How To Shoot a Snub Nose Revolver Accurately | Grip, Aiming and Trigger Pull Explained

Snub nose revolvers are double-action revolvers with a short barrel and a long cylinder. They are designed to fire—38 Special ammunition. The term snub nose refers to the shape of the grip. This revolver style was developed in the 19th century and became popular in the 20th century.

This kind of revolver is also known as a six-shot 38 caliber revolver. These guns are usually single action or double action trigger control. Single action means that only one round can be fired at a time. Double action means that two rounds can be fired at once. But, most modern handguns are either semi-automatic or fully automatic.

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It is a high-power pistol with accuracy potential similar to a.45 ACP. Keep reading to know how to shoot a snub nose revolver accurately.

Here’s How You Can Shoot and Maintain This Gun

Responsible gun owners will need an extra set of eyes to shoot accurately:

  • You should place your front hand on the grip.
  • Your backhand should rest lightly behind your ear so as not to disturb the trigger pull.
  • Place a little pressure on the left side of the frame just below the hammer for a better aim.
  • Put your right elbow down next to the top of the grip.
  • Point the muzzle at about ten feet away from the target sight picture.
  • Hold the gun steady by keeping both hands firmly on the grips.
  • Take a breath before squeezing off each shot.
a shooting pistol silhouette

Suggestions for Snub-nose Training

Snub-Noses are great fun to play around with, especially if you can afford the carry gun. They're not only easier to handle than revolvers and semi-automatics, but they also offer a lot of versatility.

There are several ways you can train yourself to become a better shooter to reach new levels of accuracy, especially with the long trigger pull.

Holding Your Gun Steady

There are two ways to make the most effective use of a snub-nose: point the barrel at the desired target, and squeeze off the shot. Another option is to hold the muzzle steady and then tilt the barrel just enough so that the bullet will strike the target. You must remember to brace your body during the firing process to achieve this effect.

a person aiming

Grip Selection

To begin with, you need to choose between a hammerless or double-action revolver. A hammerless revolver has no external safety mechanism but instead relies on an internal catch that releases the cylinder's top half. This allows you to pull the trigger without fear of accidentally discharging the weapon.

On the other hand, a DA revolver requires you to manually cock the hammer before each shot, thus making it more difficult to fire. If you plan on doing a lot of shooting, a DA revolver will likely wear out faster than a hammerless model.

You should also decide between single-action and double-action models. Single-action revolvers operate similarly to their DA counterparts, except they require one additional motion to release the trigger.

However, double-action guns work differently from their semiautomatic counterparts. Instead of requiring a separate trigger pull to discharge the weapon, they rely on a preloaded hammer. Therefore, no manual cocking is required.


Trigger Pull

The easiest way to adjust your trigger pull is by changing the trigger plate. By filing down the edges of the trigger plate, you can reduce the amount of pressure needed to pull the trigger. Depending upon how much weight reduction you desire, you can easily change the pull from 6 pounds to 2 ounces.

However, even these modifications will vary greatly depending on the quality of the factory-installed parts. If you're concerned about having too light of a trigger pull, you can file down the edges of the hammer spur as well. It will give your trigger something to grab onto when the hammer drops back after firing.

You may find that the hammer spur isn't strong enough to keep up with your trigger pull under heavy stress. You'll have to replace both the trigger and hammer spurs if this happens.

a finger on the trigger

Practice Shooting

Once you've adjusted the trigger pull, you can start practicing your aim by aiming at targetsat the shooting range that aren't moving. Once you're comfortable with the basic mechanics of firing the gun, you can move on to targets that are moving. You don't want to rush into a competition because you're afraid you'll miss your first couple of shots. But once you get the hang of things, you'll be able to hit what you're aiming for every time.

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Shooting Technique

When shooting a snub-nose revolver, following some simple rules is essential. First of all, you should always keep your finger off the trigger until ready to fire. This would prevent accidental firings if the firearm were dropped while in its holster.

You should never cross your index finger over the trigger when holstering unless you intend to fire the weapon. This keeps the trigger from getting compressed against the trigger bar, which could prevent the subsequent shot from being fired.

In addition, it reduces the risk of accidentally firing the handgun when removing your finger from the trigger. While you're holding the revolver steady, place your thumb over the hammer. At this point, your fingers grip the butt of the pistol.

female hands holding a gun

Your middle finger should rest snugly across the trigger guard while your index finger rests on the trigger. This position keeps your hands naturally positioned to fire the weapon. As soon as you feel a slight tugging sensation, draw the trigger back slowly.

Remember to hold the firearm upright, allowing gravity to help pull the hammer down and release the cylinder.

What Is the Best Way To Shoot a Snub Nose Revolver Accurately?

The answer depends on what you want to accomplish. If you're trying to hit something a few inches away, it makes sense to use your whole arm when firing. But if you're shooting at targets several yards away, you'll probably want to keep your arm close to your body.

Shooters often say the easiest way to learn how to shoot a snub-nosed revolver is to practice standing up on a short sight radius. That's because you don't have to worry about aiming while sitting down. However, if you plan on using the revolver to shoot an object, your first step should be to find out the object's position, whether low or high.

To hit small objects such as cans, bottles, etc., you may want to hold the revolver at a lower angle than when shooting big objects. When you get closer to smaller objects, you should raise your arms a bit higher above your head.

a target and a revolver

Reloading a Snub Nose Revolver

When reloading a snub nose revolver, make sure to do everything quickly but thoroughly. Slide the cylinder out from the revolver's frame with each new round loaded. To load a new cartridge, insert the bullet through the barrel, chamber it using the extractor, and push it into the casing.

When you run out of bullets in a revolver, remove the empty case from the cylinder and put another cartridge in the chamber. Once the last round has been loaded, reinsert the cylinder into the frame. Ensure that the cylinder is lined up properly before inserting the top snap caps.

How Far Is a Snub Nose Accurate?

All snub nose revolvers are not created equal. Some are more accurate than others. The most common problem is excessive "looseness" in action. Other problems include misalignment between the cylinder and the barrel. There are two ways to correct loosening: 

1) Replace the spring assembly

2) Reinstall the top cap and force the action closed

Correcting Loosened Action

Loosen the screws holding the frame in the receiver and remove the top cap to fix a loose action. Remove the old springs and install the new ones. Do not forget to tighten the screws back down. Slide the cylinder into the frame and replace the top cap. If this doesn't work, try replacing the entire lower half of the frame.

Misaligned Cylinder

To align the cylinder correctly, use the bottom edge of the frame as an alignment guide. Hold the frame vertically and line up one side edge with the front sight post. Then line up the other side edge with the rear sight-post. Finally, line up the left and right edges with the ejection port. It may take several tries to ensure that the cylinder is perfectly aligned.

Once you have it set, put the frame back together. Now you must install the top cap. Before doing this, make sure to check for clearance at any point where they might interfere with the operation of the trigger or sear.


  • Always keep your gun safe.
  • Never use live ammunition in a training situation without the instructor's express permission.
  • Never point a firearm at anything you don't want to destroy.
  • Practice often - you'll improve faster.
  • Know how to handle a firearm safely and responsibly.

Why Is My Revolver So Inaccurate?

The shooter's point shooting skill primarily determines the accuracy of a revolver. Improving your accuracy will require practice. One way to practice is to get yourself a target and start hitting it with your revolver. You can also watch videos of experienced shooters demonstrating their skills. Another option is to find someone who already knows what they are doing and ask them to teach you.


  • Don't press against the stock.
  • Keep your hands relaxed as much as possible.
  • Breathing profoundly helps to keep you calm during challenging moments.
  • Aim low, but don't aim low enough to endanger bystanders.
  • Focus on relaxing and concentrating.
a gun on a red book

How Far Will a 357 and a 38 Snub Nose Shoot?

A.357 snub-nose revolver has a maximum effective range of about 30 yards. The best way to test its accuracy at that distance is to use steel plates cut into various shapes. Use a piece of cardboard to mark off approximate distances. Have fun experimenting with the paper plate system. If you do not have access to such objects, try placing some coins along the trajectory of a shot.

On the other hand, the 38 Snubby shoots farther than 357s because its shorter barrel causes more powder to burn per shot. A good rule of thumb is to multiply the diameter of the cylinder by 4 (diameter x 2 length x 4). So a 5.5" 38 snub noses will shoot just under 40 yards.


The best way to learn how to shoot a snub nose revolver accurately is by practicing often. This type of gun isn't the simplest to use, but by using our guide and incorporating our tips, you'll be alright. We hope that our guide was helpful.

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Ruger revolver
  • Strong and reliable
  • Featuring a recoil-reducing grip
  • Perfect for personal defense and field use

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