How To Use Pistol Sights Part 1 – Beginner Shooters

Sometimes just pointing your gun in the direction of a target and hoping for a bullseye just doesn’t cut it, here’s how to use pistol sights, effectively.

The Dominant One

Much like how you favor one hand over the other when it comes to writing, the same applies to which eye will primarily be used to focus down the sights. This is your dominant eye and we’ll need to determine which one it is.

The best tip to figure this out is to hold up your thumb, point it at something and focus at where you are pointing it. Slowly bring your thumb in towards you and in doing so one eye will be in favour of the other, this will be your dominant eye.

Not One, But Two

Shooting with one eye open? Although this isn’t best practice, it will narrow down your field of vision which can give you a slower response time to properly acquire your next target. It can take a while to break this habit, but down the road, keeping both eyes will benefit you. Remeber to keep both eyes open!

Level The Playing Field

On the top of your slide sits your sights, and where you focus these is where you will hit. Simple right?


Looking at the picture below, when the pistol is held level and the front blade is in line with the rear sight, the shots fired will be grouped in the center. The other images can refer to common sighting focus mistakes and will surely help you pick up on any.


When aiming, you want to focus on the front blade, seeing it’s at end of the gun, this is the direction which the bullet will travel. When you have your sights focused correctly on your target, your view should look like this with a little blur in your vision on the target and rear sights. (The grey piece being the front sight and black being rear)


The Last Round

There’s a lot of little tips and tricks to help you keep your groupings together and increase your accuracy, such as where your trigger finger should sit, squeezing the trigger, stance, breathing and how to hold your gun. These topics will be covered in part 2, so be sure to subscribe and follow along.


Your Introduction To Bullets And Cartridges

Why are bullets named .22, 9mm, .44, .50 cal and so on? How does it all work? Let’s break it all down and get a basic understanding of bullets and cartridges.

The Slang Range

Quite often people refer to cartridges as bullets, shells, projectiles, rounds, the term is thrown around almost interchangeably, but what is it really? A cartridge is the complete package, consisting of a bullet, the casing, powder/propellant, rim and primer.


Referring to the image:

  1. The bullet, AKA the projectile
  2. The case, this is what holds the contents
  3. The rim, this is where the extractor on the firearm is given a place to grip and remove the empty shell

Mine’s Bigger Than Yours

Now that we have a better understanding of what a cartridge is, how do we measure the bullet size? With a ruler, seriously. Bullets are often measured in either an imperial or metric system and referred to as a caliber. That’s great, but what is a bullet caliber? It is the diameter of the base of the projectile measured in inches or millimetres.

Referring to the image below, a quick example is, the diameter of the .50 caliber projectile, which is a half inch.


What Is A Primer?

The primer is on the base of a cartridge with one purpose, to ignite the powder and send the bullet towards its new destination. Simple right, how does it work? Without getting overly technical, when a gun strikes the primer with its firing pin, a chemical reaction happens and ignites the powder/propellant.

There are many different types primers, two of the most common are rimfire and centerfire. We’ll look at what separates the two in another post.

Left – rimfire, right – centerfire

rimfire and centerfire

I Don’t Need To Wear A Jacket

What is a bullet jacket? Most commonly, jacketed bullets are made up of a lead core inside a sheet of copper. They are separate components which are combined to create the final form. There are various forms of bullets, such as the Soft Point Jacket, Hollow Point Jacket and Full Metal Jacket which all have different applications of use.

The Final Round

Now that you’re armed with information covering some of the common basics, you should have a better understanding of how the pieces fit together. Be sure to follow along for more guns & ammo content. Happy shootin’!

Choosing Your First Firearm

When it comes to choosing your first gun, there’s a large number of things to take into consideration. We’ll go into the nitty and gritty to help you get what’s best for you.

What are you reasons for purchasing a firearm?

Perhaps you’ve decided to bring out the competitive side within and sign up with your local gun club and compete in events. This is a great starting point for beginner shooters, as advice, tips and tricks will be in the abundance. Most gun clubs hold a variety of firearms of which you can have a tinker with and get a feel for.

Maybe you’re not into target shooting and would like to tackle hunting. The results after a good day of hunting can sometimes end in a new wall trophy and a story to tell.

I like the look of that, the history behind this is.. Collecting firearms isn’t in all that bad, it’s fairly common worldwide.

At the end of the day, you may have your own reasons for purchasing a firearm, whatever it may be, it will help isolate the choices for finding a gun that’s right for you.

One size does not fit all

So you’re the new kid on the block and there’s a .50 cal out there calling you. No, just no. Do you remember the old expression ‘start at the bottom and work your way up’? This applies for shooting to an extent. As fun as it would be to start laying 50 calibre rounds down range, it’s a recipe for disaster when it comes to your learning curve.

The best way to find your comfort zone for shooting is to fire a few rounds from different sized cartridges or shells at your local range. Start with the smallest and work your way up, you may find that a 12 gauge has too much of a kick for you to enjoy. Everyone has to start somewhere. Huge ego + gun = laughing stock, the pun was intended.

Let the fun begin

Now that we’ve covered the grounds in helping you pick out your first firearm, it’s time to start the hunt. Should you have further questions, you’ll find that most people within the gun community are quite helpful, even your local firearms dealer.

Be sure to follow along as the next blog post will cover all that you need to know about cartridges. Happy shootin’.12gauge