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How do you know you're good???

Discussion in 'Handguns: Autoloaders' started by t_dickinson, Feb 23, 2009.

  1. t_dickinson

    t_dickinson Well-Known Member

    I know this is a subjective question and may draw extreme responses, but within reason, how do YOU judge if you're good with a handgun? Is there a generally accepted standard for viewing someone as a good shooter (outside the big gunfight - yes I know it only counts in the big one...)

    When people see a person bench press 300 lbs; he's STRONG

    When a gar goes 0-60 in 3 seconds; it's FAST

    See what I'm getting at?

    I read all the magazine articles that seem to judge the accuracy of a handgun by its groups at 25 yards. The author typically gets 2" groups at 25 yds. I'm okay but rarely practice bast 15 yds and at that distance I can group 2-3" with 5 rounds in about 4-5 seconds. Am I good? Personally I think maybe average or below. No way I could blast 2" at 25 yds.

    I don't need a pat on the back or a pick-me-up. I guess I'm just wanting to compare myself to others to measure my progress and set reasonable goals.

    I know this could get ugly so please no preaching or bragging about not being good unless you 1-hole 10 shots at 100 yds. Just want to know how you judge yourselves in this area so I can determine if I'm fair to myself.
    Last edited: Feb 23, 2009
  2. KenW.

    KenW. Well-Known Member

    If you gauge youself against the guys who go to the range every day, you may be dissappointed.

    You can be good at target shooting or scoring combat hits. It depends on the standard YOU set. Those who shoot from benchrests differ from those who work on combat, draw and fire type drills.

    A benchrest guy gets angry at 2 inch groups, while a combat guy may be quite pleased with a four inch grouping...
  3. geronimo509

    geronimo509 Well-Known Member

    Dont forget this is usually from a bench rest. If your standing at 15 yards and can put 5 shots in a 2-3" groups in 5 seconds then your pretty good. There are better and there are A LOT worse.
    you could if you took your time. which people from gun mags probably do.
  4. Double Naught Spy

    Double Naught Spy Sus Venator

    Regardless of how good you think you are, you can always be better. I figure I need to be good enough, cold, to be able to overcome whatever advantages (intent, opportunity, ability, timing, preparation, weaponry, cover) my opposition has. The problems there are that I don't know what sorts of advantages I will have to overcome...so I probably need to practice some more.
  5. I am just about the shakiest handgun in the whole South. I dont care about being good, just on target is good enough. Sight on and empty it.

    That is one reason I likey shotty.

    Practice until you tire, practice some more. Practice, practice and practice.
  6. Kind of Blued

    Kind of Blued Well-Known Member

    I'd say you're pretty good when you can shoot several guns off hand and notice that some guns are more accurate than others.

    The concept of an "accurate gun" is simply a gun which reduces the mechanical aspect of inconsistency. Once your skill approaches or surpasses a gun's mechanical consistency and accuracy, you're pretty good, depending on who made the gun of course. :)

    I've found that this doesn't do much in the world of shooting (especially off-hand). At a certain point of fatigue, one's body becomes incapable of acting exactly as one's brain tells it to. At this point, in my opinion, one is making noise, launching projectiles, etc, but not necessarily becoming a better shooter.
  7. I realize that sir regarding the tired bit and practicing some more.

    I am trying to illustrate with bad words the importance of regularly shooting the weapon.
  8. burningsquirrels

    burningsquirrels Well-Known Member

    there are many different standards.

    i just see myself as never being able to get good with a handgun. once i stopped worrying, my shooting got better. :)
  9. MrBorland

    MrBorland Moderator

    As far as handgun accuracy, the benchmark I typically see for good, but not outstanding, shooting is honest and consistent 3" 5-shot 25 yard groups, shot standing unsupported. With a DA revolver, the shooter ought to be able to do this DA mode, not just SA. Bonus points for doing it 1-handed or weak handed, and double bonus points for doing it 1-handed and weak handed. Excellent shooting would be consistent 2-2.5" groups, and superb shooting would be consistently under 2".

    As far as combat action, I'd probably use the IDPA qualifier or a simple El Prez drill as a benchmark. I'm no expert, but IMO, a good shooter ought to be able to shoot an El Prez in under 10 seconds. The par times I've seen for A-class and Master El Prez is 6.0 and 5.3 seconds, respectively. That's with all shots in the A-zone.

    IMO, a very good all around shooter would be able to do all these things respectively well.
    Last edited: Feb 23, 2009
  10. robctwo

    robctwo Well-Known Member

    Does your range or club have any competitions? I just shot speed steel at my club yesterday. Finished in the top 1/2. I'm not great. Too old and trifocals. I am safe. I do know how to draw and get on target. I do not miss very often. I'm fast enough to be competitive in my age group. I have a lot of fun.

    I shoot paper for practice quite often. I shoot off hand at 25 yds a lot. Most of my guns will hit inside a 6" circle at that distance with me at the controls. I play a mental game. On a good day I give myself a nickel for every shot in the circle, and deduct a dollar for every shot outside. On a bad day I give myself 20 cents for in and deduct a dollar for out. Goal is to come out ahead of myself.

    If I'm shooting closer, I just make the target smaller. When I started shooting pistols I thought a 6" circle at 15 yds was a challenge.

    As far as practice, any practice of bad fundamentals is bad. Get a lesson or two. I find that shorter sessions more often yields better results. For me shooting 200 rounds is a very short session. I like to mix two or three mags of .22 into every 10 mags of center fire. My goal is to get the same sight picture at discharge with the .22 and the 9mm or .45.

    There are good videos and books, but working with a pro is the best way to get better.
  11. Dravur

    Dravur Well-Known Member

    That IS one fast fish...

    Here is how you know you are really good.... or really bad...

    Someone else puts up a youtube video of you.
  12. Gunfighter123

    Gunfighter123 Well-Known Member

    COMPETITION --- Bullseye , IPSC , IDPA , 3 Gun Action , Bowling Pin , Skeet , Trap , etc. etc.

    If you REALLY want to know how good you are try to shoot in competition.

    I can shoot baskets all day long , just me and the backboard ---- a LOT different then playing a basketball game.
  13. hankdatank1362

    hankdatank1362 Well-Known Member

    My bullets go about where I want them to (reasonable "combat" accuracy), fairly rapidly, at a reasonable distance (inside 15-20 yards, 25 yards MAX), even while shooting on the move (a steady shuffle.)

    Are there better shooters than me? Yup. Probably a lot.

    Am I better than the majority of so-called "gun owners"? Yes. These people rarely put in the time to practice. That's what we as enthusiasts do; put in the time, because it's fun to us. And that's what makes us better shooters.

    Now, when the S hits the F, how will I do? Don't know. All the skills in the world on a static range or IDPA match don't guarantee a win in real life. Best we can do is to be prepared.
  14. Competition is appealing to me but I am not going to kid myself. Im dead last.

    Now back in my day competition means first to top of mountain wins with the engines we had in our day. Or perhaps walking away from the one next to you off a light.

    Im happy to be within a few inches of center mass. That is good enough for me. Does that make me so bad?
  15. mbt2001

    mbt2001 Well-Known Member

    Who cares about being good? I have a gun, I practice and other than that, I could care less about other people's opinions of my skill or lack thereof.

    The OP question reminds of "who is the fastest gun" attitudes common to western novels.
  16. MrBorland

    MrBorland Moderator

    Don't worry :rolleyes:

    You didn't ask for any shooting advice, but I meant to comment on this, too. Hopefully, this'll be taken as the helpful advice it was meant to be.

    On a recent thread (link below), I suggested the shooter understand the difference between combat action type shooting and target shooting, and practice accordingly. I think I'd offer the same advice to you.

    As described, your shooting, IMO, isn't a particularly good example of either type of shooting. Too slow for combat action, and not particularly accurate target shooting.

    If you're shooting combat action style, use a paper silhouette target, bring it in to 7 yards, give up some accuracy while trying to get 5 COM hits in under 2 seconds. Or draw, 5 COM hits in under 3 seconds.

    When shooting for groups, use an appropriate bullseye type target, and take aimed unrushed deliberate shots. Do not "blast" away 1 shot per second if you can do better by slowing down.

  17. Claude Clay

    Claude Clay Well-Known Member

    Training—one way to practice:

    3 IDPA targets[t], 8" paper plates[pp], tape, timer and your concealed rig

    adjust to fit your physical shooting conditions:
    set one at 11 o’clock at 3 paces[l], another at noon at 5 paces[m] and the 3rd at 1 o’clock at 7 paces[r]

    pp lt low (belly area), pp mt center mass

    from the timer draw and point shoot lt pp, depending on your speed this may be done one handed or two
    transition to mt as gun is coming up to snapshot (two handed) the pp and continue to a pointed 3rd shot on the rt for a head or heart shot.

    Mix up the t’s and the pp’s locations so you don’t imprint. After you can get 3 shots all on target-or close enuf to count- add follow-up shots to the training. Keep it fresh, keep it moving, change t & pp locations; do not develop patterns. After you are comfortable with doing this alone, practicing with others (remember safety at all times) will advance you faster.
    As to what is good? no set answer but- from holstered to 3 good hits in 2 seconds likely means you will survive an encounter. Perhaps taking some damage, but alive. The closer you can get to 1.5 seconds makes you about as good as good gets. To be more gooder get time down to 1.25.
    Playing with friends allows for them to [with your back turned] arrange the t’s and tape a pictures of a gun on one and a cell phone on another. At the buzzer you have to turn and engage in order of most to least danger. Lots of variations—lots of ‘fun’

    This is a snapshot of one training exercise and what proceeds it isn’t mentioned. in part learning:
    to draw; don’t try to be fast: smooth is fast
    to point shoot
    speed reloads; counting rounds

    indy 500 racers started out with the same drivers permit you did.
    Practice, desire and innate skill separate them from the masses
    Practice and train to your abilities and do not think yourself better than reality shows you to be.
    This will keep you away from the peter principle. Thus minimizing your frustration while increasing your likelihood of survival.
    Last edited: Feb 24, 2009
  18. jcwit

    jcwit Well-Known Member

    Watched a guy shoot a 50 5X at 50 yds at a bullseye match last summer.

    He was good.
  19. possum

    possum Well-Known Member

    when pro trainers tell you you are, howevre no matter how good i am, i think i am or anyone else thinks i am for that matter i can always improve, and that is the case with everyone. i am not a proud man as most people say, i do not brag, and i don't boast that is how you get into trouble in my opinion.

    i tell people i train and shoot 20,000rds a year, and they say why so much, and i reply, because 19,999rds of that is misses. :)
  20. f4t9r

    f4t9r Well-Known Member

    Look at my signature line and you will know how good I am !!

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