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Old May 19, 2019, 01:42 PM   #1
Bartholomew Roberts
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What’s the smallest handgun that is still effective at 100m?

I’ve shot my Glock 26 out to 100m before and one of the things I like about it is that it is a subcompact pistol that shoots like a full-size pistol. Lately, I could say the same thing about the S&W Shield and SIG P365.

But it has me wondering, how small can you go before your pistol is basically a near-contact weapon? It seems these days a lot of the smaller pistols are made with 15yds as “long distance.”

ETA: And by “effective”, I mean able to deliver A or B zone hits on an IPSC silhouette with enough energy to penetrate 12” of ballistics gel at 100m.

Last edited by Bartholomew Roberts; May 19, 2019 at 03:54 PM.
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Old May 19, 2019, 05:58 PM   #2
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I would suggest that the real question is how many shooters can reliably and repeatedly deliver A or B zone hits at 100 yards, with any handgun.
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Old May 19, 2019, 06:40 PM   #3
Bartholomew Roberts
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Is that such a difficult task? An IPSC silhouette is 19” x 40” or thereabouts? Hold at the IPSC “shoulder” with a 4” barrel and you’ll drop them right in the thoracic cavity at 100m.

FWIW, you can hit stationary targets at 300yds with shotgun slugs.
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Old May 19, 2019, 06:57 PM   #4
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The A/B zone is only 6" wide. There aren't many handguns that can reliably hit that at 100 yards even if fired from a Ransom Rest. Put a human behind the trigger and the odds are worse.
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Old May 19, 2019, 07:53 PM   #5
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"Effective" is one of those terms that is often misunderstood, and sometimes meaningless.

If a bullet has any effect, it's effective. Maybe not as effective as you'd like. So what is meant when you ask about effectiveness? What does it mean to you?

I have several 22 handguns. I can keep all my shots on an 8-1/2 X 11 inch piece of paper at 100 yards with them if I have a bit of time. Say 2-3 seconds per shot.
I can keep a soda can in danger with all my shots at 100 yards too, but I hit maybe 1/4 of them on that can, the rest missing by short distances.

If I shot a bad-guy with a 22 LR at 100 yards would it have an effect?

Would that effect be that he charged me?

Or would he run?

Or hide?

Or would he surrender?

Any of the above is "an effect".

So it falls back to the fact that in a fight it's 98% the man and 2% what he is using. Same with the enemy. And we can't know all the possibilities.

What if he was just as good a marksman as you are?

Or what if he has a rifle?

Or what if he can get in a car and try to run over you?

Or phone call 3 friends?

We want pat answers. There are none if we are honest.

I have killed about 35 head of game with handguns in my life ranging from small buck deer to bull buffalo. Every one of them but one was killed with 1 shot each, and the one that is the exception was killed with 2 shots. The closest one was killed with a 45ACP at about 7 yards and the farthest one was an antelope I killed at about 135 yards with a 357 magnum. My smallest "big game" killed with a handgun was a 3 point mule deer shot with a 44 mag,(which ran about 20 yards after the hit) and the largest game animal I ever killed was a buffalo at about 35 yards with the same 44 mag. (Which dropped dead at the shot) In addition to these animals I have killed a fair number of domestic horses, cattle and sheep and a few goats with various handguns.
I have killed big game with 357 mags, 44 mags, 44 specials, 45ACPs and 45 Colts, 45 cal Ruger Old Army cap and ball, and a 454 Casull.

But not every animal I have killed fell at the shot. Were those that ran a bit shot with an "Ineffective" gun?

With all respect given, please understand what I am saying here.

Maybe the question needs to be asked in some different way. Because it can't be answered in a definitive way the way it's posted here.
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Old May 19, 2019, 08:08 PM   #6
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This guy could have done it.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Tied-t1fFsk

I've never tried 100 yards with a handgun. Very little work beyond 25 yards until recently but in the last couple of months have been shooting out to 50 yards wtih my carry guns. Glocks mostly. I've done better than expected at 50 but for now at 100 I just hope I could make someone keep their heads down and hopefully go away.

For what ever reason I didn't shoot my G26 well, nor the G43 I used to have. The G19 and larger guns shoot great for me. Maybe it was just those individual guns, but I shoot my Ruger LC9s MUCH better than the G26 or G43. Even at 25-50 yards.
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Old May 19, 2019, 08:11 PM   #7
Bartholomew Roberts
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Quote:
The A/B zone is only 6" wide. There aren't many handguns that can reliably hit that at 100 yards even if fired from a Ransom Rest. Put a human behind the trigger and the odds are worse.
At 100m, I’m not looking for 100% A or B zone hits, I’m just looking at probability to deliver.
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Old May 19, 2019, 09:59 PM   #8
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I’d say a nice 1911 in .38 super. Nice tuned trigger, 5 inch sight radius, and the extra energy the .38 super gives you at that distance compared to 9mm. I’d also throw in a vote for a revolver, maybe in .41 mag like a Blackhawk or something. I know your question is how small a package I’d go for that kind of distance shooting, but I’d want the longest barrel/sights possible but not cumbersome.
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Old May 19, 2019, 11:51 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bartholomew Roberts
Is that such a difficult task? An IPSC silhouette is 19” x 40” or thereabouts? Hold at the IPSC “shoulder” with a 4” barrel and you’ll drop them right in the thoracic cavity at 100m.
What are you shooting? I shoot 1911s in .45 ACP. For standard-power 230-grain .45 ACP, the bullet drop at 100 yards is 19.31 inches. To hit even the B zone at 199 yards I would have to be aiming at open air above the top of the target.

http://www.shooterscalculator.com/ba...php?t=4d524fc3
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Old May 20, 2019, 07:22 AM   #10
Bartholomew Roberts
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Shooting 124gr FMJ 9mm from a Hi-Power/Glock 19.
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Old May 20, 2019, 08:56 AM   #11
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When I was up in WY last year for a steel dinger shoot, some of the guys grabbed their carry pieces and had a little ad hoc contest on the 100yd pipe, which was about 6"x12" if memory serves. There were more misses than hits, I can tell you. It did ring the bell when they hit, and generically speaking, I wouldn't want to be on the receiving end of any of those bullets, but I don't really know how effective they would be for self-defense purposes at that range... which is how I view handguns. Although I didn't compete with them, I was hitting the very same pipe the day previously with my 4" .41 Magnum pretty much 5 for 6... but I had worked up to it. For that matter, I was hitting the 500yd dinger, probably 40"x40", with the same pistol from a sitting position. I even got 2 6 for 6 hits, and that was me holding some serious front sight up.

Someone mentioned shotguns... my brother bought a new Winchester 12ga pump many years ago, it came with a slug barrel, so I bought a box of slugs. We were shooting bowling pins at 100yds, so I though... why not? I chambered up a round, guy next to me said 'there's no WAY on earth you are going to hit that!' which just made me more determined. BOOM! ...first shot... it hit the pin and knocked it about 20' up the backstop, splitting the pin almost completely in two. I don't know who was more surprised, me or him. Point being, I would never have guessed a slug would be that 'effective' at that range... so you never can tell.
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Old May 20, 2019, 09:50 AM   #12
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A long time ago I was at my dad’s range. They had a 300 meter gong.

We were shooting .44 caliber cap and ball revolvers at 25 yards and mine was this rickety old loose Italian thing, but it was shooting well. The old man says “go on, try to hit the gong!”

So, I raise my arm. Think. Raise my arm more, then more, then a little more such that it feels like I am aiming at the clouds on the horizon. BOOM!

Nothing. We bust out laughing. Laugh some more. BONG!

We stare at each other then laugh so hard we are rolling on the ground.

I reckon that was about a 10,000 to one shot but we will never know because once you make a shot like that you make up every excuse under the sun to never try again. It will only spoil your reputation as a dead-eye.

We could never safely attempt stuff like that where I live because without a mountain as a backstop....
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Old May 20, 2019, 09:53 AM   #13
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What's the smallest gun Jerry has popped a balloon with at 100? I saw him do it on his second shot with a glock he was holding upside down, I bet he could do it with an LCP.
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Old May 20, 2019, 10:27 AM   #14
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That depends a whole lot on your shooting ability ...not so much the gun .
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Old May 20, 2019, 07:32 PM   #15
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7.62x25 Tokarev. I have both a Zastava M57 and CZ52. Good truck gun for ferrel hogs.
Here's some data from an online ballistic calculator:

Drag Function: G1
Ballistic Coefficient: 0.129
Bullet Weight: 90 gr
Initial Velocity: 1700 fps
Sight Height : .625 in
Shooting Angle: 0° Wind Speed: 0 mph
Wind Angle: 0°
Zero Range: 10 yd
Chart Range: 100 yd
Maximum Range: 2021 yd
Step Size: 10 yd
International Standard Atmosphere
Altitude: Sea Level (0 ft)
Barometric Pressure: 29.92 Hg
Temperature: 59° F
Relative Humidity: 50%
Speed of Sound: 1116 fps

Range Elevation Elevation Elevation Windage Windage Windage Time Energy Vel[x+y]
(yd) (in) (MOA) (MIL) (in) (MOA) (MIL) (s) (ft.lbf) (ft/s)
0 -0.6 0.00 0.00 0.00 0.00 0.00 0.00 578 1700
10 -0.01 0.08 0.02 0.00 0.00 0.00 0.02 542 1647
20 0.47 -2.22 -0.65 0.00 0.00 0.00 0.04 509 1596
30 0.81 -2.56 -0.75 0.00 0.00 0.00 0.06 478 1547
40 1.00 -2.39 -0.70 0.00 0.00 0.00 0.08 449 1499
50 1.05 -1.99 -0.58 0.00 0.00 0.00 0.10 422 1452
60 0.92 -1.46 -0.43 0.00 0.00 0.00 0.12 396 1407
70 0.62 -0.85 -0.25 0.00 0.00 0.00 0.14 372 1364
80 0.13 -0.16 -0.05 0.00 0.00 0.00 0.16 350 1323
90 -0.55 0.58 0.17 0.00 0.00 0.00 0.18 330 1284
100 -1.45 1.38 0.40 0.00 0.00 0.00 0.21 311 1247
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Old May 20, 2019, 07:38 PM   #16
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Jerry has a video where he shoots and hits a balloon on his 2nd or 3rd shot with a S&W Bodyguard .380 at a distance of 214 yds, straight out of the box.

Doubt many of us (any of us?) could possibly do the same. So saying that a Bodyguard is effective at 200+ yds is probably not really accurate.

It is fun to watch though.
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Old May 20, 2019, 07:46 PM   #17
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Wont be many “small” handguns that can penetrate 12” of gel at 100 yds. Would expect it to be magnums only.
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Old May 20, 2019, 08:23 PM   #18
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I shot a bit of IHMSA with a .44 Magnum.
The 100 meter pig was not a bit safe.
A man at the 200 meter ram line had better stay in his foxhole.
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Old May 21, 2019, 06:43 AM   #19
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Didn’t iv8888 do a couple vids with 22 and 9 and 45 vs pineboard?
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Old May 21, 2019, 10:55 AM   #20
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The 357 Sig in whatever size pistol is probably the best candidate. I have shot my Sig P239 at long range, and it did pretty well. I have a G33, but never tried it at longer ranges.
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Old May 21, 2019, 11:54 AM   #21
44 AMP
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7.62x25mm Tokarev
Quote:
Bullet Weight: 90 gr
Initial Velocity: 1700 fps

1700fps is considerably higher than any data I have for this round, fired from a handgun. Like about 300fps higher. My books spec the 87gr @ 1390fps, so where is 1700fps coming from? A carbine??



Quote:
But it has me wondering, how small can you go before your pistol is basically a near-contact weapon? It seems these days a lot of the smaller pistols are made with 15yds as “long distance.”

ETA: And by “effective”, I mean able to deliver A or B zone hits on an IPSC silhouette with enough energy to penetrate 12” of ballistics gel at 100m.
15 yards IS long distance for some people with some guns. And, its kind of long distance for a justifiable self defense shooting. It happens, but its a lot less common than shorter distances, and small pistols are made for ease of carry and concealment, not ease of accuracy at longer ranges.

There are several parts to your question, accuracy at 100m, power at that same distance, and finally smallest gun combining both.

I can't speak to what will penetrate 12' of ballistic gel at 100m, sorry. Never had to defend myself from ballistic gel at any range...

As to accuracy, there is this,..

Quote:
The A/B zone is only 6" wide. There aren't many handguns that can reliably hit that at 100 yards even if fired from a Ransom Rest.
this is an opinion, which I happen to disagree with, though I've never specifically tried to hit the A&B zones at 100 yds, I used to shoot the 200 yd gong (admittedly considerably wider, but at double the distance) and I've had dozens of guns that can hit it, in my hands, OFFHAND.

I'd say hitting that target at 100yds is the shooter, more than the gun. Service class semi autos are about the worst for that, but it CAN be done.

Stationary target, and taking the time needed for the shot, I have done it, and I've even done it with pocket pistols. Takes time (shots) to LEARN the gun, but once learned, its not terribly difficult, for me, anyway. But, I've been shooting that 200yd gong with pistols for 30+ years, so I might have a small edge in experience there.

Smaller pistols, with coarse, to really crappy sights, and generally inferior trigger pulls make the task much more difficult, but it can be done.

Doubt even a master class shooter could do it under "combat" conditions, but it is possible. There is a documented case of a good guy taking out a bad guy with his 9mm service pistol at over 70 yards, so it is possible.

I'd say the answer to part of your question would be finding someone who can make the required shot, then see what the smallest gun he can make it with, is, and go from there.

Good Luck!
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Old May 21, 2019, 12:45 PM   #22
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Some tough requirements:
1. A/B zone, so what, 6" wide target?
2. Penetrate 12" gel

Human-size silhouette targets are not safe at 100 yards against someone with decent shooting fundamentals, a rest of some sort, and a .38spl J-frame S&W they are familiar with. A/B zone would not be something I could whack with a J-frame at 100 yards, though good adjustable sights would make it more likely. And I am not sure about 12" penetration. Possible with a LSWC, I suppose or FMJ or LRN.

To hit a 6" wide target at 100 yards likely would require more sight radius and muzzle velocity. So, 4" bbl K or L-frame S&W in .357mag. LSWC ought to penetrate 12"+.

GM sized 1911 ought to be able to meet the two requirements, the smaller 1911s less so. 9mm, .38super, 10mm would make it easier.

After a bit of thought, I think a 9mm* Officer's ACP could manage it:
1. Good, square, high contrast sights, even if fixed...and fixed generally can be drifted to be on for azimuth at 100 yards.
2. Good 1911 trigger.
3. 9mm: moderate recoil, decent MV, adequate penetration with FMJ.
* Better, .38Super if such is offered in OACP format.

Now I feel like taking my wife's 9mm OACP out and trying it.
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Old May 21, 2019, 01:09 PM   #23
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 44 AMP View Post
7.62x25mm Tokarev

1700fps is considerably higher than any data I have for this round, fired from a handgun. Like about 300fps higher. My books spec the 87gr @ 1390fps, so where is 1700fps coming from? A carbine??
You need a different book. Winchester's 7.62X25 Tokarev has a 85 grain bullet moving 1654 fps from a 4.75" barrel. Sellier & Bellot shows a 85 grain bullet at 1857 fps from a 11.25" barrel. Hornady has load data for a 90 grain bullet at 1700 fps from a 4.75" barrel (page 845 tenth edition). I've easily made 1600+ fps from a 5" barrel with 85 grain bullets and published load data from Sierra.

Quote:
Originally Posted by 44 AMP View Post
7.62x25mm Tokarev

this is an opinion, which I happen to disagree with, though I've never specifically tried to hit the A&B zones at 100 yds, I used to shoot the 200 yd gong (admittedly considerably wider, but at double the distance) and I've had dozens of guns that can hit it, in my hands, OFFHAND.
My 100 yard estimate is opinion since I haven't shot a handgun at that range for a while. But based on my Ransom Rest data at 25 yards with lots of pistols, I stand by my statement. Some guns and ammo can't keep the shots in 6" at 25 yards. 6" at 100 yards translates into 1.5" at 25 yards. Any handgun that can keep all it's shots in 1.5" at 25 yards is exceptional - even with the ammo it likes best. Sure, some bullets will hit the A/B zone at 100 yards, but it will be a minority at best.
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Old May 21, 2019, 01:30 PM   #24
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 74A95
Some guns and ammo can't keep the shots in 6" at 25 yards. 6" at 100 yards translates into 1.5" at 25 yards. Any handgun that can keep all it's shots in 1.5" at 25 yards is exceptional - even with the ammo it likes best. Sure, some bullets will hit the A/B zone at 100 yards, but it will be a minority at best.
I think this gets close to the point. If the question is "What gun can hit the A or B zone at 100 yards," the implication would have to be that the shot has to be repeatable. Take the shooter out of the equation, put the gun in a bench vise or Ransom rest, adjust until a shot hits the center of the A zone ... and then fire ten more shots. If all ten shots don't fall within the A or B zones, then the gun is mechanically not capable of meeting the criteria.

Most semi-automatic handguns, even full-sized, aren't capable of that kind of accuracy. For example, Les Baer charges a premium for a pistol guaranteed to group within 1-1/2 inches at 50 yards. His standard pistols (which are still considered to be top shelf 1911s) are supposed to group within 3 inches at 50 yards. So to get a 1911 with even a remote chance of reliably and consistently grouping within 6 inches at 100 yards you're looking at a standard-grade Les Baer pistol or equal. That's for a 1911 with a 5-inch barrel.

I don't think the question originally asked has any practical, real world application. Any half decent shooter should be able to "walk in" a bunch of shots and finally place one round in the A or B zone. Irrespective of the inherent accuracy of the firearm, if the shooter can't repeat the shot for 4 out of 5, or 7 out of 10 shots, then what difference does it make if the gun can put all 5 or all 10 rounds through the same hole at 100 yards?
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Old May 21, 2019, 03:05 PM   #25
kenny53
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I have seen shooters not be able to stay in the A and B zones at 10 yards. I don't believe any of my hand guns could handle the 100 yard challenge and I am sure I could not. I know that it is not a serious question, just a what you think type question . But I always looked at handguns as self defense and if the bad guy is 100 yards off I am just going home.
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