So, you’ve got a fancy gaming mouse, and you’re looking to play a few rounds. There’s nothing like the smell of napalm and Cheetos in the morning.
The problem is though, how exactly do you use this grip your mouse properly?
Palm grip? Claw grip? Fingertip? They look a lot alike, but in their usage lie crucial differences in technique and application.
How do the pros do it? How should you do it?
Let’s take a closer look, and get a grip on these three gaming techniques.
Palm vs Claw Grip vs Fingertip: The Main Differences
|Palm Grip||Claw Grip||Fingertip|
|Entire hand rests on mouse||Palm on mouse, fingers curled||Fingertips only, no palm contact|
|More control||More dexterity||Most dexterity, least control|
|Great with scroll wheels||Better for rapid clicks||Better for speed and precision|
|More arm and elbow control||More wrist control||More finger control|
|Great for tracking||Great for flicking||Great for rapid movement|
|Aim with arm||Aim with wrist||Aim with fingers and wrist|
|Better for lower DPI||Better for higher DPI||Better for higher DPI|
Palm grip and fingertip grip are on opposite sides of the spectrum, with claw grip being a compromise of the two.
Palm gives your hand total control over the mouse. The total surface area of the mouse is covered by your hand, and pressure from your palm and fingers secure the mouse.
On the other side of the coin, Fingertip grip uses only your fingers for mouse control, paired with slight wrist aiming and flicking techniques. Fingertip grip makes it easier to move and aim with higher sensitivity, and is common for larger hands.
In between the palm and fingertip, claw grip trades a little bit of control for greater dexterity. Claw also tends to makes it easier and more comfortable to use your wrist for flicking movements.
Which one you choose depend which game you play and how you play it, and many players even switch between them or even use a hybrid grip.
Is Palm, Claw, or Fingertip Better For FPS Games?
Whether palm or claw is better depends on your playstyle.
Palm grippers typically move their entire arm more, and claw grippers tend to use more wrist movements. Fingertippers will use only mostly their fingers, with slight wrist movement when necessary.
Depending on your weapon choice or role in the game, as well as the shape of your mouse, you may find one grip suits you better than another.
It is not uncommon for gamers to use multiple grips for multiple characters.
Palm is for Larger Movements
Gamers who value ergonomic longevity and comfort but who also desire control over the mouse should choose palm grip.
This includes snipers (AWP) and scouts in games like CSGO.
Palm grip usually feels more comfortable with elbow and shoulder movement, which is great for larger motions and will be better for sniping and tracking.
For this reason, many palm grippers will choose a lower DPI but much higher sensitivity.
Your arm and shoulder could still feel strained or fatigued from repetitive movements if you aren’t used to palm grip, and many may choose to instead use a higher DPI and sensitivity with more wrist movement.
While you will certainly have more control of the mouse itself, you may miss out on precision due to having less dexterity for smaller movements.
Palm is often thought of as the “casual” choice, being less appropriate for fast paced games with intense competition, but pro players like Pine prove palm grip has a place in games.
Claw Grip is for Faster Precision
If you need a mouse to be able to perform fast flicking movements and rapid clicks, then you should probably consider using claw grip instead.
Claw grip is a hybrid itself of finger and palm grip, and gives you the best of both worlds.
Your palm gives you added control while your fingers are not only flexed and “spring loaded”, but the slightly different position makes wrist movements much more natural.
CSGO Riflemen/AWPs who value rapid fire and faster precise movements are commonly claw grippers.
While palm might be better for longevity and comfort for slower paced players, claw grip is inherently better if you need a little more dexterity and adjustment, and like to aim with your wrist at a higher DPI than palm grippers.
Claw grip requires more control from your fingers and wrist, which might be more practical for gaming but much more harmful for your joints.
Fingertip is for speed and precision aiming
If you have a larger hand, a smaller mouse, or prefer higher DPI settings, you may be familiar with fingertip grip already.
When using a fingertip grip, your palm does not contact the mouse at all. Instead, only the tips of your fingers grip the mouse, with your thumb, ring, and pinky fingers providing counter-grips and control.
With only your fingers grasping the mouse, and with space between the mouse and your palm, the mouse is moved simply by curling and extending your fingers. With tracking set to 2,000 to 4,000 DPI or even higher, you can cover two full HD 1080p displays, or a single ultrawide display, with only an area of 5″ x 5″.
If you have multiple targets to aim at, or require rapid movement with speed and precision, fingertip grip paired with a high DPI setting is an ideal technique.
Fingertip is so effective for aiming, that fingertip players have been accused of using “aim-lock” hacks.
As you will only be using fingertips to control the mouse, heavier mice may cause fatigue and strain. An ultralight mouse option is ideal for fingertip grip.
Pro Gamers/Streamers Who Use Each Grip
So just how common are Palm and Claw Grip in gaming? Let’s examine how the professionals take hold of their game, and what makes them so good.
Shroud, one of the kings of CSGO and competitive FPS gaming, is known for aim and adaptability.
Before retiring to full-time streaming in 2018, Shroud was known for playing CSGO for Cloud9, and currently also plays battle royale games like PUBG.
Being able to pick up any game and stay consistently competitive, Shroud uses a claw grip because it is what feels best and most natural for him.
Shroud also may use his middle finger for scroll wheel, and ring finger for right click, which is a little unconventional, but works for him.
Currently, Shroud is using a Logitech G Pro X Superlight at 450 DPI and an in-game sensitivity of 2.40 in CSGO.
Simple is a CSGO player known for being a top wrist-aimer proficient with both AWP and Sniper.
Previously using a palm grip, Simple uses a claw grip with a Zowie mouse at a low 400 DPI but high in-game sensitivity over 3.0, for an effective DPI of over 1200.
Using claw grip to wrist-aim at such a high sensitivity is possible because of his wide arm placement, the extra control that the palm gives him, as well as the added dexterity from using his fingertips.
Simple is able to to consistently impress because of the sheer amount of practice and skill built over time that he is able to then apply as wisdom during a match.
Pine is widely considered one of the best players in professional Overwatch, but has since retired to full-time streaming.
Previously affiliated with Team Liquid, Pine was known for being a top Hitscan player, preferring DPS characters
Hitscan technique is more about precision, while Projectile technique is more about timing.
Using a palm grip with high-sensitivity and wrist flicks, Pine is a rare expert of palm grip with claw technique.
Pine uses a Steelseries mouse set to 500 DPI, with an in-game sensitivity of 15.0 for all heroes, and disables the extra mouse buttons that he doesn’t use.
Adopting settings and skills from other games like Team Fortress 2 and Counter Strike, Pine is able to use his technique not only because of his unique mouse technique, but from experience and confidence built over time.
Carpe is a Korean Overwatch player currently playing for the Philadelphia Fusion.
Also a DPS Hitscan player, Carpe currently uses a Logitech G Pro Wireless set to 900 DPI and an in-game sensitivity of 3.12 while playing Overwatch.
Carpe used a claw grip with a Logitech G903 gaming mouse because palm grip didn’t feel quite as comfortable for him.
He does not tend to adjust any settings or mouse modification, and leaves everything stock.
This shows that for Carpe, comfort is what is most important, and he can adjust accordingly if he needs to.
FaZe NIKO (CSGO)
Ranked in the top 3 in both 2018 in 2019, Niko is one of the best CSGO players in the world, and is known for being one of the best at aiming with the arm rather than the wrist.
Niko has used 400DPI tracking with an in-game sensitivity of 1.4, giving an effective DPI of about only 600.
With a much lower sensitivity than most other players, professional or otherwise, Niko plants his entire forearm on the table.
Using his elbow as an anchor and pivot point, this allows Niko to use both his shoulder and elbow to aim with his forearm. This utilizes a wide range of motion and requires a lot of desk space.
Niko’s technique and lowered sensitivity also allows him to utilize an effective forearm flicking technique that allows him speed in large panning motions, but precision in smaller movements.
Sinatraa (Overwatch / Valorant)
Sinatraa, regarded as one of the top Overwatch and Valorant players today, has been known to use multiple grips depending on the character.
During his Overwatch career, Sinatraa tended to favor DPS characters and chose palm grip for Soldier, claw grip for Mccree/Widowmaker, and a hybrid grip for Doomfist/Tracer.
Depending on character, Sinatraa also chooses a Logitech G Pro Wireless set to 800 DPI and multiple sensitivities ranging from 7 for Soldier to 15 for Doomfist.
Being able to adapt and being effective with multiple techniques is key to Sinatraa’s success, and shows that there is no one mousegrip to rule them all.
ScreaM (CSGO / Valorant)
ScreaM is a Belgian gamer known for his incredible aiming.
In a 2015 match against Team Envy, ScreaM achieved an absurdly high 95% headshot ratio in a professional CSGO match. This score is likely the highest achieved by any gamer in a professional CS match, including the classics.
With a DPI of 400 and in-game sensitivity multiplier of 2.5, ScreaM uses effectively 1,000DPI with fingertip grip to become a human aim-bot.
Having since retired from the CSGO scene in favor of Valorant, ScreaM uses fingertip grip with a Finalmouse Classic Ergo gaming mouse to achieve his insanely impressive aiming technique.
Consider A Hybrid Mouse Grip
The three main mouse grips are more guidelines than rules, and rather fall on a spectrum of grips and comfort.
Where your ideal grip lies on this spectrum may vary, and your grip style may be different depending on size and shape your hand and mouse.
Some players may choose to adopt a hybrid grip for comfort, that combines multiple grips to meet their individual needs.
Swag, a retired Team Liquid CSGO player played with a Palm-Claw hybrid grip. His index and middle fingers take either a curled “claw” or extended “palm” position, while ring and pinky fingers curl and grip the sides of his mouse for control and comfort.
HeatoN (CSGO/eSports Hall of Fame)
HeatoN, a retired eSports hall-of-fame CSGO player, is known for being the first Counter-Strike player to be inducted, and was captain of the Swedish team “Ninjas in Pajamas” or NiP.
HeatoN is a big man with big hands, and as such uses a modified finger-palm hybrid grip. With no palm contact, but fingers outstretched around the mouse, HeatoN’s hybrid grip ensures comfort and control while using his wrist to aim.
Though his overall posture is very hunched and seems uncomfortable, it has proven to be the perfect technique for him, and has proven the efficacy of a hybrid grip and comfort being king.
We are all made differently with different shapes and sizes, and may need unique solutions when figuring out how to use a mouse for gaming, especially when it comes to aiming and mechanics.
Hybrid grips are simply another way for you to find comfort.
Palm, claw, and fingertip grips share many visual similarities, but their technique and application are fundamentally different.
While palm grip might be better for snipers and arm movements, claw grip may be more ideal for more intense shooting and wrist flicking movements.
Fingertip grip may seem like the most unorthodox method, but proves to be an unlikely secret weapon for aim.
Though we might think one might be better than another, the professionals show that you can do whatever you want with enough experience, what matters most is comfort and technique.
Whether you choose palm, claw, fingertip or something else entirely, there is a mouse-grip that will fit you.
The best way to get better at gaming is to play more games, so get out there and game-on!
Not sure if a gaming mouse is right for you? Check out our article to see if gaming mice are even worth it?