Self-defense, security or simply pleasure – these are the main reasons that might lead people to decide it’s time to become a handgun shooting novice. Some learn this already common skill during childhood, others as teenagers and most as adults – but no matter how old you might be, problems regarding the manner in which you can use your light but powerful gun can appear.

So, check out our guide, take the proper precautions before getting ready to shoot, and apply our solutions to the first 5 problems you’ll experience as a handgun shooting novice.

The Solutions to the First Five Problems You’ll Experience as a Handgun Shooting Novice

After starting frequenting shooting lessons, you might realize that shooting a gun accurately might not be as easy as it appears in the movies. You must know the fundamentals, have a proper attitude, take a lot of precautions and practice hard to improve.

With all these taken into consideration, you might still need some useful advice, as there are many factors and variables regarding these aspects. Here are some of the most common problems that handgun shooting novices have experienced in time and the proper solutions for each of them:

1. Inaccurate Hits

Inaccurate hits represent one of the most common problems novices meet with during their shooting training, even after they’ve practiced a lot. It is definitely difficult to focus on the target or focus on rear sight, as you need a lot of practice to be able to master this skill. Novices find combining proper sight alignment with proper sight picture difficult and this is another aspect that makes accurate hits harder to obtain.

Solution: In order to be able to master this skill, you need to consider taking small steps that will get you where you want to be. To make hits accurate, try focusing intensely on front sight only and your aim will definitely become clearer and easier to achieve. Try combining both dry-fire and live-fire practice.

What’s more, you can gradually improve your shooting by initially viewing the target quickly and after that, you can perform sight alignment and front sight only focus. The latter is compulsory if you want your hit to be successful. Don’t forget to keep movement minimal and not jerk the trigger or the handgun while focusing on the steps above.

2. Hitting Low on Target

As a novice, you might be under the impression that you hit too low on the target. This is probably because you anticipate recoil, jerk the trigger and tighten your fingers when shooting. Improper grip-low on the back strap can make you miss the target, and this is why you need to solve this problem as soon as possible.

Solution: The solution to this problem is easier than you might think. You should maintain focus on front sight and always minimize trigger and finger movement. Try to grip the handgun smoothly, consistently, but not to the side.

To avoid missing the target, you should not squeeze or pull the trigger, but only press smoothly, without pushing the gun forward or down. This way, success is guaranteed and you’ll see improvements from one session to another.

3. Pushing the Trigger

Sometimes, the simple act of pushing the trigger can be a challenge for you. If you do not control the trigger press straight rearward, you use too little pressure on the trigger or push the trigger back and to the side rather than left, you might not manage to shoot well. With the proper tips, nothing is impossible.

Solution: In order to manage this aspect, try to contact the trigger between the midpoint of the first pad and first crease of the trigger finger. You’ll notice a fast improvement if you simply know how to handle the handgun. Avoid using the tip of the trigger finger and instead, press the trigger straight back smoothly and not intermittently, without anticipating recoil.

4. Thumbing

One of the probable causes of this issue can be rotating the thumb clockwise during trigger press. Another problem can be squeezing your thumb too much or exaggerating with too much trigger finger. You’ll see above how the result of these bad habits can be changed for the better.

Solution: In order to avoid thumbing and have successful shooting sessions, there are some important aspects that your shooting trainer might forget to tell you. First of all, try to rest your shooting hand thumb firmly on top of the support thumb. You need to be relaxed and you need this act of shooting not to be a stressful one for you. Do not bend the distal joint reflexively, as it might cause your strong hand to rotate clockwise along with the barrel muzzle. By doing this, you’ll be more prepared to become a better handgun shooter.

5. Fighting the Recoil

As a handgun shooting novice, you might think that the gun must be held down in order to control recoil. You are probably tempted to push the gun down, against recoil and this might also cause your shots to hit lower than you’d wish.

Solution: Instead of fearing the recoil, you should be prepared to embrace it. Allow it to occur naturally and do not fight it. Recoil occurs after the shot, not before, therefore you do not need to think about it before taking your best shot! Ride the recoil, allow it to go up and recover back down the sight line and your shooting skills will become better very fast.


As you can see, many problems can appear when you’re a handgun shooting novice, but none of them is impossible to get over when you have the right solutions at hand. Make sure you follow the simple rules you could find in this article and you’ll notice fast and efficient results immediately.

It’s true that some of us call shooting an art, but these skills can be learned rapidly if you have the right guide that helps you evolve from one shooting training to another.