Why is it difficult to shoot accurately using a pistol?


Have you recently bought a pistol and discovered that it doesn’t shoot as accurately as other guns? You are correct that a handgun is one of the most difficult firearms to shoot well. Why? Here are some reasons why and how you can help improve your accuracy when using a pistol.

Why can handguns be difficult to shoot?

There’s less to hold on to

Handguns are smaller than larger guns like rifles and this can impact your shooting accuracy. That’s because there is a shorter sighting radius to get the front and rear sights aligned than with larger guns. That translates to a greater chance of user error in the aiming process.

The trigger

Although some may pull the trigger to the left or the right, the most important aspect of pulling a trigger is using more than just the tip of the finger to pull. If you are unable to pull the trigger accurately, your grip will pull the shot one way or the other.

When you use a rifle, you can use your shoulder and another arm or a bipod/rest to keep the gun on target. Essentially, you can steady the gun before firing without affecting the trigger. With a pistol, the pressure applied from your finger can directly affect the movement of the firearm.This may negatively affect your shot.

So, how can you improve your shooting accuracy with a pistol?

Improve your stance

Hold the gun and check on how you are standing when you go to fire it. If you have one heel behind the other, your body won’t have good lateral balance and you’ll tend to move sideways. In the same way, if your feet are squared parallel, you won’t have a good front to back balance.

Proper alignment of your body is key here with the correct shooting stance looking like a boxer or fighter. Keep your pelvis at a 45-degree angle with your left leg to the rear. This will help balance your body and how you hold the gun.

Get a grip

Never squeeze hard. The isometric tension of push and pull between the two hands will hold the firearm in place. Keep your forearm in line with the gun, to properly absorb the recoil.

Let’s talk a bit about recoil, which is directly related to the size of the pistol itself. Manufacturers continue to find ways to improve — i.e., reduce — the level of recoil. For example, the Staccato STI 2011 includes their trademarked FlaTec flat shooting technology with a recoil absorbing grip.

No matter what, always keep gun safety in mind. If you have more questions about the specific handguns on the market today and which guns will be best for you, our experienced team at Sporting Systems can help!


Facebook Review

Vancouver Gun Shop Reviews “Hands down the best gun store in town. Dan and Heidi are quality people who genuinely care about there customers. Great selection of guns!”

Heather Janisch
Google Review

“I am extremely impressed with the shop as a whole. By far my best gun buying experience ever! Dan, Heidi and staff were very helpful”

Dave Bodin
Northwest Firearms Review

“Stopped by today. I’m impressed! Nice store, good displays, lots of guns, great folks. Not a typical gun store. They got it goin on!”

Fire Mountain Outdoors Review

“best gun shop in the State of Washington!!”

Fire Mountain Outdoors

Check out more of our reviews on Google.