How do you hold your mouse?

THE PCG Q&A

It shouldn’t matter. And yet, like all things that shouldn’t matter, it very much does. The three main styles are palm grip, common among those with smaller hands, fingertip grip, as deployed by the pros, and claw grip, which has the coolest name.

All of them are valid. I know, I know, you’re going to be tempted to tell other people they are bad and wrong and should be hung from a tree for their sins. Don’t do that. It’s “hanged”, not “hung”. Meat is hung: People are hanged. Please get it right. And so, to our weekend question: How do you hold your mouse? Here are our answers, add yours in the comments.

James Davenport: Fingertip

(Image credit: Bungie)

My hands are big enough that a palm grip has my fingers hanging off the front of most mice and a claw grip requires coiling up my fingers to the point of discomfort. A fingertip grip on a light mouse is the way to go for me, the ideal posture for picking the thing up to make big, fast swipes. I play most FPSes with a fairly low sensitivity, which requires a my entire forearm and a quarter of my desk’s surface area to aim. I’m always knocking stuff to the floor, swiping in huge arcs, picking the mouse up with my thumb and ring finger and whipping it back to recenter. I recommend standing back while I’m playing Destiny. Don’t wanna get clipped.

Tyler Wilde: Fingertip

Fully cupping the mouse with your palm is absurd to me. How anyone can go through life that way I don’t know. I’ve heard there are some benefits to the claw grip, but it feels like I’m contorting my hand. I just gently grasp it with my fingers, which feels natural. The thing I’m more conscious of, which I think is more important, is trying to keep my elbow elevated rather than resting on my arm rest, so that I’m using my arm and not my wrist to move the mouse. 

One thing I took away from art school is that consistent movements are best made by the shoulder and elbow, not the wrist. Moving the cursor back and forth with my wrist quickly often creates an arc, and I can’t move it very far, whereas if I use my arm I can keep my line much straighter and longer. In a shooter, that means I can turn more quickly and more accurately, without letting my aim drop, so I’m trying to avoid wrist-based movements except for occasional flicks or minor adjustments. 

See, Dad, all those charcoal figure drawing classes are helping my Rainbow Six Siege play. It wasn’t a waste.

Jarred Walton: Fingertip

I guess we’re batting a thousand right now, because I also use the fingertip grip. I can only see someone doing the palm grip if they either have smaller hands or a very large mouse. I don’t really think about how I’m holding my mouse much, to be honest—I probably do all the things “wrong” that Tyler was just talking about. But I don’t care, so just leave me alone while I go back to intermittently wiggling my mouse around with my wrist, only to realize it’s ineffective and I’ve got another bad habit to break.

Lauren Morton: Palm

It’s official, in our modern age teachers will no longer deride kids and coworkers for holding their pencils wrong. It’s all about proper mouse grip. I’m just waiting for one of you savages to slap my wrists with a ruler.

I’m a palm gripper and it’s not that I think everyone else is wrong, I just don’t understand how they do it. My palm is the anchor that holds everything together. It’s the counterweight to my naturally not-dexterous fingers. How do these claw-grip people keep their fingers from just constantly clicking at random times by accident? 

This is bringing me back to learning to play the guitar as a teenager when I also held my palm flat against the back of the neck. What do regular guitar players do? Just use their thumb? How do you press the strings soundly enough without having the rest of your hand on the other side? Clearly I was a bad guitar player but my mouse method seems to be serving me all right. 

Chris Livingston: Fingertip

can feel the top of the mouse against my palm from time to time, but very lightly, and I’m not really resting on it. My wrist sits on a little mousepad cushion which keeps my palm up a bit. Although, if I remove that cushion, my palm does sort of rest on the mouse. The pressure is still all on my fingertips, though, so I can swing the mouse around and there’s no contact with my palm. But it’s about as close to palm grip as the fingertip grip can get, I guess.

Joanna Nelius: Palm

As a member of the small-hands club, I have a palm grip. I need to move my hand as far up my mouse as possible so my fingertips are in a good position to reach the left/right click and middle wheel. That means most of my palm is in full contact with the palm rest (see, that’s what it’s there for!), but depending on the size of the mouse my wrist may or may not touch my desk fully. 

I switched from a Corsair Sabre to a Logitech G403 almost a year ago, because my pinky finger started to lock up if I gamed with the Sabre for too long. The wider footprint made it too big for my palm, which caused the cramping, but I haven’t had the same issue with the G403 because it fits much better with my small palm.

Robin Valentine: Palm

Palm grip for me—I just flop my hand onto the mouse like a dead fish and paw clumsily at the buttons. For some reason my thumb rests pretty firmly against the side, which makes for lots of accidental clicks with a gaming mouse. 

Jody Macgregor: Claw

When I’m not playing games I relax into a fingertip-style, but as soon as I start up a game my hand shrivels up like a chicken’s appendage. It feels satisfying to me to deliver a left-click attack by raising and dropping my forefinger like I’m crushing a tiny bug. I’m also a loud typer, who slams down my fingers in a way that’s bad for keyboards and probably fingerbones. I’m not going to change, though. You can take my claw grip from my wizened, callused hands.

Morgan Park: Palm + fingertip

I generally favor the palm grip, but that can be detrimental when you have large hands like mine. I counteracted this by buying a larger mouse, but I wish I could go even bigger. Recently, I’ve noticed that I curl up to a fingertip grip when things are particularly tense in Rainbow Six Siege. It might just be a habit, but I think it also helps with my precision. But the fingertip grip also causes occasional misclicks, so it’s a double-edged sword.

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