How to Hold a Handgun for Maximum Accuracy

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Holding a handgun isn’t as simple as one might think. It requires various techniques and a lot of practice in the shooting range. More important, using a gun wrong will not only turn it useless, it can also be dangerous. That’s why knowing how to hold a handgun for maximum accuracy is important in terms of safety and precision. 

How to Hold a Handgun for Maximum Accuracy

Having maximum accuracy for a handgun means shooting a target consistently from different ranges without missing the main area. In short, you’re hitting your intended target with every shot you take at any range. It’s a skill that most shooters try to constantly improve.

Person holding a gun in a forest

Here are some steps to hold a handgun for maximum accuracy:

Position Yourself

Before you start to shoot your handgun, you must first establish your position. First off, you need to decide on what range you’re going to be shooting. Make sure you got everything you need.

After deciding on the range, you need to assume a standing position with your back straight. You must not lean or bend to keep your aim straight. Stretch out your arms and completely focus your mind on the target. Use your vision to analyze your aim at the target.

Use Both Hands to Hold the Handgun

Don’t try to copy the typical Hollywood one-hand shooting style. Because of the recoil, you wouldn’t be able to maintain your form and this will greatly reduce your accuracy. You’ll need years of target practice in order to accurately shoot one hand.

For starters, use both hands to hold a handgun. It gives you better accuracy compared to holding a handgun with one hand. When holding the handgun, make sure that all of your fingers are holding the grip part properly. Your fingers shouldn’t feel uncomfortable when you’re holding the handgun.

Make Use of Your Arms and Adjust Your Grip

Your body will dictate the accuracy of your handgun. Level your shoulders straight with your aim. They’re important in giving you maximum accuracy. Always have your arms coordinate with your vision.

Your arms should always be straight in line with your chest. Relax your shoulders and make sure they’re not stiff. Don’t hold the position unless you’re aiming as you’ll only tense up your muscles. You’re only doing unnecessary forms that exhaust your arms.

Being relaxed doesn’t mean that you have to be soft. You also need your arms firm enough to withstand the recoil of the handgun upon firing.

Person holding a gun at a gun range

Line Up the Sight

There are usually 2 sights in a handgun, the rear sight and the front sight. Focusing on both sights will only make the target blurry. Align it by having a vision of the front sight between the rear sight so you’ll have a clear vision of the target.

You should also have an ample amount of light to get a clearer sight. Have your vision of the target in the center of the rear sight and you will have the maximum accuracy possible.

Find Your Target

Once you get the grasp of lining up your sight, you need to practice placing your sights on a specific target.

Practice aiming your sights by having a target like a bullseye or a mixture of images. For example, make a large blue circle and inside it, there are triangles and small circles of different colors.

Your overall target would be the large blue circle and your specific target would be the small triangles and squares found inside the large blue circle.

Focus and Relax Your Breathing

Having the proper way of breathing helps with the adjustment and alignment of your sight. This will help get you the maximum accuracy on your handgun.

The chest contraction and expansion allows an increase in your blood flow and helps you concentrate on your target. Time your breaths with your aim as your hand will go up and down as you inhale and exhale. I often recommend you shoot when you’re exhaling.

Person checking his gun after firing it at a gun range

Fire Your Shot

Now you’re ready to fire your shot. Keep in mind the steps you did before firing your first shot. After taking the shot, reset your trigger by holding it with your finger. This will result in less movement of your hand and maintaining your accuracy.

After resetting the trigger, make continuous shots without moving your arms and body. The first attempts will make you a bit uncomfortable as the recoil will move your hands. This is what you’ll be evaluating for every attempt you make and adjust your form and steps accordingly.

Getting perfect accuracy will take years of training and frequent trips to the shooting range to master your shooting form and have a consistent shooting accuracy.

How to Prepare Before Practicing Handgun for Accuracy

Before you start practicing for improving the shooting accuracy of your handgun, there are some things you need to do to help you better prepare for it.

  • Be confident: confidence helps with improving your accuracy. Make sure that you are physically and mentally prepared before you hold your handgun for maximum accuracy.
  • Ready the gears: This isn’t all about the equipment. You need to decide the range you’ll be practicing in, the bullseye target you’re going to use, and having multiple gun magazines for an efficient trip at the range. Have your range backpack or gun case ready and have all the essential equipment you need before making the trip to the shooting range.
  • Know how the gun works: pulling the trigger of a handgun for the first time is equal to pulling 4 to 5 times the weight of the handgun. This is a beginner experience that everyone goes through and why first-time users feel uncomfortable handling a gun. All guns also have recoil. Understanding how the recoil works from your handgun model will help you adjust your aim and improve your accuracy.
Gun laid out at a table

How to Stay Safe Holding a Handgun

Handling a gun comes with a lot of responsibility. You need to ensure your safety and the safety of the people around you before you start practicing shooting a handgun. These are some of the safety tips that you need to follow:

  • Always have a first-aid kit with you.
  • Try and take a shot from at least 2 different ranges so you can adjust and position your hand in different ranges.
  • Wrap your hands tightly on the grip to avoid wrist and hand injuries.
  • Maintain proper breathing.


Shooting a handgun is not as easy as most think. Even though a handgun is a small weapon, it still packs a forceful recoil and you’ll shoot with bad accuracy if you take it for granted. Following the proper steps and techniques of holding a handgun will not only increase your accuracy, it will also make you and everyone else feel safer.

James Forrester is a lifelong gun and firearms owner, and an even bigger advocate for gun safety. He created with the purpose of sharing helpful tips and educating others on how to keep guns and weapons safe and secure.