Maintaining proper sight alignment and grip throughout the process of…

Maintaining proper sight alignment and grip throughout the process of pulling the trigger is key to accurate shooting.

As a firearms instructor, I’m often asked my opinion on the most important skill to possess when it comes to shooting a handgun. My answer now, as it always has been for as long as I can remember, is hitting what you are shooting at. To do that every time there are really only two things that it takes—watch the front sight and press the trigger smoothly.

The muzzle is the last thing that touches the bullet when our trigger finger sends the projectile out of the gun. Sitting directly above that muzzle is the front sight, and watching that front sight all the way through is the only way for a shooter to know exactly where that projectile will go once it leaves the gun. Clint Smith is fond of saying that the trigger is the last act of physical control you have over the projectile and the front sight is the last act of visual control you have over it.

Before moving on to live fire, make sure your gun is unloaded and do some dry fire exercises. Proper trigger control is achieved by first taking the slack out of the trigger.

Watching the front sight all the way through means continuing to focus on the front sight while the gun is firing, not lining the sights up, watching the front sight then pressing the trigger. This is a common mistake and will only be reinforced as a bad habit if it is not corrected. Now this isn’t news to most experienced handgun shooters as they have probably had “watch the front sight” shoved down their throats repeatedly, although a lot of coaches and instructors will preach “watch the front sight” and not really explain to the student what that really means. If the shooter actually sees the front sight begin to rise out of the rear sight notch when the weapon fires then they are doing their job the way it should be done and watching the front sight all the way through.

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  • John Perez

    A good way to practice this is to exaggerate your eyes being open. So open them until it feels awkward squeeze the trigger. First thing you will notice is you closed your eyes. Do this every time you shoot until your eyes become comfortable and you don’t blink anymore.

  • John Gaddis

    Without a doubt trigger control is top of the list, but my personal opinion includes proper indexing or the weapon. Aiming(indexing) the weapon correctly combined with Trigger Control equates to solid hits and faster follow up shots.