Admittedly, I am coming to this debate rather late, but it seems everyone is overlooking a simple and obvious solution: Phasers used LASERS for aiming.
Although not demonstrated on screen, it seems logical to assume that all phasers from TOS to the present could generate a simple laser beam to indicate the impact point of the phaser beam. Phasers 1 and 2 are sidearms, used for close quarters and would not need a more complex sighting system. Phaser rifles all have some variety of optic or electronic sighting system to target at ranges beyond a visible laser dot.
Perhaps phaser 1s and 2s have two-stage triggers - a light depress activates the targeting laser, and a firm press fires the phaser.
Lasers were new science when TOS aired and were large room-filing devices so even though writers could imagine immensely powerful hand held phasers, they couldn't make the leap to conceive of REAL laser technology being so compact.
I have read many posts pertaining to phaser aiming and have not seen anyone else propose my solution. Assuming anyone revisits this topic here, I would be interested in hearing their opinion of my solution.