The internet talks about specialized guns, new tools, fascinating procedures, and implausible situations that make us want to buy the latest firearm on the market. Sadly the content rarely discusses how to address specific accuracy issues or improve our shooting to be as accurate and fast as possible. We may not understand what we do to punch holes in paper or how to tighten our rails, especially for a first time handgun buyer. Fortunately, we are aware of the step-by-step processes we need to follow to shoot straight and put bullets on target, regardless of sights or shooting position.

Pistol Shooting

pistolMost recreational shooters apply only two of the essential fundamentals (planning and trigger control) and are constantly frustrated by their lack of accuracy when using handguns. We can speed up this process and waste less ammunition by simply learning the fundamentals and then applying them deliberately. Why not incorporate “attitude”? Because you can be authentic in ANY position, as long as you keep the following principles in mind. There are numerous occasions in the real world where you can shoot and draw sitting, lying down, or supine, all of which require excellent principles to be protected.


The most important foundation is aiming and can be described as, “How to make the correct connection between the target, the front sight, and the rear sight.” The following image shows how to do both steps correctly. This can be much more difficult than it sounds, especially in low light conditions, which is the main reason many guns are equipped with phosphorescent tritium night sights. We are incapable of focusing on multiple things at once, so we are designed to focus on one important thing at a time. The notch closest to the target is turned off. When we focus on the target, we lose most of our awareness. When we focus on the rear sight, the target becomes almost undetectable.

Grip Control

pistolA good grip is critical, its control reduces the arc of movement and makes the next tips much easier. What is the “arc of motion?” About the inevitable movement of a gun when you draw it into a shooting position. Hold your finger toward a distant target and watch the fingertip “dance” concerning the target. This is the arc of motion in practice. The drill reduces the arc of change but does not eliminate it. If the arc of motion stays within the target, you can assume it is within your shooter’s power range (not including bullet drop). If your sights touch off target, you can assume you should not aim at the shooter.

Trigger Control

pistolTrigger control is the way to release the ground to minimize scenario movement. The trigger should be pressed in a smooth, continuous motion to the right rear. There are several issues to be aware of when working on the control. After diagnosing accuracy problems in my students, over 90% are due to improper trigger direction. Improper trigger control increases the arc of motion, which decreases accuracy. This step is probably the toughest foundation to understand and requires almost daily practice to achieve.

Follow Through

The last fundamental might be Follow Through, and it’s a little hard to explain on paper. You will discover many, many procedures to draw a firearm, almost all of them are confusing. The grip pressure should be aimed directly at the torso of the gun. Your focus must remain on the sights, which means your grip must remain firm, your trigger finger must return to “reset,” and you must resume breathing to prepare for another shot. Poor execution increases the time it takes to fire again and can affect the accuracy with poor trigger management.

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