The so what and reality of indexing
Indexing. The relatively unknown yet, vital component to pistol shooting. It’s both a defining factor and measurement tool identifying;
● If the firearm fits your hand
● The make or break of your follow up shots and
● The reason why you are taking too long in building a sight picture and getting rounds on target
So what is it and where does it start?
Running the pistol is the hardest of all platforms and there is more to it than a “comfortable grip” on the gun so you can hold it firmly. More often than not, a junior/amateur shooter will have an incorrect index because of working this surface knowledge level of approach.
Indexing is the correct alignment of the center bore and, if you were to draw a line, the center line of your arm (ref picture below). Now, if you index the firearm correctly but, can’t reach the trigger without strain or over exaggeration in grip, that is a clear indication of the firearm being too big for you. This isn’t common just in women but, anyone close to the 5’ to 5’5” (approximate) and with smaller appendages than the regular person. Despite common industry rhetoric, not everyone can “fit” a firearm. This is a straight up BS lie.
Now if the index is off (ref image two and three), you will have poor recoil management and the firearm will bounce all over the place. Further damaging your grip and manipulation. What’s the mechanics behind it? Well, as the slide recoils, which only happens in one direction, it directs all the force off the center line resulting in the pistol bouncing around. Ergo, poor rounds on target.
Further this, compact handguns weren’t made for the primary purpose of concealed carry. They also filled the industry gap for the avid shooter and front line officer who couldn’t fit regular frame handguns.
So a correctly indexed grip will allow good recoil management and provide better accuracy and control in follow up shots. Double tap is not an accurate or valid approach to stopping all threats. Whilst you may get a good first round off, if you have a poorly indexed grip, you will have a nasty mess of a group in the follow up shots. Quite often people will argue “I like to spread my work and that’s why it (the grouping) is like that (spread out over 10”)”. This is a valid approach but, spreading your work on a paper target will not work on a moving flesh target. Your hit/ miss ratio will drastically fall. The aforementioned method of approach usually highlights that shooter doesn’t know how to run a gun and has poor management. There is zero reason for you not being accountable for all your rounds as a law enforcement officer. Any other approach is a transfer of piss poor standards, knowledge and negligence via your training staff.
Moving on. As you can see, indexing affects our work greatly. Secondly, it will delay time in picking up your sight picture. There is a reason we do video diagnostics work in our Marksmanship Management Skills - Pistol program. It shows everything!
An incorrect indexed grip is hard to manipulate and correct at full presentation. Resulting in a longer time being presented on target before the first round. Generally it will force the shooter to cant or twist their hands to bring in correct alignment and sight picture. This will put the shooter at a huge disadvantage as it enforces compassing which is a massive no and costs time. Good for you first shot but not so bueno for any other round after that in a real fight. If we can reduce that time between the draw and first shot we are increasing our survivability and lethality as an individual shooter. Or, for the comp shooters, we are racking those quicker run times and high scoring hits.
The correction? It’s all from the draw. Drive in hard and high and practice getting the index correct right from the draw. Everything else will fall into place on target.
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