Vertical foregrips are an accessory grip for rifles, providing additional leverage at the front of the rifle for recoil control. Vertical foregrips are versatile and come in countless sizes and configurations. From the old SOPMOD broomstick to the modern stubby, vertical grips are as diverse as they are practical, but the principle is always the same: reduce recoil by improving the shooter’s rearward leverage. You can brace a vertical foregrip against a surface or barricade to reduce recoil. While it will not be as precise as a bipod, bracing your rifle against cover can make a big difference, stabilizing your crosshairs on target for repeated accurate shots.
When a shooter grips a bare handguard, they use the friction between their hand and the handguard to pull the rifle into their shoulder. By adding a foregrip perpendicular to the bore, the shooter can apply direct pressure and stabilize the rifle with greater efficiency. The result is a reduced perceived recoil and a faster return-to-target, but early foregrip technique had a few problems.
When the SOPMOD program added a full-size vertical foregrip to the M4A1, many soldiers clutched the grip with a balled fist. This technique can feel comfortable at first, but it instills some glaring problems for precision shooting. First, it pushes the support hand further from the muzzle, making it harder for shooters to recover from recoil when firing unsupported. Second, the shooter’s wrist is more susceptible to torque, so the subtle side-to-side recoil intensifies. Last, it required larger, heavier grips to provide real-estate for an entire hand.
After some experimentation, many soldiers gravitated towards thumb-break technique, which sets four fingers on the grip and the thumb against the handguard. This is a significant improvement over the full-fist grip and improves muzzle control, but current practice has gone one step further. A split grip, angled between the grip and handguard, provides the most leverage for the marksmen, applying both vertical and horizontal stability.