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Education / Training 10-meter pistol shooting – Part 2

10-meter pistol shooting – Part 2

by B.B. Pelletier

Part 1

I’m enroute to the NRA Annual Meetings in Louisville, KY, today, so I’ll ask you old hands to help out with the questions. I have my laptop with me, but there isn’t a lot of time to be on the internet.

Let’s talk about vertically aligning the pistol with the target. In the last, segment we learned how our stance will keep the pistol within a very narrow segment of lateral space. The key to the vertical is your grip and the grips on the pistol. This is where the less-expensive 10-meter pistols such as the Gamo Compact let you down a little…and the Daisy 747 abandons you entirely. It’s also a huge reason you can’t shoot real 10-meter with guns like the Beeman P17 and the Crosman 1377.

Get a real grip
A real 10-meter pistol has a grip that’s angled so far back that you must rotate your hand forward to align the sights with the target. When you do this, you also lock the muscles in your arm. This is what gives you the steadiness on target vertically. The IZH 46 has some of this rotation; but, on guns that cost a little more, the grips are a huge help in stabilizing the pistol vertically.


When I hold my hand in a relaxed posture, the pistol points upward. The backward rake or slant of the grip determines this.


When the sights are lowered to the target, the wrist locks up. It cannot move much lower than this because of the fit of the grip and the palm shelf.

But wait – there’s more!
Good 10-meter pistol grips also have a small amount of outward slant to their grips, which further forces your arm into a locked position when the sights are on target. A few of the really top ones like the Steyr offer the facility to adjust both this outward slant AND the backward slant, so you can actually adjust the pistol to your body. These pistols turn you into a shooting machine. At almost $2,000, they’re quite expensive, so I’ve never popped for one, despite knowing they could potentially add 10 points to my score in a 60-shot match. I shoot a Czech Republic Chameleon, which can still outshoot my ability, and I could never bring myself to spend the money to upgrade.


I propped up the grip with a laser, but the gun is lying flat on the table. This is how much the grip slants to the right.

The grip that keeps on giving
Once you rotate your hand forward to drop the front sight into alignment, the palm shelf digs into the heel of your hand and provides what feels like a solid support. When you have the palm shelf adjusted properly against the heel of your hand, it feels like you couldn’t possibly lower the pistol any more by just rotating your hand. The Diana model 10 that I started out with in the 1970s actually had a sliding piece on the palm shelf that could be adjusted back to hit your wrist to further enhance this feeling. That may no longer be allowed in competition, because it worked very well yet the modern guns don’t have it.

The rest is up to your arm
This is where that stance I showed you last time really comes into play. Your arm will now gain strength from the bones of your back and shoulder, and you’ll be amazed at how steady you can hold that pistol at arm’s length. For owners of the Daisy 747, this isn’t going to happen for you because you don’t have the adjustable palm shelf.

DIY grips
Nearly all pistol grips must be modified to fit their owners. The owner will use a wood rasp to remove wood or wood putty to add wood. I’ve done both on my grips, which is par for the course. I don’t know how to explain how you can know what to remove and what to add, but after spending 50-60 hours with a set of grips, you’ll know by the feel what needs to go and what needs to be added.


The wood putty at the rear of the grip fills a gap where the grip didn’t contact the heel on my hand. Notice the adjustable palm shelf that must be tight against the hand.


A wood rasp deepened the finger grooves on the other side of the grip. I recut the coarse stippling pattern to keep it “grippy.”

When I was at the Little Rock airgun show, Dennis Quackenbush showed me a Russian TOZ35 free pistol. I’ve never held a free pistol before and always felt that it would somehow be more stable than an air pistol, but I must tell you that it isn’t. The modern 10-meter target pistol grip is so refined that it feels nearly as nice as a free-pistol grip, despite not wrapping all the way around your hand. Air pistol grips actually have to fit inside a special 50mm box to demonstrate that they don’t violate the ISSF regulations. But, what they can do within those 50 millimeters is magic!


The Olympic .22 caliber free pistol is considered to be the finest target pistol ever made, but I find modern 10-meter air pistols to be almost as nice. The wraparound grip is not permitted on air pistols.

And now – wax on, wax off!
Now, instead of pointing your finger at the target, you grasp the pistol and align it with your eyes closed. Then open your eyes and make your fine leg and foot adjustments until the sights align with the bullseye. And, nobody better ask me what wax on, wax off means. That was a homework assignment, and I warned you I would be testing you on it.

The grip on a 10-meter pistol is so important to a shooter’s success that top competitors will often not upgrade to a new pistol (at no cost to them) unless their grips will fit.

Next time…how to raise and align the pistol, how to breathe and how long to hold on target before starting over.

18 thoughts on “10-meter pistol shooting – Part 2”

  1. The IZH-46M grip must be modified. The easiest way is to use a wood rasp (the Stanly Surform round blade works great) to remove the excess wood.

    If you remove too much, I prefer the water-based wood fillers since they dry quickly, are non-toxic, and can be shaped more easily than the plastic-based stuff when dry.

    One other trick is to remove a lot of wood, put on some vinyl (or latex) gloves (the really thin ones), and then put a blob of the filler on the grip, grasp the grip with the gloved hand to shape the filler. Remove hand (WD40 on the glove helps some) and shape the grip with a finger to fix the roughest parts. Let dry and repeat as necessary until you have a perfect grip for your hand.

    Finishing is easy — stain and use some penetrating finish (not varnish). If you just leave the stain on, you will have a sticky grip (which some people like).

  2. Things are starting to make sense now. I was wondering what the palm shelf on my Gamo Compact was all about. Thanks BB. Looking forward to the next segment.


  3. B.B.

    Love your 10 meter pistol series. Can’t wait for the next installment. Thank you.

    Since I have the Daisy 747, do you recommend using the two hand grip?
    Perhaps you can write a blog on the proper way to use the two hand pistol grip/stance.


  4. Hello B.B.,

    First of all, I want to say how much I love your blog and what a valuable resource it’s been in teaching me about airguns.

    There’s a “backpacker’s rifle” made by Crosman that I’d love to get your views on. Unfortunately, it doesn’t appear to be available in the U.S., although Canadian sources (e.g., D & L Airguns) carry it. The rifle is called the 2289g, or sometimes the “backpacker’s 2289g.” It consists of a .22 calibre pistol with a long rifle (for a pistol) that’s can be put into a black plastic stock that also fits the Crosman 1377 and the Crosman 2240. The 2289g can be pumped up to 10 times, for a maximum alleged velocity of 495 f.p.s. On a shooting board, I did read one comment by a Texan who brought it through Canadian sources, and he seems pretty happy with it. Is there any chance you can get your hands on one for a review?

    According to Crosman’s website, it doesn’t exist as a product, but I know that a fair number of this rifle get sold in Canada.

    Best regards,


  5. A dre,

    I believe this is a model that Crosman has sold in the U.S. i the past. I’m not near my resource books, so I can’t confirm that, but I think I’m right.

    At any rate, a large number of Americans are building similar guns from parts.

    I’ll see what I can do, but it’s going to be good, because all the Crosman stuff it’s based on is good.


  6. Andre,

    I don’t have an “official” backpacker, but I converted a 1377C into the equivalent of a backpacker (without the backpacker stock). I used a Crosman steel breech, a 2289 barrel and even put a backpacker pump arm on it (much nicer than the 1377 pump arm).

    It turned out to be a great gun! I don’t know why they stopped selling it in the U.S.

    .22 multi-shot

  7. B.B.

    I will have my airgunsmith do the gas ram mod to my CFX. Will he be needing any other part except the gas ram from pyramydair? Does it come with a seal?
    I did email PA but for some reason they almost never reply to my mails.


  8. B.B.

    He was worried that he might be needing extra parts that he cannot obtain easily and I have to do it for him.

    Thanks for the info.

    I will let you know what I think of the ram after I test it.

  9. BB,

    Your report was, as usual, great! and timed just right! I just got my Izh 46M delivered to my office yesterday and got the chance to shoot a little today (too much overtime at work…)!! Now you’ll get a break from my whining. So far, I love it!!! I think I’ll shoot it for quite a while before starting to work on the grips though. They’re large, but not too big for my hand. Getting used to shooting a .44 mag Desert Eagle might have something to do with it not feeling entirely too big.

    Got my Izh! Got my Izh! Gotta go!!


  10. Andre,

    I already answered this question about the Crosman 2289 pistol for someone else last week. Was that you?

    Crosman used to offer it here in the U.S. and may bring it back in the future, the way they do with other models that come and go.

    It’s questionable whether I can get one to test. But don’t let that stop from getting one. The 1377 is a wonderful pistol, and this is a close relative, so read my report on that to see what I think.


  11. BB,

    I am reading your 10-meter Air Pistol shooting articles with great interest. I see that you are not using a top level 10-meter pistol like the Steyr 10. I certainly don’t have the money to spend on that kind of gun. I like to know what your opinion is on a Hammerli Master. How accurate is this Air Pistol?


  12. Joe,

    The Hammerli Master is accurate, but it doesn’t have the features of a modern 10-meter pistol. Like the Daisy 747, it’s good enough to get started, but you should upgrade as soon as you can. The Master lacks the grip features I’ve been discussing and the sophisticated trigger and sights. And it is powered by CO2, which you wiull learn in my next report is a detriment.

    A good starter 10-meter pistol would be the IZH 46M. The Air Arms Alfa PCP might also be good, but I haven’t tested one yet.


  13. B.B.,

    I had an IZH 46M, and found it to be less accurate that my Daisy 747. Also the grip is like a 2×4 wood. I have to fit it to my hand. I didn’t think the trigger is that good. I finally sold the 46M. I even tried a couple of 46M from other club members and results are the same.


  14. Many thanks to B.B. Pelletier and .22 multishot for giving their opinions on the 2289 backpacker (or home-made versions thereof). It’s a pity when good designs get discontinued, .22 multishot. I’m glad you’re happy with your homebrew backpacker.

  15. I just got a 2289 backpacker up here in canada, it’s a real nice gun and there are a lot of mods for it,The box says it has a muzzle velocity of 525fps but because of canadian law it has bin made to shoot at 490fps,The valve has a small hole in the transfer port chamber. This allows part of the air charge to escape into the tube when the gun is dischared.You can solder the hole closed to get back up to stock power.Here is a web site that does mods for these crosman airguns….http://www.crookedbarn.com/new_page_7.htm

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