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  1. #1
    E229Lt Guest

    Post Pistol grips on nozzles.

    Anyone still using these on an attack line?
    What are the pros and cons. I, for one, removed them ASAP after only a few uses.

  2. #2
    lt phil hoffman Guest


    why did you remove them? we find them in general to be usefull.

    Lt Hoffman
    Pensacola Fire Dept.
    local 707

  3. #3
    E229Lt Guest



    I found the pistol grip was being used instead of keeping the line pinned to the nozzleman's hip. I'll try to explain:

    Assume the nozzleman is operating on the left side of the line:

    Holding the pistol grip in the right hand the right elbow needs to be bent slightly so the bale can be reached with the left hand. As the nozzle is opened, the reaction force tends to cause the right elbow to bend more and the nozzle ends up in the operators armpit. I call it, being handcuffed. Perhaps if the handle was placed forward of the bale so the operator could open and close the nozzle with a locked right arm this reaction would be reduced. Unfortunatly, if you are operating a fog tip, you would need to bend the elbow again to reach the tips pattern adjustment.

    With the nozzle in your armpit you greatly reduce control and the size of the arc you can hit without changing your stance.

    With the line,firmly held in the righthand at the operators hip, the line can be pushed out ahead of the operator, just enough so the shut-off or tip can be reached. This also greatly increases the arc that can be hit and offers better control.

    If members used this type of hold with their right hand and used the pistol grip in their left as they operate, I'm sure this nozzle design would work fine. It seems like that grip is too tempting and inviting and takes most members away from a better grip, at the hip.

    My $0.02

  4. #4
    EFDems841 Guest


    I would much rather use a pistol grip nozzle on an attack line than a "straight bore" one. There is way more control, I think with a pistol grip. I personally like having that extra gripping area just in case something happens and the line slipped. Granted it can get caught up easier, but that's a small price to pay.

    [This message has been edited by EFDems841 (edited 06-26-2001).]

  5. #5
    cfr3504 Guest


    I like the pistol grip on attack lines myself, there are several in my dept, that do not like them. Therefore on our engines, there is 1 preconnect with and one with out pistol grip. I think it gives me a little more control and something extra to hold onto. I'm not a really big guy and it seems to help me.

  6. #6
    Lewiston2Capt Guest



    I tend to hold the pistol grip further forward with the hose under my arm, between my arm and body with my elbow on my hip. This tends to give me more control over the hose. I dont have any trouble reaching the tip to adjust my stream. As far as the range of motion I havent had a problem.
    I like our pistol grips. Just a personal preference.

    Shawn M. Cecula
    Lewiston Fire Co. No. 2

  7. #7
    PA Volunteer Guest


    Sounds like most everybody is the same w/ the pistol grips. I agree, they are much easier to use and control. I'm not sure if I totally understand E229LT's scenario, but lines w/ out the pistol grip end up in my armpit more often than the lines w/ the pistol grip, just because there's really no good way to hold the knob w/ out the pistol grip. We've always had them, so maybe I'm just too used to it. I like 'em though, and they've always worked just fine.

    Stay Safe

  8. #8
    ntvilleff Guest


    We have pistol grips on our preconnects. I usually don't use them. I like to get the nozzle a couple of feet out in front of me so I can get more action with it. You are better able to whip it around when you're not holding onto a grip.

  9. #9
    KC5EWJ Guest


    As a member of a volunteer department where you may only have one person a line (except for interior attack) it is a whole lot easier to use a pistol grip nozle.

    Cory Lee
    Volunteer Firefighter
    Winn Parish Fire Dist. #3
    Jordan Hill Station

  10. #10
    FP&LS Guy Guest

    Thumbs up

    Something I had a chance to try once (and wish I could do it all the time) was to use a seperate pistol grip with a 1 foot section of hose between the grip and the nozzle. This allows you to use the grip to anchor the hose against the body using the grip and the forearm, and the other hand can grip the base of the nozzle and swing it as needed. This allows for an increased range without having to swing the hose behind you. When I was the backup man, I didn't even feel the hose moving as the person on the nozzle was moving the nozzle around. At the right pressure (100 psi), the section of hose between the grip and the nozzle doesn't kink.

    Never tried it with a smooth bore nozzle.

  11. #11
    MB1213635 Guest


    I tend not to use the pistol grip for the same reasons that E299LT stated. I like pushing the knob out a little bit further from my body than would be possible if I used the pistol grip. That is just my personal preference. The person on the knob needs to do what is most comfortable for them and allows them to operate the most effciently.

    My $0.02

  12. #12
    Dalmatian90 Guest


    Great post, E229!

    Pet peeve of mine is very, very few firefighters have ever been taught how to work with a nozzle! (Or for that matter, how to back someone up!)

    The hand nearest the nozzle isn't supposed to do much work -- point the nozzle, adjust volume & patter..

    The hand further back is the one that should take the pressure of the nozzle (which shouldn't be much if you're being properly backed up), and uses leverage hold the line.

    Assuming your right handed, set the flow & pattern and hold the nozzle with your left hand just behind the nozzle. Position your right hand about a foot back, preferably where you can help brace it with your body (so much easier to show than write about it!) Use your left to point the nob.

    If you're making an exterior knock down, don't be afraid to shove the nozzle all the way in the window/opening and whip it around, even if your left hand is 3' behind the nozzle and your right is 4'. Roles are reversed a bit -- the left hand is a pivot, the right moves around, whipping the nozzle around.

    Just remember to always keep a hand on the hose -- similiar to rope work, keep one hand in place and move the other to meet it before moving the nozzle closer or further from you.

    Your backup man should have both hands on the hose, pulling forward (absorbing the reaction) and should be pushing his body into yours. Done properly, very little of the nozzle reaction is being born by the nozzle man. In buildings, you have the added advantage of the floor and walls to take advantage of to absorb force.

    When you use a pistol grip, the firefighters tend to use it with their right hand, keeping the hose aligned with their right arm -- after all, that's how you feel the "strongest" holding it. The left then if anything ends up resting on the pattern control. Unfortunately, you've lost the force of leverage to make stream movement easy, and you can't move the line in as big of an arc, so you have to move your whole body (which means your backup is continually having to readjust, meaning your continually getting more force on you...etc)

    The one situation I like Pistol grips is if your doing a high flow/small line exterior attack from a standing position -- say 180gpm straight stream + from a 100psi combo nozzle. Then you can get your self set, open the nozzle up to full volume of 180-250gpm or whatever, and while you can't work the nozzle as easily, since your standing and probably further back from the fire (don't get up close and personal on many 250gpm exterior knockdowns!) you can still move the nozzle adequately.

    [This message has been edited by Dalmatian90 (edited 06-26-2001).]

    [This message has been edited by Dalmatian90 (edited 06-26-2001).]

  13. #13
    Halligan84 Guest


    Im with 229 on this.. a more severe problem I have seen is the line getting driven so far back the bale starts to close! Here is the problem as I see it (and why it may not be a problem for some of the other posters) The higher flow handlines have greater nozzle reaction. If you are flowing 150 gpm or so and maybe gating that back or using a wider angle fog, the pistol grip would work fine. When you flow closer to 200 gpm and use straight streams or smooth bores, the reaction force is more than you can handle with one outstretched arm for any period of time. There are plenty of methods for handling this flow (E229 offered one, I like to drop a knee across the line, which allows the back up some flexibility)that don't rely on the nozzle for control.

  14. #14
    E_man9RFD Guest


    Take 'em or leave 'em. I would like to say that I saw a video where this guy from FDNY punched out the roll pins on a 2 and a half smooth bore and called it, "The Bronx Bazooka."

    I like that set up real well. Damn handles get in the way.

    Just my opinion, of course.

    Eng. Co. 9

    "In all of us there are heroes... speak to them and they will come forth."

    "In order for us to achieve all that is demanded of us, we must regard ourselves as greater than we are."

  15. #15
    FRED Guest


    I would have to agree with 229 on this one as well. My first dept had them and it caused many bad habits. The Dept that I am with now doesn't have them. If given the choice I would rather not have them on my handline.

    Two cents from a fireman.

  16. #16
    Adze Guest


    I like the pistol grips. However, when I first started using them the nozzle would always end up hugging my hip, which happens with alot of people. It basically took someone to point it out and really make me aware of what was happening to get me to hold it out more. It basically takes more awareness of the position of the nozzle (in regards to your body) and practice to hold it away from you on a regular basis. I have no trouble keeping it away from my body, I have long arms so I keep it out as far as I can. Many times, I tend to take my hand off the grip so I can get more play out of the roughly 3ft of hose that sticks out in front of me.

  17. #17
    XXLdogg Guest

    Thumbs down

    Don't like them - and I'm glad they break or fall off.

  18. #18
    bgfdchick Guest


    I like having the pistol grip, although I don't use it primarily to hold the line. I prefer to be about 4-5 inches behind the grip to have a little more flexibility with the tip of the nozzle.

    However, I like the grip, particularly when starting the line. It keeps me from losing the line when you get that initial "kick" when you start your stream.

  19. #19
    PA Volunteer Guest


    This may be the best post yet on I've actually learned something. It has always just been accepted to use the pistol grip in our company and be done w/ it. I can see now though, after reading and understanding everyone's posts, that a line w/out a pistol grip definitely has its advantages. Next time I'll pull a line w/out the pistol grip (I think there's one) or I'll just ignore it. Great Post E229lt!

    Stay Safe

  20. #20
    ddvfd Guest

    Thumbs up

    I have been an active member for alittle over 2 years now, and from being on nozzle most of the time, i find that a pistol grip is alot easier to manuever and handle, the straight nozzles take more control, whereas the pistol grip is great to hold on to and to use
    just my thoughts

  21. #21
    ARFF2/66 Guest


    We have had pistol grip nozzles for about 8 years and have not had any problems with handling them. I personally like them better than the typical nozzle. When I started 9 years ago we had Santa Rosa nozzles and it seemed like it beat you to death. But when we train we make sure our people understand how to effectivley use the nozzle. Good Post, very interesting input by all.

    Stay safe.

  22. #22
    lt phil hoffman Guest



    ok i agree with what your saying, if your alone on the hose line. but if your working with a hose team and your partner is helping like he should, the pistol grip allows more control of the nozzel by the nozzel man.

    Lt Hoffman
    Pensacola Fire Dept.
    local 707

  23. #23
    mamaluke Guest


    Range of motion and nozzle tip maneuverability is key, and I think that is best achieved without the pistol grip.

  24. #24
    BLACKSHEEP-1 Guest


    Oh sure, after the carnage in "is this stream effective" someone just had to bring up pistol grips. It has been my experience (here we go again) that if your king kong ,pistol grips work ok. But that handle just begs to be used, and when you have your 100lb firefighter with limited upper body strength try to use it, it just doesn't work out. My engine uses a couple of the "bronx bazookas" and they work out well. Since they don't have any handles they work well in hallways, and they practically force the nozzle person to use correct nozzle discipline. I've seen 2-1/2 nozzles with pistol grips and I'll be honest I never could understand why they were there except to drive up the bid price. All of our 1-1/2 nozzles use pistol grips because I got tired of arguing, but I still see that bale sneeking back under the armpit on a lot of guys. There it is, my opinion, go ahead, start butchering it!!!!
    OK, here's a pistol grip war story. My attack crew (you know, the one guy in the back seat) and I were in a house fire going down the hall, it was real smokey and you couldn't see a thing. Well the line got hung up somewhere back in the living room. About this time one of my rescue guys unscrewed the line so the guy on the nozzle, who wasn't exactly ON the nozzle could pull the hose forward and towards me. I was a little ahead of the nozzle trying to see if someone was in the next room. Well anyway, this friggen pistol grip goes between me and my low pressure hose (unknown to me), and when he, me, or us, made our next move, it took my mask right off. Boy that bit the big burrito. Thank God for smoke diver's school! I can laugh about it now, but I was swearing about it then!

    [This message has been edited by BLACKSHEEP-1 (edited 06-27-2001).]

  25. #25
    Truck36CAPT Guest


    I've never been a pistol grip fan. I'm one of those guys who prefers the nozzle out front and the pistol grip interferes with that. Of course I'm not exactly on the nozzle much anymore (bad thing about being a captain) and since we have two preconnects with and one without I let the nozzleman have his pick.

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