If you have the internet, or if you’ve been around the AR15 for the last few years, you’ve seen the En Vogue Grip of the Moment- The ‘C” Clamp, or whatever name it has this week.

This grip has the Support Arm forward on the rail, close to the muzzle, as it allegedly gives the shooter more stability, faster recovery from recoil and the ability to attract the opposite gender.

To be fair and unbiased, the technique has its virtues, and there are legitimate pros who use it. The key to any tool is to UNDERSTAND the technique and be mature enough to appreciate the benefits any tool offers. If there are no benefits to be gained by its usage, than get rid of it, and chalk it all up to life experience.

Chances are that in the last few centuries of mankind using firearms in all their various guises, this grip was used in the past, however inadvertently. There is debate among gun people as to the origin of the grip. At this point let us ask ourselves- does this really matter? Could we all, as a species, not benefit from the gun people all suddenly becoming stricken with muteness, and no further ability to type, or communicate at all?

There are mentions and photographs of various soldiers from around the world using variations of the grip, as well as mention that skeet shooters used the grip for faster pointing and target acquisition. Both examples seem completely legitimate.

When you consider the battle rifles of the first half of the century, many still being used around the world today, most are 30 caliber. A lot of battle rifles are full sized, with the ability to fire full auto. American/British snipers agree that the “average man” is 6 feet tall. At this point, we leave snipers alone, as they definitely do their jobs well, and this grip is not in their repertoire. The point to understand here is that not everyone in the world is 6 feet tall.

America is arguably the “beefiest” country, size wise. Even full grown hefty American males are affected by physics, and a full auto, full sized battle rifle WILL have you exploring alternate grips to keep recoil under control. If you’ve not ever tried to fire even the arguably anemic .223/5.56 in full auto- it can be “challenging”. Even an Uzi in 9mm with the fun switch engaged is recoil control intensive.

This is why people are constantly pursuing the elixir that gives the shooter the ability to have rapid well aimed shots, and a controllable firearm. With the AR, this is about as close as we will get. Realistically, as private citizens, do we need full auto?  Let’s not get lost in debate about the ability to have whatever we want, just ask yourself realistically, is there a possibility that you will need this to thwart a Zombie Wave, at some point? Likely not.

Basically everything shooters do comes from 2 sources- competition shooters, and the military. The police would arguably be a tangible third source, and often times, these 3 sources are inextricably entwined. There is nothing wrong with this, but then the fourth element comes creeping in, thanks to the modern world we live in- the internet.

Because everyone can instantly see some of the absolute worst aspects of all things firearms, there seems to be a belief now that only this “new” grip can stop all evil from running amok everywhere. The only other thing you need is the correct facial hair and an infinite supply of ammunition wouldn’t hurt either.

As a very lucky person, I get paid to go to schools and train. Basically, it’s all a free ride, and all I have to do is show up with the required necessary goodies, and safely attend the class. I can honestly say to you that I attended a series of classes using this “new” grip, and was told, by the Instructor that any other grip with the AR platform had me “clutching a pipe bomb”.

Apparently, if you use only this grip- there will be no catastrophic malfunction of the firearm. I’ve been in classes where catastrophic malfunctions have indeed occurred, and it had absolutely nothing to do with how you gripped the firearms. By the way, we did no Support Side shooting, and did no training with dummy rounds, because, apparently this “new” grip also guarantees that your firearm won’t ever be stricken by any malfunction.

There are also “debates” about high shoulders on this grip blocking your peripheral vision- this is indeed true. Using the C Clamp can give you “issues” as you scoot into cover positions, and it’s not the greatest for usage in an armored gun port either, unless you like to have your hands/upper arms exposed to incoming fire (which invariably has the right of way).

There are many things to be gleaned from these paragraphs, so let’s break them down “Barney Style”.

1-There are many ways to complete ANY task, and only a fool believes that they know everything.

2-C Clamp grip is another tool in our box- it is no better, or worse, than hanging onto the firearm by indexing on the magwell.

3-Just because something is touted as “new”, or “hellacool” does not mean that it will work for you. We are all special rays of sunshine, and we do what’s best for us

4-There is no single technique that will allow us perfect vision at all times- throw on a Kevlar helmet, and stuff gets hinky, real fast. If YOU can invent this technique, you’ll be incredibly wealthy.

5-Disregard silly statements like “pipe bomb”- with a healthy respect for all of your equipment. Keep your firearms performing optimally, and don’t cheap out on ammo, and life is good.

6-Be cautious about who you give your money to. The world is chock full of dudes who will take your cash, and leave you with training scars. Anyone can grow a beard and buy man pretty gear. This is not meant to be offensive to female shooters- we need you too.

7-Do not rely on the internet as a training source- this way leads to peril. Any pursuit worth undertaking demands meticulous research.

8-If pondering going to a school- do your homework, and get a syllabus. Any organization worth its salt should have one, and be happy to provide it to you. If not, do not pay anything, and tell all of your friends.

9-Confidence is a wonderful virtue, but do not allow yourself to become cocky. It’s off putting. To believe in yourself and your ability is noble- but do not ever negate the Murphy Factor. To do so equals your demise, when things get ugly for real.

10-Arguably my favorite- another takeaway from a shall we say “sketchy” class. The Instructor was a full on fan of the Tactical Facial hair, and was brazen enough to mock those in attendance without any. I would have loved to have employed a gas mask drill, since he didn’t have one on his Bat Belt.

Stay Safe and Train Often

Photo courtesy of Craig Outzen