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Practical Handgun shooting distance

Discussion in 'Handguns: General Discussion' started by XxWINxX94, May 31, 2010.

  1. XxWINxX94

    XxWINxX94 Well-Known Member

    Hello Everyone.

    I'm at my summer home and I took some of my handguns out to do some target shooting. I only get to shoot maybe 5 times more/less every year, so I am by no means a marksman. I shoot at 33 yards at about a 10'' x 10'' paper target. I shoot various calibers, such as 9mm, .45 Colt and lots of .22LR. I don't know if my eyes are going out, my sights aren't correct, or what. I can't complain with a rifle though, I shoot a .22LR Browning with a small Leupold M8x Compact scope. I can pick off soda cans at 100 yards+ with that. I also did excellent with my buddy's AR15. Paper targets are often intimidating and frustrating to me, so I end up trying cans or rocks.

    Does anyone have any advice?
  2. Slamfire

    Slamfire Well-Known Member

    Offhand with a pistol is extremely difficult.

    The 10 ring in Bullseye Pistol is about 2 inches at 25 yards. Everyone here gripes if their rifle does not shoot 1 inch at 100 yards.

    I bang away offhand at a 12 inch gong target at 25 yards. I only miss when I am sloppy. I move that thing out to 50 yards, and I am very happy hitting it 5/6, 4/6 offhand. That only happens if the sight are adjusted correctly and the load is good.

    Under the stress of competition, I have missed 12 inch plates at 7 yards.

    I am of the view point that handguns are spitting distance weapons.

    But you can hit things much further off when there is no stress and plenty of time.
  3. JoeSlomo

    JoeSlomo Well-Known Member

    In USPSA / IDPA competition shooting, it is my opinion that the average shooter starts to suffer a noticeable accuracy degradation at around 15 m, and it gets worse as range increases.

    33 M is a long shot for most folks, and is a LONG shot for defensive shooting.

    If you enjoy shooting at that range, look into some bullseye competition web sites and get some tips to tighten up your group. If you have a more defensive focus, get closer. IMO, for defensive shooting you can do 50% of your shooting within 7M, 75% within 10M, and the rest beyond 10M.
  4. wbwanzer

    wbwanzer Well-Known Member

    Yeah, you're a little far out, in my opinion. I usually shoot my handguns at 10 yds. If no one else is at the range, I set up two or three targets, sort of like steel challenge.
  5. buck460XVR

    buck460XVR Well-Known Member

    I think the first part of this quote is the answer to your question. Handguns take practice to get proficient with and it takes continued practice to stay that way. Add to this the use of different platforms(I'm assuming revolver and auto) and the problem is compounded. Rangewise I think you are pushing it a little shooting 33 yards with the 9mm and the .22 handgun, but for the .45Colt, 33 yards is certainly realistic. I generally shoot my .357s, .44s and .460 all @ 50 yards. 35 yards is minimum.

    Shooting at paper can get boring and lead to complacency. This leads to lack of concentration and motivation. Sometime when using a paper target/paper plate folks tend to aim at the whole target and not a specific point on that target......as the saying goes, "aim big, miss big". Get something more fun to shoot at that reacts when hit. Clay pigeons make fun targets as do cans/bowlin' pins and water balloons hung from a support. Anything to make you shoot more and makes you focus on the front sight will increase accuracy.
  6. Agostini

    Agostini Well-Known Member

    Shooting practice should be diverse as buck460XVR pointed out.

    I usually train from 2 ft close combat up to 25 (50) yards. Keep it interesting. 10 to 15 yard speed shoots require different proficiency than 25 yard 2 inch groups. So does movement, multiple targets and the boring standard strong / weak hand only at 10 to 25 yards.

    Naturally, shooting 1 inch groups with a target guns gives me as much pleasure as weak-hand-only groups from 20 yards with my j-frame.

    All trigger time should be kept interesting and rewarding. I'm not sure there exists a distance you'd not try to practice to see what happens and what really are the limits of your firearm and you. Most people are surprised learn how much more they're able to accomplish.

    Good shooting.
  7. oldfool

    oldfool Well-Known Member

    ditto what Agostini said
    I like to mix it up
    there are many serious aspects to handgun shooting, but no reason you can't have fun as well, and fun comes in many flavors, many distances
    my range is limited to 100 yards, and I use all of it, even though my high round count is at 10 to 15 yards
  8. Pyzon

    Pyzon Well-Known Member

    I think a lot of us tend to get caught up in the competitive nature of accuracy comparisons.

    Don't get me wrong, I get a lot of satisfaction from hitting small targets at great distances, but for personal or home defense practice I try to be realistic about the actual range of a potential target.

    My largest room in my home is 32 feet across, around 10 yards lets say. If I can repeatedly place 6 rounds inside a 6" circle in 10 seconds or so, I feel confident in my defensive abilities.

    BUT.....if you factor in fear, or adrenaline or whatever in a real home defense scenario, obviously accuracy is going to take a dive, but I know of no way to practice with those factors present. Maybe running 50 yards prior to shooting would help create similar out of breath or "buck fever" shaking of the hands, I don't know.

    I think practicing for home defense at 50 yards is not very realistic though. But a lot of members here are better shots than I am at that range, based on the pictures I see posted. Or maybe it is the tale of the tape.........
  9. David E

    David E Well-Known Member

    It depends what type of shooting you're trying to do.

    Bullseye and defense shooting share little in common, regarding technique, speed and time.

    In any event, get the target closer! And put the 10"x10" square on a larger backing. Then, if you miss, you can see where you missed by looking at the backer. This helps the self-diagnosis so you know what to work on.
  10. MCgunner

    MCgunner Well-Known Member

    All depends on the game. I've shot IHMSA, creedmore, 10" pistol iron sights to 200 yards on a steel ram. Actually, I usually cleared the rams. Was the turkeys at 150 that gave me hell. Those targets look pretty small at those ranges. The gun I used was quite accurate, TC Contender in 7mm TCU.
  11. flipajig

    flipajig Well-Known Member

    Im With MC gunner use a gun suted for the job. My TC is verry accurat when I do my part. my longest shot was in the 250 yd range I stop at 50 yd with my SBH 44mag. all my others 5 to 35 steel chalange. and pratice makes perfict.
  12. gdesloge

    gdesloge Well-Known Member

    One suggestion might be to move in a bit (15 yds. distance) and build up your confidence by making consistent groups that satisfy you. Stick with one type of target so that you can measure your improvement. Maybe then you might be able to move the distance back to 25 or 33 yards.

    Hope this helps,

  13. snooperman

    snooperman Well-Known Member

    I also agree with MCGunner on this one...

    Practice at those distances for the "intended use". I used to shoot silhouette at various ranges with Dan Wesson supermags and practiced from 25 yds out to 100 yards. I have hunted game from 30-125 yards with various handguns as well. However, for personal defense I generally practice from 3 yards out to 10 yards with my carry guns.
  14. W.E.G.

    W.E.G. Well-Known Member

    What are your goals?

    If you aspire to be rock and tin-can shooter, it sounds like you already have a good grasp of the game.

    If you want to become a competitive National Match shooter, you need different equipment.
  15. XxWINxX94

    XxWINxX94 Well-Known Member

    Alright guys, Thanks for the input, I really just need to move in a little. I'm somewhat new to shooting and don't really have too many peers or mentors to show me techniques and stuff. I will be sure to practice as much as possible, that seems to be the best way to get "more accurate".
    Last edited: Jun 1, 2010
  16. Lastmohecken

    Lastmohecken Well-Known Member

    There are so many different shooting games, and practically none of them have anything to do with self-defense. But IMHO, a good all around shooter, with oh lets say a good quality 5 inch 45 ACP 1911 or maybe a 6 inch .357 revolver, should be able to hit a 10 to 12 inch gong at 100yds at least half of the time, if he doesn't have to hurry too much.

    At 50 yds slow fire, he ought to be inside an 8 inch circle most of the time, off hand.

    At 25 yds slow fire, off hand, 3 inches or better, and a good man can do it rapid fire.

    At 7yds, draw and fire 6 shots in 4 seconds, and stay in the 5 ring on a IDPA carboard target.

    Maybe practice some body shots, and head shots on IDPA targets, at ranges as close as 3 yds out to at least 10 yds. Practice some 1 and 2 shot draws at those ranges, if self defense is your goal.

    That will be a good start.
  17. Agostini

    Agostini Well-Known Member

    While accuracy usually determines the shooting speed; i.e. you don't shoot faster than you're able to hit the X every time, at times you just need to test your limits - shoot as fast as you can and see what happens.

    The main thing is to keep the practice focused and interesting. A very good protocol is to have a plan prior to going to the range. After accomplishing that plan, the rest of the time is for fun only.

    There are literally hundreds of 'drills,' you can try and adopt.

    Dry firing still, after twenty+ years of competitive practical shooting consumes 90% of my practice time.
  18. 1SOW

    1SOW Well-Known Member

    David E +1

    What my son and I do for fun and practice is to set up a target backer with a 'center mass' about the size of your paper. We emphasize accuracy & speed. Too many misses means too fast. Too many bullseyes means too slow.

    We may have one at 4-5yds: can be hit using 'point shooting'-no sights--fairly fast.

    Another at 8-10 yds: the front sight comes into play--a little slower.

    Maybe another at 15-20 yds: Now front and rear sights are needed--a shade slower.

    We usually end the day by lining up some 12 ga hulls on the 25 yd berm. We compete to see who hits the most with 5 rounds. Very careful front and rear sight use is needed--some days I can't get slow enough.

    Start with attainable goals and move up as you improve.

    Shoot more! Keep the "fun" in your shooting.
  19. Steve C

    Steve C Well-Known Member

    In a standard Bullseye pistol match slow fire is shot at 50 yards, one handed, no support allowed, The 10 ring is 3.3" in diameter. A top competitor can put all 10 rounds into that 10 ring but an occasional 9 ring hit is made. Among the top shooters ties and winners are often determined by the number of shots in the X ring. These matches are shot with .22 LR, Center fire pistol from .32 to .45 caliber, and Service Pistol which is .45 acp or 9mm. Timed and rapid fire is shot with the targets moved to 25 yds.

    Other than practice and physical ability there's no reason you can't hit a 10x10 target every time at 33 yds. Most service grade pistols will hold a 5" to 6" group at 50 yards.

    Below is a target posted at the club I shoot at. The "X" ring is 1/2 the 10 Ring at 1.65" or about 1-5/8". The reason for the 11 shots is likely due to an alibi where due to no fault of the shooter a round misfired, by the rules only the 10 lowest scores are counted but all these shots hit in the X ring. Shots touching the ring are counted at the higher score.


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    Last edited: Jun 2, 2010

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