Straight arms or Bent Arms When Shooting a Pistol?

One focus of this analysis is to understand whether you should use straight arms or bent arms. This video shot a few years ago is at least a beginning of an analysis to slow things down and see if there’s any difference between straight arms and bent-arm shooting. In a rapid-shot drill, the slide is moving so fast, it’s very hard to get an idea what the muzzle is doing during those rapid shots. Of course, you can look at the accuracy, but how do we know if it’s trigger mechanics or our upper triangular support? As shown at about 1 minute and 20 seconds in the video there is an analysis of all the shots. One area of focus is looking if the muzzle dips downward and if it returns to the same location.

At about 1:50 there is a second iteration where the elbows are aggressively rolled outward causing chest squeeze at the base of the thumbs (which are pliable) and the arms are a little bit higher closer to the muzzle.

One important point noted at 2:20 in the video is the shoulder blades are still rolled back and engaged to not bring the shoulders too far out of socket.

One very helpful skill is to have some big dumb muscles on the gun or I certainly prefer a C-clamp grip and chest squeeze as I’d covered in the series.


This particular video was shot with 1,000-frame-per-second specialized camera, but nowadays, most cell phones will shoot 240 frames per second which meets threshold for this type of analysis.


As noted in about 4 minutes you can see the SLR camera, but I would suggest using your cell phone to start off with this type of analysis and putting it on a makeshift tripod (you can literally just use clamps to hold her down).


Don’t be so locked into your current technique that you’re afraid to try something different like rolling your elbows outward (as discussed in the grip course).  As described about 5:50 there is a comparison of how the recoil flows through the body with bent arms and a little bit more straight rolled arms.

There’s not a huge amount of difference between these two variations; however, learning that there is not be a major difference is a good in itself.

This post is really for people who want to be the best possible shooters they can be. It’s not so much a description that you have to shoot like this or that, but moreover, this should illuminate a process of using technology and tools to improve your shooting and not be afraid of changing it up a bit and measuring the results. We all should not rigidly adhere to any specific technique where in the end it’s what performs best in the most diverse (and adverse) circumstances.

Would you like us to send you more good stuff like this?

We can send you our newsletter.