A man holding a gun showing his aim

How To Aim a Pistol: 10 Tips To Improve Your Aim When Shooting a Pistol


Why is it so difficult to fire a pistol? If you've ever asked yourself this question; you're not alone. Despite having a good rifle shot, many people discover that their handgun skills are lacking. You've come to the right place if you could use some advice on how to achieve an accurate shot.


infographic showing how to aim a pistol in easy steps


Easy Ways to Improve Your Aim When Shooting a Pistol


Shooting a pistol can be quite challenging. Use these tips to improve your shooting skills:


1) Have A Stable Stance


You should ensure that your stance is stable before you even consider shooting a pistol. Your shooting is likely to go astray if your stance is unstable.

The Weaver Stance and the Isosceles Stance are currently the two most popular stances. You can choose whichever one is more comfortable to shoot with.


Weaver Stance

 A man in a blue jacket and brown hat, holding a gun wearing ear protection

Credit: The Armory Life


Jack Weaver created the Weaver stance. Many defensive shooting teachers advocate this stance, although it has fallen out of favor recently as the Isosceles has gained popularity among the best shooters.


Here are step-by-step instructions for the Weaver Stance:

  • To do this extended shooting position, begin by positioning your feet shoulder-width apart, with a slight angle towards your target.

  • Place your weaker foot in front of your stronger foot.

  • Slightly bend your front knee while keeping your back leg mostly straight. Most of your weight should be on your forward foot, maintaining a weight distribution of approximately 60/40.

  • To align your shoulders with the forward foot, gently arch your torso forward.

  • Bend the elbow of your dominant (strong) arm slightly.

  • Ensure that the elbow on your weaker side is visibly bent and pointing downward.


    Isosceles Stance


    A man wearing a striped shirt, wearing a blue cap aiming a gun

    Credit: Gun Mag Warehouse


    The name of the stance comes from the isosceles triangle that the shooter's arms and torso make when viewed from above. The majority of competitive shooters prefer this posture. Due to the fact that it protects the shooter's body from danger, it has also garnered some appeal with defensive shooters for law enforcement and the military.


    Here are step-by-step instructions for the Isosceles Stance:

    • Begin by positioning your support side foot (weaker foot) slightly in front of your dominant foot, with your feet separated by shoulder width.

    • Keep your knees slightly bent for stability.

    • Lean your upper body forward until your weight is evenly distributed between the balls of your feet and your shoulders. This balanced posture helps with control and stability.

    • Keep both your elbows locked, both arms straight and point forward to maintain a strong and stable shooting platform.


    2) Don’t Hold a Stance for Too Long


    Take a few moments to rest between shots, put your pistol down, or fire another shot from a different angle. By doing this, you can avoid getting exhausted and letting your muscles lock up. Since you won't be worn out by keeping the position for an extended period of time, you'll also achieve better results.


    3) Try Aiming With Your Dominant Eye

     A lady bending down pointing a gun towards a target

    Credit: A Girl & A Gun Women’s Shooting League


    It is tricky to aim with both eyes, therefore try use your dominant eye when shooting. Your dominant eye gives you a more accurate picture of everything around you.

    To determine which eye is your dominant one, make a 1-inch circle with your thumb and index finger. View a distant item through the circle while holding it at arm's length. Draw the circle slowly toward your face while keeping both eyes open and avoiding eye contact. Your hand will inevitably incline toward your dominant eye. If you're finding it difficult to aim with just your dominant eye, consider using gun sights like the Trijicon SRO Sights


    4) Trigger Control

     A picture with a finger on the trigger

    Credit: Warlizard Tactical


    When shooting, having good trigger control is essential. To have true trigger control, you must achieve what is referred to as a "surprise break." This break is achieved by exerting constant, equal pressure to the trigger until the hammer drops and surprises you. Failure to get a surprise break frequently results in the round hitting anywhere other than the bullseye. The trigger finger works independently from the rest of your body, so obtaining a surprise break is crucial.


    5) Sight Alignment

     A sight in target on a gun pointing towards a bulls eye target

    Credit: NRA Women


    The target, the rear sight, and most crucially, the front sight are all necessary for a proper aim. An accurate aim is made up of two elements: sight alignment and sight image.

    Sight alignment refers to the precise alignment of the front and rear sights. Maintaining sight alignment while finding your target is challenging. Your gun's relative position to the target can be determined by using the front sight. After that, your front and rear sights should line up. Once you have a satisfactory sight alignment and sight picture, your eyes should solely be focused on your front sight before firing the shot


    6) Have a Proper Grip

     A man wearing a checked shirt and military cap aiming a gun

    Credit: Everyday Carry Concealed


    The grip of the pistol is crucial for controlling recoil and can somewhat make up for a clumsy trigger pull. Unfortunately, shooters frequently make mistakes with their grips.

    When gripping a handgun, your grasp should be strong and high; there shouldn't be any room between your hand and the weapon. Having any space between your hand and the gun provides room to move when it recoils. The fingers of your dominant hand should stretch as much as possible without getting in the way of the slide, while your non-dominant hand should move forward to take up the vacant space on the grip panel and trigger guard.

    If you’re finding it difficult to grip your handgun, consider getting tactical gloves like the ones from First Tactical. These gloves are constructed from a skin-tight, snag-proof, stretch-woven material specifically designed to accommodate all types of firearms, including pistols.


    7) Determine Your Point of Aim

     A man wearing black aiming a gun towards the screen

    Credit: iStock


    A great way to determine your point of aim is to concentrate on your natural aim point. To find your natural aim point, maintain your firing stance and shut your eyes. To break your muscle memory, take three deep breaths. Next, pause your breathing, open your eyes, and compare the center of the target to your natural aim point. You'll be able to pinpoint your natural point of aim with enough practice.

    Additionally, you need to pay close attention to your focus. Make sure you are wearing the appropriate ear protection so that there are no unwanted distractions. A good choice to consider is the ProCase Noise Reduction Ear Muffs.


    8) Breath Control

     An older man with eyewear aiming a gun

    Credit: Field & Stream


    Since breathing causes movement, it needs to be controlled. Your shots won't hit the target if you breathe while drawing the trigger.

    Hold your breath and pull the trigger. Exhale until nearly half of the air has escaped your lungs, then aim and squeeze the trigger. If you want to make sure that your body has enough oxygen to endure the necessary 10 to 20 seconds while you hold your breath to shoot the target, you must master breath control.


    9) Try Dry Firing

     A man pointing towards a black target with a neon green light on the target

    Credit: Maxon Shooters


    Even though live-fire drills are essential, the single best thing you can do to improve your handgun accuracy is dry fire practicing. Drills for a dry fire can be conducted at any time and anywhere at no expense. If you continue your dry fire practice, your accuracy should start to improve with each trip to the shooting range. If you’re looking for the ultimate dry fire training kit, consider getting the Quantum XG Dry Fire Laser Training from G-Sight.


    10) Have a Qualified Instructor Assist

     A man showing a lady how to aim her gun, wearing eye wear

    Credit: RichLegg/ Getty Images


    Shooters should follow specific protocols when aiming and shooting their firearms. Regardless of whether you're shooting a shotgun, rifle, or pistol, there is always the right method to do it.

    People who wish to get better at aiming can look for a weapons training instructor. You can learn all the fundamentals of using your weapon in these lessons. You will learn how to posture your body, feet, arms, shoulders, and hands—everything that goes into becoming a good shooter




    Keep in mind that being a pro takes time. It takes practice to get better at aiming. The person hitting every target at the range next to you has undoubtedly practiced dry shooting for many hours and shot hundreds of rounds. If you need a shooting target to improve your pistol shot, check out EasyShot.


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