How To Shoot a Pistol One-Handed? Tips, Tricks, & Drills

Shoot a Pistol One-Handed

Many shooters, including myself, don’t really practice shooting one-handed as much as they should. All of us begin our shooting careers by holding the gun in both hands.

Observing past gunfights has taught us that we have a much greater chance of success with a two-handed grip.

However, the time for moving on comes once we’ve mastered the basics and are well on our way to sharpening those skills.

When carrying for self-defense, you should practice one-handed shooting if you haven’t already. This isn’t always possible, however. Gun owners rarely practice this valuable skill, which is why they miss out on its benefits.

The ability to operate a firearm with one hand isn’t just a cool trick but could one day prove to be a lifesaver.

Learning how to shoot one-handed isn’t fun since it’s very different from how we normally do it, but it’s a crucial skill to have.

Defensive shootings do not always take place in ideal conditions. As a result, you better learn how to use your gun belt, holster, and pistol before you put them on.

This article will explain why you should practice shooting one-handed, as well as how to get started.

One-Handed Shooting Tips

I’ll share a few tips that have worked well for me when shooting one-handed. There are tons of ways to do it one-handed, and I won’t claim there’s one right way.


You’ll be much slower or less accurate when you practice one-handed as opposed to with both hands. If you have trouble following at first, try moving the target a little closer.

Try shooting a one-shot per second at a circle of 8 inches at 3 yards and see if you can get it going. You can increase the distance once you achieve 100% accuracy.

Pick up your pace or shift your target a few feet back when you can do that. It’s always going to be slower to shoot with one hand, but you can still do it effectively with a little practice.

Reason To Learn How To Shoot A Pistol One-Handed

Shooting one-handed is an essential part of regular practice and training for defensive shootings since they rarely occur under ideal conditions.

Shooting is typically done at close range. It is very quick and ends in roughly the same way. Likewise, it will probably not occur under ideal ambient conditions, such as broad daylight.

Dusk or nighttime may be the time when it happens. Taking a normal shooting stance and getting a good aim may not be possible, so practicing point shooting is also a good idea.

Ultimately, if you’re near an assailant and have to shoot with one hand, it might be your only option. If you didn’t have much time to aim or settle, then you must have your hand on some kind of object, such as a car door.

Imagining a scenario where you can’t get your hands on your pistol or assume your typical shooting stance isn’t difficult. The qualification tests and protocols of several government departments require one-handed shooting.

One-handed shooting is a requirement of the FBI qualification test. The shooter must use not only the dominant hand but also the non-dominant hand as well. The practice of using a pistol in the line of duty is something that people may have to have already if necessary.

Because many people who own or carry a firearm do so to protect themselves, it would be advantageous for them to gain proficiency at least on par with professionals.

Proper Stance

Sometimes we don’t have a choice about how we stand when we’re shooting. It is possible that we are not even standing. Let’s examine a few other aspects of this. If the threat is further than the reach of my arm, I want it to be straight and extended at the elbow. The elbow should not be locked either.

Flexibility is essential. You will notice that the gun vibrates if you lock your elbow. The sights also move slightly as a result. As a result, getting good hits is difficult. A little elbow flexion will act as a shock absorber, allowing you to rebound from recoil much faster.

First, you will need to move your feet. To get more bodyweight behind the gun, you need to place your strong foot forward. You should really lean onto it.

I learned a valuable tip from a friend: bend the knee on the leg before you move. By doing so, you will be able to put your weight forward.  You can easily reduce recoil by simply shifting your weight.

Proper Grip

The handling of recoil will be more controlled when the grip is solid, and it will also help avoid malfunctions. The majority of the time, people have a terrible one-handed grip, a problem that is especially acute with small handguns.

The gun may have been gripped way too low, or the wrist may have been bent at an awkward angle. In order for the slide to cycle completely, the frame must be on a solid platform.

Maintain a straight wrist, tight fingers, and a slide that follows the line of the forearm. You should position the thumb web as high as possible on your backstrap. Getting the gun to function properly will depend a lot on that.


Put your fist together. How does your thumb look? Does it point upwards in a thumbs-up gesture, or does it stick down over your fingers? Squeeze your fist closed and raise your thumb to the sky. Embrace your pointer finger with your thumb, pointing straight out next to your thumb.

Squeeze. At last, lay your thumb below your fingers where it was likely folded originally. Again, squeeze. Do you have a strong grip when you hold your thumb in a particular position?

Now thumbs down. Whenever you shoot one-handed, your thumb will be down, regardless of which hand you are using. In addition to giving you a firmer grip, it will also enhances accuracy.

Arm Extended/Straight-Arm

The most common way to fire one-handed is to extend the gun hand straight ahead. Turn your back to your target, raise your gun directly in front of you, and step forward with your foot on your gun side. Please don’t lower your head to the gun here but raise the gun to eye level.

Make sure you extend your arm straight in front of your body and apply enough force to keep your arm stressed for additional control over recoil while shooting.

Keep The Pistol As Vertical As Possible

Rotating or “canting” the gun slightly is a very common one-handed technique. Most people feel more in control with their guns when they hold their arms in that position.

As long as that suits you, it’s fine. The gun tends to cant a little, but if I tilt it too much and it is recoiling up, and to the left, it is more difficult for me to track the sights.

My eyes are accustomed to seeing the sights rise and fall, so I aim to keep the pistol upright.


In order to shoot one-handed, you must maintain a strong base while keeping 60 percent of your weight on your forward foot.

Having a wobbly foundation will compromise your accuracy and also your safety. Get your bearings and ground yourself for a moment.

Final Words

Keep your grip tight, but don’t choke your gun. Your shots will be ruined if you have an uneven grip or tighten your hand as you shoot. When you shoot with just one hand, your accuracy depends on proper gun control.

It will be nearly impossible to re-acquisition your target without a solid grip and stance, and you’ll end up shooting all over the place. So, practice a lot. Learn how to shoot a pistol one-handed the proper way.

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