Handgun long range shooting

15 Tips for Long Distance Pistol Shooting

A regular pistol is difficult to use for long-range shooting. An accurate shot requires complete control of the body and weapon. Here are some tips to help you master the skill of long-range pistol shooting.

First, let’s find out what is “long” and what is “short” in pistol shooting.

  • Low Distance (Close Range). Typically ranges from 3 to 7 yards (about 3 to 6 meters). Common in self-defense training and basic marksmanship exercises.
  • Medium Distance. Extends from about 10 to 25 yards (9 to 23 meters). Often used in standard pistol competitions and law enforcement training.
  • Long Distance. Generally starts at 25 yards and can go up to 50 yards or more (23 to 45+ meters).

Close and medium range are relatively easy to master, but pistol sniping requires not only practice, but also a deep understanding of what you are doing. Here is a checklist of 15 tips that will allow you to eliminate major obstacles.

How to Shoot a Pistol Long-Range

1) Stance

Adopt a stable and balanced shooting stance. The isosceles and Weaver stances are popular choices among shooters. Ensure your feet are shoulder-width apart, with your body slightly leaning forward.

2) Grip

Maintain a firm, consistent grip on the pistol. Your dominant hand should hold the grip securely while your support hand wraps around the dominant. This helps manage recoil and maintain control.

3) Sight Alignment

Focus on precise sight alignment. The front sight should be centered both vertically and horizontally within the rear sight notch.

4) Sight Picture

Ensure the top of the front sight is level with the top of the rear sights and that it’s consistently lined up with your target.

5) Trigger Control

Practice smooth trigger pulls. The trigger should be pulled straight back with steady pressure to avoid jerking the gun, which can throw off your aim.

6) Breathing Technique

Learn to control your breathing. Take a breath before shooting and hold it as you squeeze the trigger to minimize body movement.

7) Practice with Different Loads

Experiment with various ammunition types to see which performs best at longer ranges. Bullet weight and velocity can significantly impact accuracy.

8) Use Optics

Consider using a red dot sight or a scope. Optics can help with better target acquisition and accuracy over long distances.

9) Analyze and Adjust

After each shooting session, analyze your performance and make necessary adjustments. Note patterns in your misses and adjust your technique accordingly.

10) Check Your Equipment

Regularly inspect your pistol for any wear or damage. Ensure that it is clean and well-maintained, as this can affect performance.

11) Consistent Ammunition

Use the same type of ammunition for practice as you would for competition or actual use to ensure consistency in your shooting.

12) Understand Ballistics

Learn how different environmental factors like wind, temperature, and altitude can affect the trajectory of a bullet. This knowledge is crucial for making accurate long-distance shots.

13) Mental Focus

Develop your concentration and mental toughness. Shooting over long distances requires patience and the ability to stay focused under pressure.

14) Mind the Trigger Reset

Pay attention to the trigger reset on your pistol to minimize motion between shots. This can lead to faster and more precise follow-up shots.

15) Use Shot Timers

A shot timer will help you hone your skills. You will master your technique and be able to shoot faster and more accurately. A professional shot timer saves your training time and allows you to progress faster.

Related: Choosing the Right Shot Timer: Features to Consider

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If you are training on your own, we recommend taking a few lessons with a professional trainer. He will check if you are doing everything correctly and help you correct mistakes. Learning to shoot correctly early on is better than wasting time due to bad habits.

Once you get the technique down, it’s just a matter of practice. Keep practicing and you will make it. Good luck!