How accurate does it need to be

Discussion in 'Handguns: General Discussion' started by webrx, Jan 20, 2022.

  1. Jim Watson

    Jim Watson Member

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    Since the dispersion of the gun is added to the dispersion of the shooter, it can only be desired that the gun have no dispersion at all. Jeff Cooper.
     
  2. trackskippy

    trackskippy Member

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    It sounds like there are a number of different shooting mentalities going on here. Target, hunter, fighter. Each one has different expectations and for the most part, they dont really coincide or cross reference.

    The one that needs to be addressed here is the "fighter", and that requires a whole different skill and mindset than the others. Youre not target shooting or hunting, which for the most part that Ive seen, other than small game and some bird hunting, where you're shooting reactively, its basically just "target shooting" of sorts, in the field.

    Just getting the gun going from how its being carried, without thought and in an instant, is a very important, and big part of this, and has to be well-practiced and well ingrained. If you cant get the gun out and onto the target quickly and immediately be shooting as it bears, all those tight groups you shoot really wont mean a whole lot, and you wont likely be seeing them here either.

    Once you start shooting, as long as you're getting hits where you were looking (up close, you won't likely be looking at the sights) when the gun goes off, you're golden. Tight groups really dont mean a thing, nor are they really desired. Getting "good" hits, repetitively, is what its about, and they may not necessarily be close together or where you first started.

    You also need to be in the habit of continuing to shoot without slowing down or stopping, as long as the target is still there. Slowing down to assess starts when the target is down and out. Not after a predetermined number of shots. If its still there in the guns (or your) field of view while you're shooting, you keep shooting until its not, and follow it down.

    I dont think shooting a certain size group here really means a whole lot, unless all you're doing, is standing still and trying to shoot groups. All if you think about it, all that really does is show you have the basics down.

    I think until you start getting out past 15-25 yards or so, is where you can start slowing down bit and shoot in a more "sights focused", and in a "target" type manner, and focusing harder on the sights and trying to make those hits. Of course, that's assuming even at those distances, your target is cooperating and standing still to give you that sort of opportunity.

    Up close, its going to be shooting more with a "target focus" and over the top of the gun, or maybe just using a front sight index, as opposed to actually trying to get a sight picture, especially if everyone is moving. ANY hit you make on them is a good hit for you, good or bad. Good hits are always better, but you need to be accustomed to shooting quickly and repetitively and keep loading them up, and dont stop to admire your work and see if its working until you know it has. Practicing to make good hits in that manner, on a better than average basis takes some time and work, and you dont learn that from standing still and shooting tight little groups, of any size.
     
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  3. FL-NC

    FL-NC Member

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    Perfect practice makes perfect, and most "advanced" tactics and techniques are really just the basics done really well. .
     
  4. joneb

    joneb Member

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    I shoot for the moon and hope I can get over the barn. I reload most of my ammo and have had good results. Some premium SD ammo is quite good but expensive to shoot so I try to replicate that premium ammo with my reloads for training.
    As for accuracy I expect a 3" group at 30' from a handgun, but if it is a bug I would cut it some slack.
     
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  5. Hartkopf

    Hartkopf Member

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    There might be some conclusions drawn just because someone shot groups with a defense pistol and defense ammo. Up close, the first shot on target and quick follow up shots are far more important than group size. BUT, it’s ok for a person to test several types of ammo, all effective for defense, and then carry the most accurate. It probably will never matter but why not check the accuracy of what you carry? In my earlier post (#2) I had no idea how inaccurate one brand of ammo was in my gun, until I tested it. Some people like these lite, high speed loads sold in shiny boxes. Some are not very accurate. Test accuracy once, carry the best and go back to practicing drawing, moving, multiple targets, and all other important defense exercises.
     
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  6. JohnKSa

    JohnKSa Administrator Staff Member

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    If you buy decent quality ammo, you should be good in the accuracy department nearly all the time. I did an experiment awhile back where I loaded 6 different types of practice ammo (all FMJ, all "budget" practice-type ammo) into the mag of a stock Glock 17 and shot 10 rounds at 15 yards. Five of the loads were from domestic makers, the fifth was imported.

    The resulting group was 2" center-to-center.

    I'm not saying you can't find gun/ammo combinations that don't work--it can happen. I'm just saying that ammo selection for reasonable self-defense pistol accuracy isn't something that usually needs to be agonized over.
     
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  7. webrx
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    webrx Contributing Member

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    I have to agree, and this is kind of my point with this whole post. I will ensure exact powder charge round after round, same manufacturer brass, even have weighed out 50 different bullets to ensure same weight for rifles I am shooting at distance (,223 and 6.5CM) but for 9mm, and the distances I expect to shoot a pistol close is good enough, and at SD distances (10 yards and less) there just does not seem to be a point in being that specific when building practice ammo.

    Now I get it for competition shooters who want to shoot targets at distance for score, and I had honestly not looked at the 25 or 50 yard take down a bad guy across the room with a head shot scenario. I have always considered CCW as a means of defending myself and family up close - aka defense or as a means to retreat, not pick off a shooter off at 50 yards, but I can see where 25 can be needed and potentially further in different scenarios that have run across my news feeds - aka Church Security Team members, mall shooter, etc. it will be something I will add to my practice, I can hit steel (12x12) at 25 yards but it can't hurt to practice for higher than "hit steel" accuracy at distance as well - best to know what you can do before you need to do it.

    Don't want to get into a should you shoot at 50 or not discussion, as this thread was more about how accurate does pistol ammo need to be for SD distances.

    Thanks again everyone - i am enjoying the conversation, and am open to more thoughts on the subject. Seems I always learn (or discover) something in these types of threads

    D
     
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  8. trackskippy

    trackskippy Member

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    I can see maybe some ammo might be an issue, once you start getting out there distance wise, but realistically, its not the ammo or the gun at most distances, if there is an accuracy problem.

    For my practice ammo, I load the same weight bullets I carry, and try to get close to what the power is with the powders I use, so the gun shoots and handles like it does with the factory stuff. I load in bulk, and just throw the charges, nothing fancy, and the accuracy has always been fine.

    Back in the 90's we were shooting a lot of Norinco "China Sports" 9mm in both our handguns and SMG's. It was dirt cheap, and at most ranges for both, it was plenty accurate. Where it was noticeable that it wasn't as tight and consistent as some of the more expensive stuff, was out at 100 yards when shot from my MP5. There, it was having trouble holding 12" from a rest. Loaded a mag with Federal 9BP and shot the next target, and that group went from 12" to 4".

    Realistically though, even at its worst, it would have been fine for most things at realistic distances when shooting realistically.

    I still think we are the weakest link when to comes to all this, bit of course, its never going to be our fault if things arent working. :)
     
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  9. Armored farmer

    Armored farmer Member

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    My standard for a carry gun is a two liter bottle at 15yds.
    I'm not quite as concerned with up and down as I am left or right.
    I want to put 5 shots in a two liter bottle offhand THEN I want to be able to put one in the bottom of the bottle.... two hands, careful aim, rested. Then I know the gun and I are compatible.
    IMG_20210725_175759.jpg

    A large zuke represents in this case...:thumbup:
     
  10. Seedy Character

    Seedy Character Member

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    I strived for 4" or less @ 25 yards, from a test.
    Once load is developed or found, I don't shoot from a test.
    Shooting 10" gongs @ 25 yards, down to 8" @ 15, 6" @ 10 and 4" @ 7. I knoww instantly, whether a hit or miss and the miss is me.


    Nothing improves without practice. Success in practice leads to confidence. Confidence leads to success.

    A slow hit beats a fast miss. With practice and confidence comes speed, up to a point. Not amount of practice will make me a Rob Letham or Jerry Miculek.
     
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  11. GBExpat

    GBExpat Member

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    I want to be able to reliably, slow-fire, hit a 12oz sodacan-size target from about 25 yards. Or, add some urgency and cut the distance in half. ;)

    I tailor my cartridge loads to produce acceptably accurate results in my pistols. That said, I have never experienced any memorable accuracy issues with store-bought handgun cartridges.
     
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  12. Autodidactic

    Autodidactic Member

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    I’m about the same. Aim for 2-3 inch groups at 10 yards. I can do better if slow firing, breath control, etc. My handgun III instructors said nothing more than that is necessary for common SD. The only guns I find hard to do that with are snubbies and micro pistols (at 10 yards). I mainly think of those as 5 yard or less guns anyways though, and they do fine at 15 feet.

    I know this will sound not kosher here, but after going to the range once a week for a year and multiple classes, I realized I just don’t have the motivation to move much beyond that functional level of accuracy at SD distances. I don’t care enough to let’s say go 2x a week just to get my 10 yard group down to a 1 inch group. I’d rather learn new tactical skills, etc.
     
    Last edited: Jan 23, 2022
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  13. Rodfac

    Rodfac Member

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    For defensive use, Ray Chapman, first world champion in IPSC competition, if memory serves, once opined that he wanted one inch groups for every ten yards of distance...one inch for ten, two at 20, three at thirty...all shot two handed, slow fire.

    In my use, that standard holds for any of my hand loads...and not that difficult to produce with a little effort from most any revolver of Colt, Ruger or S&W make. For auto's it's not as easy unless you limit your defensive yardages to less than 15.

    YMMv Rod
     
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  14. Autodidactic

    Autodidactic Member

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    Meh, why do you need one inch accuracy at 10 yards with a pistol? Do the police or military require that?
     
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  15. Armored farmer

    Armored farmer Member

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    Is that called 'hour of angle'?
     
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  16. trackskippy

    trackskippy Member

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    Military and police are a pretty low bar when it comes to basing things on. That doesn't mean you should strive for mediocrity either, simply because they seem to.

    If you cant shoot 1", 2", 3" deliberate groups at 10 yards "on-demand" when you arent under stress, what are you going to do when you are?

    What are you're best 10 yard groups when shooting slowly and deliberately?

    Now, what are your "groups" at the same distance when you draw and fire while moving offline at the same distance?

    The problem here is, some people are talking one thing, while others are talking about something else. They might be the same "sorta" thing, but they are totally different.
     
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  17. xphunter

    xphunter Member

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    THIS^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^
     
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  18. stanley_white

    stanley_white Member

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    At seven yards, one magazine or one cylinder of ammunition, in the A-Zone of an IPSC target, shooting as fast as I can see the front sight.

    My front sight is my speedometer.

    No I do not think my handgun ammo affects my ability to meet that goal.

    -Stan
     
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  19. mcb

    mcb Member

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    Seems many here are focus more on the skills of the shooter rather than the inherit accuracy of the handgun. These aspect are more intertwined in handgun shooting than rifle shooting in many cases but still separable. I got the impression the OP was after how accurate does your handgun need to be, not how well do you shoot it in a particular situation or drill. If you put your handgun of choice in a ransom rest (eliminating the human factor for the most part) what level of accuracy at what range would you expect for a particular handgun? How does the the intended use of the handgun effect the level of theoretical accuracy you would expect?

    ie I would expect my hunting handguns (S&W 610 or 29) in a ransom rest to shoot 4-MOA (2-inch) 5-shot groups or better at 50 yards. In practice I would struggle to shoot a 2-inch group at 50 yards with my hunting handgun in most situations short of at the bench with a substantial rest but I would expect the handgun to be capable of that level of accuracy.
     
    Last edited: Jan 24, 2022
  20. trackskippy

    trackskippy Member

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    Sorta goes hand in hand, dont you think? Whats one without the other? Unless all you're doing is trying to shoot the smallest group possible, and that really doesn't apply here.
     
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  21. mcb

    mcb Member

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    But unless you know the inherit accuracy of your handgun you do not know if the reason you can't meet the accuracy requirements of a particular drill or training exercise is because your incapable or because your gun shoots so poorly that no amount of shooters skill will compensate.

    At a USPSA match you never shoot over a rest at a target, almost all shooting free style shooting, often in awkward positions, on the move, and sometime even weak hand only. That said every new USPSA handgun I have purchased have gotten one or more range sessions where it was shot from the bench on a substantial rest so I could adjust the sights, shoot for groups, and to see how inherently accurate the gun was and in some cases working up particular loads to get a level of accuracy I required. 38 Short Colt in my 627 was a particular challenge and took several attempts to get a level of accuracy acceptable for competition for me. Only once I trust that the handgun and ammunition combination itself is accurate can I evaluate my own shooting and know that any accuracy issues encounter in training or at a match are due to my skills not a defect of my handgun.
     
    Last edited: Jan 25, 2022
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  22. Autodidactic

    Autodidactic Member

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    3A70766E-6DCE-4F04-B86A-31C0F644496B.jpeg I still think one inch accuracy at 10 yards is arbitrary and unnecessary. I’ve heard fist sized is what is functional accuracy.

    Heres me shooting casually yesterday with a TX22 rental, and my 642 snubbie. It’s sufficient. This was not uber careful slow fire.[/QUOTE]
     
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  23. WrongHanded
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    WrongHanded Contributing Member

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    The context of the OP is right here:

    Self Defense. So do we need to know what kind of purely mechanical accuracy (shooter removed from equation) our SD pistols are capable of? I don't think so.

    But I believe we should know what kind of accuracy our SD pistols will deliver out to a reasonable range, with our chosen ammunition, shooting from our own hands. This also gives us critical Point Of Impact information. I also believe we should know how our range ammunition compares, as a point of reference for practice versus real world shooting with a different ammo type.

    As speed of shooting increases, precision of shooting decreases (at least for us regular guys). "Accuracy" at speed is an important issue, but a separate one. For that we must factor in things such as recoil and recoil recovery; trigger control; reaction speed; muscle memory; etc. But it seems reasonable to first establish what the gun/ammo/shooter combination is capable of during slow controlled fire.

    This is why I think 6" groups at 25 yards off hand is a good baseline for pistol/ammo/shooter. A 6" diameter circle is a safe/conservative approximation of the size of the vitals in the thoracic cavity of an average adult.
     
    Last edited: Jan 25, 2022
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  24. Slamfire

    Slamfire Member

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    There are very few handgun shooters who can shoot to the potential of their revolver. As a class, a revolver is an extremely accurate weapon. I have seen a number of autopistols that are not target grade, but up close, they will do the job.

    These were the old standards for accuracy, standing, unsupported, holding the pistol with one hand. These are 25 yard targets by a good shooter, not me!

    lR2YG8I.jpg

    J7nmpNq.jpg

    do this with a 1911, offhand, one handed. Ain't so easy then.

    GmRRXM8.jpg

    this was the course of fire

    DiglvlS.jpg


    This is what a two time Bullseye Champion did in a 2700 Match with his 22lr at CMP Talladega

    OamtSYz.jpg

    50 yards is one heck of a long way out there with a handgun

    hi4HdlC.jpg

    This was a world record in 1947

    jLUkGCs.jpg

    I assume Tech Sgt Benner was shooting a revolver at 25 yards, and shooting 5 shots in 10 seconds, and then, a reload and another five shots. The holes did not look 45 caliber, but I could be wrong. Without a doubt, he was using irons. No Ultradots back then.

    Generally, you want something that shoots half the size of the ten ring at distance. When that ten ring is 3.36 inches at 50 yards, that is a tough standard to meet.
     
  25. Slamfire

    Slamfire Member

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    There are lots of match 1911's that will shoot two inches at fifty yards. I don't remember if I have ever seen a 50 yard clean. And that includes shooting multiple times with the All Guard, and the AMU.

    Sure, everyone thinks they can shoot like this.

    sZLvG4e.jpg
     
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