How to Shoot a Handgun | The Most Accurate Way of Shooting

Things in real life are quite contrary to what they seem on the big screen. I have many students and novice shooters. They all have chosen this field only for their love and craziness for Hollywood action adventures. I always try to make things clear to them. And today I am going to guide my readers as well (if you think shooting is that easy). Those of you who seriously want to pursue the career as a hunter or shooter, must not take things so lightly. You should have the most accurate knowledge about how to shoot a handgun.


Remember! It is not just about pulling a trigger and downing the prey. To make your adventure fun and success, you must learn a special criterion of holding a gun and then shooting. Things seem hard initially, but don’t worry. Here I am to show you in detail about how to tackle a handgun and shoot it perfectly.

Shooting a Handgun

Shooting a Handgun - Photo credit: pistol-training.com

So How to Shoot a Handgun Accurately?

Step 1: Types of Handgun

Whichever type of handgun you are going to make use of, it’s better to know well about it. Handguns are commonly available in two basic types;

  • Revolver
  • Semi-automatic pistols

What is a Revolver?

A revolver is probably one of the earliest firearms been introduced to our society. We have heard and find notable info about a revolver in the late 16th century in Germany. Our very own and loved, cowboy movies used to display these revolvers.

A revolver is simply named this because of having a revolving cylinder in it. This cylinder consists of many chambers with a single barrel to fire. Most of the revolvers are designed with the capacity of six chambers (six-shooter), but a few made especially for smaller hands, have five chambers as well.

What is a Semi-automatic pistol?

It’s a comparatively modern form of firearm. Advanced in design, it has a sliding system on the top of it. You have to pull the slide to load and unload the gun. The magazine (detachable) holds the cartridges. That is already inserted in the hand-grip area.

Each time you want to load a bullet in the pistol, pull the slide and there it is, all set for shooting. Both firearms have the same trigger to make the shot. Look at the image below and decide, which type of handgun are you going to use?

A Revolver and a Semi-Automatic Pistol

A Revolver and a Semi-Automatic Pistol - Photo credit: modernsurvivalblog.com

Step 2: Safety Precautions

Like I always insist, knowing how to shoot a handgun is just not enough. It is very important to be alert and attentive while the whole shooting process. Before we move on to holding a gun, follow the below given suggestions, equally important for novice and experienced shooters.

  • Protect your ears with ear plugs or any other type of ear protection. The noise of a handgun may damage your ears.
  • Do not forget to put on the specially designed safety goggles to protect your eyes. Why? Whenever you fire from a pistol, it releases multiple gasses, dangerous lead particles and empty shells. If any of it comes in direct contact with your eyes, it may severely harm them.

Step 3: Safe Handling of the Gun

Not just handguns, but guns of all sorts should be handled carefully. Whether it’s loaded or not. Always keep its direction towards the ground. There have been many fatal accidents reported where the bullet was shot accidentally. Resulting in something really unexpected. In short, never forget to keep your gun downrange while pulling the slide of the handgun.

Step 4: Holding a Gun

For hunting, shooting or any other purpose, whenever you get hold of a gun, make sure it’s not loaded. If it’s a revolver, check the cylinder by releasing it. Look carefully whether all the chambers are empty.

For semi-automatic pistol, remove the magazine and pull the slide to check whether the chamber is empty or loaded. Doing it is a must for avoiding any undesirable incident.

Step 5: Positioning of various Body Parts

Each body part requires to have a specific position to get the shot on the exact target. Let’s take a brief look at various body parts and their position as it is equally important in learning about how to shoot a handgun.

  • Arms should be well extended but not locked out.
  • Your legs should be in front to back position. The leg on the strong hand’s side should be about at a distance of 12 to 18 inches from the other leg.
  • You can also opt for a side to side position of the legs. Keep the distance between your legs as you feel comfortable with. What I recommend is the hip-width distance at the most. That’s pretty comfortable.
  • Your body weight should be on the heels, instead of toes.
  • The whole body should be leaned forward, slightly.
  • Note: The distance between two legs may vary according to the height, weight, strength and balance level of each shooter.

Step 6: Hold and Grip the Gun Properly

There is a well-defined and accurate way of holding and gripping the gun. Grip the gun within the web area (area between the thumb and index finger) of your strong hand. It should be held firmly and as much higher on the grip as possible.

Use your primary or strong hand to grip the gun, thumb on one side and remaining fingers on the other. The other hand plays the role of a supporter. It helps supporting the weight of the gun and strengthening the overall grip of the hand around the gun.

Step 7: Aim the Target

Once you have made the grip successfully, now is the time to aim your target with the help of two sights. These sights are aiming devices, made on the slide area of the handgun. These are popularly known as;

  • Front sight
  • Rear sight
Rear and Front Sights on a Handgun

Rear and Front Sights on a Handgun

What are you gonna do with these sights? You are supposed to align both sights on the target. Or in other words, both sights should be on the same level, focusing on the target. These sights make sure that you hit on the exact target.

Step 8: Finger on the Trigger

As you have fixed the gun on the target, now move your finger towards the trigger. Wait! Before you pull the trigger, know that it should only be pulled with the first part (distal phalanx) of the trigger finger.

Distal Phalanx

Distal Phalanx - Photo credit: godfreydaily.files.wordpress.com

Step 9: Pull the Trigger

Before you take this final step, hold your breath, don’t get panic and slightly pull the trigger rearward. Make sure that no part of your body should move while hitting the target.

  • Note: This whole period of pulling the trigger should be short but don’t be hasty in hitting the target. Keep your nerves in control and go for it.


How to shoot a handgun is not something impossible or out of this world. A shooter with the will to learn and strong control over his nerves can really make it through.

My purpose here is simply to make things easier and understandable for the beginners and not to complicate them more. Hope it would be useful for all the novice shooters out there. Keep on practicing (with unloaded handgun only).

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All the best!!!

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.

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