I have heard things from pistol grips are junk, they instill bad habits, they are the devil, pistol grips are for firearms only. But in all honesty are they really that bad?
I say no, there not bad. To be honest with you I like them on my nozzles, yet I dont even use them unless its for a defensive operation.
So why all the negativity towards pistol grips?
The above video is a great example of what we should be doing with our nozzles, and he also covers why we shouldn’t use pistol grips to handle our lines. But I didn’t hear him say take off the pistol grip.
I believe the problem can be traced back to training.
In talking with other firefighters about why they like pistol grips, they reply that it makes it easier to move the line. What’s that tell you?
It tells me that they have not been shown the other ways to handle hose (aka without pistol grips). That’s why we as instructors and officers need to hit the drill grounds and work on that.
I don’t hate pistol grips at all. In fact I like having them on the nozzle. When you need to do some defensive work you can use that pistol grip to your advantage. We had a fire one night and we had to go defensive I was able to use a tree near my position and I placed the nozzle where the pistol grip was against the tree. That tree was a great brace and I was able to pivot the nozzle around and use it like a monitor. It took no energy at all. The way the fire ground was we needed to have the nozzle up at waist height. If we kneeled on it to brace the line we would have over shot the fire.
That’s one of the situations where pistol grips are our friend.
The simple answer would be taking them off, cut them off etc. But is the easy answer always the best answer. No its not.
So what kind of drills can we do that will help us overcome the pistol grip?
The first thing to do is charge your line and hold it out in front of you. Get used to the feel of using a hose without having that pistol grip in your hand. Once you got that work on moving your lines without using the pistol grip.
Check out the nozzle forward group. They can give you all kinds of ideas for handling your hoses.
In closing pistol grips are an extra tool they are not a fix all, nor do they need to be used as much as they are, but they do come in handy.
Does your department use pistol grips? What are your thoughts about them? Feel free to leave your comments.