How to hold a pistol

  • #1
DaveC426913
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It is popular to see (modern) gangsters holding their guns horizontally (roll, not pitch), as opposed to the usual upright.

I was discussing this with a gun friend. He insists that there is no reason whatsoever for it but for trying to look cool (or stupid, if you are trained in gunfare), and it is actually terrible for aim.

I was under the impression that it has its roots in a twisted form of efficiency. The idea is that, in a firefight, your targets are pretty indiscriminate. While firing rapidly (and therefore with poor bracing and setting), the kick-back - may spoil your aim - but it results in a more likely hit on other targets of opportunity in the crowd of an opposing gang.

Any merit to this?
 

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  • #2
Bystander
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terrible for aim.
Terrible for control of recoil. Plus --- big point --- why hide half your field of view behind your hand.
 
  • #3
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I was under the impression...
Are you saying you've heard "gangstas" claiming this, or that it just seemed like an explanation that made sense?
 
  • #4
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It is popular to see (modern) gangsters holding their guns horizontally (roll, not pitch), as opposed to the usual upright.
Is it from your experience with your so many gangster friends or from movies?
If its the former, I suggest you think twice about your friends.
Anyway, I don't think any of those gangsters holding their gun like that, were in any way important people in their gangs. Its better to learn (and choose friends) from the heads.
 
  • #5
DaveC426913
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Terrible for control of recoil.
Yes, that's what I meant.
Terrible for aim - of all shots after the first. :)

Are you saying you've heard "gangstas" claiming this, or that it just seemed like an explanation that made sense?
The latter. It's possible that I didn't come up with the idea, but the provenance of the idea is lost.

Anyway, I don't think any of those gangsters holding their gun like that, were in any way important people in their gangs. Its better to learn (and choose friends) from the heads.
Not sure I follow. Where did status come in?
 
  • #6
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Not sure I follow. Where did status come in?
From my experience with these movies. I've never seen any gangster leader or any high level criminal holding their guns like that.
 
  • #7
DaveC426913
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From my experience with these movies. I've never seen any gangster leader or any high level criminal holding their guns like that.
You must have a discriminating eye, and a good memory. Are you watching for this detail?

I wonder if Hollywood is biasing it: Side-holders look like punks. Straight holders look seriously dangerous.
 
  • #8
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You must have a discriminating eye, and a good memory. Are you watching for this detail?
Not sure how good my memory is. Also I don't watch for this much detail but usually it attracts my attention if some criminal hold their gun like that. So although I don't remember all such movies clearly, such style is attached to being a low level criminal in my mind. Which I can only interpret as seeing such a style dominantly being used by low level criminals.
 
  • #9
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Here's something:

What’s the point of holding a gun sideways?

To look Hollywood, of course. Journalists and gun experts point to the 1993 Hughes brothers film Menace II Society, which depicts the side grip in its opening scene, as the movie that popularized the style. Although the directors claim to have witnessed a side grip robbery in Detroit in 1987, there are few reports of street gangs using the technique until after the movie came out.
https://thebsreport.wordpress.com/2...-sideways-gun-jams-and-police-shoot-him-dead/
 
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  • #10
russ_watters
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My first time firing a pistol, I shot a lot of thighs. "Pulling" the trigger instead of squeezing it results in missing low....but at least I hit the target. If you hold a gun sideways and do the same thing, you miss right by several feet.

....and that was holding the gun properly, which is to say, with two hands. Guns are heavy and you can't hold a gun steady at arms-length with one hand, upright or sideways.

IIRC, my military 9mm qual included 3 distances; 5m, 10m and 15m, with the 5m range being one-handed and the others two-handed.

[edit] er, more complicated than I remember: http://www.military.com/join-armed-forces/navy-weapons-qualification-course.html
 
  • #12
Choppy
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One issue with movies is that what's shown is shown for dramatic impact and not necessarily a reflection of reality. If you show a criminal holding a weapon sideways it can make the weapon seem larger - covering a portion of his or her face when the screenshot it head-on, or simply making the relative size of the weapon larger and appear therefore appear more imposing. It can also portray a character motivated and driven my emotion rather such that the discipline of a "proper" stance/grip is sacrificed and shows that the characters is somehow off balance.

As far as real life gangsters go, it's important to remember that you'll have a whole spectrum of people who are armed. While some of them may have in fact had training with the weapons, I suspect a lot of them start out as kids who have a firearm handed to them with no more training than "this is the dangerous end" and a sixty-forty chance that the "instructor" is pointing to the muzzle.
 
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  • #13
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I think it's the hidden society training morons to be even stupider.
 
  • #14
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I have never hold one before. I think I have to hold one big hand gun with two hands, one firmly grabs the holder on from one side and the other from the other side but slightly upward to tightly and wholly embrace the grip. If the grip is longer, half of my hand will be overlapped with half of another for no sliding up and down to occur but still I can firmly grab it and enjoy its force to push back my hands every time the bullets come out.
And nooo...I'm not going to point the gun right straight into my face. That's a bad omen!
 
  • #15
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I think this idea comes from the media. Gang members are typically portrayed as ignorant and primitive. Holding the gun sideways symbolizes that the gang member does not have the mental capability to hold the firearm properly. It is a means of dramatic effect. The only way I see holding a firearm sideways while firing being viable, is when an enemy is behind cover or at a hard to reach angle. Since the enemy cannot be shot without exposing oneself to physical injury, you fire the gun sideways creating suppressing fire, which will help the attacker maneuver into a more strategical position. Ussually done in a twisting corridor or warehouse.

Which is idiotic. Firing a weapon sideways lowers accuracy and it can cause physical injury due to recoil.

My favorite handgun is a Colt .38 super. I can empty a clip real fast and accurately.
 
  • #16
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And gang members do not hold their weapons sideways. It is common knowledge in the US that the military has a severe gang problem. Gang members are joining the military and getting combat training. Once their service is up, these gang members go back into the neighborhood and train fellow members in these tactics. Not to mention to gun smuggling that is happening straight out of the armory.
 
  • #17
DaveC426913
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Which is idiotic. Firing a weapon sideways lowers accuracy....
Of course it does, but you are applying your formal training to a different situation. In a firefight, accuracy is less of an priority. It ends to be more of a suppressing hail of bullets. More important that stray shots hit someone (anyone) in the crowd than go over their heads.

And gang members do not hold their weapons sideways. It is common knowledge in the US that the military has a severe gang problem. Gang members are joining the military and getting combat training. Once their service is up, these gang members go back into the neighborhood and train fellow members in these tactics. Not to mention to gun smuggling that is happening straight out of the armory.
I'm not convinced your antecedent follows from your subsequent.
 
  • #18
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Anyone who's wondering about this need only fire a gun to realize how useless, stupid, and ineffective it would be to try and fire a gun, held sideways at arm's length. Unless you're shooting BB's, you will have zero control over the recoil. Plus you have no sites to aim with.

Dave you can't fire a gun if you can't control it's movement. Your suggestion that holding it sideways somehow produces a "hail of bullets" just doesn't make sense. You can fire a weapon much more rapidly when held with two hands in a standard grip than you ever could held in the "gansta" fashion. Anyone who tried to engage in a shoot-out with that technique would quickly be dead.
 
  • #19
DaveC426913
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Anyone who's wondering about this need only fire a gun to realize how useless, stupid, and ineffective it would be to try and fire a gun, held sideways at arm's length. Unless you're shooting BB's, you will have zero control over the recoil.
Why would recoil be significantly worse simply from turing the wrist 90 degrees?
Plus you have no sites to aim with.
You're not using sites in a close range firefight.

Your suggestion that holding it sideways somehow produces a "hail of bullets" just doesn't make sense.
That is not what I'm suggesting. I'm simply suggesting that, if you are firing sloppily enough, the recoil results in your weapon more likely pointing at another target than over all their heads. turning

You can fire a weapon much more rapidly when held with two hands in a standard grip than you ever could held in the "gansta" fashion. Anyone who tried to engage in a shoot-out with that technique would quickly be dead.
 
  • #20
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"You're not using sites in a close range firefight."
Those who do not use sights do not hit targets.
"... if you are firing sloppily enough, the recoil results in your weapon more likely pointing at another target"
If you are in that "target rich" a situation (angle subtended by opposition exceeds 180), drop, and let them blow each other away.
 
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  • #21
nsaspook
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"You're not using sites in a close range firefight."
Those who do not use sights do not hit targets.
"... if you are firing sloppily enough, the recoil results in your weapon more likely pointing at another target"
If you are in that "target rich" a situation (angle subtended by opposition exceeds 180), drop, and let them blow each other away.
+1
 
  • #22
DaveC426913
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"You're not using sites in a close range firefight."
Those who do not use sights do not hit targets.
"... if you are firing sloppily enough, the recoil results in your weapon more likely pointing at another target"
If you are in that "target rich" a situation (angle subtended by opposition exceeds 180), drop, and let them blow each other away.
Despite the title, this is not a thread about "the best way to hold a weapon", or "the best way to stay alive in a firefight"; it is about the rationale (whether justified or not) behind why some gangsters do shoot this way (or at least, are depicted shooting this way in the media). Nobody said they were smart.

I'm going to request that you stay on-topic.
 
  • #23
DaveC426913
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This visual depicts what I'm trying to ask.

Again, it does not have to be true, simply has to be what lots of gangsters think is true.
scatter.jpg
 
  • #24
Dotini
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In recent viewings of several episodes from HBO's series The Wire, I encountered scenes of Baltimore street gangsters using and discussing the horizontal handgun firing method discussed above. The method was specifically addressed and ridiculed in the gangster handgun training scene that was enacted. The Wire depicts many, many gangster gunfights and murders. By far the most effective method depicted, over and over again, was to hold the weapon steady with both hands and take the time to aim. This is in full accord with my long-ago experience in professionally instructed training courses.
 
  • #25
DaveC426913
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In recent viewings of several episodes from HBO's series The Wire, I encountered scenes of Baltimore street gangsters using and discussing the horizontal handgun firing method discussed above. The method was specifically addressed and ridiculed in the gangster handgun training scene that was enacted. The Wire depicts many, many gangster gunfights and murders. By far the most effective method depicted, over and over again, was to hold the weapon steady with both hands and take the time to aim. This is in full accord with my long-ago experience in professionally instructed training courses.
Undoubtedly true. But does not address my question. (see post 22 for clarification)
 

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