Gun Science: What a Limp Wrist Does to a Semi-Auto Handgun
It's important to have a firm grip when shooting a semi-auto pistol so it cycles correctly, and that's not some macho thing—it's a matter of physics.
Having a firm grip on your semi-auto handgun isn’t only important for holding a good sight picture, its integral to the way the firerarm functions. If the frame isn’t held still by your hands and arms, the slide and spring have nothing to work against. As the slide moves back when the gun is fired, and the wrists are limp, the frame moves with it, which could result in the slide not reaching it’s fully retracted position.
A number of things can occur when that happens: the extractor might not pull the spent casing clear and you can get a stovepipe jam; you could get a failure to feed jam; or the spent casing can be ejected, but the slide can fail to strip off a new round from the magazine, meaning you think you have a live round chambered, when you don’t.
These issues can be exaggerated on small, lightweight handguns.
In this Gun Science installment, we show you exactly what’s happening to a limp-wristed gun in slow motion. If you’re having jamming problems, it might not be the handgun, it might be the shooter.