Is pistol shooting difficult?


To shoot a pistol accurately, it is first necessary to learn and understand the fundamentals of pistol shooting.


A. Proper body position is essential in order to shoot a good score.
B. Study the position.
C. Practice the position without a pistol.
D. Practice the position with a pistol.
E. Align the position properly with target.


A. Keeping the gun pointed in a safe direction and the index finger off the trigger, use the non-shooting hand to place the pistol in the grip of the shooting hand.

B. Fit the “V” formed by the thumb and the index finger of the shooting hand as high as possible on the backstrap portion of the frame.

C. Align the backstrap of the pistol frame with the wrist and forearm.

D. Grip the pistol using the base of the thumb and the lower three fingers of the shooting hand. The pressure of the grip must be directed straight to the rear. Hold the pistol as firmly as possible, but without exerting so much pressure that the hand begins to shake.

E. The index finger should not be placed on the trigger, but should lie along the side of the frame or on the outside of the trigger guard. Always keep the index finger off the trigger until ready to shoot.

F. The thumb should lie relaxed along the side of the frame at a level above that of the index finger.

G. Uniformity is the most important feature of a proper grip. The grip should be the same each time that the pistol is held.


A. In order to minimize body movement, the breath must be held while firing.

B. Before each shot, take a breath, let out enough air to be comfortable, and hold the remaining breath while firing the shot.

C. Firing will usually occur in a few seconds; there should be no difficulty from lack of oxygen.

D. If the breath is held too long, muscle tremors may start. If this occurs, take the index finger off the trigger while keeping the muzzle pointed in a safe direction, put the gun down, relax briefly, take a few breaths, and then begin the firing cycle again.


A. Sight alignment is the relationship of the front and rear sights.

B. The eye must be lined up with the front and rear sights and the sights positioned so that their alignment is correct.

C. Proper alignment of the two sights means that the top of the front sight is even with the top of the rear sight.

D. The front sight must also be centered in the notch of the rear sight so that there is an equal amount of space on each side of the front sight.

E. To fire an accurate shot, it is essential to concentrate on the front sight.

F. The eye is capable of focusing clearly on only one object at a time. It cannot keep the rear sight, the front sight, and the target in focus at the same time.

G. When the eye is focused properly, the front sight should appear sharp and clear, the rear sight should appear a little less sharp, and the target should look blurred.

H. A new shooter should hold the aligned sights at a six o’clock relationship to the target. (The front sight can be clearly seen against the white of the target when using a six o’clock hold.)


A. Follow-through means continuing to apply all of the shooting fundamentals throughout the delivery of the shot.

B. In most sports, a physical action must always be completed with proper follow-through. (i.e. After a golfer hits a ball, the golfer’s arms should continue in the arc as when the club first met the ball. The same principle applies to shooter’s actions.)

C. In shooting, follow-through consists of continuing to do everything that was being done at the time the shot was fired.

D. The idea of follow-through is to prevent any unnecessary movement before the bullet leaves the barrel.

E. If the front sight is being concentrated upon when the pistol is fired, it should be possible to call the location of the shot on the target without actually seeing the point of impact.

F. Learning to call the location of the shots will help to identify shooting errors and allow appropriate corrective actions to be taken.


A. The two most important fundamentals in pistol shooting are sight alignment and trigger squeeze.

B. The remaining fundamentals all combine to assist in achieving proper sight alignment and trigger squeeze.

C. Remember, all of the fundamentals must be properly performed every time in order to shoot a pistol accurately.