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This Pistol Shooting Picture Bothers Me

Firearms Enthusiasts Practice Shooting At Gun Range
Getty Images

This photo of someone holding a pistol at a firing range is one our stations have used a number of times as a file or stock photo for some sort of gun crime or story.

To my coworkers, I am in no way saying that their use of this photo was bad or criticizing them in any way. There is also nothing inherently wrong with the picture. However I am going to point out why this photo bugs me.

I’m a certified pistol instructor. I’m not the smartest instructor nor do I claim to be the foremost expert on the subject of handguns, but I know quite a bit more than someone who is new to them. The woman holding this pistol, a Ruger SR9, is definitely a newb.

The caption of this photo from Getty Images reads:

“SALT LAKE CITY, UT – JANUARY 15: A women fires a handgun at the “Get Some Guns & Ammo” shooting range on January 15, 2013 in Salt Lake City, Utah.

The caption should read: “A woman holds a pistol incorrectly right before it bit her on the left thumb.” That thumb looks like it may miss the slide coming back, but it looks like it’s going to be close. The blood stains would be evidence of the incorrect grip.

I don’t blame the woman holding this pistol. She probably doesn’t know any better and that is okay, but whoever is with her should tell her to get that thumb forward because when the slide runs across it, it bleeds like crazy. If she is there by herself she should take a lesson or class.

The shooter in the photo below, another news photo from Getty Images, is not going to need a bandage for their thumb, but their right thumb is in the way of their left hand getting a good grip on the pistol.

Pistol Firing on Range
Scott Olson/Getty Images

The support hand, or non-trigger-pulling hand, is the one that provides recoil control and stability. It should be squeezing the gun really tight. I usually tell people to squeeze it as hard as you can without shaking.

Andy Erickson/Hot 104.7
Andy Erickson/Hot 104.7

Above is a photo of me shooting my Glock 35 at a USPSA match put on by the Sioux Falls Practical Shooters in April at Big Sioux Rifle and Pistol Club. My thumbs are forward and out of the way of the slide, but most importantly my left thumb is up out of the way of my right palm so I can get it on the gun and grip it well. The more surface area you can cover the more control you’ll have.

But best of all, you don’t get slide bite!

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