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Target Distance

Discussion in 'Handguns: General Discussion' started by GaryinVirginia, Nov 23, 2019.

  1. GaryinVirginia

    GaryinVirginia Member

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    What distances do you target practice with handguns? How tight a pattern can you shoot? Where should a beginner be?
     
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  2. robhof

    robhof Member

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    Mu carry gun; point blank to 10 yds, others vary from 25 yds to 200 yds! DSCN0452.JPG
     
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  3. CapnMac

    CapnMac Member

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    What distances do you target practice with handguns?
    Many, really, depends on what Im trying to improve upon. Whic his based on many decades of shooting. So, what makes sense for me might not for some one new. So, I could be on 3 yard line, 7 yard line, 10 yard, or 25--it all depends.

    Most peoples' houses seldom offer shots beyond 22' if that is a concern. Most violent crime encounters are usually under 10', if that is a concern. Most target shooting occurs out at 25 yards, if that is a concern.

    How tight a pattern can you shoot?
    Depends upon the day and the distance; no one "group" sticks in my mind as "typical" for my abilities. Other than typically being able to keep things within the Instructor scoring for the Texas LTC. If with a ragin of salt or two.

    Where should a beginner be?
    Working on fundamentals. Consistent grip. Consistent trigger press. Consistent sight alignment.
    Not, "consistent" rather than "correct" as everyone is different, so what works for one may not for another. It's like having a slice or hook in golf; that's an imperfection unless you always have the same result.

    For 2¢ I'd recommend working at 7 to 10 yards as you get a better feedback from the target, you can see the shots and try to develop a "feel" for what works and what doesn't. There's a school of shot that you can shoot at a blank piece of paper, than aim at the hols made by the first shot as an index, which will best inform you on your reflexive" group size. But, Your Mileage May Vary.
     
  4. Hangingrock

    Hangingrock Member

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    Its dependent on your primary/intended usage. One example would be Bullseye 25&50Yds which in essence you would have a handguns dedicated to that pursuit. Other examples would be hunting or as another example self-defense and etcetera. I've jokingly said, I've filled 55Gal drums with 45ACP cases shooting Bullseye.
     
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  5. LaneP

    LaneP Member

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    For a carry/pocket type pistol I like to shoot them off-hand at about 7-10 yards and if I can keep all bullets in the black of a 25 yard slow fire pistol target I'm good. For full size service type pistols I like to bench rest those at 25 yards and if I can keep a group of 6 or so shots inside 3" I'm good, and anything smaller is great. If those groups start going above 4" or so I start trying to figure out what I'm doing wrong.
     
  6. jmr40

    jmr40 Member

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    I shoot mostly duty size pistols such as Glock 19, 17, 20, 21, and 43, along with Sig M-17 and 365 with a few 1911's. I consider myself an average handgun shooter at best.

    I shoot more rounds at 15 yards than any other distance. But that might not be best for a beginner. Depending on the gun, how fast I'm trying to shoot, if I'm having a good or bad day, I will keep all shots inside 2"-6" With certain guns, slow fired, on a good day closer to 1". I don't practice supported at 15 yards. I rarely shoot closer, I figure that if I can get hits at 15 I can at 5 or 10. But a less experienced shooter might be wise to start closer.

    I do sometimes shoot at 25 and on a few occasions as far as 50 yards. I'm not going to win any competitions, but can keep all of my shots inside the kill zone of a human silhouette at 25 and most of them at 50. At least with the full size guns. I don't shoot the sub compacts past 25 yards.
     
  7. ApacheCoTodd

    ApacheCoTodd Member

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    The first part varies too much to specify.
    For beginners, I like to start at juuuuuuust enough distance that it's not a *gimme* - but close enough to establish a base of confidence.
    It's very saddening to me to see a beginner lose enthusiasm by trying to do something too hard, too early.

    Beginners? I like 20-25 feet first. They think it's a distance. It's not over taxing and they can immediately see the results without supporting optics.


    Todd.
     
  8. bdickens

    bdickens Member

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    Depends on what the purpose is.
     
  9. Grumulkin

    Grumulkin Member

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    With my Encores about 1.5 inches for three shots at 200 yards.
     
  10. Fine Figure of a Man

    Fine Figure of a Man Member

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    Most of my handgun practice is done on steel targets at ranges starting at about 30 yards and out to 100yards. The main reason, it is about 30 yards from my patio to the edge of my yard and I don't want stuff to mow around. Also because, if I can hit 8 to 16 inch steel plates at 30+ yards consistently and with a certain degree of speed, 3 to 10 yards becomes very easy.
     
    Last edited: Nov 23, 2019
  11. WrongHanded
    • Contributing Member

    WrongHanded Contributing Member

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    What distances do you target practice with handguns?

    Usually 25 yards (range max) for aimed slow fire, and 15 yards for faster work. On occasion I'll come in to 10 yards, but not often.

    How tight a pattern can you shoot?

    That depends on the gun, the load, and how good I am on any given day. Today, the best I did at 25 yards, and off-hand, was maybe a 4.5" group of 12 shots with a .41 mag Blackhawk revolver, using a practice load (215gr at around 1100fps). Some other guns, I can't get tighter than 8" at that distance. And some guns, with the right load and the right mindset, can yield groups a couple inches smaller.

    But the simple answer is: 6" group at 25 yards is probably my average when I take my time.

    Where should a beginner be?

    Close. Move to farther distances once you feel the target is too big for the groups you're shooting.
     
  12. Dibbs

    Dibbs Member

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    Obviously, 7-10 yards should be where you live, till you start seeing fairly tight groups on the center of the target.

    Generally, after that 25 to 50 yards is your practical max, for most hunting and pest control. At 25 yards, I get my shots on a
    9" target. Two pistols I shoot at 50 yards, I stay on the paper. Much better patterns at 25 yards.
     
  13. rdnktrkr

    rdnktrkr Member

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    We like to shoot at 10yrds doing fast fire, slower and supported fire 15yrds and 25yrds at paper plates and 50yrds at 12" steel.
    When we shoot at 10yrds we also shoot 1 mag then run (jog) around a tree about 10yrds away then shoot another mag, its easier to hit the plate with the 1st mag. Thats a fun day doing that and having a cookout
     
  14. walnut1704

    walnut1704 Member

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    Pick a distance. Pick a size. You want something you can hit maybe 80% of the time. If you hit it less than that make it bigger or move it closer. Once you start hitting it say 95% of the time then move it out or make it smaller. Don't sit there shooting the same thing once you reach your goal, push yourself.

    Equipment matters. There's a huge difference between a 6" adjustable sight revolver and a compact 9mm. The former I shoot at 15 yards. 25 is good also but 25 yard pistol is not always available on all ranges. The latter I shoot at 10 yards.

    With a target grade revolver at 15 yards I was hitting a 4" bullseye 96% of the time. I've started shooting at 3" bullseyes now and have a few 25 round targets that were 100% but I can't do that all the time. I'm running around 90% on a good day. The interesting thing is I also have a 4" outer ring on that target and I'm hitting the 4" 100% now while shooting at the 3" bullseye. Keep in mind I have a good 40 year, 150,000 round head start on you.

    Pocket pistols are a crapshoot...move it in close. None of this applies to any sort of defensive shooting. Just plain old target shooting at circles. If defensive use is where your interest is then this is probably not the best way to practice.

    For what it's worth I read an article where some gun writer said if you could hit 10" at 10 yards 100% of the time then you were proficient. Maybe start there.
     
  15. bearcreek

    bearcreek Member

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    1/2 inch to 100 yards.
    Accuracy is good, but it's not everything. Your goal with a handgun should not be to just shoot as tight of groups as you can. The idea is to be accurate enough, fast enough. Big difference. Make getting to a good, professionally run training class a priority and it'll clear up a lot of these questions.
    A beginner, like everyone else, should be always seeking to be better than they are now.

    Edit: I should clarify that I'm talking specifically about every day carry guns, not scoped hunting pistols or the like. I assume that's what you were talking about as well, Gary?
     
    Last edited: Nov 24, 2019
  16. bearcreek

    bearcreek Member

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    Do you happen to remember what the writer's name was? Hitting 10 inches at 10 yards is child's play, although I do believe you that a "gun writer" wrote such nonsense. Some of the "standards" out there are hilarious. A couple weeks ago, just for fun, I shot the Texas LTC Shooting Proficiency Test. http://www.stateoftexaschl.com/chl-shooting-test/ I changed it up just a little and fired each shot with my eyes closed. Passed easily and I'm not even close to what I'd call a "great" pistol shooter.
     
  17. film495

    film495 Member

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    I like the paper with multiple targets at a pistol range. I start out on one and shoot a mag into it at 7 yards. If that group is about 6" - I do the same thing on a 2nd target. Once I'm up to speed, I like to then start to go 1,2,3,4,5,6 for a few mags - one shot at each target, and progress through the targets and go through a few mags like this. The groups will open up some, but to me this kind of simulates shooting at a moving target - pick up target, aim fire - no slow shooting or slow trigger pull, aim/fire - pretty quick. The first time I do this groups will sometimes open up to 18" - and that is in good light shooting at highly colored targets, in a controlled setting - so, it isn't that easy. I'll do this a couple times and then do random patters on the targets - once I'm getting groups down to 4 or 6", I'll shoot that pistol a little more just to enjoy shooting it, then I'll swap to another pistol and do the same thing over again. I've often wondered if they would let me blow up balloons and tack them onto the target, but never have. I'm not practicing for perfection, I'm practicing with the little time I have for functional and pretty good at SD distance.

    What I find is starting out my groups will be kind of wide - 12" to 18", and honestly - it irritates me, and I get a little mad about it - and my concentration picks way up and my focus improves, and those groups go down to 4".
     
  18. Kleanbore

    Kleanbore Moderator Staff Member

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    What is your purpose?

    If you are trying to maintain proficiency for home defense, consider the distances in your house.

    For lawful self defense outdoors, your distances will most likely be much shorter.

    Consider that in the Tueller demo, the attacker with the edged weapon who starts at seven yards will provide strong reason to draw, and he will likely be closing at five yard per second. Where will he be when you shoot? A lot closer!

    Group size is really not a consideration, "Combat accuracy" is any thing that dissuades the attacker, and shooting into a small pie plate is as small a group as you need.

    And anything smaller will likely be too small, as it will detract from your shooting speed. You will have precious little time to shoot, and you should really expect to need to hit several times in that short interval.

    You need to strive for a balance of speed and precision.

    I like to vary, but to pick a distance, let's say seven to twelve feet. To pick a target size, let's choose a small pie plate. For speed, three to five shots in a second and a half to two seconds.

    For something other than defensive shooting, it's your choice,
     
  19. gonoles_1980

    gonoles_1980 Member

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    I assume most are shooting at outdoor ranges with the distances they are shooting. I shoot at 10, 15, 25 and 30ft. The max depth of the indoor range I shoot at is 50ft. I'd have a hard time with my LCR357 hitting at 30ft, I use that distance for my 44mag, and my 357" 5.5" barrel at 25ft. The rest of my handguns, except the derringer I shoot at 15ft, and the derringer at 10ft. The only handgun I'd have a chance of hitting accurately at 25yards would be my 44mag. I could shoot a rifle at the longer ranges.
     
  20. walnut1704

    walnut1704 Member

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    Sadly I don't recall the source and it's not like a link to that was worth saving. I've taken the Texas LTC course twice. There was one fail in the second class but it wasn't marksmanship. He was old and frail and could not operate his weapon. While nobody else in the classes failed I was the only perfect score. Which was a surprise. One other shooter in the first class missed a perfect score by one round and one point. But given the level of experience I saw and the guns they were using it wasn't bad. For a noob with a five shot 2" revolver and firing DA I think passing that is actually a bit of an accomplishment. There were a couple of small autos and 2" revolvers. But plenty of Glocks and M&P's.

    I didn't practice for the first one and I didn't even know what the course of fire was. I had to rent an autoloader from the range because I didn't own one and I didn't want to take it with a revolver. I don't know if it's still true but it used to be if you shot a revolver you could only carry a revolver, but if you shot an autoloader you could carry either. So I rented a 9mm 1911 they had with target sights on it. The target was HUGE. It's possible to pass even if you miss every round at 15 yards if you got the rest.

    But look around you at the range. I think it's hard sometimes for those of us who have been shooting forever to remember the difficulty of learning to shoot a handgun. From what I see 100% in 10" at 10 yards isn't a given. There was a time I couldn't do it. Most of us I think could not do that right off the bat. New shooters have to start somewhere. The LTC is a minimum proficiency level and not a goal. As is the 10" at 10 yards.

    Second time around with the LTC course I used my "junk" Taurus .380.............here's a good visual explanation of the scoring.....50 rounds fired. 20 @ 3 yards, 20 @ 7 yards, 10 @ 15 yards. Maximum score 250 points. You pass with 175 points. Not difficult. Really if you can't pass this then you shouldn't be carrying a gun.

    CHL2016.jpg
     
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  21. BSA1

    BSA1 Member

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    The Lady and I usually practice from 7 to 10 yards with our self-defense pistols. Hers are a S&W M&P 4.25”’ and a M&P Shield and mine is a Beretta 92FS/G. All are 9mm’s.

    As I believe that shooting should be fun we shoot at three different kinds of paper targets. One is your usual Bullseye target that I put those sticky Bullseyes that turn green around the bullet hole. We like them because it gets instant feedback and makes it easy to adjust sight alignment and any other bad habits.

    The second target is a large 8” Happy Face that I photocopy. It is a just for fun target. My wife usually outshoots me on this target.

    <<Political comment deleted by moderator>>

    The last target we use I got from watching Ernest Langdon videos. In his videos he shoots two rounds at a 2” circle. He says start at 3 yards and increase the distance to 7 yards as you can put all of your shots inside the circle. There is no time limit or movement or drawing from holster.

    Just put two rounds inside each circle. I cheated a little and draw my circles around a pickle jar lid so they are around 2 1/2”. I have four circles drawn on a sheet of paper and put up two sheets for a total of eight circles as it makes it easy for our high capacity 9’s. I make it a little harder by shooting from 10 yards. It is surprisingly challenging.

    For distance I start new shooters at 3 yards using the Bullseye paste targets that turn green around the bullet hole. It provides instant feedback and builds confidence. Last summer we went to the range and I coached my east coast Daughter-in-Law who was visiting. Her previous experience was shooting a revolver at a large B-27 target with the result being a few spread out bullets hitting the target.

    I could tell she did not believe me when I told her I would teach her to put all of her shots on a Bullseye target but she was a willing student. I posted a Bullseye target with the sticky Bullseye on it. I used my wife’s M&P 4.25” 9mm that has a APEX Duty Trigger and Tru-Glo Fiber Optic sights. I had her start at three yards away and the surprise on her face showed when her first shot hit the Bullseye. She was shooting a little low so I showed her how to adjust the sight picture on the gun and after that it was go-girl-go. She even asked to shoot more. I let her shoot at her own pace and she finished shooting from 5 - 7 yards away.

    After she was done I asked her if she believed me when I told her I would have her putting on her shots on that Bullseye target. She said she did not and really enjoyed herself. Unfortunately they live behind enemy lines and don’t own a handgun so practice is not possible. However next time they visit I will offer to take all of them to the range. My U.S. Army son loves shooting my Beretta 92FS and I plan on starting my Grandson on a 22 rifle.

    (As a bonus her mother is Ultra-Liberal and very anti-gun so I will admit to a certain perverse pleasure in teaching her Daughter and Grandson how to shoot and how much fun it is).
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Nov 24, 2019
  22. pblanc

    pblanc Member

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    I shoot paper targets anywhere from 3 yards to 25 yards, although probably 70% of the time I am shooting at a 7-15 yard distance. I fairly regularly shoot 8" diameter steel drop-down plates at 25 yards. If I can hit the steel plates at 25 yards slow fire with consistency, I am happy. Rapid fire, if I can get all my hits on a 16" wide torso-sized target at 25 yards, I am happy. Slow fire or at closer ranges, obviously I expect to do much better. I think if a beginner can consistently keep shots within a 5-6" circle at 7 yards with aimed shots fired at a moderate cadence, they are doing reasonably well.
     
  23. Pat Riot

    Pat Riot Member

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    My Distance: 10 yards
    My Pattern: 5”
    Where should a beginner be? That, my friend, is up to you. Build on your confidence as you go. Start close and start big. Close target, big pattern.
    Get to know your gun, your grip, your trigger pull, learn to squeeze the trigger. But first of all learn the gun safety rules.
    https://gunsafetyrules.nra.org/


    If I told you that you needed to be able to hit a 5” circle at 25 yards after shooting 100 rounds with your new gun with no experience...
    #1. I would be considered an butthead...or should be, anyway.
    #2. Within a very short time you’d feel dejected and more than likely you may even give up.

    There is no standard and don’t beat yourself up trying to live up to one as a “beginner”.
    Take your time, practice, learn your gun. The rest can wait.
    MOST OF ALL LEARN THE SAFETY RULES AND BE SAFE!
     
  24. Kleanbore

    Kleanbore Moderator Staff Member

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    Do your really think it likelyy that you will ever awfully engage an attacker at that
    distance?

    That may work for a hostage situation, but for a violent criminal attack it involves shooting much too slowly and striving far too much for unnecessary precision.
     
  25. ATLDave

    ATLDave Member

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    Here's another way to go at it: Put a small sticker (maybe one of those orange target dots, or a cardboard-target paster) on a target. Go to 5 yards and shoot out the sticker. Every scrap of it. If the sticker was orange, shoot until there is no orange left. When you can get a piece of the sticker on almost every shot, add a little distance.

    I personally like this much better than group shooting, because I always struggle to keep exactly the same point of aim as the target gets holes in it. I personally want to be able to hit stuff. May as well make the exercise directly focused on hitting stuff, rather than trying to get holes close together. (Yes, yes, I get the point of group shooting and what it is measuring... I'm just talking about what it takes to keep my brain fully engaged in the task.)
     
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