How to shoot one-handed

by B.B. Pelletier

Before we start, look at the SEARCH bar in the right column! Now you can search all the past postings for specific terms. The September 30 index will probably come up a lot when you do, but you should also get the actual posting that you’re interested in.

Now for today’s post. Shooters seem to have forgotten how to shoot one-handed. They think you have to be an Olympic champion – or at least a contender – to have the talent for shooting one-handed with any accuracy. I’m not an Olympian, but I learned how to do it anyway. Here’s a true story how I taught someone with no interest or experience in shooting how to shoot one-handed – accurately. You can do it, too!

Many years ago, I had some relatives stay with me for several weeks in a small apartment. When they arrived, they noticed a metal pellet trap attached to the front door. I had exactly 19 feet in which to shoot air pistols in that apartment, and it involved standing at the end of the hall and using the front door as my backstop.

“I can’t do THAT!”
The husband of the visiting couple was intrigued that anyone would shoot indoors with a pistol. Because the distance was so short, I used 10-meter rifle targets, which have a bull about 1.25″ across. He said he didn’t see how anyone could hit a target so small. I told him that I thought he could do it just as well as I. He laughed and said,”No way!” so I challenged him to a small bet. I bet him that he couldn’t MISS the black bull from 19 feet if he really tried to hit it.

You can’t miss!
Long story short, he took the bet. I started him at five feet from the target. He argued that was ridiculous – nobody could miss from that close, but I asked him to just be patient. We were wearing shooting glasses and were the only ones in the apartment at the time. After approximately 25 shots – all of which landed inside a dime just below the bottom of the bull, I moved him back to 10 feet. Same argument. Same result.

It gets harder
After another 20 shots, we backed up to 15 feet, and he began to wonder if he would still hit the target. What if he missed the trap and hit the door? I told him he could not miss. Besides, the door was sheathed in steel, so no damage would be done. To his amazement, the pellets started climbing into the bull at 15 feet. The hole never grew larger than a dime.

The full monte!
Finally, we backed up four more feet to the end of the hall. That was pretty scary for him, but he was also gaining some confidence in his ability. Shot after shot tore through the center of the bull. The group opened up to about the size of a nickel, but all his pellets landed inside the bull. After 75-100 shots at 19 feet, he admitted that I had won the bet.

Pride defeats prejudice
When his gun-hating wife returned to the apartment with my wife, he put on a shooting show for her. The ladies wore eye protection and stood in a bedroom to the side of the shooter. When his wife came out of the bedroom afterwards and examined the target, she was as amazed as he had been! Not one word was spoken about how bad guns are or how dangerous this activity was.

A shooter is born!
I had to depart on business for several weeks, so the relatives stayed in the apartment with my wife. When I returned home, I discovered that the man had shot up five tins of .177 target pellets! That’s 2,500 pellets in two weeks. Apparently, that’s what all he did all day long. I had told him to enjoy himself, and I guess he really did!

When he returned to his home, he bought an airgun – AT HIS WIFE’S INSISTENCE! Know what she said? “I still don’t like guns, but he had so much fun with that pistol and he got so good with it that I wanted him to keep on enjoying himself.”

The point is this: you can learn to shoot a pistol with one hand if you try, but you have to be careful. You may discover that you like it!

This is a true story.

15 thoughts on “How to shoot one-handed”

  1. BB…

    not to hijack your thread, but a .22 LR is a little light for coyote, especially at long distance. Sure the argument can be made that within x range a .22 will do fine…and it will, but so will the Talon in the right hands. My take on it is that if one has to ask then they probably dont need to be trying with an airgun OR a .22….. try a .223 or something like that.

    Now, to your one handed accuracy test. I tried it and I have to admit that it worked well for me. I’d never considered myself a good shot with a pistol, but this really seems to work.

  2. I am a very bad shot with my air pistol, I am in fact better with my old 1911 .45ACP. Reading this post, I wonder how can I improve my airpistol shooting. I tried and retraced the steps in your post but ..nothing happened! I am a better shooter at standing with rifles since I compete in silhouette competitions. Can you please outline the procedure in shooting airpistols accurately?

  3. mister T,

    Did you read the April 14 post Grasp the secret of accurate handgun shooting? That’s a good start.

    Shooting accurately with a pellet pistol is no different than with a 1911. In fact, the best 1911 shooters I know use air pistols to sharpen their performance.

    What model air pistol do you shoot, and what pellet do you use? That may be where the problem lies.


  4. BB,

    Yes you are right, as I took a closer look at my Armscor Air pistol, the barrel is way down out of sight and blocked by the slide and the front sight is just flat alloy almost half an inch tall like the tip of a flat screwdriver. The sight picture is totally different than that presented by the 1911. Years of practice and training with the venerable Colt is hard to undo to shoot an air pistol like this. It has become instinctive. Thanks a lot.

  5. BB…

    I just purchased a new Daisy BB gun repeater w/ CO2…I was wondering how i could shoot more accurately?..or some drills or something i could work on?…thanks

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