How to shoot a handgun accurately

By Massad Ayoob

“I want you to do an article on how to shoot a handgun accurately,” Dave Duffy told me. “Make it 2,500 or 3,000 words.” Long ago, I would have answered, “Sure, and while I’m at it, how about a history of the world in, oh, 10,000 words or so?”

Today, with more than 45 years of hand gunning behind me (yeah, I’m old, but I started early, too) I realize that you actually can cover this topic in a fairly short article. The reason is found in the classic statement of Ray Chapman, the first world champion of the combat pistol. “Shooting well is simple,” Ray said, “it just isn’t easy.”

 I’ll buy that. It’s true that the handgun is the most difficult of firearms to shoot well. There’s less to hang on to. There’s a shorter radius  between the front and rear sight than with a rifle, meaning a greater unnoticed human error factor in aiming. You don’t have that third locking point on the shoulder that you have with a long gun’s butt stock. And few handguns have the inherent mechanical accuracy of a good rifle.

That said, though, you can get the most of your handgun’s intrinsic accuracy by  imply performing marksmanship basics correctly. If the gun is aimed at  the target, and the trigger is pressed and the shot released without moving the gun, then the bullet will strike the mark. That simple. We need a few building blocks to construct this perfect shot,  however. Let’s build the structure brick by brick.

Ethan Allen – A Brief History

Ethan Allen (1738-1789), the folk hero of Vermont, was an unusually flamboyant farmer-turned statesman from Connecticut. In the 1760′s, the royal governor of New Hampshire, with no clear authority to do so, began to grant lands in the region now known as Vermont. After the King decided that New York’s governor wielded the rightful authority over the  territory, the original settlers and their townships were subjected to burdensome New York fees; in some cases settlers found their lands confiscated. Not surprisingly, the settlers formed a citizens’ militia, the Green Mountain Boys, to protect their rights and chances of survival, electing Ethan Allen as their colonel. Ethan’s leadership and personality helped give Vermont the self identity and independent spirit which, many think, remains to this day.

But the Allen family, its friends and supporters did still more. Ethan was the guiding spirit in the taking of Fort Ticonderoga, the first Crown property to fall to America and the source of the cannon that allowed George Washington to drive the British from Boston.