Jerry Miculek is a fine rifleman, a wizard with a shotgun and adept with any type of handgun. His skill with a revolver is legendary. Simply stated, he’s the best revolver shooter in the world, arguably the best who has ever lived. And he’s generous about sharing his knowledge.
“Let’s have a look at your grip.” I uncased my old S&W 19 and holding it around the frame with my left hand began seating it in the web of my right hand.“Ah, a bullseye shooter,” smiled Jerry. “That’s a fine grip for a single action auto, or for a cocked revolver where the trigger hardly moves. It’s not so good for really fast double action shooting with a trigger movement of half an inch. With your bullseye grip the trigger finger has to be fully extended to reach the trigger, and you’re putting some pressure on the side of the trigger. During a fast double action string you’ll likely be pushing your shots to the left.” Ah so.
“Shift the hand more to the right side of the gun (for a right-handed shooter, duh). Extend the trigger finger through the guard so the finger touches the trigger between the first joint and the knuckle. You won’t shoot like that, but it gets the hand in the correct position.” This may be one of those “secrets” we hear about.
“Move the trigger finger back so the pad of the finger, halfway between the tip and the first joint, is on the trigger. For best leverage it should be low on the trigger, certainly no higher than midway. The base of the finger is well away from the frame, and there’s about a 90-degree angle at the knuckle. Now you can press and release the trigger straight back and forth, along the axis of the gun, without putting on side pressure.”
Jerry also has another way of teaching the proper revolver grip.
“Stand with your heels against a wall and pick out a target squarely in front. Hold the revolver around the frame with the left (weak) hand and align the sights on target. Now just bring the right hand up and grip the gun without disturbing the sight alignment and you should have the correct grip.”
“The biggest obstacle for ladies is bad advice from husbands or boyfriends,” laughed Jerry. “About the worst advice women get is to put small grips on their handguns. Actually most women need grips about the same size as men. Small grips just cause problems. I became aware of this when I tried one of Kay’s 1911 match pistols (Kay Clark Miculek, four-time USPSA women’s national champion, two-time IPSC world champion). I have a fairly large hand but my fingers aren’t extra long. I like a short trigger on a 1911 so I can get the trigger finger squarely across the trigger face.”
“Kay uses a long trigger on her 1911s. This didn’t make sense to me. Then one time I was holding a pop can and happened to notice how far my trigger finger reached. I asked Kay to hold the pop can so the web of her hand was where mine had been. I was surprised to find her trigger finger reached further around the can than mine. It seems my hands are not only bigger than Kay’s, they’re thicker. When I wrap my hand around a handgun grip the trigger reach (from web of hand to tip of trigger finger) is actually less.”
My wife Simone was with us, so we tried the pop-can trick. Darned if Jerry wasn’t right. Her trigger reach (pop can reach?) was within a quarter-inch of mine. Miculek then showed her how to hold the S&W. Jerry tried to move the revolver muzzle around and seemed surprised when it hardly moved. “I’ve tried this with some big tough special forces guys and I can move the gun muzzle around like it was a wet noodle. How did you develop such strong wrists,” asked Jerry?
“Twenty-five years of farming and gardening,” she grinned. Still, I doubt the military is going to start looking to retired farmers and gardeners for recruits.
Henry Mucci and the Rangers – from The American Exprience
Mucci was so charismatic you couldn’t believe it… If you ever had to go to war, that’s the kind of man you wanted to go with.” — Alvie Robbins, PFC.
We all would have died for him, he was the very best.” — Vance Shera, Sergeant.
We knew he was selling us the blue sky, but we would have followed him anywhere.” — Robert Prince,<;C Company Captain
General Walter Krueger and his top G-2 man, Horton White, were the ones to choose Mucci. As Krueger and White considered the raid, they knew they would need an elite fighting force. Hampton Sides, author of Ghost Soldiers, writes: “[They] would need a group of men trained in stealth techniques and the tactics of lightning assault.
The expeditioners must be in exceptional physical condition, as they would have to walk some 30 miles on foot in each direction, marching around the clock. They would have to be versatile, self-reliant, and extremely proficient with light arms, as the odds were better than good that they would encounter major enemy resistance along the trek.”
Mucci had just such an outfit. In fact he had trained them: the 6th Ranger Battalion. Mucci was a man of vision. It was he who took the unit of Army mule skinners and turned them into the elite jungle fighting force known as the Army Rangers. For one year, in the mountains of New Guinea, Mucci trained his team, one of the first American special operations fighting forces.
Mule Skinners Become Rangers
The men Mucci had started with were for the most part boys from the farms and ranches of middle America — big, strong men. Known as “mule skinners,” they had been recruited to train in the mountains of New Guinea with heavy artillery carried on the backs of pack animals. By 1944, the Army considered the mule skinners obsolete, and General Krueger was looking to train a new special unit. Mucci was his man.
Testing Physical Limits
Ranger training under Mucci bordered on inhuman. A boxer, judo-expert, athlete, and former West Pointer, Mucci believed in training his men to the absolute limits of their physical capacities. He personally taught them all aspects of fighting: hand to hand combat, knifing, bayoneting and marksmanship. He led them on torturous exercises across the tropical New Guinea jungles, through treacherous rivers, and up mountainsides in the ferocious heat. Jungle combat, night combat, amphibious combat; Mucci taught and reveled in it all.
John Richardson, 6th Army Ranger, recalled: “I thought he was going to kill us. He called us rats, he called us everything but a child of God. And he told us, “I’m going to make you so d—– mean, you will kill your own grandmother…. I wondered why he was putting us through so much, but before it was over, there was no question about it, I knew why. And once he got us trained and picked out, he loved us to death. And there wasn’t anything too good for us…. He knew what he was doing when he was training us.”
Slave Driver — With a Purpose
Bob Anderson, 6th Army Ranger remembered, “He worked us so hard that sometimes I’d think I hate that man and I’d double-time back to my camp and say, ‘You can’t kill me, I can do more. You can’t give me enough, I can do more than you can give me.’ So he had us in shape and once he got us trained he was the nicest man you ever saw. But he knew how to train men.” No doubt, Mucci got his men in peak physical condition. They were ready for the raid. They were ready for anything.
Sometimes the fit is perfect. Mucci was the right man to train and lead the Rangers. He had all the qualities of a superb military leader: he knew men, he had vision, and he was decisive. Robert Prince said, “He made a Ranger battalion out of a bunch of mule skinners, and he inspired us and trained us — and any success we had belongs to Colonel Mucci.”
The rest is history. Mucci’s actions and decisions on the raid were flawless. General Douglas MacArthur awarded Mucci the Distinguished Service Cross and said that the raid was ” magnificent and reflected extraordinary credit to all concerned.” The military promoted Mucci to full colonel.
Upon his return home, Mucci was treated as a national hero in his home town of Bridgeport, Connecticut. He unsuccessfully ran for Congress and later became an oil representative for a Canadian firm in Bangkok. An athlete till the end, he died at 86 in Florida from injuries related to swimming in rough surf.