The other night I had a conversation with a with a student who was looking to narrow his hunt for what would be the perfect fixed blade EDC. He was hung up on making sure that whatever he chose had a hook at the end of the grip to ensure that his hand would not slip off the knife during use. My initial comment was that you had to have a grip in order to worry about losing one.

If you are using your pinkie to index your grip you are setting yourself up for failure. That is like having three exits to choose from to arrive at the same place and not choosing the first or second and finding the third one is closed. What we are looking at is the second of three exits on the grip. The first would be index finger. You can't use the index finger when establishing the Master Grip on a pistol because the holster is covering the slide and when it is drawn the index finger should be point index (pointing at the target as it lays along the slide). The index finger has nothing to do with the Master Grip on a pistol, it is only for firing. If you use your index finger to obtain the Master Grip with a fixed blade knife you will usually find that when you draw, your hand is too far back on the grip.

The third exit would be the pinkie. The pinkie is weak and incapable of closing to the palm by itself so it actually has little to do with the Master Grip of the pistol or fixed blade or stick.

The second exit and one that provides the strongest part of the grip are the middle and ring finger. In open hand combatives we use a technique we call hooking. The middle and ring finger are used to hook, pull and control the back of the head, traps, elbows, wrists, back of knees and the back of the ankles. Not only do they provide strength but also a concentration of force on a small surface area that increases not only pain but more so control. Grab a hold of someone by wrapping your entire hand around the back of their neck. Now try the same thing but only using the middle and index finger. See the difference? It is for this reason that while practicing Kenjitsu you use these fingers to hold the sword.

Whether using a stick, knife or pistol, the very first step is establishing the Master Grip. In the heat of combat you will only get one chance to get the Master Grip. The Master Grip has got to be obtained while the tool is stationary in the holster or on a surface. Attempting to adjust your grip during deployment is likely to end up with your weapon on the deck, an errant shot or a weak cut.

When Bill Jordan wrote No Second Place Winner he mentioned his dislike for pistol grips with finger grooves. Finger grooves feel great when your fingers are in the right grooves. However they lock your grip in, whether it is right or wrong. And during combat, that is a problem.

You hear people say that they like the way a knife fits in their hand. I like the way a knife, stick, or gun fits in any human hand, repeatedly without needing adjustment.

It is for this reason I choose to carry straight handled knives free of finger grooves. I want to be able to hold the knife the same way I hold a stick or a pistol.

You have to worry about getting grip before you can worry about losing it. Be sure your handgun holsters and knife sheaths allow you to establish the Master Grip in the holster/sheath. If they don't, get something new.

Another prevalent thing I see is officers using their thumb, index and middle finger to pinch the top of their expandable baton while trying to acquire the Master grip. It has to be done with the two middle fingers. Especially when it comes to the stick where being reflexive is so important.

The vast majority of failed deployments are attributable to attempting to draw having the Mater Grip. This is the same thing as trying to run with a ball before catching it all the way. These things have got to be done in order.