Handgun Shooting Tips

The picture above shows my shooting ability right now. From ten yards with my M&P M2.0 Compact in 9mm, I typically shoot about a three-inch group. My goal is to shrink those three-inch groups into a one or two-inch group. Below are the three stumbling blocks that I currently face.

1. Flinching: Like rust and fat, flinching is an ever-encroaching threat. I’m pretty sure I will be fighting this accuracy-killer forever. A fun and cost-free way to train against flinching is to remove the magazine from your handgun after you have chambered a round. Then, try to shoot two accurate shots. The first shot will be a bang, the second shot will be a click. Did you flinch? I have found that even though I know the second shot will not be a bang, the drill still works perfectly.

Here is Adam Painchaud of The Sig Sauer Academy demonstrating this drill:

2. Squeezing my entire firing hand as I pull the trigger: Obviously, I am only supposed to move my trigger finger, not anything else. The way I avoid this problem is to ensure that I have a complete, tight grip with my firing hand prior to activating my trigger finger. If that hand is already squeezed, it won’t accidentally disrupt the aim because I can’t squeeze it more.

3. Worrying about the front sight too much: We’ve all heard it a million times, “Focus on the front sight.” Well, that advice can sometimes be taken too far, to the detriment of other important elements. Rather than concentrating only on the front sight, I prefer to concentrate on holding the gun still.

Here is Rob Leatham of Springfield Armory, probably the best shooter in the history of the world, explaining it:

Accurately shooting a handgun is not easy. For this reason, I believe that more people should defend their home using an AR-15 (equipped with a quality optic, of course). However, for those times when a rifle is unavailable, which is most of the time, it is important to be able to hit what you want to hit when shooting a handgun.

Perhaps my current bad habits, listed above, can help you recognize similar mistakes in your shooting.


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