Analyzing the Exaggerated “C”-Clamp Grip

Chris-Costa

Nick Irving over at The Load Out Room analyzes the increasingly popular “C”-Clamp grip. It comes from the competition world where targets are mostly stationary. However the major draw back is the lack of peripheral vision on your support hand side. There are other issues with using this grip method for defensive use. Exposure to vital organs and discomfort for sustained periods of time. He mentions obstruction of sights, however i have not noticed this on my Troy Carbine. The integrated front sight is tall enough that I do not see my thumb. But if you have a weapon with low sights, like a H&K UMP, then the thumb could get in the way.


Nicholas C

Co-Founder of KRISSTALK forums, an owner’s support group and all things KRISS Vector related. Nick has been only been shooting for the past 3 years but found his passion through competitive shooting. USPSA and 3Gun. He loves all things that shoots and flashlights. Really really bright flashlights.


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  • Gambit Seven

    I found the article to be lacking in many aspects, most of which I find to be over exaggerated observations. Manifestations of this style goes way back to when the Norwegian Manual of Arms of the G3 first came out.

    • Asdf

      No it doesn’t. The thumb is no where near over the barrel in that photo/illustration. That is just a far forward rifle grip.

      • Gambit Seven

        Refer to my recent post. The “C” part of the style is just the tip of the iceberg. Anyone can put their thumb over the barrel, but doing that doesn’t exactly get you anywhere unless you understand everything else that makes it work.

    • http://www.thefirearmblog.com/ Phil W “Senior Writer TFB”

      This in no way represents the C clamp style. The illustration shows the standard old grip that’s been used for hundreds of years.

      • Jack

        If the shooter in the pic rotated his support hand slightly and felt the need to put his thumb over the cocking tube, would that be a c clamp? Seems like we’re splitting hairs here. Is the pic from the article the accepted c clamp? I’m trying to figure this out. I like the forward hold but for the most part I don’t put my thumb over the top of the rifle.

        • Geodkyt

          C-Clamp grip is support hand as far forward as you can, with the hand rotated so the base of the thumb is nearly on top.

          • http://www.thefirearmblog.com/ Phil W “Senior Writer TFB”

            True —- I’ve seen some lay the thumb along the top of the barrel as if you’re pointing your thumb down the barrel.

        • DiverEngrSL17K

          Good point about small details, Jack — thanks! However, there does not seem to be any question of splitting hairs in this case. That is definitely — insofar as the photograph indicates — a standard military-style underhanded support stance that is quite removed from the possibility of a “C”-clamp stance.

      • DiverEngrSL17K

        Agreed. This is a typical military-style standard grip, for sure. How Gambit Seven could choose to illustrate this as a version of the “C”-style grip is not clear at all.

        To be fair — Gambit Seven, would you be so kind as to let the rest of us know about your interpretation of this particular firing stance? Perhaps I have missed something here, and your input would be most welcome. Thank you in advance, and looking forward to your reply.

        • Gambit Seven

          The whole “C” part of the grip is only partially relevant to why it works.

          Applying friction and leverage as close as you can (*note: without over extension) to the end of the muzzle in combination to squaring it off and letting your body weight handle the recoil is what does the work. The thumb over bore just reinforces everything I just mentioned to better maximize it’s effects since your putting mass all around the barrel. Which is important since that’s the part of the rifle that directly affects where the bullet travels.

          Regarding the photos I presented, you’d have to realize that the G3 sights are pretty low. They are much, much lower than standard AR15 sights so you can’t exactly “clamp” over it without obstructing your front post. The modern day “clamp” works because we have red dot’s with risers, and not the mention that the AR15’s sights are higher than the G3’s by default.

          The whole style revolves around letting physics do most of the work instead of putting down more effort than required just to control the weapon in higher cadences of fire. It also allows you to be able to engage targets in your field of you without having to make large adjustments to your stance. This is especially evident when your comparing this with a much more “bladed” stance and your switching targets from extreme angles.

          While there are many videos out there that “teach” this style, Frank Proctor’s video breaks down the best since he actually breaks down the mechanics behind it.

          http://vimeo.com/ondemand/performancecarbine

          • DiverEngrSL17K

            Ah, that makes things a good bit clearer, so I might have missed something after all — thanks very much for taking the time to share your thoughts!

          • David Webb

            I’m trying to figure out where holding your arm in front if you in a biomechanics lily unsupported position benefits target a acquisition. Not to mention the solid points made here on target acquisition in a real world environment, as opposed to a competitive one where the targets don’t shoot back, aren’t moving, and the field of fire is likely well known by the shooter. Just saying.

    • hkryan

      C clamp an FAL and you’ll obstruct your front sight.

  • BKM

    This style of shooting is lame! It’s brought to you by those fake-urban hipster- gunfighter! I cant wait for day these bearded wannabees to find another hobby to take over and leave my guns alone. They should stick to Call of Duty and airsoft!

    • Gambit Seven

      Comment’s such as these don’t particularly exemplify the level of intellect we expect out of our brothers in arms. The least you can do provide constructive criticism. Keep it civil.

      • BKM

        Gambit7. Using fancy “word of the day” does not make you a brothers in arms. Fads and hypes come and go in the shooting industry, hopefully this one goes soon too. The only thing the missing from the photo is some 5.11 pants/ some lame moto patches and a beanie..”oh wait he has one”. The only thing these wannabees are fighting is obesity.

        • RocketScientist

          Your obsession over the guy’s choice in clothing is quite revealing, in my opinion. Me? I noticed his firearm, his optics, his choice in buttstock, and the fact that the picture captures two ejected cases mid-air, which is pretty neat. You, apparently, were checking out his fashion choices.

          • BKM

            I am not a sheep! I see more than the average marketing target. I am just pointing out the smoke and mirrors. This gun fighter could not fight his way out of a wet paper bag. But, I’m sure you will go run to the store and buy all the things you see…might make you real cool while you are waiting for that beard to grow in.

          • RocketScientist

            I’m sure you DO see more than the average marketing target. From your postings here, I’m pretty sure you were disappointed the picture cut off at the gentleman’s waist so you couldn’t see what kind of “sidearm” he was packing.

          • http://www.thefirearmblog.com/ Phil W “Senior Writer TFB”

            Keep it civil people last warning

        • http://www.thefirearmblog.com/ Phil W “Senior Writer TFB”

          Ok enough already on the choice of clothing and the rest of the comments not related to the topic..
          If the grip works for some and produces the desired result then it’s valid.

          • RocketScientist

            Sorry Phil… when ignoring the troll doesn’t work, I have found it is best to out-troll them. I’ll go ahead and stop though.

          • http://www.thefirearmblog.com/ Phil W “Senior Writer TFB”

            Thanks I’d rather ignore them instead of getting them on a roll. For someone who just signed up he’s not off to a good start. It may turn out to be a short visit.

        • dan

          I don’t care what the new hype is if people like it so what, if someone new comes into the shooting world because of the hype then awesome, your anti hipster wanna be bearded argument makes you sound like a child so please just stop, people imitate what they see others do its a fact of life you did it in the skills you learned in life does that make you a hipster? Now get back on topic of the grip and whether its useful or not.

          Disclaimer: I don’t use the grip but I don’t insult those who do

      • http://www.thefirearmblog.com/ Phil W “Senior Writer TFB”

        Thank you!

    • allannon

      In addition to Gambit Seven’s comment, I will point out that a lot of competitive shooters use it to good effect. Just because it’s not the right method for all situations doesn’t mean it’s a bad method.

      Even the “gangsta” style pistol has good, professional uses, like shooting around a shield or similar obstruction. It’s not a good choice for a basic stance, but it does have it’s place.

      • BKM

        Allannon, The bullet come out straight every time.You don’t need any “C” clamp or any other new marketing schemes to hit your target. This method has no claims that it actually improves anything. yet every jackwaggon does it…

        • Gambit Seven

          I must ask, if the bullet always goes straight and you don’t need a “clamp to do it”, then why are you so emotionally invested in something you claim to have no interest in? If were to take your word for it, then we can just say “grip doesn’t matter” and leave it as that.

        • allannon

          It not “improving” over a traditional hold is subjective; just being more comfortable for the shooter is a perfectly good reason to adopt it, all else equal.

          The primary objections are for “defensive” use (loss of organ coverage, loss of peripheral vision, etc), if not being used in a defensive situation those are non-issues.

        • n0truscotsman

          You do benefit from the C-clamp though for your follow up shots, because you have better control over the steel barrel and your muzzle. This goes for modifications, such as the “finger point” grip, which I personally use (that is AMU stuff though).

          Try engaging multiple targets with different rounds, then compare the grips with your overall accuracy and engagement times.

    • Jack

      What grip should we be using?

      • BKM

        The one that was intended to be used with the weapon.

        • Jack

          So just shut up and shoot the way you think we need to. Don’t worry about whether or not something works better for you. Trying new stuff is stupid anyway.

          Cool.

        • gunsandrockets

          Yes.

          One accidental discovery I made early during my lifetime of shooting is that a particular firearm may be incompatible with whatever shooting style is currently most popular today. A particular firearm frequently works best with whatever was the common hold at the the time the firearm first became available.

          And of course most firearms can be customized to use whatever style of shooting floats your boat. And of course experimentation may reveal a surprisingly effective method of shooting that the designer of the firearm never intended nor anticipated for his firearm.

      • allannon

        Were did this guy learn to shoot like this?

        • Gambit Seven

          lmafo!

          • Mike-C

            I got to get my 8yo little girl this doll..She would love it.

        • Jack

          Probably the same place he learned to dress. At least his head gear is water proof.

        • http://www.thefirearmblog.com/ Phil W “Senior Writer TFB”

          A toy store?

          • gunslinger

            the latest call of battlefield game?

          • http://www.thefirearmblog.com/ Phil W “Senior Writer TFB”

            Maybe—

  • BKM

    One more thing. While the person in the main photo is using his lame grip I also noticed his poor choice in clothing he used when he was playing “dress up like a gun fighter for the day”.

    Why on earth would you choose a cotton beanie to wear while it raining outside? To soak up the rain? Why not use the WATERPROOF hoodie the cool guy jacket comes with? Because you would not look the “cool guy part”. This society of hipster gun fighters is too funny.

    • RocketScientist

      Just speculation, but looks like its some type of synthetic fleece watch cap, which are actually pretty good at keeping moisture away from you. Not to mention keeping your head warmer on a cold day than a hood would… and without obscuring your vision as much… But most importantly, are you seriously criticizing someone’s taste in clothing? Is this a fashion blog?

      • BKM

        First off…ITS A DAMN WATERPROOF JACKET. 2nd his beanie is not waterproof (http://arcteryx.com/product.aspx?language=EN&category=Accessories&subcat=Toques_and_Beanies&model=Classic-Beanie)

        These lame wannabe gunfighters need to stop. Glad you noticed his accessories. I’m sure you are going to run to the store and buy all his cool guy gear while you wait for your beard to grow out. But you don’t have to be a rocket scientist to know that’s how it is…

        • RocketScientist

          Man I was just teasing with the cracks about you being fashion-obsessed… but you actually looked up his model of beanie??? Hahahahahahahah! And if you’d like, there’s another comment of mine below that you haven’t yet replied to with a remark about me going out and buying all his gear while I wait for my beard to grow. I’m sure this was an oversight on your part, thought you might want to remedy it. And while we’re on the subject, no, I’m not gonna buy any of his stuff. The only AR I have is for long-range shooting, so nothing form his setup would really be of use. And as to your beard comment (man, you are REALLY obsessed with other men’s sense of fashion) my girlfriend prefers me smooth. I’m sure your ‘roomate’ loves the way your bushy beard tickles his face though.

          • BKM

            No beard here…just pointing out how lame this sport has become..Please tell me anything I said is not true…These lame sheep will do anything and buy anything they are told. There has been a thousand different “new way to shoot” styles in the last 50 years. It’s just this one that will stick because of the marketing genuineness that invented it.

            I will bet $1,000 if Costa and all the other hipster gun fighters shave their beards tomorrow, you all will too…God forbid we fight the Russians in a winter environment, all you sheep will be walking around with white parkas and ski masks in the streets. Be you self! Don’t be part of the lame hype!

          • jack

            So don’t do what other guys are doing… just do what you think they should? I’m on board!!

          • RocketScientist

            You managed a post without using the word lame (8 times total so far), beard (also 8 times) wannabe (4 times) or hipster (3 times). Congratulations! Also, unless you meant the extent of the authenticity of their marketing in your above post, I think you meant GENIUSES not GENUINENESS. Maybe YOU’RE the one who could use a word-a-day calendar, not Gambit7

          • iksnilol

            In see no problem in using a beanie to protect against rain. I do it frequently, then again I do use a thick knit cap.

          • http://www.thefirearmblog.com/ Phil W “Senior Writer TFB”

            Jack or BKM figure out which name you’ll be using and stick with it. You happen to be answering yourself and using the same words as BKM.

        • http://www.thefirearmblog.com/ Phil W “Senior Writer TFB”

          Seriously we aren’t going to talk about fashion or whatever. The subject is the grip so lets stay on topic.

        • jack

          Lame wannabe gunfighters….. I don’t want to ruin this for you but there is an EXTREMELY small percentage of people who are actually “gunfighters”. This is a hobby for most of the people that read this blog. If you’re one of those actual “gunfighters”, good on you. I’m going to go c clamp all my rifles and put some holes in some paper just to piss you off.

      • David Webb

        Yep. It’s an Arcterix cap. His attire doesn’t really have much to do with the shooting position though.

    • Aaron E

      Chris Costa conducted maritime interdiction and special operations with the U.S. Coast Guard for 12 years, and then worked in training military and law enforcement for Homeland Security. Travis Haley spent 15 years as a Force Recon U.S. Marine before instructing in the private sector.

      I would not consider either of these men to be “dress up like a gun fighter for the day” or “lame wannabe gunfighters”. They have the resume of being real deal gunfighters, not weekend warriors with an arm chair opinion.

      You may not agree with, or find the C-clamp method worthwhile. Yet both of these men present the technique as an option, not a “must use” technique, which is very refreshing in the heavy ego firearm training arena. Trying to insult the technique by degrading the men behind it shows an ignorance of fact on your part.

  • BattleshipGrey

    I’ve always hated the “C clamp” position. It doesn’t feel natural at all to me. The first time I saw it used was on some Magpul video with Haley and Costa, one or both of them were doing it. I was repulsed just at the sight, even more so after just trying it.
    What’s the point of being able to transition to targets faster if you can’t see them. I trained myself to shoot with both eyes open so I could at least give myself a chance at seeing multiple threats, I’m not going to negate that by throwing my arm in the way.

    I could understand the reduced recoil argument, but we most commonly see this shooting position with ARs (presumably 5.56) which doesn’t have much recoil anyway. I don’t have access to full auto either where the C clamp might be more useful, but I’ve also seen plenty of people control full auto just fine with a “standard” rifle grip too.

    • http://www.thefirearmblog.com/ Phil W “Senior Writer TFB”

      Thank you –thank you– thank you an on topic comment!

    • iksnilol

      I find it overrated and pretty useless to me. I fatigue faster with that grip and am less accurate than when using a magwell grip.

      • Baendu

        I have found the thumb over bore/c-clamp works well for what it was designed for, keeping the muzzle on target when shooting quickly and allowing you to “drive” the muzzle from target to target. I’ve never noticed much loss in my periphery vision. It is a specialized shooting position though and not ideal for all situations. Just like my standing position for highpower competition, specialized, very good for target shooting but not ideal for everything. They are both tools in the toolbox. To limit yourself to only one set of techniques is to handicap yourself.

        • DiverEngrSL17K

          Exactly — the key words being “They are both tools in the toolbox. To limit yourself to only one set of techniques is to handicap yourself” ( and therefore fail to understand the old adage of the “Right tools for the right job” ). Very well said!

      • Baendu

        Sorry iksnilol, I wasn’t trying to reply to your comment specifically. I’m not trying to bust your chops.

    • Geodkyt

      Ditto. I DO like a forward grip (not AS far forward as before I smashed up my shoulder – the reach isn’t quite there anymore), and like the steeply angled AFG style foregrips.

      But the C-Clamp grip just doesn’t feel good, isn’t actually any faster for me in terms of transitioning to other targets, and I don’t have a problem with muzzle rise slowing me down terribly much. But that’s me, YMMV. (Heck, I also still use a Weaver, because I find it gives ME better recoil control, even with “stupid big” guns like the .460. But I’ve always been a stocky guy with more meat in the upper body than average. Which, by the way, describes Jeff Cooper’s arms as well – perhaps the reason HE liked the Weaver so much more than Iso. Mas Ayoob did an article on it, comparing body types to stances, and he determined One Size Does Not Fit All.)

    • DiverEngrSL17K

      Very good call. I believe you’ve hit the nail on the head in several ways. The “C”-clamp position probably works well for a limited number of applications involving a limited number of specific firearms, and then only for relatively short durations in terms of having to constantly maintain full fore-end support against the front-end weight of said firearms. The long-established and proven “standard” method of fore-end support, especially for prolonged combat usage on the battlefield, is definitely a more comfortable, acceptable and effective universal method for providing support to the fore-end of a rifle or carbine. For example, while the “C”-clamp hold might work well for certain models of M4 carbines or their AR derivatives under certain conditions, I don’t think it would work particularly well even for those same exact weapons ( for which it appears to have been designed ) if one had to maintain that stance for long periods of time. Trying the same stance for something like an FAL, G3, AK ( any derivative ), vz.58, etc. would not be viable from a practical standpoint. Trying to do the same with any long gun for hours at a time, day in and day out while on mission, is simply not possible.

      To be fair, I will say that Chris Costa, et al,, are to be commended for having the courage and initiative to try something different from the accepted norm, and for exploring different ways to do something better. The end results appear to be mixed — as I have already described above. In the end, I think the old adage “The right tool for the right job” still holds true. Perhaps a good compromise between the two methodologies that would take advantage of the best of both worlds would be to train troops / operators to switch back-and-forth at appropriate times between both stances for maximum effectiveness, allowing for the weapon type and operational usage thereof.

      • http://www.thefirearmblog.com/ Phil W “Senior Writer TFB”

        Very true as far as using the C grip on rifles such as the G3 or FAL. It would be extremely tiring after a very short time.

      • Anthony

        I’ve shot FALs, G3s, AK variants, and VZ58s with a modified C grip and I find it works very well. The modified grip (Thumb pointed towards target) will work on many firearms with lower sights and I find still improves control-ability of the weapon.

    • http://thefirearmblog.com/blog/ Sam Cadle (Staff Writer, TFB)

      I am with you. I have always run a carbine with a 7-10″ handguard, and being 6’3″ I would need a 17″ handguard just to get the full extension, and I sure don’t want to be running and gunning with a 20″ barrel. I use a VFG, and grip it to drive the gun. Works well for me, and I am not planning on changing it for the latest fad. Use what works for you, but sometimes you have to have a filter for the silly stuff that people come up with sometimes.

      While I think that Costa/Haley have done a lot of good for the shooting community and have trained a lot of people, I think people put too much merit in their methods.

      • lomaxima

        Don’t overly exaggerate the c clamp so far out. I use it with a 9″ rail and my sopmod 1 click out and its perfect.

    • Kurtz

      I agree that the stance is uncomfortable and not conducive to accurate shooting but you must realize that the stance is meant to square off the shooter’s body armor towards the target. The C clamp stance allows for the SAPI plate to cover the largest area of the shooter’s body relative to the target, should they be shooting back.

    • lomaxima

      Recoil and muzzle rise are two different things. I agree on being fatigued faster and losing peripheral vision when you overly exaggerate the c clamp.

  • nadnerbus

    I have messed around with that type of grip, and it works OK if you practice it a little. I just don’t feel it offers all that much advantage over the regular grip. A regular grip leaves your arm and shoulder muscles in a more relaxed state, and closer to a neutral position. The thumb-over grip tends to fatigue my hands and arms a bit quicker, making my sight picture less steady over time. I’m sure that can be remedies by working out and all that, but it’s just not worth it or necessary to me.

    For some uses, the grip is just not practical. My friend was mechanized infantry in the Army, and he learned the method of stock all the way retracted, firing hand arm tucked tight against the body, and support hand just forward of the mag well to have the most compact overall size for vehicles and room clearing.

    Then there is the weapon specific nature of the thumb-over grip. It works fine on ARs with the high sight over bore distance. Try doing it with iron sights on an M-14 or a Garand. Seems more useful to have a standard grip practice that can translate to most if not all rifles.

    • http://www.thefirearmblog.com/ Phil W “Senior Writer TFB”

      It’s really more of a 3 gun grip for lack of a better definition. In an area of unknown targets or bad guys the C clamp blocks vision to the left. I tend to use a standard grip or hold just forward of the mag.

      • Jack

        I’m just in this because I think guns are cool and I can’t think of anything else to spend my spare cash on. So don’t take

        You guys keep talking about obstruction of view from the support side. Am I doing this wrong because I’ve not noticed that? I also don’t rotate the elbow of my support arm all the way up and my head isn’t tucked nearly as much (relative to the photo).

        • http://www.thefirearmblog.com/ Phil W “Senior Writer TFB”

          This particular guy had his left arm straight out and head down blocking his vision to a degree.

          • raz-0

            And that’s where the argument comes in, with the tactical turtle. It’s been mentioned elsewhere in this mess of comments, but the folks who are going “what do you mean blocks peripheral vision?” likely bring the gun up to a reasonable mount for where their head keep their eyes instead of hunching over like a dog trying to hump your leg.

            The other argument is exposure of vitals. If you are wearing armor, the big plate is on the front, it would strike me as being the thing you want between you and the guys shooting at you rather than the big hole above the side plate (if you are wearing any). Especially if the other guy has rifles, as the round probably won’t care much that you put an arm in the way of that hole. Even if it does, using a plate to protect the vitals strikes me as better than using one’s arm. Maybe I am just naive. But you can use a square stance or bladed stance with most any forearm grip, so I don’t really see this as much of a point to argue over.

            I’m not even sure if doing it my way vs. what was originally described is even actually the same thing. Myself, I don’t tuck my head like I’m trying to protect my aorta with my brain, and I don’t wrap my thump to the 12 o’clock spot but rather the 11’oclock position, which won’t block my sights on any gun I have run into. Heck, as a stance, it’s highly dictated by ergonomics. Hand a 5’6″ guy a 20″ barrel AR with a 15″ forearm and tell him to get his arm out to the end, and he’ll be jamming his weak side shoulder into his ear and messing up his peripheral vision. Hand a 6’6″ guy an M4 clone, and telling him to put his arm all the way to the end of the forearm and it’s going to look like a pretty traditional hold. Getting my thumb to 12 o’clock is actually hard to do and quite awkward unless I lengthen the stock.

            I will say for myself, being a 6’6″+ guy with long arms for my size, I use a variant on the c-clamp method, and it is fast and “accurate” out to about 100 yards without blocking my peripheral vision. It is optimal on the AR platform though, and FOR ME, a 12-13″ handguard gives me maximum benefit.

            For any stance, for it to work well, you need a solid understanding of WHY it works, otherwise you are just blindly following instructions and can’t tell if the reason something is sucking for you is because it is a bad fit or because you aren’t doing what needs doing.

            That being said, no one grip is right for every position, it baffles me why people are arguing that they have the universal grip for every rifle. Heck on a scar, if I do a mag well grip the charging handle can get me and cause a jam. The handguard is short so if you don’t get it out to the end, you can interfere with the reciprocating charging handle form the front and get jams. It also can hurt getting zapped by it.

  • JMB

    Not sure why most of what you see as C grip has the gun so low. Bring the gun to your face, not your face to the gun. Keeping your head up eliminates alleged visual problem. I use it in competition but learned it from Kyle Lamb and not with your head down so low…

    • Nicholas C

      Yep, stop with the “tactical turtle”

  • 3331

    I think that this grip doesn’t work well, and neither does the magwell grip.
    The Finns are definitely without equal when it comes to shooting a rifle fast and accurately. I have yet to see any of them use this awkward grip. Just take a look for yourselves (16:05-16:35)

    • Mr Mxyzptlk

      There seemed to be quite a few guys in that vid who had a c-clamp style grip with the thump on top, but with the hand further back and the elbow dropped down. Is this still called a c-clamp grip or is it something else? This seems a lot more practical as it looks much less awkward and dropping the elbow gives you back your peripheral vision, but have never properly tried either of these myself (all the guns I use now have either flashlight grips or vertical grips so there isn’t much question of the support hand’s position).

    • n0truscotsman

      But the important thing to realize is that he has his support hand grip as far forward as he can feasibly put his hands on the rifle.

      This is critical.

    • Joshua

      You do notice, the custom tuned race rifle with a muzzle brake that makes the 82A1 jealous.

  • Mohamed

    That’s Chris Costa.. Lol

  • Ross

    I watched a couple of the carbine videos when Costa and Haley were getting big in the gun world. It was a nice break in the traditional instructor rhetoric, and for me it really got me interested in see what other instructors had to teach that I could add to my repertoire.

    Repeatedly they say “this is what we do, this is the rationale, it might not work for you, you need to find what does work best.” Which was one of the better messages. Expanding your knowledge, gaining insight into technique, and deciding how it might factor in to how you want to use your rifle.

    Do I use the C-Clamp? No. I’m just an engineer who shoots for a hobby though. I tried it. I understand its intent and use. For getting fast shots off in a standing unsupported position I agree with a lot of what they’re doing. More weight between the hands, more direct control over the muzzle, getting your body square and fully behind the butt to mitigate as much of the recoil, etc.

    The article misinterprets a lot of the intent.

    On target faster? Maybe. When I watched the DVDs the explanation was muzzle control, and having all of the barrel in front of your support hand makes for a more crude control over the muzzle, and makes you have to do more work in aligning the sight(s). The extended arm means you point your arm and the gun is there, no wobbliness to it.

    Reducing muzzle rise? Yes, they’re correct in the article stating that getting more man behind the rifle is the major contributing factor. Getting higher on the gun with the support hand does aid. Not a lot. Like I said, I found the actual “Clamp” doesn’t do it for me, but I’m still not holding the magwell or resting the handguard on my knuckles.

    The drawback the list, eh, give or take it.

    I shoot with my elbow bent. Frankly, I need a rail longer than 15″ to get my arm fully extended. And I won’t turn my arm up, it just plain doesn’t work for me.

    And we get back to the “what works for YOU” mentality.

    I suggest you try it. And if you don’t like it, don’t call it silly and tell me to go back to a bladed stance that was the norm 40+ years ago. Think. Open your mind. Figure out how the body functions with the gun, then tell me why.

    Most of my carbine use will be in shooting games, or home defense. I have a 14.5″ LW midlength for my HD carbine. It gets shot like I’m going to be moving in tight spaces. Short, tight, lightweight, a balance of control and compact stance, aimpoint with backup irons. I have an 18″ rifle length for my gaming gun. A bit heavier to handle recoil and heat, a long handguard tube for a bipod and extended grip, 1-4 scope and no backup sights.

    • Nicks87

      ^^This I agree with 100%.

    • JumpIf NotZero

      Fwiw, Magpul no longer teaches c-clamp. So that maybe should say something.

  • Nicks87

    After reading the comments on this article I think some of you guys would have a sh*t-fit if you saw my support hand grip when I shoot my ARs. Not to get into fine details but it involves a cut-down MOE grip and a Ergo Surestop.

    • http://www.thefirearmblog.com/ Phil W “Senior Writer TFB”

      Nah I wouldn’t. If it works for you that’s all that matters–for anyone.

    • http://thefirearmblog.com/blog/ Sam Cadle (Staff Writer, TFB)

      Same here. I actually use a VFG, and grip the thing… While I know it’s taboo now to grip a VFG, it works for me.

  • EmmyP

    WTF? Did my computer neglect to display the part of the article containing the “analysis” or what?

  • GUNxSPECTRE

    If it works for you, then use it; that should be it. New shooters (and maybe old) should just experiment out on the range for that sweet spot of comfort, efficiency AND effectiveness. Sure, they can look at different grips but they should never force themselves into adopting them because it looks cool OR because it makes themselves think that it’s doing good. Because all that’s going to do is screw you up and leave some horrible training scars.
    Same goes for accessories. If you have a friend or anywhere else where you can get your hands on your platform of choice, then ask to spend some time learning the feel of it. Don’t just spend potentially hundreds or thousands of dollars on tactical stuff that for one reason or another won’t jive with you.

    Personally, I have a short VFG that I use with my thumb resting on the 3 and 9 o’clock rail sections (depending on what hand I’m shooting with), kind of like I’m giving a thumbs-up to the target. I bought a Magpul AFG because I wanted to try it out and now it’s bolted on my friend’s rifle.

    • http://www.thefirearmblog.com/ Phil W “Senior Writer TFB”

      It certainly never hurts to try new things and see if they work for you. If a new grip doesn’t work go back to what you used before.

  • ConKeeper

    This style of grip (although the thumb wrap is not quite as exaggerated) has been around for a while. It wasn’t invented by the “wanna-be gunfighter hipsters” as they have been so named. This picture is of the Rhodesian Army with their FAL’s in the 70’s.

  • n0truscotsman

    It is a fact that the C-clamp grip offers better controllability of recoil in close quarters combat than, say, the magwell grip. The differences demonstrated in the AMU were quite obvious.

    I can argue the merits of the grip, however, in a traditional light infantry environment, although for close quarters combat, nothing beats it.

    Even if its not a C-clamp grip. As long as your support hand is feasibly the farthest forward on your carbine as you can comfortably get it.

  • MIKE

    Does it still count as a C-clamp “gun fighter” grip if you use either the top portion of a vertical grip or a handstop with a thumb over bore hold or must a Magpul AVG be used to obtain a proper C-clamp “gun fighter” grip?

  • Patrick Mingle

    Who cares guys? No one is forcing you to use this grip. Everyone is getting pretty heated over something that is purely user preference. Do what works for you and leave everyone else alone

    • http://www.thefirearmblog.com/ Phil W “Senior Writer TFB”

      Couldn’t have said it better. It’s meant to be commented on obviously but there’s no need for the anger seen from a few.

    • Nicholas C

      If only the world were as tolerant as you.

      • http://www.thefirearmblog.com/ Phil W “Senior Writer TFB”

        I wish!

  • Fox

    The situation will dictate what grip you will use. Techniques are like tools- none are suited for every job. The same can be said for stances, rather than argue weather WEAVER is better than ISOSCELES, you could argue that weaver is better for dominant side cover, and isosceles is better for shooting out in the open. I think we see a large popularity with the C grip, because it is widely taught, and in recent years the “tactical shooting” sports have promoted the use of gloves while shooting, as well as the recent improvement of optics and forends. There is always another way of doing things

  • gunslinger

    use what works for you?

    do a lot of competition shooters use this in like 3 guns? ie. situations were exposing your side isn’t a bad thing?

  • That Guy

    In my opinion: Someone saw someone doing this and thought it looked “Tier-1 Operator Tacti-Cool” and decided to start holding his AR15 the same way. The “C-Clamp” phenomenon then resulted.

    I’m sure C-Clamp has it’s pros for some folks, though. I simply don’t care for it and have no trouble, even on full-auto, with the traditional under-hand grip and keeping my elbows tucked in.

  • valorius

    Everyone always trying to reinvent the wheel.

  • Fegelein

    There isn’t much point to this. Keep your damn arm down and slightly fore the mag. You’ll tire more slowly and you also won’t look like a git. Competition isn’t fighting. Fighting isn’t competition.

  • Blaine Nay

    An element of a good shooting position is comfort. The “c-clamp” position is not comfortable.

    Part of comfort is using the bones to support the gun. If the muscles are doing the work instead of the bones, the position causes premature fatigue and discomfort. The “c-clamp” uses muscles — not bones — to support the gun.

    The principle advantage of the “c-clamp” is looking macho to a few. Those few teach it to others because they are too macho to admit it isn’t really any better.

  • Hank Seiter

    Face it, folks, the “C clamp” position is simply a position of convenience quite unique to competitive shooting SPORTS like 3-gun and the such. I’d no more recommend a “C clamp” technique than I would trying to pass off IDPA competition as a legitimate drill for actual real world CQB or CCW scenario since one of the underpinnings of successful IDPA competition is to preview the course of fire and then game a method by which you can address the targets in the minimum amount of time by PRACTICING the actual course of fire beforehand.

    Sorry, but real world encounters can’t possibly be mapped out beforehand and we simply have to settle for general CQB tactics and muscle memory from repetitively firing from as many different positions, angles and engagement routines on the gun range. I suppose paintballing would be the most realistic form of squad on squad-sized engagement.
    Maximum situational awareness is the key to surviving CQB firefights and the “C clamp” technique would get you killed real quick by any flanking bad guys on your weak hand side.

    Though I have to admit, for extreme rapid fire and full-auto fire on point targets at your 10 to 2 o’clock, the “C clamp” does help in controlling muzzle climb. But a better cure for that is buy a SCAR 16 (like I did) and muzzle jump and sweep aren’t really an issue. However, you get enough bad guys opposing your squad, despite all your training, practice and CQB technique, a “C clamp” hold may get you dropped sooner rather than later.