Proper Handgun Fit

handgun fit

When selecting a pistol for self-defense, there is a lot of talk about the caliber and how many rounds it holds. One of the most important things about a gun is rarely discussed: how it fits in your hand.

Handgun fit plays a huge role in how well you will be able to shoot the gun. The better the fit, the better your starting point when training.

When I was still a police officer, I carried two different duty weapons. At the first agency, I carried a Glock 17. At the second, I was assigned a SIG P226. Both guns fit my hand differently, and I had no alternative choices at either agency.

handgun fit

For me, the Glock’s grip fit me very well, and I was able to progress rapidly through training without difficulty. Fortunately, I developed a love of shooting and made it a recreational pastime in addition to a survival skill.

Years later when I moved to a new state and landed a job with a new department, I was issued the P226. Although a very reliable firearm, the P226 (pre-E2) was simply too large for my hands. As such, I had to do a lot of extra training try to build up to the same level I had been at with the Glock. Ultimately, I never reached the same level, though I was confident I could deliver nearly any shot I needed to.

With enough training, a person can accurately shoot any handgun. But a good fit reduces the amount of training needed to get there.

Consider the handgun fit to be similar to the block of an engine. Some fits – like some engine blocks – are just better for building on. Sure, you can build a 12-second car on a Ford 2.3L OHC, but it will be much easier to get the job done with a 302.

In the above video, my friend Paul Carlson talks about what to look for when fitting a gun to your hand. Paul founded and is the lead instructor of Safety Solutions Academy (SSA). I recommend their training courses without any reservation.

SSA offers classes around the country in addition to their home range in Ohio. SSA also hosts guest instructors like Massad Ayoob, Grant Cunningham, Daniel Shaw and Caleb Causey. Check out their training schedule here.

By Richard Johnson

Richard Johnson is a gun writer, amateur historian and - most importantly - a dad. He's done a lot of silly things in his life, but quitting police work to follow his passion of writing about guns was one of the smartest things he ever did. He founded this site and continues to manage its operation.