Grasp the secret of accurate handgun shooting

By B.B. Pelletier

For pistol shooters, controlling the trigger really means controlling the entire gun because the hand that holds the gun contains the trigger finger. One hand applies two different types of pressure – static and dynamic. The essence of trigger control is a natural by-product of a correct pistol grip. Here’s a fuller explanation of the correct grip and some other tips that should help you shoot better.

6 steps to becoming a crack shot!
1. Grip! Pick up your pistol and work the grip into position as described below until it is correctly and comfortably sitting in your hand. Only practice and experience will help you determine what is correct. Nothing says you have to maintain a grip on your pistol throughout the entire match. In fact, most experienced shooters regrip the pistol for each shot.

2. Setup! Your trigger finger should never deliver any sideways motion when it’s squeezing the trigger. To improve your squeeze, make sure the trigger blade is positioned so the natural movement of your finger is straight back. The center of your trigger finger’s pad should be the only part touching the trigger blade. Smoothly squeeze (do not pull!) the trigger back. If your trigger finger isn’t in the proper position, you do not have a proper grip. Go back to Step 1 to reposition your hand so your trigger finger is in the right place.

3. Hold! Your thumb plays no role. It just touches the grip. No squeezin’. No movin’. No nothin’! Your middle finger helps press the gun’s grip into your hand so the gun rests comfortably in the area between your thumb and your index finger. Some people call this the web of your hand.

4. Shoot! Limit the time you hold the sight picture on the target to no more than five seconds. Not able to do it in five seconds? Stop immediately and start all over again by going back to Step 1. You don’t want to stand there and hold the gun for a long period of time. You’ll get tired, you’ll hesitate and you won’t have control over your trigger when you finally yank off your shot in frustration.

5. Breathe! Take several deep breaths, then one last breath and let half out. You now have about five seconds of calm until your heart starts to protest. This is when the shot must be taken.

6. Concentrate! Look at the sight picture and focus on the front sight blade instead of the target. Like a camera that focuses on a close object while making the object far away blurry, you are focusing on the sight picture while the target down range is not quite as sharp. The rear sight notch is also a little fuzzy, but because it is closer to the front sight, it is more in focus than the bullseye. That’s how winners do it.

Proper grip and trigger control are a big part of shooting a target pistol more accurately. Let me know how this works for you.

5 Responses to “Grasp the secret of accurate handgun shooting”

  • NovaScotiaAirgunner Says:

    Myself, i have to use reading glasses to focus on the front sight and the target is out of focus complitely. But i get good result this way with my 59 years old eyes.

  • B.B. Pelletier Says:

    It might be time to try a red dot sight. It will allow you to focus on the target because the red dot will still be visible.


  • Raven Says:

    Excelent article for nuggets(rookies)

  • Anonymous Says:

    So when I’m aiming at a target, do I focus my eyes directly on the target and lining up the sights on it, or focus directly on the front sight and having the target being blurry? Or do I focus half way between the two, which doesn’t seem right..

  • B.B. Pelletier Says:

    Focus on the front sight. The target will be blurry as will the rear sight.


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