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How to Shoot a Handgun/Pistol Better and More Accurate?

How to Shoot a Handgun/Pistol Better and More Accurate?

Introduction: Understanding the Basics of Handgun Shooting

We’ve all had one of those days at the range where hitting the target seems impossible. Shooting a pistol accurately can be challenging, no matter how experienced you are. Apart from learning proper shooting techniques, both beginners and seasoned shooters need to stay in shooting shape.

How hard is it to shoot a pistol accurately? Well, it is not just another piece of cake. For starters, precision shooting requires training both your body and mind. You need proper posture, muscle memory, and mental focus. It’s not just about pulling the trigger; it’s about understanding your gun as if it were an extension of your body. This means mastering your grip, having good trigger control, and learning how to acquire targets quickly.

As a standard, good accuracy with a pistol means being able to consistently hit targets at 25 yards. This benchmark demonstrates that the shooter knows how to shoot a pistol in a proper way.

When shooting a gun, there’s a proper sequence to follow when gripping, triggering, reloading, and so on. Understanding the sequence between these “small tasks” lays the foundation for effective techniques for how to shoot a pistol, so let’s dive into those.


Fundamentals of Effective Shooting

Proper Grip: Ensuring control and stability

Let’s start with pistol grip techniques, one of the fundamentals of accurate shooting. A good master grip should always be a priority. You should not grip and pull the trigger simultaneously. First, establish a solid grip, then focus on pulling the trigger.

For a master pistol grip technique, your gun needs to be locked into your hand. No space between the backstrap—whether it has a beavertail or not—and no space between your finger and the trigger guard. A good master grip provides a solid hold every time you draw your pistol from the holster. Once you achieve that, your shooting accuracy will have a strong foundation to build upon.

Stance: Building a solid foundation for shooting

Every shooter needs to practice body posture, another fundamental for shooting accuracy. Shooting stances for accuracy work on balance stability and mobility, reducing muscle tension and fatigue.

When at the range, we need to stay focused and comfortable. When practicing how to shoot a pistol, accurate shooting doesn’t come overnight. At 45 Blast, we get a lot of practice on basic stances and never take those for granted. Are you feeling more fatigued than usual? Missing too many targets? If so, check your shooting stance.

There is no single "correct" shooting stance for Accuracy. But if you are looking for the basics, two popular ones are the Isosceles stance and the Weaver stance.

Here’s a quick breakdown::

Isosceles Shooting Stance

Known for its simplicity and effectiveness, the Isosceles stance is perfect for target shooting and tactical situations. Here’s how to assume the Isosceles shooting stance in three simple steps:

  • Stand with your feet slightly wider than shoulder-width apart.
  • Bend your knees slightly and lean forward at the hips.
  • Extend your arms out straight.

It’s called the Isosceles stance because if you visualize from above, you’ll see an isosceles triangle: your feet form the base, and your arms form the sides, meeting at the gun, which is the apex pointing towards the target. 

Weaver Shooting Stance

In dynamic competition stages, as the ones promoted by USA Shooting, shooters need to move fast and aim accurately while the clock is ticking. The basis for that is the Weaver shooting stance, ideal for quick lateral movements or transitions between multiple targets:

  • Stand with your feet slightly wider than shoulder-width apart.
  • Imagine a 180-degree line in front of you and position your dominant foot back at a 45-degree angle.
  • Lean your body forward slightly and extend your arms out straight.
  • Move your dominant foot back to provide good forward-backward stability.
  • Square your feet and hips to the target.
  • Bring the gun up to your front sight without lowering your neck too much—just look at the target and extend the gun towards it.

Sight Alignment and Sight Picture: How to aim effectively

Well, some of you may think, "Oh, this is how to shoot a pistol for newbies." But the truth is, we've seen many gun enthusiasts forget about using the sights correctly. Yup, all the action and adrenaline can make you forget to get things on target right!

So that is why this is really important to remember and practice: Your front sight should be your primary focus; the rear sights will appear slightly out of focus. Align both vertically and horizontally to get on target. Don't press the trigger until you see the sights on the target.

When practicing, we often ask shooters who missed their shots, "Did you see the target on the sights?". The usual answer is "I don't know." If you don’t know, then it wasn't on sight.

Trigger Control: Techniques for smooth firing

Now comes a topic that gets the community talking: handgun trigger control. The ability to push the trigger straight to the rear without disturbing the sights is crucial for shooting accuracy.


For good handgun trigger control, you should position the pad of your index finger—just before the first joint—directly on the front of the trigger. Like this, pressure is applied straight back towards the rear of the gun, keeping the firearm's proper alignment and preventing it from tilting sideways.

Also, when pulling the trigger, motion should be smooth and consistent, without shifting your finger or altering the pressure angle. This method not only enhances precision but also aids in managing the firearm's recoil by keeping it steady. 

Another key aspect of trigger control is the trigger reset technique. After firing the gun, you shouldn't hold the trigger to the rear. Instead, world champions recommend going for the trigger reset as soon as you feel the recoil and the gun cycles. .,

Advanced Shooting Techniques

Dry Firing: Benefits and Safe Practices

Dry firing is simply the act of pulling the trigger on a firearm without any ammunition in the chamber. It might not have seemed so engaging or interesting when you first heard about it, but the truth is, dry firing drill is how winners practice. It's a safe and effective way to practice handling and improve shooting skills like trigger control, breathing, and sight alignment without the cost of using live ammunition.

Without the recoil and noise of live firing, dry firing allows shooters to focus on their body mechanics. But dry firing drills are also excellent for familiarizing yourself with how to shoot new firearms or setup changes in a safe way. This technique helps build and reinforce correct muscle memory, which is crucial for effective shooting.

Managing Recoil: Techniques to maintain aim after firing

How important is recoil management for pistol shooting accuracy? Well, in competitive settings, it may be the difference between being out or cleaning a stage like a pro. Managing recoil is crucial for maintaining aim and achieving accurate follow-up shots.

As we discussed earlier, a proper shooting stance, whether it's the Isosceles or Weaver, provides the stability needed to absorb and control recoil. Your grip should be firm and high on the backstrap of the gun, ensuring maximum control and minimizing muzzle rise.

Breathing control also plays a significant role in managing recoil. You never thought you would have to go full zen while shooting? Well, take a deep breath, exhale slowly, and press the trigger as you reach the natural respiratory pause. This will help you maintain a steady aim and absorb the recoil smoothly.

At 45 Blast, recoil management is our specialty. We craft compensators that help shooters to get as accurate as they ever imagined. With 45 Blast, recoil and muzzle flips are just a thing of the past. Our gear, like the Canik SFX Rival Compensator, will make you forget that recoil even exits. And also, it turns your gun into an absolute beauty.

Follow-Through: Why it Matters in Shooting

Think about the last time you were on the range. You were in the zone, every shot feeling right, always ready after each trigger pull. That’s follow-through.

Follow-through in shooting is about the actions you continue to perform after the bullet has been fired. It's maintaining your shooting form, grip, stance, and focus until the bullet hits the target. It's keeping together all these small tasks we have gone through here.

Follow-through is about staying focused and committed to the process. Your head and your mental focus should only be on the range, not anywhere else. It’s your gun time, your moment—you own it.

Sounds simple? Well, there are a few things to watch out for that can disrupt perfect follow-through. Premature celebrations, outside interruptions, equipment malfunctions, fatigue, and a lack of routine can all break your concentration and negatively impact your shooting performance. Shooting should be fun, but staying focused is key.

One key aspect of follow-through is eliminating shot anticipation. Drills designed to reduce anticipation help you stay relaxed and focused. Let’s check out some of these shooting exercises.

Practice Drills to Enhance Accuracy

Simple drills for beginners to practice

Controlled Pair

The Controlled Pair Drill focuses on firing two quick, accurate shots in succession. Place a target at 7 yards. Practice firing two shots quickly, aiming for tight groupings. This drill helps develop recoil management and follow-up shot accuracy.

Dot Torture Drill

The Dot Torture drill is excellent for improving precision and consistency. Set up a target with several small dots (usually 2 inches in diameter) at a distance of 3 to 5 yards. The goal is to hit each dot with a single shot, aiming for accuracy. This drill helps you focus on precision and control.

Figure 8 Drill

The Figure 8 Drill helps improve sight alignment and trigger control while moving. Set up two targets about 10 yards apart. When you point the gun, move it in a figure-eight pattern around the targets, focusing on maintaining sight alignment and smooth trigger pulls. The Figure 8 Drill is excellent for getting better at quick target acquisition.

Exemplar Drill

The Exemplar drill is designed to enhance accuracy and consistency. Place a target at a comfortable distance, for example, 5 yards. Fire a single shot, then take a step back and fire another shot. Continue this process, gradually increasing the distance. Focus on maintaining your form and accuracy with each step.

Advanced drills for improving precision

Bill Drill

Invented by Bill Wilson, the founder of Wilson Combat, the Bill Drill focuses on speed and accuracy. Place a target at 7 yards. Draw your pistol and fire six shots as quickly as possible. The goal is to keep all shots within the center of the target. This drill helps improve your draw speed, recoil management, and rapid-fire accuracy.

El Presidente Drill

The El Presidente Drill is a classic exercise that improves speed, accuracy, and target transitions. You will need a partner’s assistance for this one. Set up three targets 10 yards away, spaced 1 yard apart. Start facing away from the targets with hands above your shoulders. On the signal, turn, draw, and fire two shots at each target, reload, and fire two more shots at each target.

Double Tap Drill

Last but not least, we have the Double Tap Drill, which is perfect for improving your ability to fire two quick, accurate shots in succession. Place a target at 10 yards. Draw and fire two shots rapidly, aiming for tight groupings. The Double Tap Drill helps improve your control and precision during rapid-fire sequences.

Conclusion: Taking the Next Steps

Whether you're just beginning to learn how to shoot a pistol or an experienced shooter, consistency, and dedication to mastering these fundamentals and drills will make all the difference. These techniques should always be with us, not only for shooting accuracy but also for staying safe in and out of the range.

If you are looking for additional gadgets to get your pistol shooting accuracy to the next level, drop by our store. Our gun compensators can really help you take your precision shooting to the next level.

Stay safe, stay sharp. The most accurate thing we can do is to keep practicing, so we can enjoy every trip to the shooting range to the max.

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