Shaking Hand(s) with my VP9

I have been shooting for about 4 months now. I have watched so many videos on proper grip. However, I have noticed that, every once in a while, my shot placement is not that tight and my hands are shaking a little. If I loosen my grip a little, I don’t feel that I have good control over the recoil and a little loose under the tang. Is there any skills I can practice to eliminate the minor shaking? Please advise. Thanks


I’ll give my 2 cents until more knowledgeable people pipe in…

It could be a few different things. If anything but a death grip opens your shots, I might suggest trying a couple things (I’m generalizing and will suggest disregarding my opinions if a more experienced shooter disagrees):

  1. Stronghand placement - The strong hand should be as high as possible on the tang without getting slide bite. ALSO, after placing the hand as high as possible, twist your palm so that the bottom of your palm (and therefore wrist) is inline with the grip.

  2. Offhand Placement - The off hand should be pressing against the pistol towards your strong hand side.

  3. Steady and consistent squeezing of the trigger - I’m afraid if I tell you my trigger technique that it might not be the right way, but I squeeze through the break instead of stopping at the break and starting a secondary squeeze. Dry fire with snap caps might help you with this, as it could also be related to finger dexterity. Dry firing with snap caps can also help show if your trigger squeeze is pulling your shots off target (that’s another discussion).

  4. If you have longer shooting session, or are starting to increase the time of your shooting sessions, be aware of your shoulder strength. If your shoulders aren’t used to holding something up for 30 minutes at a time, you might experience some shaking as your body strengthens for this position. Try going through a box or two of slow shooting with a 3.5+ lbs revolver and chances are you’ll experience some shaking pretty quickly.

  5. Steady your breathing. Erratic breathing can affect your sight picture.

I like to think of it as two separate things going on. First, your hands are there to aim and hold the pistol steady. Second, your trigger finger should only be for squeezing the trigger, and not have any impact on the grip or movement of the pistol throughout the squeeze.


Have you ever tried diagnostic targets? Gripping it too tight may be a problem.
Also, what kind of trigger do you have: long DA type, or maybe too heavy? Did you see the same issue across multiple trigger models?


For a new shooter the act of going to the range induces an excitement that often shows up in the first few rounds. There are so many things going on that your concentration is not where it needs to be. By the time you get settled down now you are tired so your hands are shaking from that. Try dry fire before leaving the house to “shake off” the shakes. Do it at the range too before live fire. Don’t jam the mag full, one round or two in each mag to get started. Shooting FUN-Duh-Mentals are a process, don’t rush the process or you will only learn (teach yourself) bad habits.


Unless there is some reason I have to engage otherwise I ALWAYS burn at least one mag focusing on FUN-Duh-Mentals. I find it gets me into the groove, levels out my breathing and gets me focused on the task at hand. In your case that should be breathing, front sight and trigger control. Me, I’m a little different so I won’t go into that.

Last but not least start to document your shooting trips. Indoors, Outdoors, weather if applicable, Plot the shots of your slow fire rounds and describe your sight picture and grip to the best you can (Thumbs are amazingly important) DRAW PICTURES. This does two things. You can’t write with a gun in your hand, and it makes you focus on each shot. The added bonus is that now you get to re-grip your gun after each shot.




@Scotty covered this pretty well.

From my experience - don’t squeeze the grip. It’s not a pipe to be hold. Pay more attention to locking your wrists and keep elbows out (your pistol has to go back and forth, not up and down in elbow joints, arms should act as spring, not hinge). When your elbows go out, you have more strength in your hands’ palms. This way you don’t need to think about pressing the grip from sides. Just press from front and rear (like C-clamp).

This took me over one year to understand it and find benefits.


@David873 it is possible that you may be over gripping the firearm. I know because it use to happen to me. Maybe you don’t have a proper grip. Grip the firearm firmly and don’t squeeze it to tight. Just relax and don’t anticipate the shot going off. Follow these tips and your hands will not shake.


Thanks all, for the input. I will be going to the range to work on wrists/elbows, etc., to see if anything changes. One thing that I did notice was the gun moving upward after each shot, so changing the elbows may help some. I appreciate you inputs. thanks Dave


Muzzle flip is common thing - that’s physics. But locking wrist will save this.

There is also a great trick that John Lovell uses. This may help you as well.


I was going to say the same thing when he stated the gun was going in an upward motion may limp wristing.


Do you find your shot placement gets worse over time? Could be simple fatigue. You’re not a wimp; even body builders will get shaky arms if they hold them out for too long. That’s why riflemen prefer bone-to-bone when they get cozy with their rifles, so they can hold their position for a long time.

Sometimes it’s helpful to simply put the pistol down, take a break, and come back to it.


You might want to work on strengthening your grip. Some work with some hand weights might help also. Holding something out away from your body like a gun is not a normal position.


All, thanks for the information and the YouTube video from Lovell. I will try some of the drills. Maybe I am “squeezing” the gun too hard. My shot placement is the same over the 1/2 hour practice, so not tired. Will pay more attention to the elbows during the range time, and will use the target offered by Alexander8. Thanks. Dave


As I have become a geezer (65yo) at times my hands will not be as steady as usual. I’ll take a seat, relax my arms. do some deep breathing and consentrate on just relaxing my body & releasing shoulder tension etc… This usually helps quite a bit


Check your breathing, are you holding you breath?


I suggest you go here and find the USAMU Pistol Marksmanship Guide and read the section on attaining a minimum arc of movement, sight alignment and trigger control. Bear in mind these are rudimentary elements that apply to all shooting disciplines using one two or more handed grips. Basically you want to find your natural grip, that is one were the front sight is centered left and right in the rear notch. assume your firing stance, grasp your pistol and with eyes closed raise it to firing position and allow it to settle, now open your eyes and observe the sights. If front sight is not aligned in the notch twist the pistol in your hand to correct and repeat. When you do it and you find your the right grip this is your natural grip and it works even after recovering from recoil. How much tightly to squeeze? Apply pressure with your strong hand until your arm starts to tremble, then release pressure until the tremor stops. That is the correct amount of pressure which only comes from your fore finger and ring finger straight to the rear with pressure from your supporting hand also applied through those fingers. Do not apply pressure with thumbs, (for a rightie it pushes shots to the right) or pinkies for anyone it pushes shots down.


Short answer? Diverse training, diverse trainers, and diverse practice. And don’t worry… you’ll get good at it if you keep at it.

But the long answer matters…

Richard Marcinko, founder of SEAL Team 6 (read all of his Rogue Warrior books, especially the early ones, the non-fiction) might suggest that something on the order of 10,000 rounds across a span of, say, 8 weeks day and night in a variety of weather and terrain and with an astute trainer who’s been in a large number of gun fights would have a strongly positive effect. Larry Vickers, retired Delta, likely would say something similar given that I’ve had the remarkable fortune to have been in a few of his civilian trainings.

Sounds daunting to say the least, but a few offers of comfort.

First there are somewhere around 2 million yearly incidents of successful defensive use of a firearm (DGU – Defensive Gun Use) in the US in the great preponderance of which no shots were fired. Join the NRA and read its monthly magazine American Rifleman. In its monthly feature “The Armed Citizen”, is a summary of approximately 5 or more documented incidents of defensive use of firearms. Also go to Amazon and get a copy of Guns and Control by Guy Smith. He has a chapter on DGUs. Smith is the founder of Gun Facts Project. Look him up. The point of 2 million DGUs is that it would seem preposterous that more than a very small percentage of those citizens were highly trained and experienced at combat competence.

Second, and nevertheless, the better you become under highly stressful situations the better the outcome. What is a highly stressful situation? Lt Col Dave Grossman in his DVD lectures The Bullet Proof Mind suggests it is when your drawers are bagged as confirming evidence.

And how might one become better aside from the Marcinko protocol? My own experience recommends three points: (1) Frequent (quarterly, perhaps) professional training; (2) Short practices (say, less than 20 rounds, 2 to 3 rounds per magazine) mixed with long practices (say, 50 to 100 rounds changing up the rounds per magazine.); (3) Quarterly sessions on a law enforcement simulator These are rather hard to find. I have traveled from Phoenix to Threat Dynamics in Tualatin, Oregon, for training on their law enforcement simulator. Check it out.

One more thing… Breathing matters. Get close and friendly with the natural respiratory pause. That is vastly different from holding your breath.


All, thanks for all this information! Wow! What a great group! I have begun reading some of the information that you provided, and also, taking a private pistol lesson to get some 1 on 1 instruction and correction. I appreciate your inputs. Thanks again.


Do your Hans shake all the time or just at the range ?


Dave, you still didn’t answer the question ( do your hands shake all the time ) or just when your shooting. PS WHAT CALIBER IS YOUR HAND GUN ??


Hi Blacky,

Sorry for the late answer…out of town for a while. Just got back. The shaking only happens while I am slowly squeezing the trigger. All other times, pretty solid. My VP-9 is a 9mm.