How To Hold A Handgun

Technique and practice are key to holding and safely using a hand gun.  

Accuracy requires being able to consistently hit a target from a range of distances. 


Before you can go about holding and using a hand gun you need to be confident that you can handle a handgun. This requires you to be mentally and physically prepared. Controlled breathing and mental focus are vital. 


There are practical things you need to have in place. Obviously, you need a gun and ammunition. You’ll benefit from having multiple gun magazines to make the most of practice sessions. 

You need a place where you can practice shooting without endangering any life.  

You need to have a variety of distances between you and your target to practice from; in other words, you need ranges to shoot from.

You need to decide the range you’ll be practicing in. Have your range backpack or gun case ready.   

You need a target.  

Always have a first-aid kit

Very importantly, you need to understand handguns. Know how the gun works because a gun operates by a mechanism.

Understanding the mechanism helps in understanding its impact and in maintaining the gun to always work effectively.

When you first start shooting, a handgun will seem a lot heavier than it looks. Understand why handguns recoil and expect the recoil so you can adjust aim and become increasingly accurate. The better you know your gun, the better you’ll use it.  

Positioning Yourself To Shoot 

The body determines the accuracy when it comes to shooting, so positioning yourself properly is essential. According to James Forrester in How to Hold a Handgun for Maximum Accuracy | KeepGunsSafe the following steps will position your body to take your best shot. 

Decide on the range you want to shoot from. Try and take a shot from at least 2 different ranges so you can adjust and position your hand in different ranges. 

Stand with your back straight. 

Stretch arms out straight. Do not lean or bend so as to keep your arms straight. 

Level your shoulders so that they are straight with your aim.  

Ensure your arms coordinate with your vision. 

Arms should be straight in line with your chest and firm enough to cope with the recoil.  

Relax your shoulders but don’t go soft. Nor should your shoulders be stiff.

Holding The Hand Gun 

Use both hands to hold the gun. If you hold the gun with one hand only, the recoil after you shoot will upset your form and alter your aim. Only after years of practice can you shoot accurately and safely with one hand.  

Watch this video to get a clear description of how your hands should be clasping the handgun’s grip. How to Hold a Pistol | Special Forces Instruction | Tactical Rifleman – Bing video.  

Ensure all your fingers are holding the handgun’s grip properly to avoid wrist and hand injuries. If your fingers feel uncomfortable then you’re not holding the gun properly. 

Get In The Right Frame Of Mind 

Focus your mind on the target. 

Do not let your thoughts wander.  

Enter a state of mind that is entirely focused on the target and your analysis of the target, aim, distance.  

Only think of factors that influence your bullet hitting its target.


Line up the sights on your handgun. This requires you to have a clear vision through the front sight between the rear sight.

Try to have ample light to get a clearer sight. Your vision of the target should be in the center of the rear sight.  


Control your breathing so that chest contraction and expansion are focused and relaxed in a steady way. The chest contraction and expansion allow an increase in blood flow and help in concentration.

Your hand will move up and down as you inhale and exhale so you need to time your breaths with your aim.  

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

Shooting while exhaling works best for many.   


Reset The Trigger  

Reset the trigger by holding it with your finger so there’s less movement of the hand. Less hand movement helps maintain accuracy.  

Once the trigger is reset, make continuous shots without moving your arms and body. Evaluate and adjust form as you go along.  

Practice Lining Up Your Sight 

Once you get the grasp of lining up your sight, practice aiming your sights on targets like a bullseye or a mixture of images.

Have an overall target, such as a large bright green circle and then have specific targets within the large circle.

You could have other shapes within the large circle or pictures or whatever you choose. You are aiming at the specific targets, but you want all your shots to get within the larger overall target. 

Stay Safe 

Owning and handling a gun comes with a duty of care. You need to be responsible because a handgun is a weapon that can kill. Your safety and that of others must always be paramount.   

The four primary rules of gun safety from firearm safety instructor Jeff Cooper are: 

Always assume that all guns are loaded. 

The muzzle, or barrel, of a gun should never cover anything you are not willing to destroy. 

Keep your finger off the trigger till you are ready to shoot because your sights are on target.  

Always be cognisant of the target and what’s beyond it.  


As with anything that is a matter of life and death, it is absolutely crucial that you handle a handgun with respect, understanding and the right attitude.

Focus, state of mind, equipment, physical positioning, grip, sighting and breathing all play their part. Your hand gun needs to be in good working order and well maintained.   

See Handgun, Tips See How to Hold a Handgun for Maximum Accuracy | KeepGunsSafe

George Alexander
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