How does the Gas Pedal® grip work for pistols?

The Gas Pedal® grip is more than just a part, it enables the shooter to use the “opposable grip” method which is easier to learn and can yield results superior to traditional shooting grips.

The Problem: How to control pistol recoil, and shoot faster, easier and more reliably
The Solution: The Gas Pedal® Opposable Grip

If you are a shooter and don’t use our Gas Pedal® grip you could be going faster with more reliability. PLEASE do not confuse the real Gas Pedal ® grip with other products that have tried to emulate the concept and called it a Thumb Rest. Others will rest your thumb but do not have the following enhanced shooting benefits.

How and why does it work, and why is it better than other similar products?

Although the Gas Pedal® grip is generically but improperly put in the broad category of “thumb rests”, it DOES NOT REST the thumb, it uses the thumb AND grip muscles of the hand while simultaneously REDUCING the amount of force required to counteract flip, recoil and yaw.

Ours does NOT rest your thumb but rather USES it as the biggest set of muscles in the Hand to enhance and stabilize grip. If you are “resting” your thumb you are losing at least 70% of your hand’s strength. If you shoot in the classic “thumb forward” or wrist cocked or cammed forward (Ulnar deviation) you are losing even more strength in your wrist. By efficiently using all grip muscles, muscle tension in dominant and non dominant hand is dramatically reduced while simultaneously increasing actual grip power.

Because of it’s unique design and trade Dress Monolithic wing, it enables the shooter virtual 4 axis (flip, windage, impulse and twist)  control with the natural griping action of the off hand.

Here is the secret. When using the non dominant hand in an efficient way, one can get a very solid grip every time with minimal effort. (No more “death grips” needed) This allows the dominant hand to be very loose and significantly enhances trigger control. Precise trigger control is an absolute must for superior shooting and the Gas Pedal® method makes it much easier to obtain.

What is the Gas Pedal® Method (AKA the opposable grip)?

The Gas Pedal® Method is a grip method that to our knowledge can only be obtained with a Gas Pedal ® grip. Almost all control of the pistol is done with the non dominant hand and only small corrections are necessary with the dominant (trigger finger) hand. The Gas Pedal® method puts the non dominant hand much higher and much closer to the bore axis than traditional methods. Also the wrist is automatically placed in “true neutral” rather than cammed forward.

It’s actually simpler than it sounds, just put your thumb on the Gas Pedal ® grip and squeeze with the whole hand. For the detail inclined, the method can be learned easily by initially using a natural grip and paying attention to the 3 areas of pressure contact.

It is our belief that early rule makers of USPSA were strongly influenced by the notion that “thumb rests” were potentially SO effective they were banned from all forms or competition except in Open Division.

The three pressure areas are:

  1. The large pad of the thumb where the majority of pressure is perceived, and which is the pri-mary point of opposition strength. A minority of the thumb pressure is perceived on Wing side of the thumb (anatomically lateral or radial side of thumb). In practice this minority pressure aware-ness does not need conscious thought as the trade dress Wing will automatically make you compensate with correct amount of pressure.
  2. The index finger nearest the trigger guard (usually between first and second knuckle, anatomically between the MCP and PIP joints). Some shooter will wrap the index finger around the trigger guard and this works also. This is the second part of the opposable grip
  3. The opposing grip area pressure is also felt the in distal or end parts of the third, fourth, and fifth fingers and completes the opposable grip.

This sounds complicated in writing but is actually a very simple natural squeezing grip.
A very key part of this is that this uses a “true neutral” position of the wrist which enhances natural strength greatly.

How does it aid trigger control?

Trigger control is significantly enhanced when the dominant hand is in a relaxed rather than tense mode. Fine motor control of index trigger finger is simply not possible with a strong dominant hand grip. The Gas Pedal ® grip allows a very loose and relaxed dominant hand and trigger finger.
How does does the Gas Pedal ® grip differ from generic “Thumb Rests”?

Generic Thumb rests are basically just that, they rest the thumb, and do not use the opposable grip strength in the hand. In the classic shooting method the non dominant thumb is not used. In the past, expert shooters went to great practice lengths to keep that non dominant thumb from influencing the frame and shot alignment. However many folks are physiologically wired to search for something to do with that thumb so the idea of a “Thumb Rest” as a place to put the thumb was used. The placement of most manufacturers thumb rests the thumb in a position not totally helpful in obtaining grip. The Gas Pedal ® method uses the thumb.

Does the Gas Pedal® cause “steering” error?

NO! Other “Thumb Rests” can cause steering error (side to side sight movement, yaw or wind-age) because they inherently encourage uneven side to side pressure. But the Gas Pedal has a trade dress Monolithic wing that automatically compensates for that. In addition the trade dress texture of the Pedal itself encourages the thumb to automatically seek the perfect position and stay there. The opposition pressure of the fingers compensates for windage error without thought.

Can I rest my thumb on the Gas Pedal ® grip or do I push on it?

You can if you wish rest, or push on the Gas Pedal ® grip BUT that does not yield optimal results. The best results are obtained with a natural grip using the opposable thumb strength. Its easy to learn the Gas Pedal ® grip as you simply squeeze your hand. Advanced shooters in A class and above will subconsciously learn that a split second before ignition a little extra squeezing pressure will reduce dot movement even more. Pushing on the thumb without squeezing the rest of hand is a misconception that does not yield optimal results.

Are you an Ulnar Deviant? To Cam or not to Cam?

Most shooters today are using an inefficient and difficult to learn wrist and thumb position for their non dominant hand. This results in difficulty controlling recoil. The classic and most widely technique teaches the shooter hold the 1911 style pistol with their wrist “cammed or cocked” forward (ulnar deviation is the medical term of art) and their thumb either not involved or “resting” (some have called this the floating thumb method). This theory was based on the idea cocking the wrist forward gave the muscles “pre load” in the opposite direction of recoil.

However it is extremely well known by physicians and physical therapists that this ulnar deviation position weakens the wrist and hand grip. Doctors use great care when setting broken hand or wrist bones to achieve the “anatomic position” with the wrist in true neutral position. The reason is the hand functions much better and is stronger in true neutral position. Why would a shooter intentionally put their wrist in a non anatomic and weakened position? The answer is based on complicated history but it is not based on optimal anatomic function.

The Gas Pedal® grip is the only device of its kind to place the wrist in it’s proper position automatically AND make a perfect grip every time.

Does the Gas Pedal require a particular stance or arm position?

No, this is one of the real beauties of the Gas Pedal ® Method. You can shoot it with any foot stance or any arm or torso position. Other methods encourage a particular stance or arm position. With the Gas Pedal ® grip, ANY position works well because recoil is tamed significantly AND the natural “true neutral” position of the wrist allows any arm position from extended to close to the shooters face.

This flexibility of shooters position enables quick acquisitions in awkward shooting scenarios, such as tight ports with wide arc of fire.

How do I mount it?

Mounting in the proper position is a very critical part of the Gas Pedal Method. Mounting should be done by an experienced Gun Smith. For maximum benefit, the Pedal needs to be behind the axis of the slide stop and ideally almost as far back as slide stop release pad.

Two screws drilled and tapped independent of the scope mount are sufficient to hold the Gas Pedal. If you only want to “try it out” without drilling the scope mount, you may use the same holes as your scope mount but you may need to re zero after attachment. Scope Zero is not a problem with the two independent screws.

Do I have to remove it for cleaning?

Yes, for Doc’s  Original but no for the Racer Cut Model. To remove Doc’s original it is VERY simple procedure taking less than 30 seconds. We recommend two dedicated drill and tap holes for the Gas Pedal, independent of the scope mount. The holes are customarily drilled and taped right thru the scope mount, so the Gas Pedal may be very easily removed for field stripping without losing scope zero. Loctite is not required.

Forget about removal with the Racer Cut model. Once mounted it can stay on as long as you like.

In order to get the maximum  benefits described above, you should mount the Plane of the Pedal behind the axis of the slide stop. It’s a matter of Physics, anatomy and John Brown’s 1911 design. However any position will give some benefit.

I tried a thumb rest once and the dot seemed to dip or move sideways, Does the Gas Pedal do that too?

No, The Gas Pedal Method itself does not cause that. However those that are used to the traditional methods of grip, will usually use too much lateral force with the first couple of mags they fire with a Gas Pedal grip. Or with traditional thumb rests that are mounted forward, the shooter will still be using the old set of muscle reflexes which causes overcompensation and can yield dot “dip”, “bounce” or side to side movement. After a few mags or sometimes a second practice session with Gas Pedal , it becomes MUCH easier to control the gun and the dot moves much less. The Gas Pedal® method of shooting is far easier to learn than the traditional method, but those who have the old style committed to muscle memory may take a few mags or even a session or two to unlearn the unneeded, counterproductive muscle tension of the old style.

Does it make my draw faster or better?

Yes, for most of us. For those gifted shooters at the absolute edge of human performance it wont make you faster, but for 99+% of the rest of us, it makes your draw faster and much easier by making a perfect grip every time. Instead of trying to get your non dominant hand in perfect position, all you have to do is index (your non dominant thumb) on the HUGE Pedal and the rest of the perfect grip comes every time without further effort. No more long frequent practice sessions to get a perfect consistent grip.

Are there any particular advantages of the Gas Pedal ® method in tactical situations?

The Gas Pedal ® competition grip is designed for Open class USPSA competition. It is not primarily a tactical device however, the traditional cam forward technique puts a lot of restrictions on shooting style. For example, whether you choose Weaver, Isosceles, balanced or any other stance you almost HAVE to master one of those stance techniques to shoot well. Also the traditional grip requires a fair amount of arm extension otherwise you simply can not cam the wrist forward.

The Gas Pedal® method allows you to shoot from ANY position of feet and ANY position of arms. Further it allows arc of fire to be generated with short axis wrist movements instead of long axis arm and torso movements. This is a huge advantage in action sports or close quarters combat. In tactical situations it allows the pistol to be shot very close to the face lessening the chance of being disarmed.

How is it made?

The GoGun® Gas Pedal® grip is made using precision CNC machines with aircraft quality Billet aluminum. Like all GoGun® Parts it is battle tough and guaranteed for life. Although not recommended, because the part is so strong many have custom milled off portions for their own reasons and still maintain structural rigidity. It is 100% conceived, developed, designed, trademarked,patented, and manufactured in the USA.
Physics, Anatomical Principles, and some numbers

Although somewhat simplified, here is the bottom line:

  • Traditional cam forward position: Maximum potential human force around 30 lbs counteracting higher gun torque because of longer radius.
  • Gas Pedal® Method (aka opposable grip): Maximum human force about 100 lbs counteracting lower gun torque be-cause of shorter radius.

In a nutshell, with pistols, recoil consists of two  main components and two smaller components.The man components are a straight back impulse sometimes referred to recoil only, and flip which a rotational force (angular momentum) created by transient torque. Although the Gas Pedal grip also helps to manage straight impulse recoil, the real culprit in pistol shooting is managing flip.  The two minor components, Windage and Twist are automatically controlled by the trade dress Monolithic Wing.

THE ONLY way to counteract rotational  flip is with an equal and opposite torque. (To be absolutely scientifically accurate these forces change in very short periods of time and are said to be complex functions of time. However one need not know the intricacies of this to understand the principle)
How you get this opposing torque is what causes all the confusion.

To simplify a complex topic torque is the arithmetic multiplied combinations of forces times distance from the rotation point. (Force times radius).

Torque = Force x radius

When forces are not exactly perpendicular other factors become involved like trigonometric functions of angle (but again, it is not necessary to know the details to get an understanding)

The traditional way to counteract torque with pistols involves two concepts. First the dominant hand is placed as high on the pistol as possible which reduces the radius component from the dominant hand but paradoxically INCREASES it with the non dominant hand. Second a counter acting torque is applied by combination of compressing the grip with opposite forces from both hands. This with friction creates a counter torque but unfortunately it has a high radius and is anatomically inefficient. Thus the shooter has to use a LOT of effort and practice a lot to achieve a satisfactory counter torque.

With the Gas Pedal Method, still a counter torque is applied but in a much more efficient manner. First counter torque effort is drastically reduced because the radius is dramatically reduced. Second instead of using highly inefficient bilateral compression, the much stronger hand grasping or pincher muscles of the hand and thumb are utilized which are anatomically much more efficient.

For the anatomically technically inclined, this is capsule summary.

In traditional Cam forward position, recoil flip is managed principally by the “Flexor Carpi Ulnaris Tendon” (a very small muscle of forearm attached to the wrist via a small tendon not designed or accustomed to high repetitive forces and susceptible to chronic repetitive stress injuries). A secondary anti torqueing force is applied by combined shoulder forearm and wrist compression (combined adduction), which thru friction produces the anti torque.

The Cam forward or “ulnar deviation” position is well known to physicians to extremely inefficient, lacking and power and susceptible to repetitive stress injury, which is why great care is taken when repairing wrist fractures to avoid putting the wrist in this position.

With the Gas Pedal ® opposable grip, the much stronger muscles of the hand including the large thumb muscles and pincher grasp are utilized. Not only is this much more efficient, it mostly eliminates the need for muscle tension in the arms and shoulders allowing for a variety of shooting styles.

Here are some VERY approximate numbers to give you an idea based on 100% effort of a moderately strong male in non dominant hand.

  • Hand grasp in true neutral with out cam forward position, about 100 lbs
  • Hand grasp in cam forward (ulnar deviation), about 30 lbs
  • Hand grasp in cam forward (ulnar deviation) without use of thumb, about 15 to 20 pounds.
  • Maximum adduction of combined arms, wrists and hand in cam forward position about 30 lbs.
  • Although somewhat simplified, here is the bottom line.

Traditional cam forward position: Maximum potential human force around 30 lbs counteracting higher gun torque because of longer radius. Due to poor efficiency a major portion of the 30 lb potential is required (read high perceived effort).

Gas Pedal Method: Maximum human force about 100 lbs counteracting lower gun torque be-cause of shorter radius. But due to increased efficiency only a small fraction of potential force is used (read low perceived effort)