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Discussion Starter #1
I always thought I used a high thumb grip - with my strong side thumb as high as possible on the grip and my weak side hand pressed up into the gun with my weak side thumb as high as the slide stop lever (not TOUCHING - just floating there). I made a lot of improvement after mastering this grip.

Boy was I wrong. I have realized that that isn't the high thumbs grip AT ALL - that the high thumb grip has the strong side thumb resting on top of the thumb safety.

I am confused about this grip for several reasons:
1. Typical thumb safeties are SHARP. No problem with some work on it, I suppose. Even if it was dehorned, I imagine that the kick of the gun sending that small of a surface into your thumb would hurt quite a bit, especially if you are trying to lean the thumb outward to avoid hitting against the slide?
2. If one tries to keep the thumb in toward the slide, wouldn't that cause skin to rub up against the rear cocking serrations and even cause the slide to hit against skin of the thumb and hand? It seems like it would when I sit here trying that grip on one of my 1911s here.
3. Does the weak-side thumb rest against the slide stop lever or does it hover near it as with my current grip? Wouldn't resting against it cause some problems?

Could anyone relieve any of the mystery for me here? Proper execution of this grip has apparently brought great improvement to many others - but I can't say that I'm anxious to try it until I understand how it isn't going to injure my strong side thumb open in any number of ways :)

Thanks!
 

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It depends on if you have a lowered safety switch or not. The original type of safety is almost impossible for me to leave my thumb on it. If it's lower than the GI model, you can leave it on there with no problems. The slide won't hurt your thumb at all. I ride my weakhand thumb pressing against the slide at all times as well. I shot 2300 rounds in two days recently and never had a problem with cycling, pinching, anything...granted, after 2300 rounds, your hands will be a little sore no matter what!! :)
 

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Just try it!

It doesn't hurt at all, and allows the pistol to sink deeper into your hand for more recoil control.

Yes, your weak hand thumb should hover near the slide stop - not touching it.
 

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These make a high thumb very comfortable. They are the Wilson High Ride safety. They are big enough to be comfortable and you can easily grind them down to customize them to your needs. Brownell's part numbers 965-423-001 for blue and 965-423-101 for stainless.

 

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When I was first trying to figure out the high thumb hold I would press my strong hand thumb down on the safety lever and somewhat against the slide. I would end up with dry skin shavings in the slide serrations. The weak hand thumb would end up applying pressure against the side of the frame, near or on the slide stop.

As I've improved the technique for me, I don't have and pressures being applied to the pistol with the thumbs at all. This is much easier said than done. Being a creature with opposing digits, one of those digits is the thumb and it naturally wants to apply pressure against one of the other digits. I had to train myself to not do that when I'm holding a pistol. That took a lot of time for this old dawg.

One of the main ideas for using a high thumb hold is to allow the lower palm of your support hand to be pressed into the rear part of the left side grip panel. And as high up on the panel as possible - up to the strong side thumb. When you do this it causes the guns recoil to be distributed into both arms, and that high anchor with the weak hand also helps reduce muzzle flip.
 

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.....like fish in barrel.....

Go to (any) local USPSA match.
Look at how every shooter holds their 1911.
Copy.
:rock:
 

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I was once concerned about my thumb rubbing against the slide and I installed a Pachmyer thumb guard and it was a waste of money.

I will also point out that there are two different schools of thought on the position of the support side thumb. The predominant thought is as described here and has the thumb forward on the frame. The other is taught at some schools (Frontsight teaches this) and has the support thumb on top of the strong side.

This is how I shoot and I find a lot of advantages to it. For starters, it creates a more positive movement to release the safety since both thumbs are doing it. It also plays to the body's natural tendency to have a sympathetic movement of the support side thumb. It also places my support side hand in a better position on the grip. I find the other method places the meat of my support side hand (at the base of the thumb) into the fingernails of my strong side. The thumb on thumb method also gives me a better index point that can't move during recoil.

Here is a pic of me shooting this method.

 

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slide serrations

I just returned a .38 super to a friend. The serrations on the left side of that Colt slide are about half worn down due to his high hold. The thumb safety has a shelf only a little longer than stock, no wider. The guy is a USPSA Master class shooter. I guess it works
 

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cliffy109 said:
The other is taught at some schools (Frontsight teaches this) and has the support thumb on top of the strong side.
I tried this method at Frontsight and it just doesn't work for me. I have smaller hands and when I put my support hand thumb on top of my other thumb, the palm of my support hand is removed from the grip panel so that I'm basically shooting strong hand. When I shoot both thumbs forward, I get much more contact on the grip and much more control.
 

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Exactly TLE!!! :rock:
 

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TLE said:
I tried this method at Frontsight and it just doesn't work for me. I have smaller hands and when I put my support hand thumb on top of my other thumb, the palm of my support hand is removed from the grip panel so that I'm basically shooting strong hand. When I shoot both thumbs forward, I get much more contact on the grip and much more control.
This is why I never understand why some folks get so hung up with what is "right" and "wrong". For me, there is no more comfortable and controllable way to handle a 1911 than this. I don't know if its my hand or wrist, but one way or another, I have better control and better contact like this.

I should also mention that the original poster indicated a concern about the sharp point on the safety. This is why I got rid of the Wilson strong side safety on my pistols. That particular safety is short and sharp and bothers me with extended shooting.
 

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Hand-size and personal preference come into play. That said, I prefer to shoot with my strong-hand thumb atop the safety and my weak-hand thumb atop my strong-hand thumb. This gets my hand as high as possible in relation to the bore's axis, thus minimizing muzzle rise. It also positively prevents the safety from being bumped to the on position (yes, yes...I know...It can't happen....just ask Ray Chapman). Also, it is easier to operate the trigger finger seperately with a high thumb grip. If the pistol is grasped like a carpenter's hammer, one is more prone to squeeze with the whole hand (like squeezing a lemon).

The issue of the thumb rubbing against the slide is minor. Most users don't get against the slide with enough pressure to cause any problems. The main issue with the high-thumb grip is whether the user's hand is large enough to accomplish this comfortably. If it isn't, then other options must be explored (lowered thumb safeties or a different grip).

Of course no one needs to just take my word for it. Grab a timer and some targets, set up some exercises, and see which grip permits one to hit quicker and more reliably--then use that.

Rosco
 

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My grip on the 1911 is so good that Rob Leatham himself copied me :)



Seriously, I've tried many grips on the 1911, and this is the one that works best for me. Strong hand thumb riding the safety, both thumbs pointing at the target. Never hurt myself, gives me good control. I pay particular attention in not tentioning my biceps, and at giving the support hand palm good contact on the checkered grip.

Alex.


This picture is a link on www.robleatham.com. It's from the 2005 IPSC Standard Class, of which Leatham is the champion.
 

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WESHOOT2 said:
That picture of TGO; that's the grip......
Indeed it is...
 

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I shoot like Rosco and Cliffy. My fingers are fairly short, and if I shoot the other way my support-hand thumb bumps the slide stop and induces malfunctions. My grip also works very well with the Sig P228 and P226R I carry sometimes. I've tried them both, and I use the one that works best for me. YMMV.
 

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Discussion Starter #18
TLE said:
I tried this method at Frontsight and it just doesn't work for me. I have smaller hands and when I put my support hand thumb on top of my other thumb, the palm of my support hand is removed from the grip panel so that I'm basically shooting strong hand. When I shoot both thumbs forward, I get much more contact on the grip and much more control.
"Both thumbs forward"... is that the grip that I have been using? The one that I thought was "high thumb"?
 

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Xori Ruscuv said:
"Both thumbs forward"... is that the grip that I have been using? The one that I thought was "high thumb"?
I was referring to the grip as illustrated in the picture of Rob Leatham above. Strong hand with thumb on top of safety. It's important to have your support hand and strong hand lock together the same way every time you grip the gun. Usually the tip of your strong hand thumb ends up at the base of your support hand thumb, as in the picture of Rob. Do more of the gripping of the the gun with your support hand (about 60/40). This will help you to pull the trigger without pulling the sights off target.
 

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Discussion Starter #20 (Edited)
I see.

I guess what has me confused is the claim that the strong side thumb being over the safety helps control recoil. If the thumb isn't pressing down on the thumb safety, how can it help control recoil or help keep muzzle flip down? Is it JUST that there is more mass higher up? And in that case, why not just let the thumb fly up even higher than that? I've seen this grip before too. Without the thumb actually pressing on the safety I don't understand how it is really doing any good.

Likewise, the weak side thumb just overs over the slide stop lever... how does that help anything? With my current grip, I have both thumbs putting force on the gun. With this high-thumb grip, neither of the thumbs are actually touching the gun. How is this helping to absorb energy from recoil? I don't get it.
 
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