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Old February 2, 2014, 01:58 PM   #1
MtnMike1
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Target Practice - What is Considered Efficent

Another newbie question here. You guys have been very helpful to me the last few days so here is another.

What distances do you spend most of your time practicing and what is considered a proficient spread at each? Should have added I'm talking about pistol shooting with my new 226.

I'm not talking expert competition type shooting.

Last edited by MtnMike1; February 2, 2014 at 04:25 PM.
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Old February 2, 2014, 02:36 PM   #2
Againstthewind
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Ranges

There are a lot of experienced shooters on here, but I am just procrastinating on doing housework before the game, so here goes.

For rifle I shoot 100 yards most of the year, and as hunting season comes on I try and get out to three and four hundred a couple of times. I am not a competitive shooter, and most of the time I can get to 100 or 200 yards from an animal. I think 100 yards is a pretty common range. My dad wouldn't let us hunt until we could put a quarter over a three shot group at 100 yards, so I tend to stick with that for accuracy. Lots of other opinions, though.

http://thefiringline.com/forums/showthread.php?t=265080. This topic goes through a pretty good MOA/accuracy discussion, and I tend to think that is about where you should be in ideal conditions. As the distances get longer, it becomes exponentially more difficult i think with all the added vairables. In Wyoming I blame everything on the wind. If you can get 1" groups at 100 yards, your rifle is probably fine, so the longer distances take a lot of practice. That is about my limit, I need to practice more.

For .22 kids shoot at 25 yards, so dime size is what we are shooting for at that range. After about 50 yards that good ole Wyoming wind makes the .22 bullet do ballet, so it gets pretty tough after that. I have seen comments about 100 yard .22 shots and stuff, out of my league. I can't even see where a .22 hits at 100 yards on paper. They must use scopes or something.

Pistols are out of my comfort zone, but I think 25 yards is the typical range, around 3" groups. My dad used to teach at the police academy, and I used to know the qualifiers but I have forgotten.

Last edited by Againstthewind; February 2, 2014 at 02:46 PM.
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Old February 2, 2014, 03:11 PM   #3
feets
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It all depends on what kind if shooting you do now and what you (reasonably) hope to aspire to in the years to come.

Be realistic.

It does no good to set up for 1000 yard work if you will never shoot that far.

Most people hit a 100 yard rifle range. The magic number seems to be one minute of angle. If you can stuff 'em into an inch then you've met the "accuracy" standard. A one hole 5 shot group is the holy grail.

I say "accuracy" because many, if not most, of today's rifles are far more capable than the shooter. Everybody keys in on that word. Accuracy. It's a fallacy. You should look for consistency. Once you become consistent with a rifle you can put the rounds wherever you want them to hit. The hard part is training yourself to be consistent in everything you do behind the trigger.

With handguns it is quite similar but at shorter ranges. Everyone wants to see one inch groups or less. Some folks do it at 7 yards and feel good about themselves. Others do it at 25 yards. Once you step out that far many people will be happy with a 2" group.
I'm lucky enough to have access to a range with a steel gong on the 50 yard pistol line. I've burned a bunch of ammo chasing that thing. One of my revolvers seems to hit it every time. The other guns don't treat me as well.

I even have a specialty handgun that approaches boring when shooting at 100 yards. That one is far more fun to use on sporting clays laying on the 200 yard backstop.

Running my rifle to long range (600 yards and beyond) is a lot of fun but it's also a lot of work. The down side is that I don't have access to that kind of place these days so it's not possible to practice. I simply have to make do with what I've got.


Clear as mud?

It's a personal thing. Set realistic goals. When you can meet them regularly, tighten up your targets and do it again. Set them too loose and you'll get bored. Going too tight will get frustrating. It's a moving target so to speak.
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Old February 2, 2014, 03:19 PM   #4
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I believe that it is wise and enjoyable to force oneself to shoot enough to be proficient with all the fire arms one owns.

The standards of what is the goal of proficient change when discussing each shooting discipline.

What do you have that you want to shoot? i.e. handgun, shotgun, hunting rifle, carbine? It also depends on purpose ~ hunting, target, defense etc…

I have spent the last few years focusing on longer ranges, before that was competitive pistol IDPA which I am again returning to. Personally, I prefer not having any glaring holes in my repertoire.

For instance I could shoot my hand gun and get tiny little groups, but that is not what I plan on using it for. I want to shot as quickly as I can without my accuracy dropping below a set standard of having all rounds fired being covered by my hand. If they are not covered I am shooting to fast if the group is less than fist size I know I am shooting to slow.

Going to the range without a goal of what you want out of it is like going to the gym and not knowing what you want to do for exercise. If I am not focusing on improving my skill sets then I am only setting bad habits that will be harder to break later.
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Old February 2, 2014, 03:36 PM   #5
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Target practice can mean so many things to so many people. Myself- I shoot at nothing less than 300 yards. I also shoot 600 to 1000 in matches,so to me less than 300 is a waste of time and ammo. If you want to just shoot at 100 yards ( which is fun) just keep making your bulls eyes smaller and smaller. Add some fun to it ( my fav is peanut butter on paper and wait for flies). What ever distance you decide to shoot at-Don't ever give up pushing the envelope. Shoot smaller or farther,It keeps the fun in it.
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Old February 2, 2014, 04:26 PM   #6
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I'm talking Pistol Target Shooting

Thanks Guys, I means pistol not rifle practice.
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Old February 2, 2014, 04:26 PM   #7
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Peanut butter and flies, Awesome! kills em cooks em and eats them for you. lol
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Old February 2, 2014, 04:31 PM   #8
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For pistol I would recommend trying an IDPA match - or whatever is local to you.

In your original post you stated “I'm not talking expert competition type shooting.” But signing up for a IDPA match gives you the motivation to train and helps to focus your training and while you are there you will get free advice and help if you want it.

They love having new people come all the time, helps grow the sport.
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Old February 2, 2014, 05:55 PM   #9
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I was beginning to wonder how all the rifle shooting got into the discussion.
It all depends on what the goals are.
Bullseye type or action type.
Short range or long.
Real slow, put 'em all in one hole, or
Acceptably good double tap hits, lickity split on multiple targets.
Personally, I try to be decent on all of them.
Ya' just never know.
My usual practice distances are from 10 to 50 yard on six and eight inch diameter targets, or the A zones of uspsa and idpa targets.
Always trying to get the very centers.
Most of it is at 25 yds, though.
That seems like a decent compromise, not too easy or too hard.
Hope this was of some help.
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Old February 2, 2014, 06:31 PM   #10
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oops

Sorry about that earlier post. Got all carried away and stuff. I was wondering if I was on the right track. Some last minute betting advise, I am betting on the Seahawks, so that dramatically increases the Broncos odds.

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Old February 6, 2014, 10:59 PM   #11
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I got tired of shooting at paper targets at the range and they have tennis balls on a string/ chord. It's a moving target after the first shot and becomes more challenging if you hit it on the move. Most people wait till it stops and shoot it again, but I prefer it moving it makes it much more gratifying when you can consistently hit it on the move.

This type of shooting forces you to rapidly aquire your target and be accurate at the same time. After shooting like this you should be able to hit standing targets quickly and accurately.

The drawback is ammo, I do this with 22 lr so it's affordable when you can find it. My 45 takes the bounce out of the ball real quickly but it's fun for a few shots and gets expensive but it is challenging.

One guy at the range sent out an Angry Bird stuffed animal the other day, too easy in my opinion, but it's a good place to start if you can't hit the tennis ball.
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Old February 7, 2014, 12:37 AM   #12
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for handguns look at the SW catalog. they give nice little statements of how accurate their handguns, revolvers, are at specific ranges at the factory. Each gun is different but its a generally helpful thing to try to meet.

ie, if sw says your 32 magnum j frame is supposed to be able to keep all shots in a 4 inch circle at 15 yards, tehn you should try to do that yourself.
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Old February 9, 2014, 10:35 AM   #13
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Quote:
What distances do you spend most of your time practicing and what is considered a proficient spread at each?
When working on my handgun marksmanship, I'll shoot anywhere from 50ft to 50 yards, using the appropriate bullseye target (i.e. B-2 @ 50ft, B-6 @ 50 yards, etc).

My standard reply is that good (but not excellent) handgun marksmanship is an honest and consistent 3" at 25 yards. That's 5 rounds, shot unsupported and without time constraints using a reasonably accurate service-sized pistol. Revolver shooters ought to be able to do this in single and double action. "Honest" means everything counts - no "fliers" dismissed - and "consistent" means that ±3" is your norm, not a once in a lifetime event.

3"@25 is far and away better than anything you'll likely see at your local range, but that's a pretty low bar. OTOH, 3"@25 won't win you any metals at the olympics, either, but it's certainly achievable by the average Joe shooter with dedication, practice and a little instruction.
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Old February 9, 2014, 11:53 AM   #14
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If you are a new handgun shooter, you need to start @ a realistic distance. 25 yards would be max in MHO. 15 would be better. If SD is your priority, than 7 yards is an accepted distance. Accuracy is a relative thing. If you keep everything within a 2'' circle @ 10 yards, that will be a 10" circle @ 50. For an average shooter with a P226, that would certainly be more than acceptable.


First find out if your gun is accurate with the ammo you are using. Use a bench with bags or a rest and shoot to see consistency and to make sure the gun is shooting to POA. Then, once you know how accurate the gun is with the ammo you are using, you can see how your shooting technique influences it. Big part of consistent accuracy with a handgun is always using the same ammo.

Distance, how you shoot and what you shoot at is determined by where you shoot. Some gun ranges are very strict about targets and offer a very limited distance for handgun shooting. If you are like me and have access to several different places to shoot that allow any distance you want and any target you want, consider yourself lucky. Shooting at various distances helps to keep shooting fun, as do targets that react when you shoot. For me, shooting paper gets old after the gun is sighted in. While I still use silhouettes for SD/HD practice, I like things like steel plates, bowling pins, clay pigeons on the berm and other things from the dollar store that break or explode when shot. I use a bowling pin on a string similar to the tennis ball mentioned earlier in this thread. About 40 yards with a bottom feeder, 20-30 more with hunting type revolvers.
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Old February 10, 2014, 07:40 PM   #15
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25yds is my default distance. I'll dial it back to 10yds if I'm doing poorly or if I'm using a new gun.
I only shoot 50yds or more for fun. If I can't keep every shot on paper I'm shooting too far away for it to be practice.
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Old February 10, 2014, 09:09 PM   #16
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Just shoot as often as you can, at random distances, with as many guns as possbile, and the groups will take care of themselves
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Old February 11, 2014, 12:18 PM   #17
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Quote:
My dad wouldn't let us hunt until we could put a quarter over a three shot group at 100 yards
We must have the same dad. My dad wouldn't let me hunt elk with a firearm until I could dive out of a treestand and choke one out with my bare hands; so as not to spoil the meat, or whatever.
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Old February 11, 2014, 10:44 PM   #18
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Reasonable

Quote:
When working on my handgun marksmanship, I'll shoot anywhere from 50ft to 50 yards, using the appropriate bullseye target (i.e. B-2 @ 50ft, B-6 @ 50 yards, etc).

My standard reply is that good (but not excellent) handgun marksmanship is an honest and consistent 3" at 25 yards. That's 5 rounds, shot unsupported and without time constraints using a reasonably accurate service-sized pistol. Revolver shooters ought to be able to do this in single and double action. "Honest" means everything counts - no "fliers" dismissed - and "consistent" means that ±3" is your norm, not a once in a lifetime event.

3"@25 is far and away better than anything you'll likely see at your local range, but that's a pretty low bar. OTOH, 3"@25 won't win you any metals at the olympics, either, but it's certainly achievable by the average Joe shooter with dedication, practice and a little instruction.
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Old February 12, 2014, 02:46 AM   #19
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New shooter

Welcome to our sport. I hope your stay is long and provides you as much enjoyment it has me.

1. Take some instructions as soon as you can. It is easier to learn the correct way to handle a handgun than to correct bad habits.

2. See if you can find a local range or club to join. You will learn a lot just being around experienced shooters.

3. I feel the best way to learn is to shoot slow fire from 10-15 yds. Each time you practice the basic steps of shooting - stance, site picture, grip, breathing, trigger pull and follow through. This stage will also get you to understand the function of your firearm. Your goal is to get your shot group centered and tight.

4. After you can place consistent groups on paper at the 10-15 yd range it is time to work on increasing your speed at that distance.

5. Once your speed has picked up a little change your targets to one with multiple aim points instead one bull. An example would be five circles - one in the center, and others at 12, 3, 6 & 9 hour positions. Again, start slow and work up to fast.

6. Start moving your targets out to 15, 20 &25 yds. Shoot for accuracy first, second speed and then lastly multiple targets.

7. By the time you are proficient at the 25 yd line you will be ready to design you own course of fire to hone your skills further. From there some participate in the various shooting games and others go to hard core defense training.

8. Do it at your own pace, stay safe and have fun. It's a fun ride!

I hope this helps.
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Old February 12, 2014, 05:53 AM   #20
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Wow, People really practice at far distances on this board. I mean, people are talking 50 yards (150') like it's nothing with a handgun.. you guys must be great shots. The two indoor ranges near my house only go up to 20 (60') and 25 yards (75') and I thought that that was pretty far for a handgun shot.

Me, I practice for SD at 7 (21') to 10 yards (30') and if I can hit everything in the 9-ring of a B27 silhouette, then I am happy.
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Old February 12, 2014, 07:54 AM   #21
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Years ago, my Dad (and uncles) taught me the 5's. 5 rounds in 5 seconds inside 5 inches at 5 yards for those moments when you need 5 rounds in a hurry I guess. (It sounds like no time what-so-ever, but 5 seconds can seem like forever at times)

Take a local class or two when & if you can. Never hurts to expand your data base. IDPA is fun.

But shooting farther out does seem to help shooting up close so add that to your mix as well. Strong hand, weak hand, two hand, single hand...

Then there's shooting and moving, shooting and reloading, shooting behind cover in the dark, kill houses... when will it ever end?!

But if you can do 5 in 5 inside 5 at 5, you'll be better than most, worse than a few and still have fun while being somewhat efficient. Think of it as a baseline. When compared to a Jerry Miculek it is beyond s l o w.
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Old February 12, 2014, 07:57 AM   #22
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Quote:
Wow, People really practice at far distances on this board. I mean, people are talking 50 yards (150') like it's nothing with a handgun.. you guys must be great shots.
Up until recently, 25 yards was my max. But I started to think I'd like to shoot some bullseye matches this year, and the Slow Fire portion is shot at 50 yards, so I've been practicing my 50Y SF shooting. The OP asked what distances we shot, but I wouldn't recommend 50 yards to the OP for working on basic marksmanship.
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Old February 12, 2014, 09:52 PM   #23
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Thanks Guys

Thanks for really good information. I've been to the range a few times, read a lot and watched numerous training methods on line via videos. Personal instruction is on my agenda but I wanted a practice area at home to make it easier and therefore more likely to happen. I appreciate it your help!
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Old February 13, 2014, 10:21 PM   #24
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I practice for home defense and most of my handgun practice is within 15 yrds and most of that is at 7yrds. Occasionally I'll punch out to 25 yrds. just for a change of pace. I am happy staying inside the nine ring of a 12 inch circle target firing slow or double taps at 7yrds.. At 25 yrds staying within the 7 ring is satisfactory as far as I am concerned. All are in the kill zone and I feel if I can do this consistently I have a good chance protecting my family and home. I am in the process of practicing shooting at several target sizes set at different distances within 15 yrds. When I get to where I am satisfied with that I will do the same all over again but shooting double taps. The point for me is to practice as close to real world circumstances as I can and to keep setting goals to keep me interested and having fun.
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Old February 13, 2014, 10:26 PM   #25
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I tend to focus on double taps at 6-7 yards and keeping both shots on a 6" circle.
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