How To Aim A Pistol

aim a pistol

If you own a pistol, you’ll want to learn how to aim it correctly to increase the number of shots you make.

But it’s sometimes said that aiming a pistol isn’t easy.

Why is it hard to aim a pistol?

Since it’s smaller than some other types of guns, this makes it more difficult to hold because you can’t rest the gun on your shoulder or arm.

However, with a few tips to help you, aiming a pistol can become second nature for you. With that in mind, let’s check out how to aim a pistol and improve your shots.

If you’d like to see a graphical breakdown on how to aim a pistol, we got you covered:

How to aim a pistol

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How To Aim A Pistol: What You Need To Know About Your Dominant Eye

Before you start trying to aim your pistol, it’s important to know that you should aim with the use of your dominant eye.

You won’t be able to aim with both eyes so it’s crucial to use your dominant eye as that will give you a better picture of your surroundings.

What’s your dominant eye?

This is usually the eye that lines up with your dominant hand, but that’s not always the case. So, to find out which eye is dominant, make a circle that’s about one inch in diameter with your index finger and thumb.

Hold it at arm’s length and look through it. Focus on a distant object and slowly bring the circle closer to your face with your eyes opened without looking at it. Your hand will naturally move towards your dominant eye.

Now You’re Ready To Learn How To Aim A Pistol! 

what is the dominant eye?

Once you’ve found your dominant eye, you can follow these steps to learn how to aim your pistol. 

  • Locate the front sight on your gun. Now, your pistol will have a front and rear sight. Aim the pistol so that the front sight’s post is centered between two posts of the rear sight.
  • It can be tricky to look at the front sight, rear sight, and target when aiming the pistol. So, focus on the gun’s front sight, not the target. Bear in mind that the target should be a bit blurry – that’s normal! 
  • Choose the right point of aim. There are three points of aim, and finding the one you should use will depend on which one feels right. The three points are as follows:

1. Center hold. This is when you place the top of the front sight at the target’s center. 

2. Six o’clock aim. This is when the top of the front sight is below the bullseye area. 

3. Sub-6 aim. This is when the top of the front sight is even further below the bullseye area. So, if you’re looking at a target, the top sight should be more or less in the middle of the white portion underneath the black bullseye area. This should give you an idea of where it will be when looking at other things through the front sight. 

  • After firing a shot, check where the bullet went as this will help you correct handling errors.
  • If your bullet missed the center of your target and moved closer to your dominant side, you might be using too much trigger finger. 
  • If the bullet fell to the lower right and you’re a right-handed shooter (or vice versa for left-handed shooters) then you’re tightening your grip too much while pulling the trigger. On the other hand, if it is going to the lower left side, you’re jerking the trigger or your fingers are too tight.
  • Once you’ve properly aimed your pistol, you can go ahead and pull the trigger. Press the trigger straight to the rear. Keep a consistent pressure going and squeeze it until you feel resistance. Press the trigger until it shoots a bullet. 

How To Hold The Pistol Correctly

how to hold a gun

You can’t aim properly and get good shots if you’re not holding the pistol correctly.

Your gun holding method goes a long way to either increasing or decreasing your accuracy. Here’s how to fine-tune your grip.

  • Using your dominant hand, make sure that it’s positioned along the back strap (which is the back of the pistol grip). Your thumb needs to be to the inside of the gun’s barrel. 
  • Make sure your ring, pinky, and middle fingers are wrapped around the outside and front of the grip. Check that your index finger rests against the outside of the trigger guard. This will ensure that your hand remains steady. 
  • Your non-dominant hand should offer you support. It should be placed as high as possible around the grip, with all fingers being placed underneath the trigger guard. Your thumb needs to point forward so it can meet your other thumb on the opposite side of the gun. 

What About How You Stand?

stand while aiming

How you stand when aiming a pistol is also important to finetune so that you get it right.

Here are some tips to bear in mind when you’re ready to fire a shot:

  1. Keep your feet in the right direction. They should be pointed towards what you’re shooting, and the same goes for your torso. 
  2. One of the best stances to try when aiming a pistol is the Isosceles Stance. This is a natural pose that’s easy to achieve: make sure you face the target while keeping your feet shoulder-width apart. Hold the gun in front of your eyes with a two-handed grip and make sure your arms are fully extended. Keep your head upright

Related Questions

How can you adjust your sights?

You can adjust the rear sight for elevation and windage, and iron sights can be adjusted for greater accuracy. However, you should consult with a professional gunsmith to adjust the sights for you.

How can you improve your aim?

Make sure you practice regularly! A good tip is to do so while dry firing your weapon so you can learn all the important steps we’ve outlined in this article and they’ll become second nature.


If you own a pistol, you might battle to aim it or know how to even try.

After reading this article, you now have a better idea of how to go about it. We’ve looked at tips you should follow to aim your pistol as well as how to hold it for the most accurate shots.