How to Improve Your Handgun Firing Accuracy

If you’re interested in self-defense or if you just love spending time at the shooting range, it’s important to improve your accuracy. Over time, as your accuracy improves, you’ll become better at hitting targets, you’ll be more effective in dangerous situations, and you’ll build confidence that can benefit you in a variety of areas of life.

Assuming you already have a good handgun, there are several strategies you can use to improve your handgun firing accuracy faster.

The Unique Challenges of Handguns

First, you should know that firing a handgun presents more challenges than firing with a traditional rifle.

For example:

  •         Short sights. Rifles typically have long sights, making it easier to align them and choose the right target. But with handguns, the sights are shorter – meaning there’s more room for you to miss your shot. You’ll need to exercise patience and precision when aiming.
  •         Lack of stability. With a rifle, you often rely on some external means of support to aim and fire the weapon accurately. For example, you might prop it up on a stabilizing stand or use a kneeling stance to support it from the bottom. But when you’re firing a handgun, no such support is available to you. Pistols are light, but they still need to be held steady while aiming if you’re going to hit your target.
  •         Stance and positioning. When firing a handgun, you’ll need to pay close attention to your stance and positioning. There are multiple stances you can use to fire a handgun, each with advantages and disadvantages, so you’ll need to choose the style that works best for you (and your current situation). This can take some time and practice.
  •         Mastering trigger pressure. Handguns may be light and portable, but they still require a significant amount of pressure to squeeze the trigger fully. This mismatch can make it difficult to know exactly how much pressure to give it – sometimes causing a delay in your firing.
  •         Recoil and flinching. Most guns have some degree of recoil, but with a handgun, it’s particularly noticeable. Your gun will likely kick back in response to your firing, potentially causing you to flinch and lose your stance. You’ll have to work hard to overcome this.

Much of your practice will revolve around conquering these challenges.

How to Improve Your Accuracy

These tips will help you overcome the unique challenges of firing handguns and improve your accuracy.

  •         Practice. There’s no getting around it. If you want to get better at aiming and accurately firing your handgun, you’re going to need to practice. Take your gun to the shooting range on a regular basis and fire at targets frequently. It’s also a good idea to experiment with different handguns while having a primary weapon serving as your firearm of choice. The longer you spend with this weapon, and the more you get to know it, the more accurate you’re going to get.
  •         Master your stance. Choosing the right stance and mastering that stance will improve your accuracy dramatically. Work with a coach or a seasoned expert to tinker with different stances and figure out which one is best for you. Then, get used to holding this stance steadily for long periods of time.
  •         Get to know your sights. Different handguns have different types of sights. Some sights are “combat” sights, meant to line up exactly with your target. Some are “standard” sights, meant to line up so the target is partially obscured by your sights. Some are “6 o’ clock” sights, meant to line up just below your target. Know the differences and master your specific sights.
  •         Control your breathing. Unsteady breathing can shake up your stance, weaken your grip, and ultimately compromise your accuracy. Get used to breathing in a slow, controlled manner – and one that doesn’t interfere with pulling the trigger.
  •         Get to know your trigger. How much pressure does your trigger need before it fires? The only way to tell for sure is to experiment and get familiar with it. Develop muscle memory so you can fire your weapon repeatedly and reliably.
  •         Evaluate each shot. When practicing at the shooting range, take a moment after each shot you fire to evaluate your performance. How close were you to your target? If you missed, what was responsible for the miss? What can you do differently with the next shot? This deliberate approach will lead to faster, more reliable improvements.

No matter what tricks you try or what innovative processes you follow, it’s almost impossible to improve without practice. You’ll need to put in many hours at shooting ranges and experiment with a number of different techniques before you achieve full mastery. Keep this in mind as you keep making iterative improvements in your own abilities. 

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