What to Do if You’re Shooting Low & Left with Your Handgun

A common problem among pistol shooters, especially right-handed ones, is shooting low and left, although lefties can also experience this issue. If you’re wondering why most of your shots are failing to hit your desired target, possible reasons are discussed below. You’ll also find tips on what you can do to overcome frequent instances of shooting low and left with your pistol.

Practice to Overcome a Lack of Experience

One of the top reasons for shooting low and left, according to Guns.com, is a lack of experience. This could also apply if you’ve only recently started using pistols and other handguns after only using long guns. The good news is inexperience of any kind with pistol use can be overcome with regular practice. To improve your proficiency, consider taking a gun safety class to learn the basics of handling and shooting a handgun safely, and practice shooting your gun as often as possible. Options with handgun shooting/bullseye practice include:

• Setting up a target in your backyard if you have the space to safely do so and it’s legal in your area
• Going to a local shooting range
• Using “laser bullets” so you can practice without using too much actual ammo

Improve Your Pistol Grip

Newer pistol shooters may also have grip issues that affect shooting accuracy. If this applies to you, brush up on the technique you use to grip your pistol. While there are different grip styles, one that tends to improve accuracy and keep your shots from going low and left involves:

• Extending the pistol toward the target at eye level
• Locking your wrist 

  • Positioning the thumb of your support hand horizontal to the target
    • Keeping the four fingers of your support hand at a 45-degree angle
    • Placing the trigger finger of your dominant hand forward and on the trigger
    • Using the other three fingers of this hand to provide consistent rearward pressure

    Another way to practice your grip is with a tennis ball. Position the fingers on your shooting hand on the ball in the same way you would grip your pistol. This also increases hand strength, another thing that can improve your grip.

Make Sure the Sights Are Aligned Correctly

If your sights aren’t correctly aligned, you may have frequent issues with shooting low and left. With traditional pistols, the front sight resembles an I, and the rear one resembles a U. An easy way to remember correct sight alignment is to line the sights up so the I combines with the U to form what looks like a W. Focus on lining up your sights with your intended target, which is referred to as sight picture.

Greenops.com suggests focusing on the center of the top of the blade when using the front sight as your main guide to improve your target accuracy. Also, keep an eye on your sights all the way through the process of firing your pistol to further improve your accuracy. Avoid taking your eyes completely off the sights too soon.

You’ll also be in a better position to reduce instances of shooting low and left by:

• Anticipating the shot
• Being prepared for the recoil
• Using a pistol you’re comfortable holding and using

Whether you’re new to gun ownership or you’ve owned guns for years, tips like these can boost your shooting skills, which can in turn help you operate your firearms more safely. If you’d like to learn more about firearms safety from experienced professionals, consider taking a gun safety course online from the experts at Gun Safety Training Pros. Contact us today at [email protected].

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