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Range Day--Mostly handguns

Discussion in 'Handguns: General Discussion' started by Johnny Guest, Dec 22, 2002.

  1. Johnny Guest

    Johnny Guest Moderator Emeritus

    Elder Son and I looked around for a local match on SA 21 DEC but none at our usual haunts. We decided to just get together and do some informal shooting.

    He drove up SU a.m. and we were at friend's private shooting area shortly after noon.--Almost entirely out of .45 ACP handloads. I gotta find time to put in at the Dillon 550B--Plenty of components on hand, just too little time.

    We had plenty of Blazer and Win Whitebox 9 mm,though. Shot a bit of it through - - -

    Kel Tec P11
    Browning High Power
    Glock 19
    S&W 39-2 (Brand new-to-me gun--Shoots a little low.)

    Of the group, I still prefer the BHP, for feel, ease in scoring quick hits, and the manual of arms being nearly identical to the 1911. I gotta say, though, that I'm becoming more impressed with the usability of the G19. E.S. is downright deadly with it--Speed and short range accuracy both.

    We were short on .38 target loads, so I didn't shoot the Model 37. E.S., though, demonstrated that the little allow resolver is an absolutely primo back up gun, and that he could make quick head hits at 20 feet on demand.

    We also shot some mild mag loads from my Model 19-4. 7.0 gr Unique with a 162 SWC is accurate and pleasant to shoot.

    Fine tuned my M77 .338 with 210 gr. Nosler loads at 100 yards, but was running out of daylight. Just as well, I guess--The stock design, coupled with a stout load yields a surprising amount of felt recoil.

    All in all, a very fun afternoon. Verification of accuracy and point of impact adds confidence in carry guns, too. Most of my practice takes place in the course of shooting matches, and simple, informal, plinking and target work is very relaxing as well as enlightening.:)

  2. Al Thompson

    Al Thompson Moderator Staff Member

    Just curious, how far out do you make POI coincide with POA?

    I used to be a firm beliver in 25 y for subsonic, 50 y for SSonic, ala the good Col. Cooper.

    I'm starting to rethink that, have not done either the testing or run the numbers. My "guess" at this time is about 50 feet.


    PS - those Glocks grow on you. I had a couple over the years, sold'em and now have a 19 and a 26. Funny how reliability and efficency seem to matter more these days..
  3. Johnny Guest

    Johnny Guest Moderator Emeritus

    Hi, Al - - -

    For "full service" handguns, such as 1911, BHP and magnum revolvers, I like dead on at 50 yards. Impact at 25 yards is seldom 2" high, depending on the load, etc. This way, I can still hold dead on, to well beyond normal pistol ranges, holding on middle of the silhouette target's head and still get torso hits.

    I'm a bit more realistic about the belly guns-- Alloy .38 snubs and small 9 mms dead on at 25 yards will do the job. I still try 'em at long range, just for reference.

    One main thing I want to know: That I can make rapid hits in a six-inch circle to about ten yards.

    The Browning is about to get Novak sights, and I'll have 'em leave the front sight tall, so I can sight it in with a file. I already have my magnums and main 1911 properly sighted. I'm still working on the fine tuning of a recently-acquired Commander. I can make the ten yard test with it, but I want to tune in in at 50 yards.

    Gotta work out a sight pusher for my G-19, though--It hits about an inch left at 20 yards. It shoots nice groups there, though.

  4. labgrade

    labgrade Member In Memoriam

    Gotta ask, Al/Johnny.

    "Just curious, how far out do you make POI coincide with POA?"

    & a serious question regards anything SD-wise. I'd imply that's what the practise was for ....

    Anything SD-wise, I practise at +/-<7 yards, or so. I figure anything much longer most likely won't be.

    No offense, please, as I do handgun hunt.

    Maybe an better understanding of the further range practise, huh?

    Willing to know more about that ....
  5. Al Thompson

    Al Thompson Moderator Staff Member

    Lab, that's a good question and sort of gets to the heart of what I'm thinking about.

    Jeff Cooper noted that some very high % of gunfights are at conversational ranges.

    I think what I need to do is check zero from 7 yards on out. I'd like the ability to make surgical shots at closer ranges, but have never really set up a check course of fire for near to far. Looks like I have anotherr project for the new year. :)
  6. Ala Dan

    Ala Dan Member in memoriam

    Season's Greetings To All-

    Boy! looks like Oleg has The High Road.Org off to a great start!

    Hello, Johnny-my friend, I'm glad you decided to wrap your paw's
    around that Smith & Wesson 39-2.:D What a great piece, for CCW
    purpose's; and to have as a collectable! I'm sure your group's will
    improve with time, there ole' buddy.

    Happy Holiday's,
    Ala Dan, N.R.A. Life Member
  7. Blackhawk

    Blackhawk Member In Memoriam

    Thanks for the report, Johnny.

    I've got a P-11 that's dead on elevation wise POI/POA at 50 yards with WinWB FMJ, and high at shorter ranges. I got a sight kit to adjust that but decided to just keep it factory standard and use Kentucky compensation instead.

    It's a CCW, and careful aiming isn't as big a priority as accurate point shooting with it is. :)

    OTOH, my P-32 is dead on at 50' if careful aiming is in the cards.
  8. Johnny Guest

    Johnny Guest Moderator Emeritus

    Sight-In and Practice Range

    The whole sight-in distance thing is very much a matter of personal perspective. I have no argument with anyone's preferences. I DO believe that most self-defense practice should be carried out at relatively close ranges. The vast majority of my handgun practice is carried out at short ranges--Ten FEET to ten or 15 yards. I suspect that 80% of my last ten thousand rounds have been fired at those ranges.

    Please note that I'm talking about SD practice, not in learning how to shoot. One should know, and know WELL, the basics of grip, sight alignment, concentration, and trigger break before getting on with "gunfighter" training.

    I know I can score rapid center-of-mass hits a silhouette target at close range. This is not the trick. One may need precision hits at close to medium ranges. Not all confrontations occur on a wide parking lot or person-to-person in a dark hallway. The elephant may come to a crowded Luby's Cafeteria or the back pews of a rural church. I practice for awkward, stressed-out shots, when the stakes go beyond a trophy or colored ribbon.

    As to distance-- a pistol sighted for 50 yards can make hasty hits at ten feet as well as one sighted in at exactly 18.5 yards. But the latter pistol will probably shoot VERY low at 80 yards, and the former would hit only slightly low. I just want to optimize the chances.

    Plus, it is FUN to make good hits at 100 yards with a combat-worthy sidearm. A side benefit is the confidence that, if the tiny possibility of a long range confrontatation materializes, one if not helpless.

    I do NOT advocate that everyone sight in at 50 yards. Just for fun, though, if you have a service pistol with an adjustable sight, try it out. You might like it.:D

    Merry Christmas--
  9. C.R.Sam

    C.R.Sam Moderator Emeritus

    I agree with Johnny.
    My gun and ammo will be on at 50 Yds.
    May never need that but....
    I know my equipment is ready from belly bumpin range to 60yds+

    I want any error to be on my part, not that of my equipment.

  10. Blackhawk

    Blackhawk Member In Memoriam


    or is it


  11. Stephen A. Camp

    Stephen A. Camp Moderator In Memoriam

    Hello, Johnny. Best to you and yours. If you don't mind, who is putting the Novak's on your HP?


    PS: Besides being a darned fine shot with handguns and one heck of a nice man, Mr. Guest is one who can actually shoot a Commander .45 slow-fire or rapid using the stock, short-tanged grip safety and not get eatten alive!
    If I fire a magazine of ball through one with the original short tang, it looks like a pirahna had the web of my hand for dinner!
    Last edited: Dec 24, 2002
  12. labgrade

    labgrade Member In Memoriam

    Nice range report, etc. ... my only question seems to turn around something I can't quite articulate currently. ;) I'm winding down from a very hectic day - please forgive, huh?

    Al seems to catch my drift anyways .....

    I've a couple ways (maybe three) looking at handguns _ & I'll drift some ....

    A pure-D defensive set-up that'll dump round after round exactly where I want - totally instinctive & from a pretty darned close-in range. Figure this is holding my "fellow citizen" off at arm's reach, while shooting strong-arm. All but contact distance.

    Another may be with a two-handed grip & at maybe 5-7 yards max.

    POI/POA still hasn't really come into play.

    A 25+-50 yard shot is hardly self defense, but very much so still within pistol-craft ranges. Lotsa applicaltions.

    Oh yeah = The Hunting apps ... makes 4

    Just random mind-squirrels for now.

    Anything realistic for handgun SD could be wrapped up in within 10 feet, I'd betha.

    Not that we'd not want ours to shoot a lot better further out.
  13. Johnny Guest

    Johnny Guest Moderator Emeritus

    And greeting to you, Steve - -

    - - -Thanks for the kind words. I am fortunate to be able to shoot the as-built LW Commander and 1911A1 type .45s without hammer bite. But I can't see how anyone could do rapid work with the 1911 (non-A1) Colts, with old short tang and BeaverBite hammer. OUCH! Maybe that's why gloves remained popular with pistol shooters for the next couple of decades, huh?

    Re: your question - - My T-series High Power will go to Novak for the larger, 1911-size sights, per your own suggestion. Yes, it requires milling the slide, but this piece is JUST worn enough to not be too pristine to alter. This is to be my for-real fighting 9mm. I've shot enough practice and enough matches with it to know what I want--And ALL I want: Good trigger, sights, safety. I ordered the C&S single-side, and Scott Mays installed it one afternoon while I waited. :D Gold Dot 124 shoots flat enough so that I feel I can defend myself from <1 to 100+ yards.

    ---ASIDE: S. Camp and I have been bouncing 9mm vs. .45 ACP ideas off each other for something over 30 years. Some acquaintances are mildly surprised to know that he has a sneaking admiration for the "forty-something" guns, and that I really like the niner mike-mike for a change in pace. It's the workman, not the tool, friends!

    labgrade - - -
    I really agree with a majority of your assessments - - - My thoughts on the "zones" and definitions vary slightly, though.

    No offense intended, but the term "instinctive" should be attached only to actions truly below the thought and learning level. Seeking food when hungry, rest when fatigued, flinch away from a threat to the eyes, the breeding imperative, etc. The shooting and most other combative movements are better termed "reflexive," as in "conditioned reflexes." Once you've practiced the firing stroke several thousand times, there is a lot of muscle memory ingrained - - - -

    It is difficult to figure exact ranges at which use of sights comes into play. Agreed--No need for 'em at contact to maybe ten feet. There was a time when I practiced a LOT of one-handed shooting, just throwing the pistol forward and firing as the arm muscles began to tighten. I could make pretty good hits out to around 20 feet, consistently. I later learned that if a two-hand hold was possible, it served well to bring the pistol to eye level. In a hurry, there may be no conscious aiming, but the alignment is verified.

    Agreed: MOST defensive situations occur at bad breath distances. But it is a fact that an aggressive person with a knife is VERY lethal if within 21 feet. No, not everyone within 21 feet is a proven threat, but when someone engages in threatening activity and displays a knife, you're in a defensive posture, like it or not.

    My family and I were at a small gathering when a raving wierdo began shooting a pistol in our direction from about 100 yards. He went the other way as I drew my PPK from an ankle holster. This would have been a true defensive situation. You know what? I had practiced with the little Walther at 100, a couple of weeks before.

    As for hunting handguns . . . This is getting too long.


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