A couple of weeks ago, my friend Matt and I were working with his brand new girevoy sport competition kettlebell. It had been a while since I had picked up a competition bell... The thinner handle is, without a doubt, much easier on the grip and it is also, without a doubt, harder on the hands.
The basic technique is the same with a larger handle, however, on a competition bell the smaller surface area of the handle leaves less room for error - if you don't catch it right and fail to follow the bell on the backswing, you will punish your mitts.
Denis Kanygin has a nice video covering "Preventing Blisters". Enjoy.