As seen in Thunder Roads LA-MS July 2018 Vol. 14 – Issue 7.

Handling your sidearm is like handling your vehicle. If you are negligent or arrogant: a severe cost could result. On the range you could see stove-pipe jams, a wide shot pattern on target, and experience having to take more time reacquiring between shots. In a gunfight these errors could very well get you killed. One training factor is how you grip the handgun. For semi-automatic handguns, I recommend the Combat Grip. This grip is also referred to as the Leatham-Enos Grip, in case you want to do more research, and it’s also commonly referred to as the “thumbs forward” grip.

The Leatham-Enos grip provides the best for recoil control. A high grip in the beaver-tail, with the firing hand, controls rearward felt recoil and muzzle flip. The support hand assists in controlling muzzle flip and puts a clamping pressure towards the interior of the handgun itself. The easiest way to describe this is to think of it as a four-way intersection where all roads lead to the center. I couple this grip with an Isosceles or Fighting stance (between Isosceles and Weaver) to keep the handgun in direct alignment with the center of my frame.

X – Supporting thumb placement. Y – Base of supporting palm placement.

For the thumbs: always forward and always high along the top of the frame. Most people will find that their DA/SA and striker handguns are similarly laid out. Assuming you’re right handed, your right thumb should reach the bolt catch without overextending and your left thumb should sit on or under the takedown lever. Those who run a 1911 will notice their controls are slightly more rearward, behind where your fingertips lay. A slight difference in the SIGs and Glocks that I run is the takedown lever. On the SIGs, they are pronounced levers as opposed to the slim, recessed “levers” on the Glocks.

I can best describe the Leatham-Enos grip as a clasping grip – from the four directions. Older grip techniques like the Teacup and the Thumbs-Down, taken from revolvers, do not offer the same amount of drivability on semi-automatics. If you use those methods on a semi-automatic, you’ve probably had to reposition your hands after four to five rounds downrange. If that’s happened and you haven’t tried the Leatham-Enos, then do so. Practice it dry before heading to the range.

The support hand fills the remaining opening on the grip. Pressure is applied forward and backward, instead of side-to-side (inward).

Practicing the grip, while dry-firing, will enable you to find where a lack of comfortability present. Some report issues in the support wrist from the forward cant required for proper thumb placement. The cant can be equivalent to nearly 15-degrees of angle. There is an inward clasp of the grip, but the cant provides forward resistance against recoil. While not advised by all, I lock the supporting wrist and the entire firing arm as it is centered to my frame. There are several physiological arguments against locking one or the other, and even both, as presented by far more experienced shooter than I. But, you will adapt the grip for the best recoil compensation suited to you. It might be less wrist cant or a lack of elbow-lock because of a heftier body size.

Couple this with the Trigger Reset Drill and, equally, both techniques will tighten up your shot groups over time. I taught myself this technique over a year’s time while I would watch movies. All you need is an empty handgun and time to focus. Follow these steps;

  1. Remove ammunition and magazines from the handgun.
  2. Rack the slide to set the trigger.
  3. Slowly pull the trigger and hold it back.
  4. Rack the slide again, but do not release the trigger.
  5. Reset your grip and slowly release the trigger.
  6. Stop releasing when you feel and hear the click.
  7. Your finger is “against the wall”. Pull again.
  8. Repeat Steps 3-7.

Get out there and train hard. Without training, you aren’t necessarily in control.

If you would like to see more firearms related material, then visit us on Facebook.

Questions or comments? Email

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.