Camera Pistol Grips: Top Three & How To Use

by | Camera Gear

If you’re in the market for a new camera grip, you may have come across a variety of camera handle called a pistol grip.

With a name like “pistol grip,” it’s understandable that you might be both intrigued and confused.

Well, in this article we’ll help you better understand what pistol grips are and how to use them.

A camera pistol grip is an ergonomic handle which attaches to the bottom of your camera. Once attached, a pistol grip allows you to hold a camera like a gun. Some pistol grips include shutter release mechanisms that can be triggered using a “trigger” on the grip.

Now that you have a general idea of what a pistol grip is, let us take a look at when and how to use them.

Are Pistol Grips Useful?

Since the invention of more high-tech camera stabilization technology like gimbals, pistol grips have fallen somewhat out of fashion.

However, considering that pistol grips cost only a fraction of what most gimbals cost, they are actually still a great tool for achieving a steady camera on the cheap.

What Types Of Cameras Can You Use With Pistol Grips?

Action Cameras

Due to their small size, most action cameras like Go Pros are only really useable when attached to something larger.

Often, this is something like a helmet or a bike, but what if you just want to use your action camera like a regular camera?

This is where pistol grips come in handy.

Pistol grips allow you to easily hold and shoot with your action camera in a comfortable way.


Pistol grips are a solid option for shooting with DSLRs.

While an action camera can really benefit from the added bulk and ergonomic design that a pistol grip offers, DSLRs don’t really have this issue.

Most DSLR cameras are already large enough to hold comfortably and include very ergonomic designs for easy shooting.

Because of this, pistol grips are best used with DSLRs only when necessary — primarily when a smile, affordable way to better stabilize your camera is necessary.

Types Of Pistol Grips


These days, there is quite a range of pistol grips or pistol grip-style grips available.

Many are very simple, simply offering a more ergonomic way to hold and steady your camera.

Even among these simple pistol grips, there is a range of options, with some models offering improved ergonomic designs and rubberized grips.

Pistol Grips With Shutter Release

Those looking to take things up a notch may be interested in pistol grips with shutter release mechanisms.

Some higher-end pistol grips include a shutter release mechanism that allows you to take photos or video using a trigger which is built into the pistol grip.

Pistol grips with shutter release buttons greatly improve the experience of shooting with a pistol grip as they make taking a photo as simple as shooting a water pistol.

There are two main ways that pistol grips with shutter release mechanisms connect with your camera.

Some of the cheaper models will include a quarter-inch plug which you can attach to your camera using a shutter release cable.

More expensive models will connect to your camera using Bluetooth.

Pistol Grips Tripods

Some models of pistol grip use a handle that can be converted into a tripod.

This variety of pistol grip typically has a handle which will fold out into three legs.

These three legs make it possible to quickly set your camera up on a table or ledge for quick, stable shooting.

This option makes your pistol grip into a versatile tool that’s great for run-and-gun shooting as well as stationary shooting.

Pistol Grips For Lenses

Some very long lenses include threading in order for a handle to be installed.

This means that a pistol grip can be installed into some long telephoto lenses — making them much easier to shoot with.

Hypothetically, any pistol grip with a 1/4 inch bolt could be installed into one of these lenses, but some pistol grips are better suited for lenses than others.

Pistol Grip Tripod Heads

Some tripod heads include a pistol grip built-in.

These are used to better operate and swivel the tripod head during use.

These can be a great upgrade from the standard rod most tripods use for operation.

Installing A Pistol Grip (With & Without Shutter Release)

Installing a pistol grip is usually just as simple as attaching your camera to a tripod.

Most pistol grips are built with a standard 1/4″ or 3/8″ screw socket, making it very easy to attach and detach.

The standard 1/4″ and 3/8″ screw socket designs mean that pistol grips are widely universal.

To install a pistol grip, simply screw the standard 1/4″ or 3/8″ screw socket into the threaded hole on the bottom of your camera.

Make sure that your camera is securely attached to the pistol grip before shooting.

NOTE: This method of installation applies to the majority of pistol grips. Some pistol grips may be uniquely designed for use with specific cameras.

Using A Pistol Grip For Photography

Pistol grips are not generally as useful for photography as they are for shooting video.

For those looking to take photos with their pistol grips, a shutter release mechanism will be crucial.

Without a shutter release mechanism, you would be forced to operate your camera’s shutter button using your free hand, somewhat defeating the purpose of a pistol grip.

For those with shutter release mechanisms, you may find your pistol grip useful when shooting action shots in burst mode, or shots with slightly longer exposures.

The extra steadiness a pistol grip offers will help to reduce shake when photographing, making these types of photography easier to execute.

That said, pistol grips are probably most useful for stabilizing video.

Using A Pistol Grip For Video

Shooting video with a pistol grip is fairly straightforward and intuitive.

Even without a shutter release mechanism, pistol grips can still be very useful for shooting video.

Simply begin recording and then hold your camera up in front of you — you will likely find that the ergonomic nature of the pistol grip will aid in stabilizing your footage.

TIP: Holding your camera closer in towards your body will often result in smoother, less shaky video footage.

Top Three Pistol Grips For DSLRs and Action Cameras

1. Best Basic Pistol Grip: Fantaseal Pistol Grip

There are a number of cheap pistol grips out there, but for the price, the Fantaseal Pistol Grip has a few extra features which put it above the rest.

This grip includes a very comfortable, ergonomic design with a leather-style textured handle.

This grip always features an attachment for a wrist strap — something that is especially important when shooting with a DSLR.

However, the most attractive part of this pistol grip is its price. While some fancy pistol grips or other methods of stabilization like gimbals will set you back hundreds of dollars, this model will be easy on your bank account.

Pros: Very affordable, ergonomic design, textured grip, wrist strap.

Cons: No shutter release mechanism, made of plastic.

Best for: Casual YouTubers, people on a budget.

Click here to check out the Fantaseal Pistol Grip on Amazon

2. Best Pistol Grip With A Shutter Release and Tripod: Newmowa Mini Shooting Grip

The Newmowa Mini Shooting Grip is an ideal step up from a basic pistol grip at a very affordable price.

This grip offers some cool features like shutter release mechanism, shooting controls, and a tripod handle.

Unfortunately, this pistol grip doesn’t feature an ergonomic design or textured handle, but that is to be expected with a tripod-style handle.

Pros: Shutter release, affordable, cool features.

Cons: Not very ergonomic, made of plastic.

Best for: Casual YouTubers, people on a budget.

Click here to check out the Newmowa Mini Shooting Grip on Amazon

3. Best High-Tech Pistol Grip: Sony Wireless Bluetooth Shooting Grip

The Sony Wireless Bluetooth Shooting Grip is about as close as you can get to a gimbal without buying a gimbal.

This grip has some really interesting features like wireless Bluetooth control and a tripod handle.

The top of the grip also swivels and bends, making it great for switching between “selfie mode” for vlogging and regular mode.

Pros: Shutter release, affordable, cool features.

Cons: Not very ergonomic, made of plastic.

Best for: Serious YouTubers, Vloggers

Click here to check out the Sony Wireless Bluetooth Shooting Grip on Amazon

New To Gimbals?

With so much to learn, mastering your new gimbal can be hard. Get started with our in-depth beginner guide to gimbal filmmaking.