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Old April 9, 2016, 10:42 AM   #1
g.willikers
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Effective Fighting Distance Practice?

A previous thread on this subject was closed due to forum rules violations.
But the idea can still be a good one for conversation.
So, the question is:
Do you trust in the statistics of defensive gunfights and only practice for what is generally expected?
Or do you practice for all the situations imaginable?
And if so, what are they?

One reason for asking is due to the attitude of a neighbor.
He's convinced he will never need any kind of long range defensive handgun skills, 'cause the stats support the idea.
So he literally can only shoot effectively at very close range.
And he's completely satisfied with that.

I practice at distances out to 50 yards with handguns, and sleep a lot better for it.
And the number of longer range handgun solutions to an assault have been small enough to go down in history.
If we could be assured that all confrontations were going to be within a few feet, then we probably wouldn't necessarily even need guns.
There's a host of effective weapons useful for that kind of close encounters.
What say you?
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Old April 9, 2016, 11:34 AM   #2
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The ability to control your environment past close range conversational distances is comforting.

In todays world of active shooters and take over robberies, i want the ability to engage the mutt that walks into a restaurant im eating in and opens fire.

Its nice to say that all you "really" need is the ability to shoot the guy off you, and that you wont engage an active shooter because its not you "job". The reality is that if someone walks into a restaurant and starts shooting people. You will probably not be able to ecsape and its fight or die time.

So, the ability to make 25yd body shots or 15yd head shots is not an unreasonable training goal.
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Old April 9, 2016, 11:42 AM   #3
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Quote:
One reason for asking is due to the attitude of a neighbor.
He's convinced he will never need any kind of long range defensive handgun skills, 'cause the stats support the idea.
So he literally can only shoot effectively at very close range.
And he's completely satisfied with that.
So it sounds like your neighbor will never learn to use a rifle. Too bad, rifles can be very effective. And shotguns are one of the best all around self defense firearms effective at close range and at mid range. Would your neighbor learn to use a shotgun, for close range?

As for handguns, they are short range weapons. They're perhaps most effective at 15 yards or less. For long range or mid range you really do need a long gun.
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Old April 9, 2016, 11:49 AM   #4
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Next time youre in the grocery store or Walmart, pace off some of the isles, across the front of the store, etc, and I think youll be shocked to see, they are well beyond what many, if not most have been convinced they need to practice.

50 yards is a very realistic distance, or at least in the real world it is.
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Old April 9, 2016, 12:36 PM   #5
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I admit that beyond 25 yards I rarely practice with a handgun. The occasional long shot for grins, but not serious shooting. I think the case can be made that being proficient to 50 yards gives more options and makes good sense. I am going to work on it. Thanks for bringing it up g.willikers.
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Old April 9, 2016, 12:36 PM   #6
Frank Ettin
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Shooting at distant targets is not just about practicing for a critical incident in which you would engage targets at that distance. Shooting at distant targets also helps develop, improve and maintain fundamental skills.
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Old April 9, 2016, 01:57 PM   #7
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Agree. There is nothing that makes you more aware of a trigger control or a sight picture flaw than shooting at distant targets. Jeff Cooper told my Gunsite class that maximizing distance from your opponent and being the better shot was an advantage to be obtained when possible.

It's less likely you will have to return fire from 50 yards or more than from less than 7, but not impossible. Cooper himself used the prone version of the Weaver to hit teacups at 50 yards. A clay pigeon is close enough in size and good practice.
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Old April 9, 2016, 02:04 PM   #8
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i've been shooting IDPA for almost 2 years now. have shot from contact range (touching the target) out to 35 yards. i won't win any medals, but having to shoot unknown stages makes you practice for whatever may come up, and after some practice and competition, you know what you can do.

can i outshoot Rob Vogel? no way.

but i do know that i can hit the target on a consistent basis.

the further away the target, the more you have to aim and have trigger control.

so it has built confidence in me, and that's good to have.
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Old April 9, 2016, 03:08 PM   #9
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The rule is supposed to be : Three Yards, Three Feet, Three Seconds

Maybe that needs review, maybe not, but certainly no harm can come from learning to shoot defensively at 50 yards, or even greater. We don't expect to be targeted for a violent crime inside of large buildings or public venues, as opposed to a dark sidewalk or doorway, but that expectation may need to be challenged.

An assailant with a rifle is a stand-off enemy. He can engage targets at far greater range than most people can shoot a handgun effectively. If you can get behind good cover at range and hit an active target, it's better than letting them get closer.
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Old April 9, 2016, 03:21 PM   #10
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Do you restrict your driving skills to only being familiar with driving certain speeds, or for limited distances or under limited conditions?

It's difficult to be prepared to handle a range of emergency situations, if they occur, if you haven't actually prepared for them.

Surprise and elevated stress doesn't usually make things easier to do, either.
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Old April 9, 2016, 03:27 PM   #11
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I believe the statistics are correct. I believe one's primary focus should be training to engage a close threat as quickly and accurately as possible. However, as you build proficiency why not increase the distance? Statistics can tell us what we can reasonably expect but they don't account for every possible scenario.

Increased skill is never a disadvantage.
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Old April 9, 2016, 03:53 PM   #12
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Next time youre in the grocery store or Walmart, pace off some of the isles, across the front of the store, etc, and I think youll be shocked to see, they are well beyond what many, if not most have been convinced they need to practice.

50 yards is a very realistic distance, or at least in the real world it is.
Yes the distances inside a big box store are longer than one might think but the idea of engaging a threat at those ranges is IMHO not advisable. Under stress there are very few people who will be able to accurately make that shot. In reality is makes more sense to Escape, Hide and engage in that order. At 50 yards you are better off running/escaping from the threat than taking a 50 yard shot.

There is nothing wrong with practicing shooting as some degree of speed at 50 yards because it can help bring errors in your technique that are masked at shorter distances but planning to engage targets with a pistol at 50 yards in public is not a good idea. IMHO YMMV

Personally 80% of my practice is done 15 yards and in. The vast majority of the rest is 25 yards and then some at 60 which is the length of my clubs pistol range. I like to set clay pigeons or a 2/3 IPSC Steel target at that range. I can consistent hit the steel target. The clays are a much bigger challenge but that does not mean I am willing to engage an active threat at that distance under stress.
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Old April 9, 2016, 03:58 PM   #13
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This day and age, with all thats been going on around the world, you may not have a choice but to engage at distances you normally wouldnt think prudent.
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Old April 9, 2016, 04:04 PM   #14
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This day and age, with all thats been going on around the world, you may not have a choice but to engage at distances you normally wouldnt think prudent.
At 50 yards I would put my money on being able to escape to cover vs me making positive hits at 50 yards. Clearly YMMV but in threads like this I often see people over estimate their ability and the need to take such shots. Yes you might one day find yourself in such a situation but you are much more likely to die from slipping and falling in your shower or driving a car than ever being faced with such a situation.

Do you practice getting in an out of the shower in wet conditions everyday? When was the last time you took an advance driving class, defensive driving class or evasive driving class? I would be willing to bet that is a much more likely occurrence than being forced into a 50 yard engagement with a pistol.
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Old April 9, 2016, 04:25 PM   #15
AK103K
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Do you practice getting in an out of the shower in wet conditions everyday?
Yup, pretty much every day.

I practice 50 yard shots pretty much every week.

Do I need to? Not near as much as I did when I first started.

I understand (and I dont understand) the thought of not engaging, and taking cover or fleeing. Everything depends on the situation, which is always something that just is what it is, and never what you probably think. You get what you get, and you get to do it with what you got along.

Hopefully, you have taken your responsibility seriously and are up to the task, and that gun you have along, isnt just a status symbol.

Its a bit confusing sometimes when you hear so many say you should carry a gun and things will be safer, and yet, in the next breath, have all sorts of rules and limitations (almost seem like excuses), for not stepping up if they are needed in the moment. Perhaps carrying that gun carries more responsibility than some want to admit or face.
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Old April 9, 2016, 04:30 PM   #16
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Hopefully, you have taken your responsibility seriously and are up to the task, and that gun you have along, isnt just a status symbol.

Its a bit confusing sometimes when you hear so many say you should carry a gun and things will be safer, and yet, in the next breath, have all sorts of rules and limitations (almost seem like excuses), for not stepping up if they are needed in the moment. Perhaps carrying that gun carries more responsibility than some want to admit or fac
What responsibility are you speaking of? I am not sure I was ever given a task? Stepping up?

Why the need for the chest puffing? Do you honestly believe that carrying a gun for self defense requires me to step up to some task? This is the type of mentality that makes people question rational conceal carry holders.

Stop with the chest thumping puffier.

Nothing wrong with practicing at longer distances but delusions of grander about ones role as a concealed carry holder are out of place in a rational discussion of tactics and training. Train how you feel is necessary stop deciding for others their task and role as a concealed carry holder.

My #1 responsibility is to my family who need and want me to come home alive at the end of the day. Some dude on the internet is not going to convince me I have a task or responsibility beyond that simply because I conceal carry a gun.
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Old April 9, 2016, 04:38 PM   #17
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Your response is exactly the mentality I dont understand.

In cases where you are there, and possibly the only hope of stopping a tragedy, do you run away, or do you step up?

Im not puffing my chest, or trying to be macho in any way or means, simply saying we do have a responsibility to do something, if we are capable and in a position of doing so.

Or you can just run away, and justify it any way want.

I guess maybe we were brought up differently.
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Old April 9, 2016, 04:49 PM   #18
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In cases where you are there, and possibly the only hope of stopping a tragedy, do you run away, or do you step up?
I don't need you to understand my mentality any more than I need to understand yours.

In any and every situation I am going to asses the situation a gauge my realistic chances of success. Shooting static targets at 50 yards on a square range with no one firing back does not prepare me for being able to make a 50 yard shot under extreme pressure.

If the choice is 50 yard shot or escape out an exit door I am going out that exit door. Clearly YMMV. I do not have a responsibility to recklessly sacrifice my life by taking a shot I do not reasonably believe I can make under "real world life and death pressure".

If you choose differently I can respect that. Why can't you respect that I have a greater duty to my loved ones and those who depend on me than risking my life and possibly the lives of others, if I miss.
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Old April 9, 2016, 05:13 PM   #19
AK103K
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If the choice is 50 yard shot or escape out an exit door I am going out that exit door. Clearly YMMV. I do not have a responsibility to recklessly sacrifice my life by taking a shot I do not reasonably believe I can make under "real world life and death pressure".
Hmmm, wasnt that the whole point of the thread, to be well rounded and practicing at longer distances?

I simply pointed out that most real world shots are longer than most would think, and practicing longer shots is well within the realm of things. You obviously have different thoughts.

If you feel youre better off not practicing for things like that, then dont. Thats you, and not me.

If you dont think you should step up, assuming you were competent enough to do so, and you could, thats fine too. Do what you think best. Again, thats you and not me.

I personally wouldn't feel right knowing someone got hurt or died, because I failed to act, when I could and/or should have.
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Old April 9, 2016, 07:18 PM   #20
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AK I'm stuck at home watching golf, so I will add my .02 to this conversation. I agree that being able to shoot well at longer distances than most of us practice is a good idea. I also agree that we do not get to choose the circumstances where trouble can find us. I think WVsig would also agree. Carrying a gun and having mad skills doesn't always mean that running into the fight is the right thing though. Engaging a shooter at long distance inside a crowded Walmart is an extraordinarily dangerous decision that is almost guaranteed to end badly.

We train to protect ourselves and those in our care. You state that you wouldn't feel right if someone was hurt or killed because of your inaction. A valid point. How would you feel if others were hurt or killed because of your actions? The decision to engage or not can only be made based on our assessment of the situation. Everything else is just conversation.
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Old April 9, 2016, 08:02 PM   #21
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Long range shots help improve the shooter's fundamentals as already mentioned. They are not so noticeable when shooting at 15 or 20 feet. I would suggest they practice out to 25 yds (75 feet) and certainly 15 yds (45 ft) to 20 yds (60 feet).

First choice is always to escape and not shoot.
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Old April 9, 2016, 08:13 PM   #22
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Standing on a static range with my HK P30L or HK45 I can hit a figure 12 target out to 25M around 95% og the time.
When I do practice at 50M with the same pistols my hit percentage drops down to 30% assuming I am drawing and firing at a normal rate.
If I slow down and take careful aim it goes up to 60% or so.
Now would you stand there in a duel with someone 50M away who may be equipped with a rifle?
Where will the other 40% of my rounds go?

I have shot a 4-1/2" group at 50M with a Springfield Armory 6" Longslide with target sights. Is that something that someone will normally wear concealed?
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Old April 9, 2016, 08:14 PM   #23
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Im not advocating taking 50 yard shots in a crowded venue at a whim, or as a normal response. Evey instance is its own critter and is dealt with as it unfolds and expands. Who knows what youll do. You certainly wont until you do.

What I was referring to, was something like what went on in Paris, or San Bernardino, etc., where you may have to fight for your life, and those around you, like it or dont. I personally believe you do have a responsibility in a case like that, if you have the means to stop it. Im not saying that to be macho or a tough guy, simply as what I believe. It applies in any situation for that matter. Would you stand there and do nothing? Just run away? Sorry, I guess I was brought up differently, and in a different era.

You always hear how if most everyone was armed, there would be little crime. Yet, as soon as you get down to brass tacks, many will tell you you have no duty to do anything, and tell you to run away. That youll "get in trouble", or worse. If thats the case, maybe those who feel that way, should just leave their gun at home, so it wont be a bother, and they wont have to worry about it.

I personally believe if you carry a gun, you are responsible to be proficient with it, and to do so to the best of your ability. That usually means pushing yourself beyond your comfort zone in practice, and practicing regularly. Shooting at longer ranges is part of that. All manner of things are part of that. Yet what percentage of gun carriers do you suppose, could complete even a basic police course with a passing score, with what they choose to carry every day? Could you? Much of what I see people carry and suggest or insist is all you need to carry, would be tough to get you past the ten yard mark, and thats with deliberate slow fire. Forget about anything realistic.

I would hope that if someone I cared for, were to be unfortunate enough to be caught up in something like the above, that someone were there, who could do so, would have the courage to step up and do something to stop it. From the current trend of advice in the threads you read around here, and a few other places, that doesnt seem likely occurrence.
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Old April 10, 2016, 05:10 AM   #24
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practice

Prioritize your training. First practice for the most likely scenarios, and then practice for the worst case scenarios (within reason)

The FBI statistics that are often quoted are from the Law Enforcement Officers Killed (LEOKA) summary every years. They don't show ALL police shootings, just the incidents were the cops were killed.

Surprisingly, there is NO national data base on all police involved shootings. Individual departments may have one for incidents involving their personnel, but there is at this time nobody keeping that information on the national level. (I know, that's bizarre . . . )

Still, the FBI annual report, and NYPD's SOP 9 annual report both contain some pretty good information, and the general indicators (situation in hours of darkness, 7 yards distance or less, 40% of incidents involve multiple adversaries) are probably roughly applicable for self defense shootings involving the armed citizen as well.

And, as 1-DAB noted above about the benefits of shooting in competition "having to shoot unknown stages makes you practice for whatever may come up, and after some practice and competition, you know what you can do."
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Old April 10, 2016, 06:48 AM   #25
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There is nothing wrong with good practice at longer distances. I do it. And while your buddy, g.w., feels it is unnecessary, he is probably right from a statistical sense. There are exceptions, but day in and day out, at what distances do most conflicts occur? They are exceptionally short range.

I had a buddy that was very much into long range practice, regular work out to 200 yards with a pistol and out to 400 on occasion. Why? He wanted "to be able to shoot them before they had a chance" to shoot him. Cool.

His first (only?) armed encounter went poorly. He got into a fight with an employee who drew down on him. Having been to all the gun schools, he attempted to disarm the employee who never lost control of his own gun, wrapped up my buddy and picked the gun my my buddy's holster. Fortunately, the employee never fired.

My point is that practicing for extremely rare encounters may make you sleep better, but given how unlikely it is to happen, being an expert first at short range is a much more practical ideal.
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