How to Aim a Pistol with 3 Dot Sights

Wondering How to Aim a Pistol with 3 Dot Sights?

One of the most popular configurations in pistol sights is the 3 dot sights. Most manufacturers incorporate tritium or fiber-optics in their 3-dot sights so you can aim and fire even in low-light surroundings. In general, shooting with three-dot sight is not complicated but may take time to master.

This post is for new users who want to learn how to aim a pistol with 3 dot sights. Below is the step-by-step guide on how to use your pistol and how to line up your sights.

The 3-dot system attached to most pistols has a simple setup. The front sight post has one dot, while the rear sight has a cutout area with two posts with one dot each and is perpendicular to the barrel. 

Steps on How to Aim a Pistol with 3 Dot Sights

Learning how to aim your pistol is not a complicated process. For beginners, we have written this guide to help you aim and hit your target. Through this guide, you will be able to enhance your accuracy.

Step#1 The Shooting Position

You don’t just point your gun and pull the trigger. If you want to hit your target, you need to position yourself properly. Use your dominant hand to hold the weapon and place your non-dominant hand on the exposed grip as support. Your feet should be shoulder-width apart and slightly bend your knees. 

The shooter’s arm should be mostly straight, with the elbow slightly bent. Keep your gun away from your face as there will be recoil after firing your pistol. You need to keep your hand steady all the time.

It is vital to have a firm shooting position, so you should not neglect your stance.

Step #2 Aim Using Your Dominant Eye

For some shooters, shooting with both eyes open is hard. But, through regular training and a tricky technique, you can do it. Shooting with both your eyes open is known as a defensive firearm skill. It is not as essential in target shooting.

Generally, it is best to aim with your dominant eye and with the other eye closed. You can view your target accurately with your dominant eye. It will improve your shooting precision a lot. Some individuals have their dominant eye line up with their dominant hand.

You can figure out which eye is the dominant one using a simple technique. Shape a triangle using your forefingers and thumbs. Hold it away from you around arm’s length. Then, center the shape on a distant object and look into it with both your eyes open. Try closing your left eye and observe what happens.

If you still see the object at the center, it means that your right eye is your dominant eye. But, if you cannot see the thing in the frame, your dominant eye is your left eye. With this technique, you can identify your dominant eye within seconds.

Step #3 Aligning the Sight Dots and Your Focus

To maintain accuracy, you need to keep the front and rear sight dots aligned. The distance between the front and rear sight dots should be equal on both sides. Position the sights so that the top of the rear sight posts and front sight head are even.

Then, choose which element to focus on. You have three options – the front sight, the target, and the rear sight. Focusing on them simultaneously is impossible. You need to test them to determine which is comfortable for you.

If you are into defensive shooting, focus your eye on the target. You might find the sights blurry and out of focus. You can practice defensive shooting with both eyes open.

For target shooting, the front sight is your primary focus, making the target blurry. During target shooting, you need to close the other eye and open your dominant eye.

Step #4 Decide Which Point to Aim

Choose which spot to aim. Make sure to pick the one that suits you best.

  • Center of Mass – position the front sight head at the target’s center
  • Dead on Hold – put the front sight head far below the target’s center
  • 6 O’clock – place the front sight head below the target’s center

Once you decide your aiming point, get ready to take the shot. Instead of pulling the trigger right away, it is best to focus and squeeze the trigger to fire. Apply some pressure on the trigger, and don’t just wait for the pistol to shoot.  This could cause errors in aiming. Squeezing the trigger can help in keeping you maintain your aim.


  • If you are not hitting your target, there could be a problem with your aligning. For instance, your shots are below the target’s center. It could be because you have installed the front sight head below the rear sight posts.
  • In case your hits are far right of your target, you might have positioned the front sight very close to the right post of the rear sight.
  • Missing the target could be because your target is blurry.
  • For beginners, avoid target shooting in dark conditions.
  • If you are shooting in dark areas, ask your friend to hold the flashlight for you. 

Frequently Asked Questions

Should you aim with both eyes?

It depends on you. Some shooters can shoot with both eyes open, and it is usually referred to as a defensive firearm skill. It is not applicable in target shooting. Most of the time, shooters aim using only their dominant eye. This will help the shooters in enhancing their shooting accuracy.

Why do people black out rear sights?

The main reason people black out the rear sights is to make it easier to shoot in high contrast/light situations. However, it can make it harder for the shooters to shoot in low-light areas.


Did you find the process on how to aim a pistol with 3 dot sights helpful? We have made the steps as simple as possible so you can follow them with ease. The above steps will enable you to aim and shoot your target successfully.

The ability to aim your pistol and hit your target’s center successfully is a skill you can develop. If you have a hard time hitting the right spot, you can continue practicing aiming your pistol and hitting your target.

If you think this guide is helpful, feel free to comment below. You can also share your thoughts about the topic below.

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