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How to Find the Right Sized Pistol for Your Hand

How to Find the Right Sized Pistol for Your Hand

Gun Store Shopping Expedition – Blindly Buying a Gun

You go to the gun store to buy a handgun with little or no experience with shooting them. You see a vast array and approach the counter confident the salesman will know his business and help you find the right gun. You might not realize he’s 3 Kimber sales away from getting his own free Kimber. Guess which gun is the best for you?

Some sales people are very good at what they do in helping you. Getting them is similar to a lottery ticket, you may not be a winner. Your buddy or friends may think they know but they really have no clue either. So, how do you fit a gun to your hand? What should you look for to give you an idea. I constantly see this in class, men and women with guns that simply do not fit them. You can recognize when your shoe is too small, it hurts. How do you recognize when a gun is wrong for you before plopping down $650 on a mistake. Your $650 gun is worth $325 the moment you walk out with it. Plus you’ll need a holster to fit it, extra magazines and a magazine holster. Now you are $800 without blinking an eye.

Bad fitting guns will make your life miserable in hitting a target. If you can’t hit the target well at the range you will have precious little chance in the heat of an all out gun fight.

The guy behind the counter probably does not know the things I’m about to show you and will review in depth during class. You have to start by knowing how to size your grip.

The guy behind the counter probably does not know the things I’m about to show you and will review in depth during class. You have to start by knowing how to size your grip.

Grip Size

Proper GripThis photo shows you how to start the sizing without the gun in your hand. You take your trigger finger hand and bend the fingers so that your knuckles are pointed out. Then you place the inside of you other hand and fit the underside of your knuckles atop of the apex of the other hand.

When you grip the handle of your gun, that is how the two hands come together, ignore the thumb positions here, we’re just fitting the hand.

Grip Handle

You want as your main gun a grip that places all three fingers on the handle of the gun. Subcompact guns like a .3Grip size80 have their place yet if your pinky finger is a dangler you will have a harder time controlling the recoil because you loose leverage. This comes into play more with a 9mm and above, as a .380 doesn’t have that much recoil, yet you will find the mini gun is not the gun you normally want with you in an all out fight. Still better than nothing so you might consider it as a back up carry when dressing real light or needing extra concealment.

This gun is as small a gun as I can get and still have a 3 finger grip. It is a “compact” gun for concealed carry. This is a fun gun for an extended day at the range because it fits and it is comfortable to shoot.

Notice also that the web of my hand is as high as possible on the dovetail of the gun. This also helps control muzzle flip.

Reaching for the Trigger

Proper Grip

Next you’ll want to take the gun in your shooting hand only, press your hand webbing as high as it will go and wrap your hand around the handle. The distance from the back of the handle to the trigger “break point” is the key here. Pulling the trigger to just where it breaks to fire, you should have your trigger finger at a 90% angle. Any more or less will result in you having a more difficult time shooting accurately. The process of the pull will either push or pull your gun’s front aim to the left or right as you pull it if the distance is wrong.

Also, while you can’t see it as clearly as I’d like, there should be a slight gap between the trigger finger and the body of the pistol to allow free movement in the process of pulling the trigger.

Putting Your Support Hand in Place

proper grip

If all the above matches the size of your hand, look at how your support hand comes together on the grip. Notice with thumbs forward the palm of your support hand should be able to mash against the palm of your strong hand. There should be zero slop room between your grip and the gun itself. The handle should be big enough to press firmly against your support hand as it contacts the other palm.

If it’s sloppy you won’t control the recoil well. If it’s too big and you can’t touch palms then it’s too large for you. One feature of many guns is they come with multiple sized grips, usually S-M-L. Have the sales person swap them out for you to try until you get the right fit.

Also, you can usually order after market grips that are wider or narrower than the factory grip. Popular guns will have more after market choices than others.

These are exactly what I look for on the range to see if your gun is the right size for you or not. It’s a lot more fun shooting the correct size gun and hitting your target than starting from the wrong foundation. If you show up at the range with the wrong sized gun we’ll work with it and help you see what the right size is.

Reaching the Slide and Magazine Release Buttons

This is often overlooked. With your grip in place, how easy is it for your strong hand thumb to reach both mechanisms? If you have to reach around too far then you may be manipulating the gun in an unsafe way to work them, plus it’s just plain awkward. You don’t need awkward. If you can’t reach it easily, put it down and look at another gun.

Choosing a caliber of gun is a whole new subject that I’ll write about next. There is no end to arguments over that, many of which are unstudied hot air. For now concentrate on a 9mm, or possibly a .40 cal at most. Most police departments and the FBI now are using 9mm. There are numerous reasons, among them are the advancements they’ve made in the round the past 5-10 years.


If you can actually shoot a variety of guns take advantage of it. Find what works for you. What brand is of little importance to begin with, Glock, Smith & Wesson, Springfield, CZ, Sig Sauer, Walther, H&K, Ruger all make fine guns that will do the job. Plus they are popular enough to have a fan base and aftermarket products to match.

One final point, when I first started carrying a gun I was overly concerned about weight. I didn’t understand that the heavier the gun the easier it is to control recoil. Thus followup shots were much quicker. Very light polymer guns have their place and may work better for you but don’t concentrate on the lightest thing. This is a much larger deal with women. I carry mostly all steel or aluminum framed guns in the CZ line and really don’t notice the difference in weight. Once it’s on I’m good to go, if my belt is tight.

See you at the range.



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