The problem is as old as the concept of concealable personal firearms: The smaller a handgun is, the more difficult it is to shoot. Whether it’s a single shot derringer or a polymer-framed pocket .380, handguns that are easy to carry sacrifice their utility in other respects. This can be an acceptable sacrifice if the convenient size of a small gun means that we’re more likely to actually have it close by when we need it. On the other hand, the small pistol might not do us any good if we can’t shoot it accurately enough or quickly enough to fend off an assailant.

Check out the video below for a couple of tips for overcoming some of the challenges of shooting small carry pistols.

Video: How to Shoot Small Pistols Better

The small, single stack 9mm semi-autos that we’ve talked about frequently here on the Lounge are among the most popular carry guns today. They are appealing self-defense tools for many reasons, and among their fans are the large segment of the gun owning population who are simply not inclined to expend the effort required to carry a larger pistol. That’s not so bad in itself, but unfortunately, this same crowd also tends to be unlikely to expend the effort to learn how to overcome the challenges inherent in shooting a small pistol well. And what’s worse, most of these folks are blissfully unaware that they can’t shoot.

What do I mean by “shooting well”? Good question — the 5×5 Drill is a pretty good litmus test, which you can find on this post. If you have any trouble clearing that drill with your carry pistol, then you’re among the majority of small pistol owners who are in desperate need of practice. But practice isn’t helpful unless you start with solid technique.

In addition to the advice regarding the grip that I outlined in the video above, keep in mind that no matter how much your shooting improves with small guns, you’ll always shoot larger pistols better. If you’re comfortable running a full size pistol quickly, that means you have to slow down when you’re shooting small guns. This is something I have to constantly remind myself of. If I try to run a small single stack gun at the same speed I would a full size or compact pistol, my accuracy falls apart. The small guns are not nearly as forgiving in terms of imperfect sight picture or sub-optimal trigger control. They can still be run quickly, but slowing down just a fraction of a second will go a long way toward improving accuracy and consistency.


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