U.S. Army Fort Lee vs. Holding a pistol

    The U.S. Army Fort Lee posted the following quoted text on its Facebook page, and the shares and comments started spreading like wildfire:

    Maj. Gen. Darrell K. Williams, commanding general, CASCOM and Fort Lee, fires his 9mm semi-automatic pistol during qualifications today at the installation range complex. Williams joined a handful of Soldiers who fulfilled their yearly weapons qualification at the facility.

    The above text was posted together with this picture:

    Of course, one picture never tells the full story, but as you can see there’s room for improvement in terms of holding and gripping the pistol.

    Crossing your thumbs like that is just an accident waiting to happen, if your thumb gets stuck in the slide you may cut it. A friend of mine – and I take the blame in poor instructions – cut his hand as he borrowed my Glock, and it took a long time before the bleeding stopped. You should at least have both thumbs on the same side of the pistol, and try to get them parallel just under the slide. A good grip is most of the secret in pistol shooting.

    I am not sure why the shooter is holding the pistol so close to his face. It could be because he normally uses glasses, but this is pure speculation.

    With the development of relatively cheap, reliable red dots I wonder if the Military wouldn’t be able to save money (total cost of ownership) if they started using red dot pistols in training and service.

    I have a feeling that the time it would take to instruct and train is the most costly, and this would be reduced by using red dots. I’m pretty sure that the time to hit a target (sufficiently) would decrease and grouping would improve.

    Of course, a red dot will never help you grip the pistol better. Only instructions, hard work and training will.

    Well the red dot is just another thing that could fail, run out of battery etc., but as long as the window(s) of the sight are clean you can aim with your normal open sights.

    I think the picture is embarrassing and should never have been posted, but there it is. As a photographer of live shooting events I get a lot of pictures that I chose not to post. The situation may be perfectly fine, but look dangerous on a photo because of an angle, zoom or similar. And I’ve captured some dangerous situations as well, as pistols have gone into full auto. It’s better to keep those pictures offline. A photographer that has never held a pistol may make another judgement.

    All we can hope for is more and better training.

    Eric B

    Ex-Arctic Ranger. Competitive practical shooter and hunter with a European focus. Always ready to increase my collection of modern semi-automatics, optics and sound suppressors. TCCC Certified medic.