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What constitutes "very good" handgun skills?

Discussion in 'Handguns: General Discussion' started by A strange person, Mar 20, 2012.

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  1. A strange person

    A strange person Member

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    Right now, the only two handguns I have are a Ruger MKIII 22/45 with a 5.5" barrel that I use for target practice and as a dedicated small game hunting weapon, and a S&W 67 with a 4" barrel that I use as an all-purpose trail/survival gun, as well as for concealed carry occasionally (a little large for the purpose, but I can hide it just fine).

    My goal (for now) is to be able to shoot well enough with these weapons to consistently kill grey squirrels at 20 yards with them shooting off-hand. I am coming close to achieving this, but still need to be "in the zone" to get these kinds of groups.

    My question is: If I could shoot that well consistently with such weapons, what kind of skill does that represent? Newb skill? Decent skill? Good skill? Holy crap skill? I don't really have anything to compare my abilities to.

    What (in the opinion of the THR community at least) constitutes the realistic limits of consistent off-hand accuracy using handguns of normal barrel lengths (4"-5", no scope) and reasonable quality (not $2000+ custom guns), in the hands of a shooter who does not have any supernatural abilities? I am talking about slow, deliberate fire at targets and game, and not quick-drawing rapid fire in defensive situations.
     
  2. browningguy

    browningguy Member

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    If you're shooting gray squirrels at 20 yards off hand you're shooting pretty darn good, especially if they are bobbing and weaving while you sling lead at them.

    If you can keep 10 rounds in a 6" target at 25 yards with a standard handgun you are shooting better than probably 90-95% of the people I see. At the last 3 gun shoot I was at we had 6" falling plates from 5-25 yards, you would be surprised at the number of people that did not hit any of the 25 yard targets. And it was kind of depressing the number of people that fell completely apart after the 10 yard targets. And these were people that weren't even trying to be fast.
     
  3. Manson

    Manson Member

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    I'd call hitting a tree rat at 20 yards very good shooting.
     
  4. 9mmepiphany

    9mmepiphany Moderator

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    Standing, two-handed at 25 yards, I would think 3-4" should be very realistic.

    If you were shooting from prone or off a rest, the same group at 50 yards would be what I would expect
     
  5. MrBorland

    MrBorland Moderator

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    Agreed.

    My standard answer is that a good, but not excellent, shooter can shoot honest & consistent 3" 5-shot unsupported 25 yard groups. DA revolver shooters ought to be able to do this in single and double action.

    This level of accuracy isn't master-level bullseye shooting, but it's far better than you'd typically see at your local range, and it's achievable with diligent practice & instruction.
     
  6. Claude Clay

    Claude Clay Member

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    for hunting you know what good is....not wasting ammo while putting food on the table as needed. so its a balacnce between your ability to get within the distance you can place shots accuratly vs the hunted having their own agenda---survival.

    self-defense is not all so much different in the end--your, and those you protect, survival.
    however events unfold fast and from many directions....so profeciency would be that you can go from your situational awearness alert to effective shots on target in under 2 seconds.

    there is a cover garmet and to get better than profecent--to be really good: the time is under 1.5 second. these are numbers you can work for and in the travel there you will be smooth. practice smooth and deliberate movements. speed will come of its own as smooth is good; smooth is fast.
     
  7. BCRider

    BCRider Member

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    You've got fairly high standards. Only the upper 20% of the shooters I've seen around these parts could do this with any realistic consistency. And thanks to my old guy eyes and nerves I'm not sure I'm one of them. Actually I'm sure I'm not.

    On a good day with bright outdoor lighting where my eyes can iris down and avoid some of the fuzziness from my slight astigmatism I can manage 5 to 6 inches at 25 yards with decent consistency. But that's about it.
     
  8. 9mmepiphany

    9mmepiphany Moderator

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    Not really, the OP did say:
    I assumed he meant the upper limits and not the average ability.

    I would think the the top 20% is reasonable, with the top 10% being highly competitive and the top 5% being Master shooters
     
  9. eldon519

    eldon519 Member

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    Just curious 9mm, what can a Master level bullseye shooter do at 25yds offhand? I'm not very familiar with competitive shooting.
     
  10. 9mmepiphany

    9mmepiphany Moderator

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    I don't run in Bulleye circles. But a Grand Master friend who is going to the Bianchi Cup this year was putting together his gun and shot this group recently while testing his work.

    [​IMG]

    That is a 1.1" group at 50 yards, granted it was supported...shooting bag on a bench...but he can regularly shoot 3" groups off-hand at that distance. Yes that is a DA/SA SIG X-5 Allaround
    [​IMG]

    For those of you old enough to remember Mike Dalton...from the old USPSA/IPSC days...he had a 5 shot group on his wall that he shot with his match .45 (this was in 1980, before compensators and red dots) standing at 50 yards that measured 1.3"
     
  11. 9mmepiphany

    9mmepiphany Moderator

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    But to answer your question as well as I can.

    If someone can shoot a 3" group standing off-hand, holding the gun with both hands (bulleye shooter only use one hand) at 50 yards, he should be able to keep 5 rounds inside 1.5" at 25 yards
     
  12. Pete D.

    Pete D. Member

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    High Master Bullseye shooters are almost magical human beings, averaging 95/100 or better on all targets that they shoot. ONE hand unsupported. The outdoor 50 yard target has a 10 ring that is about three inches in diameter. a perfect score involves 20 shots. It has been done...not by many. At 25 yards, the ten ring is 3.3 inches wide and clean 20 shot Timed fire scores are a regular occurrence.
    Pete
     
  13. eldon519

    eldon519 Member

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    Could a Master Bullseye shooter in theory shoot better using two hands or is there an advantage to using one hand once you have become used to it?
     
  14. MrBorland

    MrBorland Moderator

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    I'm no expert on the subject, but I do believe there's an advantage: Fewer contact points between the shooter & the gun means there are fewer opportunities to influence the gun and fewer points to apply consistently from shot to shot.
     
  15. jackpinesavages

    jackpinesavages member

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    That is good skill. Nice choice of pistols, BTW.

    If you would like to get better doing the tree-rat thing, start doing it with a Daisy pump air pistol. You'll be amazed at how much more efficient you become at sight alignment/sight picture aspects.
     
  16. kb58

    kb58 Member

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    Being able to operate it in the dark, to hit what you're aimming at out to maybe 25 yds, and to maintain that accuracy shooting no slower than a round every two seconds. And, I have nothing to support these views!
     
  17. Hk Dan

    Hk Dan Member

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    Boy, Mr Borland--we agree on one thing: You're no expert. More points of contact are BETTER for accuracy. This is one of the reasons why rifles shoot so much more accurately, 4 points of contact (length being the other).
     
  18. murf

    murf Member

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    hk dan,

    mr boreland is correct about handgun accuracy. the only contact points should be the second and third fingers on the front of the grip, the palm-swell on the back of the grip and the first finger on the trigger. that's it.

    murf
     
  19. trickyasafox

    trickyasafox Member

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    I've never seen a sweep at my local hunter silhouette league- but I've seen people get close. open sights for a 20 round course of fire from 25-100 yards. It is impressive to see.

    I'm what I would call 'fair' and can do about a 5inch group at 25 yards regularly. On a good day I can get em smaller, but not consistently.
     
  20. MrBorland

    MrBorland Moderator

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    Could be rifles are accurate despite 4 points of contact. The proper hold in any form of rifle shooting is that which gives the best overall result under the given conditions. Minimizing contact with the rifle also minimizes the contacts that need to be applied consistently. As such, "free recoil", where, except for the trigger, the shooter doesn't touch the rifle, is a popular benchrest rifle technique, where accuracy is everything, but would be less useful to the hunter.

    I'm not an expert since I don't compete in bullseye, and defer to those who do, but in my own pistol shooting, whether 1- or 2-handed, my thumbs are off the gun, for instance. Otherwise, my thumb(s) can (unknowingly & inconsistently) push laterally on the frame. Even a little push can throw an otherwise good shot. And the effect is magnified when the shooting starts to speed up. My 1-handed technique is precisely as murf described.
     
  21. 9mmepiphany

    9mmepiphany Moderator

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    The question wasn't if it was more accurate, the question was if there was an advantage to shooting one handed...at least that is how I read it. There is.

    A Bullseye shooter could certainly learn to shoot two-handed and applying his trigger management skills would likely produce excellent results.

    However learning to shoot one-handed removes all the masking that using a two-hand hold brings with it. Shooting one-handed puts a higher priority on proper grip and trigger technique...most folks don't have the self disciple for it and it becomes a secondary skill in the defensive handgunning.

    If you'd really like to test your trigger handling and follow through kills...try shooting competitive air pistol. It has very little margin for lack of focus as the pellet is still traveling down the bore when many shooters would have already relaxed
     
  22. BCRider

    BCRider Member

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    Ah, that makes a lot more sense. I feel like I misinterpreted your post when it's taken with the "upper limit" factor of the OP.

    Your 20%, 10% and 5% numbers would all appear to be very realistic from the shooters I've seen up this way. It's nice to know that all our cold and rain doesn't wash away the global skill level... :D
     
  23. ORHunter79

    ORHunter79 Member

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    I think this guy qualifies as "holly crap skills"

    http://youtu.be/ZuQKr2AkKDU

    I reality, hitting a 3 inch target (slow fire) at 25 yards consistently your doing really good. Beyond that, you should probably pick a rifle. You don't need to be a "sniper" with a handgun. Not what handguns were designed for.
     
    Last edited: Mar 21, 2012
  24. 9mmepiphany

    9mmepiphany Moderator

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    The point of shooting at 50 yards is to be easily able to see your errors in grip and trigger control. The longer distances magnify your errors and remove the fudge factor.

    Even someone who is able to shoot 1" (actually a cluster smaller than 1") at 5-7 yards could be fudging. That is why one of the evaluation tools I use is shooting at 1" squares. You only shoot one shot at each square. It really tells you a lot about how consistent your shooting is...a couple of mags into <2" means almost nothing when trying to improve your shooting
     
  25. cavman

    cavman Member

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    Yes in Bullseye we shoot one handed at 50 yards and then bring the same target in to 25 yards.

    In a 2700 match, 180 shots are taken at 25 yards. 90 of those are in 5-shot 20 second strings. The other 90 shots at 25 yards are in 5-shot 10 second strings. (the other 90 are shot at 50 yards in 10-shot 10 minute strings)

    As a general rule you will find the very strong Masters and High Masters expecting to get all the shots fired in the 5-shot 20 second strings to be 10s and are actually trying to build their X-count. The shots fired in the 5-shot 10 second strings are only really wanted to be all 10s. X-count here is just bonus.

    (Just standing there with no time constraints, even Experts would expect to shoot 90/100 shots in the 10-ring at 25 yards.)

    The .22 portion of the match is generally found to be the highest scoring for most shooters. Mainly because the trigger pull is light and the recoil is negligible, allowing the target to be more quickly acquired during the Timed and Rapid string shooting. The .45 portion of the match, even shooting soft loads, is considerably more difficult; and the "real" :) match, the Service Pistol .45, shooting full power, FMJ is generally considered to be the most challenging.

    But they all require the same things, good trigger control and a consistent grip.
     
    Last edited: Mar 21, 2012
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