How to Sight in a Pistol: Better Aim for Handgun Users

Introduction: How to Sight in a Pistol

If you have just bought a new gun and have never shot a firearm before, it is ideal that you learn how to do it the right way. There are many things that shooters have to learn regarding handling and shooting their guns, aiming a handgun is relatively straightforward. However, it will take a lot of practice and experience before aiming correctly, making it second nature. Sighting a pistol will help you maintain accuracy and efficiently hit your target without any issue; you can also call this process “to zero a pistol.” The next time you take a trip to the gun range or do some shooting in the middle of nowhere, here is How to Sight in a Pistol. 

Aligning or “zeroing” your gun means that you are bringing your firearm’s bullet point impact with the end of your aim. This process helps you ensure that your bullet hits the same point where you aim at or at least somewhere near it. 

How to Sight in a Pistol for Beginners

Although you can keep your handguns in a SentrySafe quick access biometric pistol safe or a car pistol safe, there will be instances that you will need to use your firearms whether you like it or not. Knowing how to sight your gun, whether from its front sight or rear sight can help you a lot during situations where you need to defend yourself or your loved ones. Besides, the primary key to aim and hit your target effectively is to use the best pistol sights and adequately align your sights. Although it is easy to point a gun, it is never a simple task if you want to accurately align your firearm, especially during the heat of the battle or emergencies. 

Always concealed carry your guns to get out of trouble. However, if you want to learn for a good cause, get your favorite or brand new handgun in your Sentry biometric pistol safe, study your handgun’s pistol ammo size chart, get the proper bullets, and prepare yourself to start shooting. Here is how to use your sights correctly and sight in your handgun the right way. 

Step 1: Try to Aim With Your Dominant Eye

Locking in a target using both of your eyes is impossible, and it is severely challenging to see your target dummy’s actual point. Keep practicing using your dominant eye when aiming to present a more accurate picture of your surroundings than your non-dominant eye. Below is how you can determine which one of your eyes is the dominant one.

  • To see which eye is dominant, form a one-inch circle with your index finger and thumb, hold the shape at arm's length and look through.
  • Bring the formed circle towards your face with both of your eyes remaining open, and you will notice that your hand will move towards your dominant eye.

Step 2: Properly Align the Front Sight and Rear Sights

A handgun possesses two sights, a front sight, and rear sight, so when aiming your weapon, remember that the front sight has one post, and the rear has two. These sights hold significance when you want to sight in your handgun correctly, and there should always be an even amount of space between the left and right parts of the front sight. Bring the position of the front and ensure it is at the center between the posts of the back end to make the best accurate hits.

Step 3: Focus on the Sights

When pointing your gun towards the target, you will have to focus on the two sights, look at the rear sight, front sight, and finally, your target dummy. However, it is impossible to focus on all three critical points at once. You can steady your aim by focusing solely on the sights and ignoring the target. It is ideal if you focus on the front sight since it lets you determine the weapon’s relative position to the target. 

Step 4: Determine What Your Point of Aim Will Be

There are types of aims, and you can test each one out and see which one works the best for your handgun. Below are the three different methods of aiming. 

  • Center Hold Aim - It is also known as the Center of Mass aim, you can do this by placing the top of the front sight towards the center of your target.
  • Six o'clock Aim - You can do this by placing the top of the front sight below the center of your target.
  • Sub Six Aim - Do this properly by placing the top of the front sight farther from your target's bullseye area.

Step 5: Grip Your Firearm on Its Back Strap Using Your Dominant Hand

Like your dominant eye, your dominant hand will be better when sighting your firearm as it has a better grip. Place your hand high along the backstrap of your handgun’s grip, placing your thumb inside of its barrel. Let your index finger rest against the outside of the trigger’s guard of your firearm. Finally, put the rest of your fingers around the outside and front of the grip. 

Doing these will help you have the optimal leverage against your handgun, giving you full control. When you eventually fire your weapon, it will recoil, and having a good grip on your gun will help you keep your hand safe and ensure your safety. 

Step 6: Put Your Other Hand Against the Exposed Grip of the Weapon

Do not worry as your non-dominant hand will play a part in the sighting process. Your non-dominant hand will have a role as a support, helping you add even more leverage against the recoil when you fire your weapon. Place your support hand around the grip as high as possible. 

Step 7: Have an Adequate Range From Your Target to Your Position

This step means that you should now consider what shooting position you will go with. The ideal firing position is standing firmly on the ground and pointing the firearm in the direction of your point of impact. Keep your feet planted securely or firmly on the ground to avoid getting taken aback when you fire your weapon, and always keep your feet at least a shoulder-width and slightly bend your knees. 

Practicing the “extended” stance provides you with flexibility, stability, and good range when shooting your firearm. When you get the hang of the position, get your handgun, and position it in front of you. Keep your arms straight and slightly bend your elbows, ensuring your firearm is nowhere near your face.

Step 8: Concentrate and Aim Your Pistol

This part will require patience, and your concentration as a sloppy aim will let you miss your shot. Before firing, ensure you have your sights adequately aligned and focus on these components, especially the front sight and not the distraction in front of you. Never rush yourself when firing the gun as it can result in unwanted accidents, so be patient when pulling the trigger. 

Step 9: Squeeze the Trigger of Your Weapon

Press the trigger in a controlled matter, and you can do this by pressing the trigger straight to the rear sights while applying constant pressure. Press until you feel some form of resistance from the weapon, wait until the handgun shoots and hits your point of impact. 

Sighting in Iron Sights

Most modern firearms have factory-installed iron sights that are enough to give you decent aim. However, different shooters have different eyes and ammo types that may land in various spots around their targets. You can adjust your weapon’s sights to give you better accuracy and make a better shot. Adjusting sights will depend on the type of gun you have; some firearms require you to adjust both the ends while others let you adjust the front and rear sights individually. 

For instance, most sights for more massive guns require adjustment for windage with its back end elevated using the front sight’s post. Meanwhile, for older guns, you have to do the opposite. You will have to understand how the separate adjustments of the front and rear sights work now that you know how these sights operate and adjust. When you adjust the back end of a firearm, you usually move towards where you want the next shot. Finally, when adjusting front sights, you will have to point it towards the opposite direction of your point of impact.

How to adjust Pistol Sights

If you want the optimal result, and hit your target’s bullseye, adjust your pistol’s sight to achieve that goal. You can see adjustment knobs on different target sights, guiding you towards the shot group, giving you better aim. However, if our gun’s sight is not marked, you have to test your gun’s sight and mark the direction on the windage and elevation. Look closely at the gun’s back end while turning the adjustment knob of your sight, after determining the appropriate direction mark the elevation knob. 

After marking your guns’ knobs, it is time to center the group and move the sights in the same way you want to move the group. If your group is high and to the left, move the back end of the handgun down to the right. Here is how to adjust your handgun sight to make the ultimate accurate shot. 

For Vertical Adjustments

Keep the back end of your gun in the same direction you want your point of impact, and do the opposite for the front end. 

  • If your shot is above, using both sights, let your weapon face your target directly. Ensure the back end is lower, or your front sight is higher.
  • If your shot is below, using both ends, let your firearm face your target directly. Make sure the back end is higher, or the front sight is lower.

For Horizontal Adjustments

Keep the back end of your gun in the same direction you want your point of impact, and do the opposite for the front end. 

  • If your shot is towards the left, using both ends, let your weapon face your target directly. Ensure the back end is further on the right or the front end on the left.
  • If your shot is towards the right, using both sights, let your firearm face your target directly. Make sure the backend is further on the left or the front end on the right.

How to aim a pistol with 3 dot sights

Regarding pistol sights, the three-dot sight is perhaps the most common variation in the market. Even the best budget pistol red dot helps you aim better even in low light conditions, making you shoot your targets with ease. Firing a three-dot handgun is easy. However, it will take time for you to get used to it. If you possess one but have never shot it before, get your three-dot gun as we will guide you through the steps of aiming this type of firearm the right way.

  • Distance Yourself From the Target and Do the Extended Firing Position
    Use your dominant hand to hold the weapon and wrap your non-dominant hand around the exposed grip for support. Plant your feet firmly onto the ground and keep your feet at least shoulder-width apart and bend your knees. Ensure your arms are straight and your elbows are bent, point the gun away from your face. Doing this proper stance will give you better leverage on your firearm and hold your hand steady when you shoot it.
  • Secure Your Aim Using Your Dominant Eye
    Although you can shoot with both of your eyes open, it can be challenging to hit your target, and this technique requires tons of training. However, for beginners, you should familiarize yourself with using your dominant eye when firing. That is because your dominant eye will give you a more transparent and accurate image of the proximity, enhancing your shooting precision.
  • Focus On the Gun and Align the Sight Dots
    If you want consistent accuracy with your shooting, focus on your gun, and keep the sight dots on the front and rear section aligned. The gap between the front and rear sight should be even on both sides.
  • Pick Aiming Point and Press the Trigger
    You can choose the center of mass, six o'clock, or dead on hold regarding your aiming point. Concentrate and press the trigger until your weapon shoots. Use enough pressure when you squeeze the trigger, at least until the firearm shoots. The ideal way to set your weapon off is by applying pressure on the anterior part of the firearm's trigger and wait until it shoots.


Always concealed carry your weapon when in public to ensure your safety and those around you. However, if you are faced with a dire situation where you need to defend yourself, you must know How to Sight in a Pistol to protect yourself. Use the best sights to help you have better aim during practice, visit the gun range, or do the job. We hope this article helped you understand the importance of sighting a firearm, ultimately guiding you through the exact process of aiming your weapons. Keep safe and good luck!