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Target Distance

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

  1. Skeptic13

    Skeptic13 Member

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    I like shooting staggered plates. Set up from 7 - 25 yards. Then I can alternate shooting distances in one shooting session. Most of the plates are 6" or 8" with different shapes. I am not looking to pattern just hit the plates.

    If I do shoot paper it is usually 7 or 10 yards. If I am all in the black I am happy.
     
  2. labnoti

    labnoti Member

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    If the goal is to train weapon handling for personal protection, I'm gaining preference for a few principles:

    - Only hits count, not how close to a hit it was or how perfectly centered it was
    - A hit closer to the center has no more value than one inside the edge. We cannot see the vitals inside the body, so there is no additional value to being more precisely in the center or anywhere else in particular. Because of this, aligning the sights more precisely on the center is time that should not be wasted in making a hit.
    - I like realistic-size targets at various ranges. Some people use smaller targets to simulate the greater precision needed for greater distances. I don't like this because the sight-offset has to be considered when shooting a very small target at close range and this does not apply to a distant target.
    - I prefer hit/miss targets like steel but because they're costly, heavy, and require a strong stand, I tend to use paper since my practice ranges are all temporary. I can hold up some paper plates without a truck-load of heavy-duty stands. I like the 5.25" center of a paper plate or a 3x5" index card. Either of these can work for handgun or rifle. My targets could be bigger. 6" or 8" are probably fine. I throw mine away, so I use what's cheap. I do not mark a bullseye on them. I do not look for smaller groups than ones on those targets.
    - I do not use black and cream targets. Those traditional NRA-style targets were designed so the sights would be aligned with the lower black edge on the cream background and the sights would be adjusted so the point of impact would be at the level of the bullseye. It's a game. Your opponent won't be wearing one.
    - Group size does have its use in a technical study or test of a firearm or ammunition, but nobody admires their group size in a gunfight and they shouldn't in practice for one.
    - I do not score a target numerically, only hit or miss. Misses are regarded as a serious failure. I'm not plinking. I'm not unfamiliar with the gun. I don't want to go any slower than necessary but I'm not racing. High speed doesn't justify missing. I have no excuse for misses. This is what I carry and I will be accountable for every single shot.
    - I do absolutely go for speed, just not at the cost of sufficient precision for my realistic goals. Because any hit anywhere on my realistic-size targets is "valid" I can go as fast as what will allow me to make any such hit whether it's from the holster or splits.
    - I try to incorporate movement, mostly steps and turns (I'm not on a firing line, I practice alone). I would like to do more of this in a meaningful way, but I haven't thought it all through or figured out what and how much movement is really adding anything. I've done obstacle courses and parcourse type exercises in training classes. I can't build anything elaborate since my ranges are temporary. I do shoot in and around my vehicle (at least 5000 feet from roadways and with backstops), usually in something like a sand or gravel pit. I've done shoot houses in training classes, but don't consider "room clearing" a useful skill to me. I do have some abandoned structures available if I thought of a purpose for them, but I haven't yet.
    - I didn't at first, but I've come to believe the static range / firing line is a practical place to work on fundamentals of weapons handling and while I think the other skills (other than fundamental weapons manipulation) are both harder to master and more important, I don't think using live fire adds a lot to the process. It should probably be done sometimes, but most of the time I believe tactics can be worked out with simunition, airsoft, paintball, laser tag or nerf dart guns. I mean, can you learn to clear a house with a nerf dart gun? Heck yeah. What does using a 9mm add? A lot of damn noise and ricochet hazard. Those frangibles are mostly frangible when they hit steel, not so much when they miss and go through and bounce off stuff other than steel.
    - I know ex-something-or-other dudes would have a hard time charging a lot of money for vehicle defense / anti-carjacking classes if they used nerf dart guns, but I'm pretty sure I'd learn the same things and avoid the risk of bullet skid marks on my hood. I do think simunitions or airsoft are better than nerf for force-on-force. I'm mostly kidding about nerf to make the point.
    - Back on fundamentals, I try to incorporate shoot/no-shoot decisions into drills. It's easier with training partners.
    - Partners can also pull the cord for a swinger or slider. Again, I've done these in classes but don't have anything that elaborate for practice. I could use a motorized one when practicing alone, but the cost, transport, setup and takedown are all involved and I'm skeptical of the benefit. I'd rather just go to classes every once in a while and use theirs for whatever it adds along with the better-known benefits of classes.
    - There is some evidence that often missed shots are the first from the holster, the first after clearing a malfunction, the first after reloading, and the last in a string. There are probable reasons behind these things, but it suffices here to say that I would rather be working intentionally on doing any of these things without misses than just making pretty groups at really long ranges or burning through a pile of ammo to get lightning-fast split times on a full mag dump.
    - The "Bill Drill" could be a meaningful skill-developer or test of skill, but what are you going to do in a gunfight if the threat ceases after the first shot? Keep ripping through 6 with .17 splits because you're awesome like that? Drills can be useful, but it should be understood they don't represent "real-word" conditions. Doing curls to develop your biceps isn't going to turn you into a winning boxer. You can do all kinds of exercises to obtain terrific body-builder results, but just being a body-builder doesn't win fights.
     
    Last edited: Dec 8, 2019
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  3. ATLDave

    ATLDave Member

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    And yet you will find that almost all boxers lift weights and do exercises other than boxing itself. Isolating one or two muscle groups - or skills - that are foundational parts of a larger skillset or ability is a pretty universally-accepted way to improve. I do USPSA competitive shooting, but comparatively little of the "practice" I do for it is just building a big stage and shooting it. There's value in that, but breaking down the end-result performance/capability into constituent parts and working those individually has a lot of value.

    The reason the Bill Drill is useful is not because it teaches you to shoot 6 shots. It's useful because 6 shots is enough to really see what kind of recoil control you're getting, really test your grip/connection to the gun, really work trigger speed, really see sights in recoil, etc. It's not the only thing anyone should do. Nothing is the only thing anyone should do.
     
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  4. Spats McGee

    Spats McGee Moderator Staff Member

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    This is my kind of plinking game right here!
     
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  5. taliv

    taliv Moderator Staff Member

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    Exactly Dave

    practically, I’d prob shoot 3 times in a half second, before the target has time to stop whatever it is their doing that is deserving of being shot at least once. So my assessment wouldn’t really change in a half sec. I’m going to shoot at least 2 or 3 rounds. (Are you (labnoti) seriously suggesting shooting one round and stopping to assess whether or not he’s still shooting at you?)

    what I don’t want is for poor grip fundamentals to send shots 2 and 3 in random directions. That’s dangerous and accomplished nothing.

    what I see a lot of shooters doing is adjusting their grip midway through a string of fire because recoil is changing it and they’re trying to change it back.

    Keeping a good grip is important not just for shooting the same target but also if you need to transition to additional targets.

    the bill drill will tell you definitively if you’ve got a decent grip. (As will the 10-10-10 and half drills).
     
    Last edited: Dec 8, 2019
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  6. ATLDave

    ATLDave Member

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    Absolutely conclusive proof of a grip that is slipping with regard to the gun. If the gun is moving in relation to one's hands, one cannot have adequate recoil control. The shooter must either fix their grip or get some more frictive surface on the gun.

    In USPSA, I see a great many new shooters who essentially get nothing out of their left hand. I can tell because the gun moves, their hand doesn't, and then they have to regrip after every couple of shots. Meanwhile, the great shooter are getting the majority of their exceptional recoil control from their left hand.

    A Bill Drill is hardly the only diagnostic test for this, but it's a really easy test to self-administer. It's easy to fool yourself with pairs if you're not already aware of how much/little the gun should move and how sights should behave. But a Bill Drill will give you the feedback in BOLDFACE FONT.
     
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  7. 481

    481 Member

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    Ran into that very problem with a Ruger P89 (.45ACP) back in the day when I shot competitively. That smooth grip slid in my hands with even the slightest perspiration. Once I got rid of it, the problem went away.

    By the way, I am stealing "frictive" for my own designs and future use. ;) It's not really a word, but I like it! :D
     
  8. murf

    murf Member

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    I practice (always with a purpose and make every shot count) at all distances, but I have been shooting handguns all my life. off-hand, on a good day, I can put five shots inside 3 inches @ 25 yards.

    a beginner should always begin at the beginning. build a good foundation of the basic firearm skills and move up the accuracy/quickness ladder from there. focus on grip/trigger squeeze, then follow-through.

    luck,

    murf
     
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  9. murf

    murf Member

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    good luck with this. let us know how you are progressing. we all can learn from this, I think.

    murf
     
  10. ATLDave

    ATLDave Member

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  11. 481

    481 Member

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  12. taliv

    taliv Moderator Staff Member

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    i forgot to mention the reason i suggested that was really in the context of dry firing. you can do lots of things dry firing, but recoil management isn't really one of them, so practice at the range should focus on confirming or developing your grip and trigger pull. and bill drill is easiest way i know of to do that. it's not intended to suggest that is plan A in a gun fight. in fact, iirc, the late, great, Pat Rogers used to have his classes do what he called the Non-Standard Response Drill, which was 5-7 shots as fast as possible. It was appropriately named.
     
  13. labnoti

    labnoti Member

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    Don't forget that I was the first one in this discussion to proclaim that the Bill Drill can be a meaningful skill-developer and test of skill and I implied that other such drills are useful exercises. I also pointed out that they are not tactics. I don't think Dave or yourself would disagree with me.

    What I can tell you about assessment in applying lethal force is that you will be better off if the lethal threat was presenting itself every time you press the trigger. I'm not going to predict the rate of fire you need for that, but I suggest it could be negligent to shoot faster than you can think. There has been some research into how quickly a person can make the decision to stop shooting and do it. I believe the Force Science Institute has published peer-reviewed research on that subject, and possibly other researchers. Their research was directed toward law enforcement. If I recall correctly, the mean time to react to a change in the situation and cease firing was somewhere between .25 and .33. Does having a .17 split time justify the first two shots instead of one because you are shooting so fast that you can't be expected to react to a change in the situation that fast? Does it justify the second two of three for the same reason? Are you going to be in a situation where .17 splits will stop a threat where .33 splits would be too slow? Will you be in a situation where the need to continue firing or not will be clearly indicated? Will you be in a situation where .17 splits will result in too many unjustified shots being fired? We don't know the answer to those questions.

    I am not suggesting stopping a string of fire for seconds of assessment between shots. We can use a redlight/greenlight or chirp on a shot timer to see that a ceasefire decision can be made and executed in as little as .25 second. Test your own speed. We have no assurance the decision in a live incident will be black and white or red or green. It's a drill for skill-building and test/assessment, just like the Bill Drill itself and it can inform how we practice.

    The beginner should understand the difference between skill drills and tactics. Competitors and racers need to keep in mind how their skillsets translate to use of force.
     
  14. taliv

    taliv Moderator Staff Member

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    actually, my post 50 suggested bill drill. your last bullet in post 52 appears to be more of a criticism of my suggestion of using the bill drill, which is why dave and i clarified that it's just a tool to develop basic technical competence, not a tactical recipe. seemed appropriate clarification after this:
     
  15. Charlie Martinez

    Charlie Martinez Member

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    Always begin w/two bullseye rounds at 25 yds., 30-shots w/22 pistol & 30 w/1911-45 ACP

    My groups are always spoiled by a couple of flyers but usually 76-80% hit inside the 9 & 10 rings (about 5.5-inches) & 95% into the 8, 9 & 10-rings (about 8-inches). .

    After I finish bullseye I switch to two-hand hold & go to 50-yards & occasionally to 10-17 yards for SD practice

    If the range is not too crowded we set up a yellow tennis ball or an empty box of ammo at 100+ yards & take turns to see who blows it first.

    I find that practicing at longer distances makes it very easy to shoot quite well at combat ranges of 5-10 yds.
     
  16. 35 Whelen

    35 Whelen Member

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    This is so true.

    Since most of my handgunning centers around hunting, my shooting starts at 50 yds and ends at 75, although in the last few months I've begun shooting some at 100 yds. The recent purchase of a pocket-size 9mm prompted shooting at 7 and 15 yds. At that range a steel torso silhouette looks like an apartment building.

    35W
     
  17. herrwalther

    herrwalther Member

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    Shortest distance my range lets you shoot is half a yard. Farthest is 25. Without getting into too many decimals, I shoot at every distance between the two. This is on the handgun range. Rifle range is farther.
     
  18. Good Ol' Boy

    Good Ol' Boy member

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    I do most of my shooting at home where I have a maximum of 40yds to shoot pistols.

    Being that I'm defensively and IDPA oriented I shoot from 10 to 25 yds with the focus being between 10 and 15.

    It is not reasonable to train to defensively shoot at 25yds but I throw that in there because it makes shooting closer easier. Most of our IDPA matches targets are from almost arms length out to 15yds.

    I also do lots of drills moving. Not just move and shoot but shooting while moving.

    Currently I'm only set up with being able to shoot at a single target and for my pistol drills it's a AR500 steel silhouette that's 66% the size of a standard IDPA target, so a fair bit smaller.

    All that to say, I'm not looking for necessarily tight groups but more combat accuracy. "A" zone hits are the goal, which can be up to 6" and in some cases I'm happy to get hits on target at all.


    If that sounds lackadaisical try starting at 15yds moving left to right closing in to 10yds shooting 5 shots at a target the size of a cinder block and get back with me.



    The only "target" shooting I do is with my bolt rifles.
     
  19. Kleanbore

    Kleanbore Moderator Staff Member

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    Good sense, I think.
     
  20. TikkaShooter

    TikkaShooter Member

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    It is fun and not as easy as one might assume. ;) OTOH, it sure is a lot of fun. Another is shooting golf balls. It sounds easy until your opponent's shot lands the ball where it can't be seen. :D
     
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  21. d2wing

    d2wing Member

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    Most of the matches I have shot were at 7 yards, One was at 25 yards, It depends on what I am shooting. Hunting revolvers 25 yards. Auto pistols 7 to 10 yards usually. Off hand it is not easy for even experienced shooters to keep ten rounds in a 3 inch circle with service pistols beyond 10 yards. For me revolvers are easier but our matches are standard auto pistols.
     
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