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"Average" is how good, exactly?

Discussion in 'Handguns: General Discussion' started by David E, Jan 25, 2010.

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  1. David E

    David E Member

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    Everyone online thinks they are a "better shot than average."

    Ok, so how good IS "average" as it relates to handgun shooting?

    This is something I'd thought about in times past. I believe that a low "C" class shooter in USPSA/IPSC or a "Marksman" in IDPA is "better than average."

    As my Dad said, "Averages are always wrong" because there are better and worse levels out there. As someone has as his tagline, there is a big difference between being a "shooter" and being a "gunowner." However, the "gunowner" needs to be included when determining an average ability.

    So, what IS the "average ability?" How do we define it? Strictly by the ability to place hits on a given target at a given range? Should it include reloading? Should it include strong hand/weak hand shooting? Should it include a time frame?

    I suggest that the parameters be simply this: How far away can the "average" shooter, starting from low-ready, hit a sheet of typing paper with 5 shots in 5 seconds?

    I'm going to say 7 yds. This is incredibly easy for most of you......but what about your neighbor?

    "Average" isn't a skill level to aspire to, it is one to surpass.

    I'm curious what you folks think about how we could define "average," or if you agree with my suggestion.
     
  2. ArmedBear

    ArmedBear Member

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    There are many handgun-related skills, and many ways to measure them.

    I can do that at 25 yards, though the sights and the specific gun would matter a fair amount.

    But I shoot with guys who could probably pulverize a baseball at 25 yards that way, with the right gun, but one-handed.

    OTOH if you stick that gun in an ankle holster, I may still be trying to get it out, when someone with training and practice would have those 5 shots on target. Even if they didn't have a steady hand and couldn't hit a target at 25 yards to save their lives, they could have 5 shots on paper at 7 yards before most people started shooting.

    As far as "average" is concerned: if anyone is shooting competitively, in any discipline whatsoever, even if they come in last, I'm betting they're above "average."
     
    Last edited: Jan 25, 2010
  3. Warhawk83

    Warhawk83 Member

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    I haven't tried doing that yet,I'm just now learning really. Had to send my Sigma back to S&W. I couldn't hit a barn door with it and after getting it back, out to 15 yards I shoot about 3'' low. The longer the distance the more it drops.

    From what I have seen, the "average' handgun owner doesn't even go to the range. Maybe shot the gun once or twice,then it gets put away.
     
  4. MrBorland

    MrBorland Moderator

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    Agreed.

    You'd need to establish from what pool of shooters are you establishing an average.

    If you're asking what's average among all shooters out there, you have to consider the Joes who go to the range for funzies all the way to the the many very excellent shooters that compete on a regular basis. And herein lies the rub; this "average shooter" would likely be much better/faster than the average shooter most of us would encounter on a regular basis. So, what about Joe? Does he flat-out suck because he's below this average, though he shoots better than most every other Bob at the range?

    While I think a "good" shooter would probably fall somewhere under the NRA "sharpshooter" guidelines, I don't think "Marksman" would set the standard for an "average" shooter, though, since marksman can be anything under sharpshooter.
     
  5. Eightball

    Eightball Member

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    Eight threads on the first page alone, and you needed another one? :scrutiny:

    Average is how the vast majority of people shoot in this case. To me, that includes all the Zumbos and Yokels who only shoot Fudd guns or longarms, three shots a year to sight in, and once at each deer.

    Compared to most people, I'd say you're doing better than average to even keep all your shots on target/in the black at seven yards, within a minute's time frame, especially so if you can shoot, hit, reload, and shoot again, all within a minute's time.

    This is my observation as well.
     
  6. David E

    David E Member

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    I thought I did in the OP: there is a big difference between being a "shooter" and being a "gunowner." However, the "gunowner" needs to be included when determining an average ability.

    Yeah, I got tired of waiting for you to start one..............;)

    Of course, you can always go take the quiz: "What handgun are you?"........:rolleyes:
     
    Last edited: Jan 27, 2010
  7. ArmedBear

    ArmedBear Member

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    Why are you so worried about how well other people can shoot, though, David E?
     
  8. rmfnla

    rmfnla Member

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    I'd say average means you can hit the broad side of a barn... :D
     
  9. Ed Ames

    Ed Ames Member

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    It's kinda strange. Especially the strange criteria (max distance for "typing" paper 5 shots in 5 seconds) and assumption that everyone is using a gun for whatever he thinks he needs one for.

    The local ranges near me will kick shooters out for more than 1 shot every 2 seconds. There are always people shooting at incredibly close range...3 yards and the like... and they are putting holes EVERYWHERE on man-sized targets at that range. I don't understand.

    My goal is a 2" group. I figure that's about the margin you have for a stopping (CNS) shot so there is no reason to practice anything else. I practice at whatever range lanes are available (from 3 to 25 yards) and am usually disappointed with my 25 yard shooting.
     
  10. David E

    David E Member

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    I sure wish people would read the OP.....:rolleyes:

    It seems that everyone considers themselves to be "better than average." Great, but what does that mean, exactly? What IS "average?" What skill level is it that you say you're better than?

    If someone doesn't like the possible definition I suggested, then by all means, post one you think describes it better. I just tossed it out there to get the ball rolling.

    Personally, I think there needs to be an accuracy standard at a given distance in a given time frame, but that's me.

    Your thoughts?

    maybe this rephrasing of the OP will work...........
     
  11. Ed Ames

    Ed Ames Member

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    I read the OP. I suspect everyone did.

    I think it's kinda strange.

    If you want to know the average, go to a public range and look at how well people are shooting...then reduce that because the people who go to ranges at least are interested in shooting.

    At the local ranges around here, DFW Tejas, you see a lot of people scattering holes across man-sized targets at 3 yards. That's with a range-enforced max rate of fire of 1 round every 2 seconds, and no holster use allowed. The average is probably 15" at 3 yards.

    Does that mean ANYTHING?

    I typically shoot a plain jane Stainless Springfield GI w/ the only "customization" being a set of smooth (uncheckered) grips and a belt clip. It's not a fancy BBQ gun, nor a target gun. I have repeatedly had other people at the range make comments about my shooting. They usually start with a comment about how my gun doesn't even have proper sights but just those tiny little things nobody can see, and go on to say they don't try to do any better than about an eight inch circle because that's all anybody needs anyway. Some have been complimentary, "you're obviously a really good shot, I wish I was", but the majority have been rather dismissive, almost to the point of, "Why are you wasting your time shooting little groups when obviously you don't need to...I'm not." I've always been rather puzzled because those people (often Kimber owners) actually initiate the conversation to tell me their gun is reliable (good, so is mine), that my gun has bad sights (no, they have bad eyes...I like small sights), and 8" at 7 yards is good enough shooting (only if you are shooting at people and don't care how long they have to shoot back).

    Note that I'm usually as fast or faster (I have to be careful or the rangemasters yell at me for busting their rapid fire rule) than they are to boot.

    Given that attitude...that you don't need to shoot better than X so you don't...it seems the average will be based on how well people have to shoot, what they think is reasonable, not on any limit of ability. If they think 15" circles at 3 yards is reasonable that's what they'll do. If they think 4" at 25 yards is reasonable...well, if the gun can, they will.

    Which is why competition isn't meaningful to the averages. Most competitors think hitting the targets they need to hit... whatever those targets are... is reasonable and so that's what they learn to do. Because the targets are designed to be challenging, those people will shoot to a higher standard than people who do not seek the challenge.
     
    Last edited: Jan 25, 2010
  12. Peter M. Eick

    Peter M. Eick Member

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    I consider myself to be average to maybe a hair better then most, but certainly not very good. Really good shooters do at 25 and 50 yrds what I work at to do at 15.

    Instead of just commenting, I would put up targets. All targets were shot at 15 yrds, 50 shots per target. I consider this average to ok shooting.

    [​IMG]
    Sig 210.

    [​IMG]
    DW 722

    [​IMG]
    S&W 41

    [​IMG]
    S&W 610 (first 50 shots with the gun)

    [​IMG]
    Dimondback

    [​IMG]
    S&W outdoorsman

    [​IMG]
    H&K P7PSP

    [​IMG]
    Colt Python.

    This is just a smattering of targets that I would call average to par for the course. Considering they are only at 15 yrds and 50 shots, I have a lot of work to do.
     
  13. Mike J

    Mike J Member

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    I haven't been to the indoor range in a while David. I have seen many there that seem to have trouble keeping their shots on a full sized sillhouette target at 7 yards. One guy I saw there had a brand new sig in .45. He started a brief conversation with me. When I noticed he was shooting badly with it I tried to tell him where I had found pointers that helped my shooting. His response was "This is just for self defense I bought a Browning Buckmark for target shooting".
    I am not as good as I would like to be especially recently as my range trips have been limited. Hopefully I will get to shoot more soon. However I don't think it is hard for anyone that actually makes an effort to train & improve to be above average.
     
  14. Ed Ames

    Ed Ames Member

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    LOL...no, those ain't average. They may be average for you, but you aren't paying attention if you think that's the middle of the total playing field. That's easily 3rd quartile. Probably 90th percentile.
     
  15. lexjj

    lexjj Member

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    Based on what I see at the range every time I go, average is in fact basically awful.

    I actually did exactly what you described this afternoon. I didn't time myself, but I'm sure I was shooting at least once a second. I'd say these six shots (had six rounds left in the box) took between 4 and 7 seconds. The target is an SI-5. The Bullseye is like 1.10 inches (or something close to that.
    [​IMG]

    This is 8 shots in ~10 seconds
    [​IMG]

    Pretty much anyone in IPSC would smoke that.
     
    Last edited: Jan 25, 2010
  16. tipoc

    tipoc Member

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    I don't have an objective standard for it other than what I see at the range. I consider myself an average shot. So let's see what I mean by average...

    At 7 yards I shot 5 rounds in 2 seconds from the low ready. Stopped and did it again through these 2 Hi-Powers that you see in the pic below. Total of 50 rounds 115 gr. UMC ball, all shots visible in the pic. The blue box is 4"x5 1/2".

    [​IMG]

    tipoc
     
  17. lexjj

    lexjj Member

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    I wish Rock Island made a Hi Power so I could afford one :)
    Those are nice.
     
  18. David E

    David E Member

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    Makes me want to shoot my BHP !
     
  19. Magic_Man

    Magic_Man Member

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    I'll be the 1st to admit that I suck at any reasonable distance w/a handgun. I just can never find the right grip.
     
  20. Mark F

    Mark F Member

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    My 44 Magnum, 6 rounds, 8 seconds, 25 yards.


    [​IMG]
     
  21. Peter M. Eick

    Peter M. Eick Member

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    Nice shooting. My goal this year is to move to the 25 yard offhard range and keep them all in the black.
     
  22. shockwave

    shockwave Member

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    That's above average. This comment:

    Is just so right. Rather than comparing oneself to others, ask yourself if you're better today than you were yesterday. As long as continuous improvement is happening, the question should resolve itself in your favor.
     
  23. 45Frank

    45Frank Member

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    Depends what your shooting for. I'm not real good aiming at things don't know why, but I love shooting. I can hit paper no problem at 15 yards aiming.
    My take is what I can hit quickly if someones coming at me. I mostly shoot off had if that's what it's called. With my revolvers I can hit a baseball 5 out of 6 times just by pointing and pulling the trigger. If I stop to think and aim maybe 50% of the time. Go figure.
     
  24. tipoc

    tipoc Member

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    Average I think in slow aimed fire is about a 3-4" or so groups at 15 yards fired standing unsupported. About 5-7" at 25 yards standing unsupported.

    Average means about half can't do as well and about half can do better. I base this on what I've seen at the range from those shooters who can shoot a bit.

    tipoc
     
  25. ShadyScott999

    ShadyScott999 Member

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    I think it really depends on what the shooter is trying accomplish. I know MOA guys that can shoot a chigger of a gnats butt at 800 yards. Something I cant even begin to do. When it comes to MOBG (Minute of Bad Guy) doing a Mozambique drill they are amazed how fast I can perform.

    I think in the handgun world, I would consider most who would take an intermediate class average shooters. Just the fact that they are taking a mid level course makes the very advanced when you consider the entire population.

    1. They can put many hits on stationary target.
    2. They can clear a malfunction. They don't do it immediately and instinctively though.
    3. They start to fall apart once the target is moving.
    4. They miss more than they hit once they and the target are moving
     
    Last edited: Jan 31, 2010
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