How strong is your non-dominant hand, really? Is it still strong enough to get a firm, powerful grip, or do you feel like your shooting stance could be better? Is your grip just as strong at the end of the day as it was when you started? We ask because your shooting stance is pretty darn important, no matter which firearm you’re firing. We’ve talked once or twice before about how important it is to have a solid stance before firing, but it can have such a major impact on your accuracy that it’s worth repeating. Of course, getting a better grip can often mean improved accuracy, so most AR owners take some sort of measure to help them get a firmer grip.
First, this will probably only be beneficial to those who are new to AR ownership, or to firearms in general, but it’s important to clarify exactly what we’re talking about when it comes to stance and grip. The basic firing stance for an AR 15 involves pulling the buttstock securely into the inside of your shoulder on the dominant-hand side, your non-dominant hand gripping the forend, and your dominant hand operates the trigger. Of course, do remember that the trigger is the last component of your firearm that should ever be touched. For those just learning to shoot, especially, pay careful attention to range protocols and gun safety measures. Get fully into your firing stance before taking the safety off, and only move your finger inside the trigger guard when you’re on target and prepared to fire. Taking the time to learn the proper habits from the get-go will help you out in the long run, as it will eventually make it easier to shape the muscle memory required to get into the ready position and fire with more accuracy.
One of the things most shooters have a difficult time with is getting a firm enough grip on the forend and keeping that firm (but not stiff) grip over however many hours spent on the range, or hunting, or competing, and so on. This is often where accessories like vertical foregrips and handstops can come into play. A proper stance involves getting the buttstock wedged high and tight to the inside of your shoulder, rather than on your shoulder, in a way that it will stay firmly positioned through repetitive firing. The hand gripping the forend is there to not just provide a guiding point for the barrel, but to actually clamp on and pull the AR back into its secure spot inside your shoulder. Generally speaking, the more secure your stance, the better your accuracy is likely to be.
Every experienced AR owner will probably tell you something different to help you get a more secure forend grip. Maybe they’ll tell you the best AR foregrip is a KeyMod vertical grip, or maybe it’s an angled foregrip. Others may suggest that all you need is a handguard rail to give an easier grip and some heat protection. Ultimately, it comes down to personal preference and what allows you to get the most stable grip for the entire time you’re firing. However, a word of caution: whatever you choose, find an option that pushes you to stay engaged throughout. The big reason a vertical grip may be a hindrance rather than a help is that it makes it easier to fall into lazy habits. While it may seem counterintuitive, a hand stop or rail scales can often be the better investment in the long term because they will force you to actually maintain a firmer grip on your AR, rather than giving in to potentially harmful habits.
Whether you choose an M-LOK vertical grip or a small KeyMod handstop, the end goal is to give you the best grip possible for the longest duration. Here at RailScales, we often get asked just how effective our patented rail scales really are. The answer is, it depends a lot on your grip. Our rail scales are made to attach to any KeyMod or M-LOK rail system. They’re lightweight, made from a highly heat-protective material, and textured. For those that prefer to grip straight on the rail system, our rail scales are there to help your grip stay solid after repeated firing. They can be used in conjunction with a handstop or not as you choose. Ultimately, we designed our rail scales to be the point your hand goes to every time you get into a ready stance, creating better muscle memory. In addition, the textured sides will mean your hand is less likely to slip, but you’re still relying on the firmness of your grip, so you’ll be less likely to fall into bad habits.