How to Shoot a gun accurately

Firing a gun can be intimidating if you don't understand how to do so properly.

A gun is a tool and not the root of evil. Human beings are the source of evil, but that is neither here nor there. I'm going to explain how to operate a fire arm accurately. For the purpose of this article i will refer to a handgun as the mechanics of a rifle are a bit different.

Select a weapon to familiarize yourself with shooting. I suggest researching gun ranges in your area that rent fire arms. You can purchase ammunition at most as well. As you are first learning it is strongly recommended that you start off with a smaller more accurate caliber weapon. The larger calibers such as .45 and .357 Magnum are more powerful they are heavier and harder to learn with. 9mm or .22 cal are great rounds to start off with. You can go out and start off with a Dirty Hairy hand cannon if you want but if you can't put that bullet where you want it you're intimidating to everything but what you're shooting at. You would be well advised to learn to shoot accurately and then resolve your adequacy issues.

Whether on the range our out doors somewhere it is vital that you understand and follow the 4 firearms safety rules religiously. Accidents happen when people become overly confident and complacent around fire arms. Sign up for a safety class and memorize the 4 weapon safety rules.

Once a bullet leaves the muzzle, you can't bring it back.

Understand how the firearm works. Its important to have a mechanical understanding of what it is you have in your hands and how it does what it does. The image shows how back force from the bullet sends the slide back and ejects the spent shell, the slide continues backward to the magazine well and a round is stripped from the magazine and the compressed slide spring slingshots the slide forward inserting the fresh round into the chamber. *This is what happens every time the trigger is pulled and a bullet is fired until it runs through its ammo supply.

Establish a firm and high grip on the gun, making sure to keep your fingers and hand out of the path of the slide. This can really hurt if you fire and the slide smacks your hand and pinches your skin. Space your feet about shoulder width apart. Try leading off with your trigger finger hand in a sort of base ball stance with your arms extended. You can also face straight at the target, it all depends on how you are comfortable and accurate. As you progress you will want to adjust your firing position to what works best for you.

Sight alignment

Sight alignment is a vital fundamental in accurate shooting. Most handgun sights are similar to the one pictured. Aim the weapon so that the front end sight post is aligned to the rear post. This ensures that the front of the gun is online with the rear of the gun. If the front post protrudes over the rear sight you will likely shoot high and low if the front post is lower than the rear aperture.

Sight Picture

Sight Picture is the next fundamental skill you will want to develop. This means to place the sights within an area of the target you are aiming at. You will want to focus on center mass. This means to aim for the largest section of your target and the center of it. Forget all those movies where the good guy shoots through the bad guys hand. In reality he would have missed and killed a bystander. Shoot what you can hit or stick to video games.

Trigger control and your grip affect the accuracy and lateral travel of the round to the target. When firing you need to remember to squeeze; not jerk or pull the trigger. This means to gradually increase direct pressure with your finger until you reach the breaking point. This is where the hammer is released and hits the firing pin. You will want to take note of how much pressure it takes to reach the "trigger break".

Controlled breathing is critical as well. Before you get into you shooting position start taking deep breaths. As you get your breathing steady you are going to be firing at the end of your exhale. As you breathe in and out your chest expands and contracts which in turn move your arms which in turn cause the gun to rise up and down. You want to make sure that you are firing when your chest isn't moving.


  • Learn the 4 firearms safety rules and practice and respect them religiously. They are tried and true by professionals since the dawn of the firearm.
  • Slow is Smooth, Smooth is Fast. Take your time to learn the basics and master them, speed and grace will follow easily.
  • Never lose that slightly nervous respect you have initially for the firearm. Just like the second a snake handler loses respect for the snake is when the snake decides to bite.


  • While you want to establish your sight picture you do not want to focus your eyes on the target instead of the sights. If you do so you will shoot around the outside of the target. Focus on the sights and align the weapon with the slightly unfocused target behind them.
  • If you find that your rounds are hitting the target low and high but not in the center then its your breathing that is causing it. Refocus your breathing and fire at the end of the exhale.
  • Do not hold your breath, this can cause your accuracy to suffer even more.
  • If the round is hitting left to right but not center you are likely jerking the trigger rather than squeezing to the trigger break point.
  • Practice with the weapon unloaded finding the trigger break point. Eventually this will become subconscious muscle memory.
  • Other factors that can cause you to fire off target are pushing and pulling. This is when you anticipate the recoil by pushing the front of the weapon down to keep the gun from kicking up in your hands. This causes you to fire low. Pulling is the inverse where you are trying to move the gun up to lessen the recoil which causes you to fire high.