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Increase Your Grip Strength and You’ll Improve Your Shooting Performance

A new study from the Force Science Institute has been released concerning the relationship between grip strength and shooting performance.  The study focused on the effects of grip strength and gender on shooting performance and was led by Ph.D. student Andrew Brown.

Without completely regurgitating the results and article by Force Science Institute, the big take-aways for me was the data pertaining to who met the standards and who didn’t based upon grip strength.  A grip strength range of 80lbs to 125lbs scored approximately 85% to 90% on the test given.  For every pound of grip strength below the average, the odds of failing the test increased by 2%

Additional observations from the study included the correlation between the weight of the trigger pull and accuracy (which most of us would say, “duh”.)

So, what should we take away from this study and why did I think it was important for us to know about it and talk about it?

You need to work on your grip strength. You don’t need to be a body builder, but you do need to work on this!  Find yourself a quality grip strengthener and use it to build up that grip.  Find tasks and/or exercises that are relevant to the skill you want to accomplish.  Check out some of the functional performance drills from trainers like Pat McNamara.  You don’t have to be as intense as Pat, but you can apply his knowledge and experience to fit your needs.

Choose the right fitting pistol for your hands and make sure the trigger is of weight that you can press it correctly! That old school revolver with a 15-pound trigger pull might not be the right choice.  Adding a New York 8 trigger to your Glock might be unnecessary and detrimental.

Learning to keep your finger outside of the trigger guard and off the trigger until your sights are aligned and ready to fire is more important than mechanical safeties and heavy trigger pulls.

It’s not that we don’t trust you with your finger on the trigger, but we don’t trust you.  Science says we shouldn’t trust you.  Overflow, startle, and postural instability cause you to press the trigger when you don’t mean to if you don’t have the booger hook away from the bang switch.

Your platform on the pistol is important and you need to not take that for granted. Establishing a firm handshake with the gun, contacting as much of the surface of the grips as possible, and positioning the support hand in such a way that we use the mechanics of our body to mitigate recoil actually matter!

About the Author /

Heath has been a law enforcement officer in the Great Pacific Northwest since 1993 and trains as a pistol and rifle instructor for both law enforcement and civilians. He also serves as an advanced armorer on pistols and rifles. If you're looking for training or would like to contact him, he can be reached at

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