Get A Grip

Let me begin by saying that while I have golfed in the past, I am certainly not considered a golfer. But one element of the game that has improved my shooting ability is the "golf grip." I have found this grip to be an invaluable aid when shooting from the prone position. Let's face it--most of us do not think about the prone position as being one of our first choices when involved in a gun fight. But think about what this position affords you: first, stability. We deliver our most accurate fire whenever we have the opportunity to rest our weapon on a stable surface. Proning out enables our entire body to "rest" on the ground, giving us the most stable shooting platform available. Second, the prone position makes us a smaller target. Especially in the absence of cover, minimizing our exposure to the bad guys is always desirable. When used with cover or concealment, shooting from the prone position is one of the best tactical advantages that you can give yourself.

I know that many of you would never shoot from the prone were it not for mandatory qualification. Generally speaking, many courses include the prone in at least the first stage, which most often is the furthest distance from the target. Why do you think that is the case? Once again, because most of us recognize that the prone is the most accurate shooting position. The further away from the target that you are, the more you need to stabilize that weapon. Now the elephant in the room that no one cares to discuss is this: many of us cannot comfortably get into this position. The reasons are varied and include physical disabilities, flexibility, etc., but my contention is that we tend to avoid the prone because of two big reasons: vests and weight.

Vests are part of your gear; they are not an option. Unless you are working undercover, you should be wearing that vest whenever you are on duty. That being said, whenever you attend firearms training, that vest should be worn as well. Unless you shoot with that equipment on, you will not be used to, nor be able to make adjusts for, the limitations that coincide with wearing the vest. Recall the axiom, "the way you train is the way that you will fight." If you have not trained with the vest on, you will have difficulties during the battle. You all know that wearing that vest constrains our movement. When you are lying on the ground, that vest adds difficulty in that it causes us to have to either bring the weapon up off the ground, or bring our shooting eye down to the weapon. The latter causes us to shut off the free flow of oxygen, giving us a blurred sight picture. The other problem, weight, exacerbates our ability to comfortably shoot from the prone by adding even more differential between our weapon and our eyes.

So how do we defeat this problem? Use the golf grip. As you can see in the first photo at right, your strong hand and weak hand become one unit by intertwining the pinky finger on your strong hand with the forefinger of your weak hand. This is the same grip used to properly grasp a golf club. Once you have formed that grip with your gun in your strong hand, press, rather than just set your hands, into the ground in front of you (photo two). This allows you to have all of your body fully supported, and eliminates what I see many shooters trying to do, which is bringing the weapon off the ground up to their eyes. With that weapon floating around off the ground, the recoil is unmanageable and accuracy suffers immeasurably. The additional height that this grip affords enables a proned-out shooter to shoot comfortably and accurately, without cutting off any oxygen flow that causes blurred vision. When you consciously press those hands into the deck, as if you were doing a three point pushup, you allow all the recoil to be absorbed into both the ground and your body. You can then deliver multiple, accurate shots on whatever or whoever is your target.

Years ago many qualification courses included shooting 18 rounds from the 50 yard line, six of which were from the prone position. Instead of having the guarantee of those six rounds in the ten-ring, many of us scattered those shots all over the target. The reason was simply that we did not have a comfortable prone shooting platform. Many of you use the modified, rolled over position, with one leg positioned partially bent up toward your head. That is a viable ground position, and if that is working well for you, then there is no need to change ("If it ain't broke, don't fix it!"). However, if your prone position is not allowing you to deliver accurate fire from 25-50 yards, I would encourage you to give the "golf grip" a try. If you are a firearms instructor, expose your officers to this technique. Some of them may find that this is a solution to their prone position. For you instructors, it just may help you with problem shooters, but the overriding benefit is giving your officers another sound tactic to put in their tool bag. Stay safe brothers and sisters!