How Should You Hold A Handgun For Maximum Accuracy?

How you hold a handgun is one of the most basic yet essential parts of proper handgun use. When you have a proper grip, it can significantly enhance your accuracy, plus you reduce the risk of recoil-related injury. However, the opposite is also true. If you have a poor grip or inappropriate handling of the firearm, it can lead to increased recoil, decreased stability, and, ultimately, lower accuracy.

Luckily, we are here to help. In this article, we provide comprehensive guidance on how you should hold a handgun for maximum accuracy. 

8 Tips On How To Hold A Pistol

Here are eight tips that will help you hold your pistol for maximum accuracy.

Accuracy Pistol Grip

1) Use Both Hands

The majority of your accuracy is derived from the stability provided by holding the pistol with two hands. Let your support hand (non-dominant hand) support your dominant hand.

2) Grip Pressure

Proper grip is another way you can improve your accuracy. Ensure you are in one of the correct shooting positions have a firm pistol grip, maintaining a secure position in your hand without squeezing too hard. Try and aim for a pressure similar to that of a firm handshake. Over-gripping can cause shaky hands, which can decrease your accuracy.

3) One Hand Over The Other

With a two-handed grip, wrap the fingers of your non-dominant hand around the fingers of your dominant hand. Your thumbs should be aligned, creating a straight thumbs grip where your thumbs are pointing at the target and not crossed over each other.

How To Hold A Pistol

4) Push & Pull (Opposing Forces)

Try and practice a push-and-pull maneuver, in which your dominant hand pushes forward while your non-dominant hand pulls back. This enables you to manage recoil and stabilize the gun for follow-up shots.

5) Keep The Top of The Barrel Up with Bottom The Handle Down

Proper alignment of the pistol is essential for shooting more accurately. Always point the top of your pistol barrel upwards while the bottom of the handle is pointed downwards. Following this alignment ensures that the recoil goes straight back into your forearm and not upwards – keeping your aim more consistent.

6) Slow Down Your Breathing

As with any form of shooting, controlled breathing is key to shooting with precision. Take a deep breath, exhale half of it, and hold the rest. In this period of holding your breath, pull the trigger. Doing so will ensure that you keep the gun steady as you fire.

7) Smooth Trigger Pull

Don’t jerk your trigger pull. Try and pull the trigger in a smooth and steady motion. When you jerk the trigger, it can cause the gin to move, decreasing your accuracy. Instead, practice trigger control by applying slow, even pressure with your trigger finger until the gun fires.

8) Sight Alignment Tips

The final tip in ensuring accurate shooting is aligning the front and rear sights when aiming. These two sites should be leveled, and the target should be in the center. Remember, focus on the front sight and not the target while keeping both eyes open for better depth perception and field of view. You can read our article on how to aim with iron sights if you want to further enhance your aiming accuracy.

If you choose to use a pistol red dot sight, then you need to make sure your red dot reticle is placed directly on the target. Be sure that your pistol red dot sight is zeroed so that your reticle is ligned up with the bullets point of impact.

How Does Using A Red Dot Sight Improve Accuracy?

Using a red dot sight can significantly improve your shooting accuracy over an iron sight in various ways.

  • Simplified aiming process: With traditional iron sights, you must first align the two target sights with the target to achieve an accurate aim. In comparison, a red dot sight simplifies this process by only requiring you to place the red dot on the target.
  • Target acquisition speed: Consequently, the simplified aiming process also allows you to perform faster target acquisition as you don’t need to align multiple sights. This is especially helpful in fast-paced situations.
  • Increased range: With a red dot sight, you can make more accurate shots at longer ranges compared to iron sights.
  • Improved accuracy in low light conditions: Red dot sights are illuminated, allowing for easier and more accurate shooting in low ambient light conditions.
  • Two eyes open shooting: Red dot sights make it easier to shoot with both eyes open, improving situational awareness and depth perception. This allows you to track moving targets and also enhances overall accuracy.

Safety Tips When Pistol Shooting

Safety should always be treated with the highest priority when shooting or handling any type of firearm. Here are some essential safety tips you can follow:

  • Always Treat the Gun as Loaded:  Always assume that the gun is loaded, even if you believe it to be empty. Practicing this mentality will encourage you to handle the handgun properly – remaining careful and preventing accidental discharge.
  • Keep Your Finger Off the Trigger Until Ready to Shoot:  Do not rest your index finger on the trigger or trigger guard. Only place your finger on the trigger when you are ready to shoot. The rest of the time, the weapon should be placed on safety.
  • Be Aware Of Your Surroundings: Before attempting to shoot, be sure of your target and what lies behind it – always ensure a safe backdrop.
  • Don’t Point the Gun at Anything Except Your Target: Practice muzzle discipline by always pointing the gun in a safe direction, typically downrange when at the shooting range.
  • Wear Protective Gear: While you can’t always wear protective gear, such as when hunting, it is important to try to wear it at the firing range. Protective gear includes eye and hearing protection – preventing eye injury from flying shell casings and your hearing from repeated shooting.
  • Maintain Your Firearm: Apply a regular cleaning and maintenance schedule to your firearms. This will ensure your firearm is kept in a safe, working condition.
  • Educate on Safely Clearing Malfunctions: Learn how to safely handle and clear misfires, jams, and other malfunctions.
  • Safely Store Your Firearm: When you are not using your firearm, store the weapon and its ammunition securely and out of reach from children or unauthorized users.
  • Proper Grip: Make sure you practice the proper technique on the gun’s grip. This will ensure you don’t get injured by recoil. Master the elements of a proper grip, including support and shooting hand placement, gun alignment, trigger reset, finger placement, wrist cant, and arm extension.

What Is The Biggest Mistake Shooters Make With Pistols?

There are a lot of mistakes shooters, novice and experienced, make when shooting with pistols. Safety mistakes aside, shooters’ biggest mistake with pistols is poor trigger control.

Trigger control refers to how you engage the trigger to fire the pistol. Many shooters, especially beginners, jerk or slap the trigger in anticipation of the shot, causing the gun to move just as the round is being fired. This causes the shot to veer off-target, typically low and to one side.

Practicing proper trigger control involves smoothly and steadily squeezing the trigger straight back. This movement ensures that the trigger doesn’t disturb the alignment of the sights or optic like the 507k or 507c from Holosun.

Frequently Asked Questions

How often should you practice shooting?

It mainly depends on the level of skill you wish to maintain. Ideally, you should practice at least once or twice a month.

Can you shoot accurately with a one handed grip?

Yes, it is possible but it requires more practice and skill to maintain stability and control recoil compared to a two-handed grip.

How far apart should your stance be when shooting a pistol?

As a general rule, your stance should be shoulder-width apart for proper balance, stability, and recoil management.

The Bottom Line

Holding a handgun correctly is vital to achieving maximum accuracy when you shoot. The right grip, alignment, trigger control, and a comfortable, balanced stance can significantly improve your aim. Remember to always practice handgun safety for the sake of your well-being and those around you. Try and practice at least twice a month to continually refine your technique in order to enhance your proficiency and safety in handgun handling fully. Happy shooting!

About the author

Patrick Howard

I have been working as a gunsmith for 20 years. Rain, fog, moisture, high temperature, or even snow are all the things a product must withstand in order to be recommended by me.

Leave a Comment