How to Grip a Handgun Accurately?

Action movies have been fascinating us since long about weapons and ammunition. Deadly action sequences using handguns and pulling the trigger, it all seems so simple and effortless. But in real life most of us do not have even the basic idea of how to grip a handgun. Using a handgun involves a tricky method and technique. A lot depends on tactfully gripping and holding the weapon.


Being a professional hunter, I know that hunting down the prey and shooting accurately, involve various steps. And a beginner hunter would not have an idea of most of these. That is why I am here to share some necessary info regarding the proper use of a handgun while hunting. To shoot your target accurately, you must have a detailed knowledge of shooter’s positioning and gripping technique of the handgun. Before we get into the details, it would be better to recognize numerous parts of a handgun.

Main Parts of a Handgun

A handgun has various parts. Let’s take a look at some of the very basic parts of these.

  • Barrel is the long metal tube of the gun with a slide over it (to load or unload cartridges).
  • A handgrip is the part where you grip the gun and it also holds the magazine containing bullets.
  • Trigger is used to pull, to shot the prey.
  • Trigger guard is the loop encircling the trigger. Its purpose is to keep the trigger safe from an accidental discharge.

Check the image below for further clarification of various other parts.

Various Parts of a Gun

Various Parts of a Gun - Photo credit: earthineer.com

Precautionary Measures for Safe Gun Handling

Whatever you are doing, your own safety comes first. For beginners especially, I would never recommend using the firearms without any supervision. Because safer handling of the weapons is what I always insist on. Before I elucidate further about how to grip a handgun, check out these basic safety measures you all must follow.

  • Whether your gun is loaded or not, never forget to keep the muzzle in the safe direction. And that direction should be down range.
  • A gun without magazine, and a pulled back slide, should be treated as if it is loaded. It should always be set down in the down range position. Move the slide forward and backward and then pull the trigger (try it in the outdoors).
  • Each time you set out for shooting, do not forget to opt for some protective eyewear and hearing protectors.
  • Stay away from the trigger or simply lock the trigger, if you are not going to shoot anytime sooner.
Ears and Eye Protection

Ears and Eye Protection - Photo credit: mozu.com

How to Grip a Handgun?

Once you have taken all the necessary measures for shooting, now is the time to grip the handgun. The fate of your shooting adventure lies completely in the way, you position yourself and grip the weapon. A handgun is designed to be operated with just one or both of your hands. Let’s take a look at multiple steps for gripping the weapon.

Step 1: Stand Firmly

  • A lot depends on your standing position. Feel comfortable. Both of your feet should be equally weighed. Secondly, opt for a weight on heels posture instead of toes.

Step 2: Position of the Primary Hand

  • I have been shooting with one hand. That’s a normal thing among experienced shooters. But for the beginners, I would not recommend that. For stability and accuracy while shooting, using two hands is the best way.
  • Use your dominant hand to grab the gun. It’s also called primary hand or trigger hand. Hold the handgrip firmly with it. Your primary hand should be as high on the handgrip as possible.
  • Note: For me, my right hand is the primary one. If any of you out there is a left hander, you can reverse the whole bundle of instructions given here.

Step 3: Positioning of Other Fingers

Once you have the gun, your index finger and thumb are separated by it. Index finger near the trigger, and thumb on the other top side of the gun’s frame. The remaining three fingers should wrap the lower part of the grip.

These three fingers should be placed right next to each other, without overlapping. Make sure you grip the gun firmly; at the same time, it should not be, what we call a ‘death grip’.

While you are not aiming at the prey, your index finger should be rested against the body of the gun. Most importantly, it should not be anywhere near the trigger (for safety sake).

Step 4: Non-Dominant Hand

Your non-trigger hand is equally helpful and supports the other hand while gripping. That is why we hunters often name it as ‘support hand’ or ‘reaction hand’. The fingers of this hand should wrap well to any empty space left on the handgrip.

Because, the firmer your grip, the better you can control the weapon. Non-dominant hand’s thumb should actually be a support, underneath the thumb of the dominant hand, in a slightly forward position, against the frame. Just like in the image below.

Position of Support Hand for gripping the gun

Position of Support Hand for gripping the gun - Photo credit: itstactical.com

Step: 5 Positioning of Arms

Your arms should be in an extended position but they should not be locked. Slightly curved from the elbow, is what I recommend. With your dominant arm extended, your forearm should be right behind the handgun. The shoulders should be in a relaxed position and make sure they are ahead of your hips. The upper body should be leaned forward a bit.

  • Note: Bending slightly backward to your waist or hip area would be the biggest mistake while hitting the target. Bear that in mind.

Step: 6 Your Dominant Eye to Aim the Target

Now you have enough idea of how to grip a handgun using your dominant hand. The next step is to determine your dominant eye. This may be the opposite to your dominant hand. Many with right side dominant hand, have a left dominant eye. That is normal.

The next step is simply to aim your target with the dominant eye. Focus on the target, with your dominant eye, set on the sights on the barrel.

Step: 7 Hold your Breath

Before you pull the trigger, hold your breath, stand firmly like I already have mentioned above. It’s important because many times when you pull the trigger, the strong jerk pushes you back and leaving you off-balance. Align the sights and aim your target.

Step: 8 Pull the Trigger

Don’t just simply pull the trigger. It requires a well-modulated press. Your distal phalanx or the first part of your index finger should be used to pull the trigger, finally.


All the steps mentioned above are equally important. You can’t learn them in just a few hours. It needs practice. And for practice, dry firing is the best option. My final words for you is to keep practicing. But even in dry firing, make sure the gun is empty. Because safety comes first. All the best!

You can read more about Best IWB Holsters on this article!

Captain Hunter

Captain Hunter provides guides on how to hunt effectively, answer reader questions, and reviews of the latest hunting gear. We specialize in providing expert information that does exactly what it claims. Our dedicated staff members are each seasoned professionals with a passion for hunting built upon years of in the field experience.

Click Here to Leave a Comment Below 1 comments
Visit Us On FacebookVisit Us On TwitterCheck Our Feed