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  • Post last modified:January 4, 2024

Handguns are often seen as one of the most difficult firearms to master. However, they are not as complicated as some instructors or institutions would have you believe.

This guide aims go over the 5 fundamentals of shooting, covering grip, aim, trigger control, breathing and follow-through you need to build upon.

Mastering Fundamentals Of Shooting

Proper Grip

Square up towards the target, maintain a slight bend in your elbows, and bring the pistol to your eyes. This stance allows for better stability and control when shooting, especially when shooting on the move.


A solid grip allows you to shoot accurately and prevent certain malfunctions. Make sure to grip the handgun high, ensuring good leverage and friction for recoil management. Introduce your support hand and grip tightly, with your thumbs running forward.

Focus on the grip frame than grip strength. This way the shooter can manage the recoil and track the sights much better.


Iron Sight Users

hk usp iron sight pov

To aim properly, line up the front sight post in the center of the valley on the rear sight aperture, keeping it flush with the top of the rear sight.

Keep both eyes open, figure out your dominant eye, and focus on the front sight post.

holosun 507c red dot pov

For red dot sight shooter, this becomes much easier with a red dot reticle.

  • Shooter can keep both eyes open and focus on the target plane
  • Shooter's eye can be slightly off center without aligning iron sight as long as the red dot is visible, and on target
  • A 1 MOA dot doesn't cover up targets further away 

Learn more about a 10 yard zero vs 25 yard zero

Trigger Control: Sooner Rather Than Faster

Recoil anticipation can cause missed shots. Dry firing helps to reduce this issue.

To control recoil effectively, learn to drive the gun back on target as it reciprocates instead of waiting for it to settle.

mantis x10 elite shooting tracker
mantis x10 elite on Glock 19

There are many training tools available, our favorite is the Mantis X10 trainer with real time data feed back when dry firing and live firing, to show exactly what you need to work on.

Incorporating Weapon Safety:

ruger 57 grip left
  • As you drive the gun straight up and out, prep the trigger as soon as it clears into the downrange area where you intend to fire.
  • Ensure that you do not disturb the sight alignment and sight picture as you execute the shot.

Debunking the "Low and Left" Myth:

shooting error chart iron sight
  • Many people claim that certain guns shoot low and left, but this is usually due to human error.
  • Elements such as grip, trigger control, sight alignment, and sight picture all contribute to the human error factor in shooting.
  • Mitigating Human Error: To reduce human error, prep the trigger sooner and focus on proper technique without jerking the trigger .

Proper Trigger Placement and Grip Size

Improper trigger press is often the cause of missed shots. Learn your trigger's "wall" (the point of resistance), and press the trigger straight to the rear using the pad of your finger. Practice dry firing to become more familiar with your trigger.

good trigger finger placement
too much trigger finger placement
  • Ensure that your finger falls naturally onto the trigger and breaks from one consistent joint, not two.
  • The grip size and modifications on your gun will dictate whether you can achieve proper placement for breaking from one consistent joint.

The Importance of In-Flight Reset and Sear Reset

  • The goal of using an in-flight reset is to minimize the amount of human error and stops in the trigger.
  • Practicing in-flight reset and sear reset takes time and practice, but doing so will improve your shooting efficiency.

Breathing: Don't Forget to Breathe

Controlled Breathing
  • Breathing is a natural process and should not be forgotten during engagement.
  • Focus on breathing throughout your engagement without needing to consciously think about it.

Follow-Through: The Key to Recovery

fnx45 with holosun 507c pov
  • Proper follow-through involves resetting the sights on target, driving the sights back to a refined sight picture, and breaking the shot again.
  • The most efficient way to follow through is by using an in-flight trigger reset, which minimizes human error.