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Weak grip or “limp wrist” shooting and the P320 Login/Join 
Freethinker
Picture of sigfreund
posted
One of the things that never fails to amaze me is how often a malfunction caused by not gripping a pistol firmly enough (“limp wristing”) is casually deemed to be perfectly normal and acceptable by many shooters. I won’t name makes because most people know which one that that comment most commonly refers to, but I find it simply incredible that many shooters consider it to be no big thing when it happens. In a current thread a bank guard seems to suffer a malfunction because he was shooting one-handed and although he immediately cleared it, what if his other hand had been injured and disabled? Things might have turned out far differently.

It occurred to me, though, that perhaps I was being too harsh on certain gun makes. Perhaps the vulnerability to such malfunctions was due to inherent features of the pistols, such as having a plastic frame or being striker fired. I decided therefore to conduct a little test of a SIG P320 and see how it fared.

A full-size P320 chambered for the 40 Smith and Wesson cartridge was the test gun. Functioning was tested by seeing if the case was ejected and a new round chambered properly when a cartridge was fired. For safety an “action proving dummy” cartridge was loaded in the magazine when the live round was fired. Such dummies consist of real cases and bullets to properly simulate using a live round. (Using all live ammunition in the initial test method described below is extremely dangerous.)

Ammunition was moderate power commercial reloads loaded with 165 grain bullets. More powerful ammunition such as a premium self-defense load would further reduce the probability of a malfunction in the type of test conducted.

Initial testing was conducted with the pistol held upright on a table. Only enough pressure was maintained on the gun with my fingers to keep it pointed down range. When the gun was fired it recoiled freely, flipped over backwards, and ended up about a foot behind its original position. In other words, the gun was fired with as weak a “grip” as was possible and still discharge it normally.

First the gun was tested with a dummy SureFire X300 weapon light (real weight) attached to the accessory rail. Ten tests consisting of firing one round along with a dummy cartridge in the magazine to check functioning were conducted. No malfunctions occurred despite the fact that the gun was “held” much more loosely than it would be in any actual shooting situation.

The gun was next tested the same way except without the weapon light simulator. All three shots resulted in failure to eject malfunctions. The added weight of the light simulator evidently added enough inertia to the grip module to allow the slide to cycle normally.

Finally I held the pistol (without light mounted) in a highly exaggerated one-handed loose grip with my wrist bent as much as possible and fired five rounds. No malfunctions occurred. It would have not been possible to hold the pistol more loosely or with more of a “limp wrist” and still aim at a target. (See photo below of me holding a P229 in the same manner.)

If equipped with a weapon light, the P320 chambered for the 40 S&W cartridge does not malfunction even with as little resistance as possible being offered to free recoil.
If held in a very weak manner that is just adequate to aim the weapon, no malfunctions occurred even without a weapon light’s being attached.

Keep in mind that a pistol chambered for 9mm Parabellum might be more prone to malfunctions if fired with a weak grip; more powerful ammunition makes it less likely. On the other hand, a lighter slide and less powerful recoil spring makes this type of malfunction less likely.

NOTE: The type of testing described above can be very dangerous and should be conducted only by someone who fully understands the procedures, who is completely familiar with the firearm involved, and who follows strict safety precautions to include use of dummy cartridges as appropriate.





“Most men … can seldom accept the simplest and most obvious truth if it … would oblige them to admit the falsity of conclusions … which they have woven, thread by thread, into the fabrics of their lives.”
— Leo Tolstoy
 
Posts: 36903 | Location: 10,150 Feet Above Sea Level in Colorado | Registered: April 04, 2002Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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I was just saying in another thread how sensitive the 1911 is to limp wristing. Different pistols have varying degrees, but most modern pistols are not as sensitive to a limp wrist as the 1911. Physics is sorcery, and so many factors go into the felt recoil, actual recoil, and rotational energy a pistol exerts.

Caliber, bullet weight, charge, slide mass, height over bore, barrel length, grip area, grip strength, so many factors act on the pistol.


Arc.
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Posts: 23597 | Location: Love that dirty water, oh | Registered: June 09, 2004Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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I can add to this. Once I bought some fancy smooth grips to replace the checkered aluminum ones I had. The grips were a deal and I thought if I liked them, I'd keep them for a while. Nope. Nothing. The gun stoped cycling all together. Swapped back to the checkered aluminum. Works fine one handed. Simple as it may seem, smoother grips can also effect the reliability of any firearm. I suppose with a Desert Eagle, limp writing can be a relative term...



My other Sig is a Steyr...
 
Posts: 2228 | Location: Somewhere looking for ammo nobody has at a place I haven't been to for a pistol I couldn't live without... | Registered: December 02, 2014Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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I wouldn't want any gun that is overly sensitive to holding it just right. What if you have to shoot one-handed, from an unusual position, or have already been clocked upside the head?


 
Posts: 18921 | Location: Johnson City/Elizabethton, TN | Registered: April 28, 2012Reply With QuoteReport This Post
Freethinker
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quote:
Originally posted by egregore:
I wouldn't want any gun that is overly sensitive to holding it just right. What if you have to shoot one-handed, from an unusual position, or have already been clocked upside the head?


Exactly my point. But some people evidently believe that if someone has a malfunction because she’s just been in an exhausting fight and is shooting with her nondominant hand that’s covered in blood, then it’s perfectly acceptable because it’s her fault and not the gun’s.




“Most men … can seldom accept the simplest and most obvious truth if it … would oblige them to admit the falsity of conclusions … which they have woven, thread by thread, into the fabrics of their lives.”
— Leo Tolstoy
 
Posts: 36903 | Location: 10,150 Feet Above Sea Level in Colorado | Registered: April 04, 2002Reply With QuoteReport This Post
For real?
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quote:
Originally posted by egregore:
or have already been clocked upside the head?


You've been clocked upside the head or the gun's been clocked upside someone's head?

On one occasion, I did have to upside clock someone's head with my Glock 22 and it shot fine afterwards (on the range, he gave up after I clocked him upside the head)
Razz



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Posts: 4953 | Location: South of Cleveland, OH | Registered: August 09, 2007Reply With QuoteReport This Post
Freethinker
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Massad Ayoob wrote about using a Glock as an impact weapon years ago. Shortly after the pistols started being issued to law enforcement agencies in large numbers, an LEO hit an arrestee on the head with one and the slide fell off the frame. Mr. Ayoob didn’t explain what was changed to make that less likely, but it’s a tidbit of Glock history that has always stuck with me. Perhaps you were just lucky. Wink




“Most men … can seldom accept the simplest and most obvious truth if it … would oblige them to admit the falsity of conclusions … which they have woven, thread by thread, into the fabrics of their lives.”
— Leo Tolstoy
 
Posts: 36903 | Location: 10,150 Feet Above Sea Level in Colorado | Registered: April 04, 2002Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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I have read "the 1911 is grip/limp-wrist sensitive" for decades. How? Confused Shouldn't the weight of the steel frame provide enough inertia to let the slide recoil and return? And you have to hold it in a normal shooting grip to deactivate the grip safety.

This message has been edited. Last edited by: egregore,


 
Posts: 18921 | Location: Johnson City/Elizabethton, TN | Registered: April 28, 2012Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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quote:
Massad Ayoob wrote about using a Glock as an impact weapon years ago. Shortly after the pistols started being issued to law enforcement agencies in large numbers, an LEO hit an arrestee on the head with one and the slide fell off the frame.

I would think you'd want a big old Smith & Wesson revolver for that. It is heavy enough to hurt, the shrouded ejector rod won't get bent, and you can rake his face with the front sight. Razz
 
Posts: 18921 | Location: Johnson City/Elizabethton, TN | Registered: April 28, 2012Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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The "limp wristing phenomenon has always baffled me. However, since we have all read of instances where it happens, there is no doubt that it exists.

Many posts seem to mention pistols that are fine with the experienced owner/poster, but which malfunction when a novice or other party uses them. Gut tells me it's primarily a user issue. Beyond that obvious fact, specific pistols and/or ammo selection may be more prone to it. For me, it's kind of a dunno.

One thought I've had is that there may be something else in play which is hard to observe. Specifically, perhaps the shooter is anticipating recoil just before the shot. Thus, the pistol would be pulled backwards at or prior to the gun begining the recoil cycle. Less resistance for the slide to work against. Notice I referred to this notion as a "thought" rather than a "theory". Again, a dunno. Wonder if anybody has ever studied this with professional high speed photography.

In 50 years of shooting, I've never once had the issue myself. Have had 1911's, Sig classic series, P320, Glocks and one S&W M39. When I get a new gun, I always run the two finger tests with carry and reloads. I grip the gun lightly with the thumb and middle finger. Shoot 3-4 rounds holding the gun vertical (zero degrees), repeat from 90 degrees right, 90 degrees left and 180 degrees (upside down). None have ever malfunctioned.

I have never seen anything that indicates 1911's, as a class are prone to "limp wristing". One problem with "1911's" is that the Renaissance of 1911's as a class, is all over the map. We have many brands of utter junk, many with modified JMB design features, some pure Mil-Spec guns and some spectacular semi-custom pistols. Not to mention highly variable QC standards. While technically correct, I'd submit that treating this disparate gaggle of pistols as "1911's" doesn't take these variations into account. It's not like saying Glocks or P226's, for example.

In our classes, one of our lead instructors is a diehard 1911 fan. He also has an affinity for tiny, good looking women. I won't elaborate. Wink In many instances, he has encouraged some to shoot one of his 1911's. In those instances, I've never seen any malfunctions induced by these novice shooters who were about 5' tall and weighed around 95 pounds. Surprisingly, even novice shooters have no problem with a 1911 if properly instructed.

While I have some curiosity, "limp wristing" is not something I've ever been overly concerned about...since I've never had a pistol it occurred with.


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Posts: 3820 | Location: Northeast | Registered: June 29, 2006Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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My son is an expert pistol shot, in SOF for more than 20 years. He had problems with his new P320 malfunctioning consistently and gave it to me to check out. We were using high quality ammo. I took the gun and ran several mags through it with no malfunctions. We changed his grip and had no further problems. I suspect the light weight grip frame causes the gun to behave differently from other pistols he is accustomed to. The less enlightened shooter might blame the gun. This illustrates for me the importance of putting the gun you are going to carry through its paces before you depend on it, no matter how experienced you are. Know your carry gun and what it will do.


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Posts: 1750 | Location: Florida Panhandle | Registered: September 27, 2009Reply With QuoteReport This Post
Freethinker
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quote:
Originally posted by HayesGreener:
We changed his grip and had no further problems.


Can you describe what he was doing that evidently caused the problems?




“Most men … can seldom accept the simplest and most obvious truth if it … would oblige them to admit the falsity of conclusions … which they have woven, thread by thread, into the fabrics of their lives.”
— Leo Tolstoy
 
Posts: 36903 | Location: 10,150 Feet Above Sea Level in Colorado | Registered: April 04, 2002Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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I'd guess that his thumb was interfering with the slide motion.

I was at the range one time where a woman with a new Sig MK25 was having jams about every other round.

Anyone else could empty the magazine with no issues, so it was definitely just an issue with her and not the gun.

I dunno if it is "limp wristing" but it always seems to be people that you would suspect of having a weak grip. (from what I have seen)

With all due respect, I'll add that I think that your test may be more revealing using a compact or sub compact 9mm pistol, (you know, the ones that some find difficult to rack the slide on) as .40 isn't famous for light recoil action.
 
Posts: 1208 | Registered: October 01, 2013Reply With QuoteReport This Post
Freethinker
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Thanks for that explanation.

quote:
Originally posted by GP229:
.40 isn't famous for light recoil action.


I wholeheartedly agree, and it’s why I commented that guns chambered for 9mm may be more prone to such malfunctions. And although I won’t mention it for fear of drifting my own thread, avoiding that problem could be another reason to keep using pistols chambered for the more powerful round. Wink




“Most men … can seldom accept the simplest and most obvious truth if it … would oblige them to admit the falsity of conclusions … which they have woven, thread by thread, into the fabrics of their lives.”
— Leo Tolstoy
 
Posts: 36903 | Location: 10,150 Feet Above Sea Level in Colorado | Registered: April 04, 2002Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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Hey, preaching to the choir here, as .40 is, and I'm pretty sure always will be, my preferred round. Smile
 
Posts: 1208 | Registered: October 01, 2013Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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Picture of HayesGreener
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quote:
Originally posted by sigfreund:
quote:
Originally posted by HayesGreener:
We changed his grip and had no further problems.


Can you describe what he was doing that evidently caused the problems?

We cranked his support hand wrist forward to lock and got his support thumb further forward on the frame to correct the problem. Thumb dragging on the slide may have contributed. As mentioned he is a very experienced shooter but changing platforms made things work differently for him with this new gun. His previous personal carry piece was a Sig P239 in 40 cal and his duty gun was an M9. The 9mm P320 behaves very differently from what he was accustomed to and familiarity cleared up the trouble he was having.


CMSGT USAF (Retired)
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Florida Class K Licensed Instructor
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Posts: 1750 | Location: Florida Panhandle | Registered: September 27, 2009Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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quote:
We cranked his support hand wrist forward to lock and got his support thumb further forward on the frame to correct the problem.

That's with two hands. How about one-handed? Sometimes you have to shoot that way.


 
Posts: 18921 | Location: Johnson City/Elizabethton, TN | Registered: April 28, 2012Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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Very interesting post. The strangest thing I have seen in this regard was with a P220 that my Father gave me. It was his duty weapon for several years and he had shot it a good bit for qualification and practice. NO malfunctions were ever known with it. I shot a couple thousand rounds through it with various reloads and bullet styles after I got it with zero malfunctions and I had bragged it would shoot gravel if we could get that in the magazine. I held a concealed carry class with some people I knew at my house. A good friend of mine who always shot 1911s asked if he could shoot my Sig. Well of course I said. 2 shots and a failure to feed later I picked my jaw up off the ground. Took the gun shot 3 mags through it and handed it back to him. 1 shot and a failure to feed again he handed it back. I havnt been able to figure it out but it happened. I still have it and have complete confidence in it.
 
Posts: 174 | Location: NE Kansas | Registered: March 28, 2009Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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Picture of Nipper
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quote:
Originally posted by sigfreund:
Thanks for that explanation.

quote:
Originally posted by GP229:
.40 isn't famous for light recoil action.


I wholeheartedly agree, and it’s why I commented that guns chambered for 9mm may be more prone to such malfunctions. And although I won’t mention it for fear of drifting my own thread, avoiding that problem could be another reason to keep using pistols chambered for the more powerful round. Wink

While I hesitate to call my one experience "limp wristing", I'll toss it out anyway.

Was doing a retention demo at one of our classes. Using a Gen4 G34 (stock internals) with mid-low powered reloads. I've used several thousand rounds of the same load with no reliability issues. The gun was held low and close to the body, firm grip and canted to the right to avoid slide contact.

Gun malfunctioned EVERY shot. Did not take time to assess, since I was involved in instructing at the time. I raised gun to normal shooting position and it starts to run OK again. Hmmm.

Following week, I repeat the procedure at the range by myself. Same thing happens. Switch to Rem-UMC 115 gr ball ammo. NO problem, functions just fine.

I've never had the issue with any other pistols, all of which are .40 or .45 ACP. The G34 was my first 9 mm. Hmmm.


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Posts: 3820 | Location: Northeast | Registered: June 29, 2006Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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Picture of HayesGreener
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quote:
Originally posted by egregore:
quote:
We cranked his support hand wrist forward to lock and got his support thumb further forward on the frame to correct the problem.

That's with two hands. How about one-handed? Sometimes you have to shoot that way.


We didn't experience the problem one handed


CMSGT USAF (Retired)
Chief of Police (Retired)
Florida Class K Licensed Instructor
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