc.
Well… it didn’t take me long to quickly realize the (Utah) academy this kid was attending has instructors who are giving him horrible advice and these instructors have obviously not been keeping up with modern firearms training.
First, the instructors are telling this kid that he should barely be holding the gun with his gun hand, and that the support hand should be providing all the pressure on the gun. They literally told him that they should be able to walk up to him on the firing line and be able to slap the gun out of his hand because he should be holding it with such little force.
Now, it doesn’t take a genius to see the lack of wisdom in this advice. If you draw your gun and somebody were to attempt to take it away from you, is it really a good idea to hold the gun so daintily that they could quickly strip it from your hand?
Unfortunately, it gets even worse…
These instructors are teaching the old “cup and saucer” shooting grip. If you’re not familiar with this “google” it and you’ll see why it’s a bad grip that hasn’t been taught in decades by reputable agencies.
The grip that I recommend and that the top shooters in the world use is the Thumbs Forward shooting grip. This allows you to put a lot of flesh on the gun and when new shooters try this grip it almost always improves their accuracy.
Of course, I showed the kid the Thumbs Forward grip and I told him he needed to grip the gun harder and I better never be able to slap the gun out of his hand. But guess what? The instructors at this academy will not allow him to use the grip I showed him. They have told him he has to do it the way they teach shooting and nothing else.
And that’s the real reason I wrote today’s article because that’s what really annoys me.
Like I just mentioned, I use the Thumbs Forward grip and so do the majority of good shooters. But the fact is, the most important thing in the world is if you can hit your target. So if you come to me and want to try another grip and with this other grip you shoot better, then by all means, as long as you’re still obeying the 4 safety rules then use that other grip.
It’s a shame to see law enforcement agencies who are 1) teaching terrible firearms training and 2) who are not open minded and not allowing their officers to grip the gun a different way if it’s what works for them.
Whether you’re in law enforcement or not, I always recommend keeping an open mind because you never know when you’re going to discover a new shooting method that works better for you. But, when you find something that doesn’t, no instructor (police or civilian) should force you to shoot their way and their way only.