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“This gun & proper ammo are more accurate than 99% of….

Discussion in 'Handguns: General Discussion' started by Mad Magyar, Nov 3, 2007.

  1. Mad Magyar

    Mad Magyar Well-Known Member

    the shooters using them.”
    If I’ve seen this type of quote once I’ve seen it a hundred times over the decades. All by well known gun writers, in this case Duke Venturino, and gun legends such as Skeeter Skelton, Bill Jordan, Jeff Cooper, Elmer Keith, et al and a host of professional gun smiths and competitive shooters as well.
    I agree with the statement, in fact, I think it’s more like 99.9%. Who are left out? The top-notch competitive pistoleros who really make it their business to remove the human frailties out of shooting.
    Why do I bring this up? Since I also contend that 99.9% of all guns out there have never been benched tested by their owners for accuracy, why in the world aren’t pistoleros directing their cash to the very thing they are lacking: training & practice? In many cases, I surmise that the pistol is right on out of the box. If so, you can make a good list of all the variables that contribute to a poor shot.
    What do we do instead? You name it: trigger jobs, combat sights, porting the slide, compensators, match grade barrels, flared mag wells, etc…It goes on & on….
    Are we going overboard with extensive modifications? Very few of us are competitive shooters. If we are engaged in the CCW mode and “all hell breaks loose”: in all likelihood will meet our nemesis at 15 ft or less. At that distance, CQC skills and a 100% reliable weapon are far more crucial….
    What say you?:)

    John, interesting link..Thanks..
    Last edited: Nov 3, 2007
  2. trueblue1776

    trueblue1776 Well-Known Member

    Well, I agree, with the exception of the 10 million people who own M44s. :D
  3. MrBorland

    MrBorland Moderator

    Well, I generally agree that there's no subsitute for practice, but whenever I read that the gun is way more accurate than the shooter, it conjures up images of a metaphorical chain, where the shooter is the weaker link, and it'd be silly to spend money making the stronger link even stronger. I think the more accurate chain metaphor is slop in the links: one link may have a lot more slop, but the total slop in the chain is the sum of each. Reducing the slop in either reduces the total slop.

    Also, it's a big sport. Big enough for everyone to get enjoyment from it in different ways. For some, dropping $$ into their gun may bring them enjoyment. For CCW/SD, though, I agree that training ought to take priority.
  4. JohnKSa

    JohnKSa Well-Known Member

    I agree with you about 99.9%. ;)

    It's been my experience that off the shelf firearms in general are very accurate--definitely more accurate than I typically read on the web. I've seen so many complaints about pistol accuracy that I finally wrote a long blurb on how to determine if a pistol is accurate or not and posted it on another forum.

    I'd post a link but I'm not on my normal PC and a lot of firearms sites are blocked here...
    Yes but...

    There's an engineering principle called "swamping". The idea is that if you have two effects acting on the outcome and the result of one effect is only 10% (or less) of the other, the smaller effect is "swamped". When that happens you can, for practical purposes, ignore the smaller effect.

    For example. If the gun is capable of shooting 3" groups at 25 yards and the shooter is shooting 15" groups at 12 yards (that would work out to roughly 30" groups at 25 yards), the gun's accuracy is swamped by the shooter's accuracy. That means that changing to a gun that shoots 1" at 25 yards (a 67% improvement in the gun's accuracy) won't make any practical difference in the overall accuracy of the shooter/gun combo.
  5. Fly320s

    Fly320s Well-Known Member

    Because spending a little money at a time over a long period of time is easier for most people than spending the same amount of money for a few days of training.

    Also take into consideration that most people don't manage their money in such a way that would allow them to spend $300 to $1,000 for two to four days of proper training.

    And as a final touch, many people think they are already good shooters, or at least good enough in their opinion. So why go to a training course that isn't necessary? Or why go to a course to be shown how bad they really are? Some people don't want their bubble burst.
  6. JohnKSa

    JohnKSa Well-Known Member

  7. brickeyee

    brickeyee Well-Known Member

    ”For example. If the gun is capable of shooting 3" groups at 25 yards and the shooter is shooting 15" groups at 12 yards (that would work out to roughly 30" groups at 25 yards), the gun's accuracy is swamped by the shooter's accuracy. That means that changing to a gun that shoots 1" at 25 yards (a 67% improvement in the gun's accuracy) won't make any practical difference in the overall accuracy of the shooter/gun combo.”

    Since the shooters accuracy and the guns accuracy are separate statistical groups, they add Root Mean Square.

    That means a gun that groups 3 inches and a shooter that groups 15 inches would produce groups around SQRT(3*3 + 15 * 15) = ~15.3 inches,
    If the gun was improved to 1 inch, the groups would shrink to only ~15 inches.
    A huge improvement in the gun does almost nothing for the error of the system of gun and shooter.

    Always work on the ‘long pole’ first since it drives the results.

    If the shooter could hold 3 inches and the gun was also 3 inches, group size would be ~4.2 inches.
    Improve the gun to 1 inch and now the groups shrink to ~3.2 inches.
  8. JohnKSa

    JohnKSa Well-Known Member

    I love math--it's even better when someone else does it for me. :D

    Nicely done.

    I sort of threw you a curve by quoting the accuracy figures at two different ranges though. :eek:
  9. eldon519

    eldon519 Well-Known Member

    I agree with brickeyee. For a while I was really interested in getting into bullseye shooting. The sentiment there seemed to be to spend the money on a quality gun to START practicing with(assuming you had solid fundamentals to begin with), not after you've been at it a long time. The thinking is when you make a mistake, you KNOW it was your fault, not the pistol. You basically get more direct and accurate feedback to your shot by what shows up on the target. You're probably not gonna learn to be a great shot practicing with a gun that only holds 6" groups because you never know whose fault your misses are. Inevitably you end up trying new techniques to improve but for some reason, they still won't work. Confusing and frustrating for someone who doesn't realize their weapon is the limitation.
  10. MrBorland

    MrBorland Moderator

    Thanks, JohnKSa and brickeyee. Very informative. However, realistically, is the effect of the shooter really swamped? An example where a shooter is shooting 15" groups at 12 yards seems a bit of a stretch. Are most people really that lousy of a shot? I'm thinking of an example where the gun is capable of 2" groups, and the shooter is capable of 4" groups (RMS = 4.5"). This seems more realistic. Improving the accuracy of the gun so that is shoots 1" groups improves the RMS 9% to 4.1".
  11. Slugless

    Slugless Well-Known Member


    My take on this is that I can shoot some guns more accurately than others. With certain pistols I'm very accurate.

    Buy a pistol that fits and points well with good ergonomics.

    Buy a pistol that's accurate enough that you know when you've screwed up.
  12. logical

    logical Well-Known Member

    I can only think of one thing I've heard people say about shooting more than "this gun, with proper ammo is better than 99% who will shoot it"....and that would be "instead of spending money on this or that you should get training and practice".
  13. 1911Tuner

    1911Tuner Moderator Emeritus

    Well...The ranges/group sizes were used as an example rather than representative...but you'd be surprised at how lousy some shooters really are, especially when called upon to hit the target in a hurry or under time constraints.

    This question of accuracy has been played until it's become the first criteria for selecting a given gun for a given purpose.

    For one thing...Group size doesn't adequately determine the gun's potential because it only gives the gun credit for its two worst shots and ignores the others. Finding the geographic center of the group...measuring the the center of each shot, and taking an average would provide a clearer picture.

    For another...a gun that is bench-rest capable of a 4-inch maximum dispersion means that no shot will impact more than 2 inches from the spot that the sights were on when it fires. 2 inches...north, south, east, or west...which brings it straight back to the operator.

    I like accurate guns as much as the next guy. Some of the rifles that I've fired are downright amazing, including one that I presently own. In shooting trim with the full compliment of 5 rounds of ammunition on board, it weighs
    almost 13 pounds. With that rifle, I can literally choose which eye that I want to thread a bullet through at 300 yards using carefully handloaded ammunition...from a benchrest. I also have a short, light carbine in the same caliber that will shoot into 2 minutes out to 300 yards with practically any decent ammo I can buy over the counter. (6 inches at 300) It weighs a tick over 7 pounds. Guess which one I'm gonna grab if things get hairy. Both rifles are bolt-action, incidentally.

    Back to defensive pistols...

    Since the mission of the carry gun is the sudden close-range emergency in which the defender likely won't have enough light to see the sights, nor the time to align them carefully...it would seem to make more sense to choose a pistol of that purpose based on its feel and ease of use and its reliability rather than the unrealistic notion of target-grade accuracy. If you find one that offers both...great. Every little bit helps...a little bit. Much more critical is the question of reliability. Will the gun function when it's hot or cold...dripping with oil or as dry as a popcorn poot...Gripped like a wet noodle or with a Hulk Hogan Handshake...with decent commercially produced ammunition...and does it suit your hand? Can YOU shoot the gun well when you don't or can't take a lot of time adjusting your hand to its peculiarities?

    A pistol that shoots into 4 inches at 25 yards barely draws a yawn among target shooters...but it'll save your bacon if you shoot it well.
  14. JohnKSa

    JohnKSa Well-Known Member

    Even in that case improving the gun's accuracy by 50% only made a 9% improvement overall.

    But I think if you poke around for accuracy results & group sizes you'll see that 4" at 25 yards may be a bit optimistic for the majority of pistol shooters.
  15. obxned

    obxned Well-Known Member

    Good sights and a good trigger do make a huge difference in how well a shooter can do, but most of us would gain little with a match barrel. Many other modifications are quite useful and do not have anything to do with accuracy, like beveled mag wells, custom grips, compensators, etc.
  16. Peter M. Eick

    Peter M. Eick Well-Known Member

    The difference (on target shooting) is pretty mental. When I shooting my Sig210's and I miss, I know I missed. There is no question that the gun was more accurate then I am and the likelihood that I was aiming true and the round went south is mighty slim.

    Now when I was shooting my P9-9mm and the round went where I did not expect it, yes then I could rightfully blame the gun, but was it really the gun? Yes and no or sometimes it was and sometimes not. There were times I called the perfect shot, but I missed. There were times I blew the shot but I hit the X.

    This is the difference between an expensive accurate gun and a blaster. With my 210's I know what I am for I can hit. With my P9-9mm I was never sure.

    The same thing goes for my P7 PSP carry gun. I know I can hit what I am for. Black and white type of thing. My old carry gun (CZ97B) failed me once miserably and I had to sell it because of the mental confidence thing.
  17. jlbraun

    jlbraun Well-Known Member

    Indeed. I've kvetched about this same thing here.

    People would rather spend $1200 on a new pistol that they're not capable of getting the accuracy out of instead of spending even $300 on training. Classic instant gratification mentality.
  18. Floppy_D

    Floppy_D Member In Memoriam

    I think it's more people wanting something tangible for the money. Both the gun and the training are investments, but you can sell the gun if you have to. I think if more people actually saw what the training did for them, they'd be onboard.
  19. -terry

    -terry Well-Known Member

    well, often folks will buy a super-accurate gun for (1) bragging rights, and (2) pride of ownership. Most people don't what a POS gun, even if it shoots accurate. When you just pick up your gun and clean it, dry fire it, look at it, it's just nicer to have a high quality gun. In this case, the (assumed) better accuracy just comes along as a bonus.
  20. trueblue1776

    trueblue1776 Well-Known Member

    I own a 1200$ pistol, and yes, the guys on TV shoot better than me.

    But, I'm ok with that. ;)

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