R. Ann Parris on Get A Grip


*I’m about to talk “gun” more specifically than any of the other defensive carry posts. Some of what gets addressed here also applies to LTL and non-gun defensive tools, though, whether it’s a cricket bat, grannie’s cast iron skillet, pepper-bear-dog-wasp spray, or the world’s most universally handy go-to: the humble hammer. So please, DO read this even if you’re a non-gun soul.
Something I don’t see emphasized enough as step-by-step presentations are given online and in classes is that, whatever the carry, even “just” sports, we should be getting a really good grip on that gun even before we begin the reverse acceleration of drawing it or lifting it.
Plant that thumb and trigger finger where they belong, get the other fingers around that grip, and be aggressive and steady enough in that grab to snatch it up and get off a decent shot and decent follow-up without any additional fiddling.
Please note the use and emphasis of the word “decent” in reference to getting off those shots.
It may be the only shot you get.
It may also mean hitting your bad guy, versus some innocent bystander, other responder, or the family you’re trying to defend.
Having a solid grip immediately is why the fast, accurate people we’re watching are getting off good, solid shots so quickly.
*I think it gets put out there, but maybe not emphasized enough to really lodge, because there’s an awful lot of wobbles and adjustments on one end of the spectrum, too, and an awful lot of acceptance that one-handed or even “just” the first shot can fly a little more than whatever our average is.
Getting a good grip is here with defensive carry considerations, because…
We have to make sure our holster, attire, and carry position allow for that good, solid snatch.

Carry position is impacted by and feeds into our daily lives — from how our body is arranged in our chairs and vehicles, to whatever bucket-basket-tool might be between us and our carry gun or in our “grab” hand.
Some body-carry position combos (plus-minus holster choice) block too much of the gun to get that grip immediately.
If our clothing/belt/harness/bag/drawer clip aren’t sturdy enough to stay in position, and our holster comes away with the gun or sluices so we can’t get to the release, we have cost ourselves precious time.

If we’ve trained ourselves to overcome that by holding the holster or hitting the release with our off hand (people, it happens, I do not make these things up out of my wild imagination — and sometimes there’s a valid reason, but…), if that off hand is incapacitated in any of the many ways it can be in just general daily life, let alone a struggle over life and limb, there is absolutely no way we’re going to get our lifesaver into play in a timely and accurate manner.

Same goes if we have to twist around like a 13-year-old Chinese gymnast just to get to our gun, or if we have to hold various layers of clothing out of the way using two thumbs, our shooting-hand pinky, and our teeth. We are now several digits down from whatever our baseline solid grip is, and our time to presentation, time to first shot, and our first-shot accuracy will suffer.

Most self-defense situations take place at distances of barely double-digit feet, low single-digit meters/yards at most, and real regularly just outside or already inside arm’s distance. When racing heartbeats are measuring survival and injury likelihoods, we do not have time to muck about.
A defensive gun (or light or spray or anything else) should be a solid, sturdy tool. It should be of a shape and size that we can get our hands on it firmly, confidently, without risk of trigger snags, ready to deploy it.
So should our holster.

They should not be delicate, fragile, just-so Baby Bears. Nor should they be carried/attached in a way that causes them to fail when we need them most.
Rack that thing with authority, carry it where you can get to it, grab it like the last lifesaver in a stormy sea that it is, and make your grip good enough for your first shot to count.
It may be the only shot you get.