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Old October 1, 2013, 10:31 PM   #1
HeadHunter
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NRA Defensive Pistol Qualification

After running two of my classes through the NRA Defensive Pistol I Marksmanship Qualification program, I'm surprised at how much difficulty people have with making just the Pro-Marksman Rating on the first try. First class I did, only one person out of 10 made it in just four runs. Last night's class, out of 11 people, only two people made it. It's the 100% requirement that bites people in the butt.

Granted, some of these people are relatively new shooters but a number of them are fairly experienced shooters. In the first group, I had some people employed in the firearms industry as writers and shooting program coordinators and all had been through some pistol training. My impression was that the group all thought this would be a fairly easy task. Then they were surprised that it wasn't as easy as they expected.

The first rating, Pro-Marksman, of the program consists of 5 shots on an NRA D-1 target in 15 seconds at seven yards from an aimed start. All five rounds have to hit inside the 8 ring, which is twelve inches in diameter. You have to do it four times to achieve the Rating. The four times don't have to be consecutive but I think of the ability to make it on the first four tries as a good benchmark.

If anyone would care to try it, I'd really like to get an idea of how difficult, or easy, this is for a typical shooter to do on the first try. I.e., can you hit all five shots in the 8 ring on the first four tries?
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Old October 2, 2013, 12:41 AM   #2
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One shot every three seconds, to get a 12" group at 21 feet, is a very forgiving minimum standard for any kind of pistol shooting. At that speed and distance, I'd say groups half that size would be questionable.

That said, I've watched what qualifies as "acceptable" marksmanship take a steep decline over the last 20 years.
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Old October 2, 2013, 03:48 AM   #3
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Granted, shooting at home is a lot less stressful then shooting in front of people for a test, but that seems like a pretty easy benchmark. I'd think a 4" group would be more along the lines of what I'd hope for. If I were point shooting 12" might be a bit more reasonable, but for aimed fire that's surprising.

Why were people failing? Were they rushing themselves, or did they seem stressed by the test?
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Old October 2, 2013, 06:29 AM   #4
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In Police Pistol Combat Competition we were required to fire 12 shots in 25 seconds from 7 yards. This included a draw from the holster and a reload. If you got an 8 or 9 here forget about any chance of getting a top score.

It is a very easy to achieve score with 3 seconds per shot. In fact I would go further and say that if you can't do this you are not an experienced shooter. You are a beginner or you have a much more liberal definition of experience.

To me an experienced shooter, given enough time to fire, has the fundamentals down well enough to hit any 9 or 10 ring at 7 yards.
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Old October 2, 2013, 11:41 AM   #5
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I thought it would be easy too. But the results did not meet my expectations. If anyone decides to shoot it, please let me know how you do.
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Old October 2, 2013, 01:10 PM   #6
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that's about what we had to do for ccw qualifications. i think we had to hit 4 of 5. there were about a dozen of us. some people were taking there gun out of the plastic for the first time, still coated in packing oils. all but one person passed first try. that one person failed 9 times before the instructor handed him a 22. he passed with that.
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Old October 2, 2013, 02:05 PM   #7
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A decent Bullseye shooter hits 5 shots in an 8" circle at 25 yards in 10 seconds one-handed in rapid fire competition, and that's with a centerfire gun. Better (smaller group) with a .22.

I think most Bullseye shooters would consider that standard trivially easy.
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Old October 2, 2013, 03:42 PM   #8
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I'm sure it's very easy for competitive shooters. I am a casual shooter. My usual practice with a small carry gun is a few hundred rounds a year at 7 yards, shooting at paper plates. Based on my last session's targets, I would have passed the test. If I was firing a normal sized gun, it would be super easy.

I do shoot with others like me who miss the paper plate at least once per 5 shots, though. I think they flinch or otherwise yank the trigger.
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Old October 2, 2013, 06:05 PM   #9
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I think most Bullseye shooters would consider that standard trivially easy.
Anyone who carries a gun for self-defense should consider it easy.

Sadly, I watch folks shoot all day, and I can tell you most would utterly fail that qualification.

My personal minimum with a gun is five shots at five yards in five seconds onto an index card. In real life, we won't be shooting at a stationary B27 target, and misses could equal collateral damage.
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Old October 2, 2013, 07:57 PM   #10
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So no one is willing to actually shoot it and tell me their results?
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Old October 3, 2013, 05:54 AM   #11
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I don't have a range in my backyard so shooting it right now is impossible. That being said I have shot 12 shots in 25 seconds with a reload and a draw into a b-27 target with all 10's and most x's. Once in a blue moon I pull a 9. So it isn't a big deal. I'm not some awesome shooting prodigy. Its not hard if you follow the fundamentals of pistol shooting....Proper Grip, Aiming, Breath control, Hold control, Trigger control, and Follow through. Those not able simply need to visit the basics and execute them properly.
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Old October 3, 2013, 01:48 PM   #12
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OK, I went out and shot the test as described.

With a S&W Model 10 Bud's police trade in special, it was easy. Right out of the box with no warmup, the 20 shots were within a 6" circle, shooting DA. Each 5 took about 10 seconds. I believe I could shoot SA in the 15 seconds, and the groups would be a lot smaller.

Then I used my LCR, and with no warmup all 20 shots were within a 9" circle. So not as good, but I could qualify with it. I'm still learning on it.

I have had no training and don't shoot a lot. I'm a casual shooter, but have shot ~600 rounds this year. I don't know if I am surprised by your observations or not. If they are newbies, it's probably not surprising.
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Old October 3, 2013, 02:28 PM   #13
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The basic pistol course I took for my CC permit was by the NRA standards +. Actually @ 20' instead of 21'.

Had to shoot one handed, both strong and weak. Had to fire 3 rapid @ 10' within a 6" , less than a second per round.

Had to make the gun safe from live fire. Clear, remove mag, etc.

Not all classes do it the way we did. Instructors choice to add things.

People who couldn't shoot well enough are passed, it was within Ohio CC permit requirements. The instructor made it clear that what he had us do is something that anyone who carries should be able to do and if you didn't, to practice until you could.
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Old October 3, 2013, 04:25 PM   #14
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Quote:
Posted by Tom Servo: One shot every three seconds, to get a 12" group at 21 feet, is a very forgiving minimum standard for any kind of pistol shooting. At that speed and distance, I'd say groups half that size would be questionable.
I have to agree.

It seems to me there are two things that one should learn.

One is proficiency in the basics--grip, sight picture, and trigger control. For that, one has to start shooting slowly, and group size is important. And that comes first.

For defensive pistol shooting, there is a need to hit moving targets very quickly. If an assailant can cover twenty one feet in two and a half seconds, and if stopping said assailant may require two or three shots, shooting one shot every three seconds would be of little use.

I took a high performance defensive pistol course a couple of years ago, and the objective was to score two hits on each of three torso sized targets, reload, and repeat the drill as quickly as possible.

The instructors could all do that--twelve hits including a reload--in just over four seconds.
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Old October 6, 2013, 12:59 PM   #15
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HH, I'll run it next time I hit the range. Like Tom, I really like the "Quad Five", especially as a humbler, and shoot it and the FAST drill for self evaluation.
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Old October 6, 2013, 03:12 PM   #16
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NRA Defensive Pistol Qualification

I'd be disappointed if I couldn't complete that task in half the time or half the grouping in the same amount of time.
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Old October 6, 2013, 03:50 PM   #17
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Beretta .380 I'd never shot before, roughly 1 shot every 2 seconds.

Do I get a cookie? I like cookies.
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Old October 7, 2013, 08:10 PM   #18
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This should not be a difficult qualification for people that develop proper shooting habits including getting the sights on target and trigger control. Although I have not shot this competition, I did recently attend a four day handgun course at Front Sight where you are constantly shooting while being watched by not only the Cadre but by your fellow classmates.

Last week, some of the fellows in my Gun Club took NRA Regulation Pistol Targets and timed our shooting, not from being aimed, but from the ready position (both hands on the gun, gun pointed down at about a 45 degree angle and the safety engaged. Two of the three of us were able to get on target and get off eight shots, all being in the center ring within 6 seconds. Times varied with some being faster while others were slightly slower. Distance was varied from 5 meters to 7 meters. We even tried it at 15 meters. Not every round was dead on at that distance but the groupings were tight enough to be extremly acceptable

It doesn't happen overnight. We spent hours dry practicing, developing proper breathing, trigger control, accuracy and then speed and putting it all together.
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Old October 7, 2013, 08:47 PM   #19
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It doesn't happen overnight. We spent hours dry practicing, developing proper breathing, trigger control, accuracy and then speed and putting it all together.
The problem is that many, many folks carrying a firearm for self-defense aren't willing to commit to that level of training and practice.
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Old October 8, 2013, 09:43 AM   #20
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If they can't hit a 12" target from 7 yards they don't know how to shoot a handgun and should take a basic handgun class first.

I can put every shot in a 12" target at 7 yards shooting with my weak hand. I do a little better two handed, and do best strong hand.

With 3 seconds per shot, I can put all rounds in a 12" from 15 yrds, shooting strong hand, with a gun that doesn't hit POA.

Quote:
So no one is willing to actually shoot it and tell me their results?
Sure I'll bite.

I'll read the regs. then shoot a 12" target from 7 yrds. I'll even take pics of my range, and the target before and after.

Last edited by 3.Shot.Group.; October 8, 2013 at 10:13 AM.
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Old October 8, 2013, 08:32 PM   #21
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Quote:
Sure I'll bite.

I'll read the regs. then shoot a 12" target from 7 yrds. I'll even take pics of my range, and the target before and after.
Thank you.
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Old October 9, 2013, 04:24 AM   #22
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Assuming I get home early enough, I'll give it a shot tonight.
I'll probably just paint a 12" circle on my steels though as buying targets would entail a trip in the other direction.
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Old October 9, 2013, 06:18 AM   #23
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With that kind of time a three inch circle would be more of a challenge.

That is a very low standard IMO. Fundamentals are being destroyed not broken if one can't hit a 12 inch circle at 7 yards with that time between shots.

Personally I get better results from my students since having added an in depth explanation of just how important shooting fundamentals are. How a single deviation from proper fundamentals will result in a miss. I tell them that it is that big of a deal. Even for seasoned shooters a miss will result from improper attention to the details. Likewise a hit will result from proper attention to details.

My case in point was an 11 year old girl. Taking my class with her father. She never held a firearm before much less shot one. I did my usual speech about the importance of the fundamentals as mentioned above. This little girl was paying attention to those details. She put all her shots into a tiny cluster easily covered with a quarter many touching. Her father, lets just say not so much LOL. Hard headed men LOL.

Since making that slight change stressing the importance of the fundamentals my students shooting has improved dramatically.
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Old October 9, 2013, 05:26 PM   #24
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Quote:
One shot every three seconds, to get a 12" group at 21 feet, is a very forgiving minimum standard for any kind of pistol shooting. At that speed and distance, I'd say groups half that size would be questionable.
At the risk of offending someone -- if you can't get 100% hits in a 12" circle at that distance under those time constraints, you need to give some serious thought as to whether you should be carrying in public.

In our society, collateral damage can be expensive -- in terms of prison sentences and financial ruin. None of us can afford to hit an innocent bystander while shooting at a BG.

I regularly have students who come in for a private lesson who have never fired a handgun in his/her life. Without exception they can, at the end of the lesson, put every shot in a 3" circle at distances of 15-20 feet (using a 9mm Glock). I tell every one of them (before their lesson) that if they can't shoot 3" groups by the time we finish (usually ~3 hours), there will be no charge for the lesson. I've yet to give a refund.

Shooting a handgun is incredibly simple, if one is taught some fundamentals. The majority of males who take my CCW classes, without first taking a lesson, are "self-taught", or were apparently "born knowing how to shoot"(). Their targets reflect this.

Sadly, a lot of folks are happy//comfortable//satisfied just to get all their shots on a 24" x 36" piece of paper when shooting at 20 feet..
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Old October 9, 2013, 06:27 PM   #25
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I'm not going to say hitting a 12" target 20 for 20 at 7 yards is child's play, it does require some level of skill with a handgun.

I will say, 7 yards on a 12" target is easy, but only if you take each shot seriously.
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