How do you measure your performance?


July 30, 2005, 06:07 PM
I shoot at least once a week and I like to keep my targets so I can see how I'm performing. The problem I had was that it was very subjective..."Hmmm, that one looks good". But was it really? And it was hard to be objective about which gun was giving me the best performance. I have some that are "favorites" -- but do they really shoot the best for me?

So I decided to try to find a "scientific" way to measure gun performance. Here's what I came up with:

1) Take the target and draw a rectangle (not a circle!) that encloses all the hits with the minimum area. No funky shapes...just a rectangle.
2) If there are one or two "flyers" that really ruin an otherwise good group, draw separate "With" and "Without" rectangles.
3) Note the distance shot and the number of rounds fired

I take that info and I plug it into an Excel spreadsheet that calculates the following:
A) Area of the hit (for both With and Without Flyers case)
B) Average range shot (for all the data points for a particular handgun)
C) A "score" that is calculated by taking the area, dividing it by the number of rounds squared and then divided by the range.
D) The average score for that handgun

My thought was that not all groups are created equal. I think you ought to get credit for the distance you shot and the number of rounds fired. I decided to square the number of rounds because I think it gets harder and harder to hold a tight group as the round count goes up. You could reverse it and square the distance if you thought that was more important than the number of bullet holes.

What I end up with a way to look at different guns and see if my "instinct" matches the facts. Turns out that some of the guns I thought were "bad" shooters are, in fact, better than some that are in my favorite category. It only works when you shoot comparable courses of fire. You can't throw targets that were weak hand only into the results (unless you had a really good day!)

I have a separate page in the spreadsheet for each gun, and it shows how many data points are in the sample. That way you can tell when you're comparing 30 targets for one gun against only 3 or 4 for another. It also displays the average distance for all those data if you shoot one gun at 7 yds all the time and another at 15 you can take that into account when comparing results. In the future, I'll probably parse the data so you can see results for a particular range so you can compare apples to apples. The

This is what I'm trying. I'm interested to hear what other systems (if any) people use to measure and track their performance. I'd like to end up with something that can help me recognize and diagnose problems in my shooting because I have some data to show my past performance.

Any suggestions or ideas on other systems would be great.



If you enjoyed reading about "How do you measure your performance?" here in archive, you'll LOVE our community. Come join today for the full version!
July 30, 2005, 06:20 PM
Sounds like you just need to add time (over all, between shots,and draw time). A timer is an excelent addition for training,not just for competition.

July 30, 2005, 06:47 PM
Frenchwrench -

Good point. I don't have a timer yet, so I haven't been recording my splits. That's next on my "wish list"...and it probably needs to be sooner rather than later!


July 30, 2005, 07:49 PM
I measure my performance by comparing my scores in USPSA matches to those of a couple very consistent A and Master class shooters. Those guys are really good, typically don't make big gains in their own skill overnight, plus they are very consistent from match to match. They give me a bar that is high enough that it will be a true challenge, yet it isn't unattainable.

I am sneaking up on them, but it will be a while before they need to worry about me being real competition.

I can stand and shoot paper with most anyone, add movement, the clock, reloading, problem solving and match stress to the equation and I think it makes a more valid evaluation of my skill level.

July 30, 2005, 08:01 PM
I agree that the ultimate test is when that buzzer goes off...but I only get to do that once or twice a month. The rest of the time, I'm looking for a way to help track my "preparation" for that final exam. It's probably pretty minor -- but I figure that anything I can do to help me get better during a match (or real life, for that matter!) can't hurt.

And it gives me something to do with all that paper when I'm done with a session at the range!


July 30, 2005, 09:10 PM
My self measurement method consists of firing 50 shots on one target at 25 yards, scoring it, and posting the date, pistol, score, and number of X's, ten's, and nine's into an Excel spreadsheet. Then I set up an automated Excel graph using the posted scores. There is a natural tendency to try to make a graph show improvement (a technique I used in management several times during my career). I did this some years ago with the .44 Mag and recently started another program for the .45 ACP with/without the .22 Marvel unit. Now the only local outdoor range has replaced the 25 yd targets with 20 yd targets. This messes up my history comparison.

Good shooting and be safe.

Blackhawk 6
August 1, 2005, 06:01 PM
I have ten basic standards drills that I shoot at least once per week. Each drill has a time assigned to it. The accuracy standard is currently the A-zone of an IPSC target. In order to get credit for a drill, you must make time and hit the A-zone. Each drill is performed twice for a possible of 20 points.

Total round count for the entire session is less than fifty-rounds. By reviewing my performance I can focus my dry-fire practice. By recording each session, I can track my progress.

As the drills become easy (I am consistently scoring 19's or 20's), I decrease the time standard and/or size of the target.

August 1, 2005, 07:23 PM
"My gun didn't blow up. I didn't shoot myself in the foot. No bystanders were killed."

It was a GOOD match! :D

August 1, 2005, 09:19 PM

Not just a good match. Sounds like a good day too.

August 2, 2005, 05:22 AM
I measure my performance by logging onto, typing in my member number, and seeing where I am compared to the very best on record.

If you enjoyed reading about "How do you measure your performance?" here in archive, you'll LOVE our community. Come join today for the full version!