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Old January 29, 2012, 01:29 PM   #1
Join Date: January 7, 2012
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Rounds per hour at the range?

I finally got my new Beretta 92A1 (my first handgun) to the nearby indoor range for an hour recently and had a great time!

I tried several types of ammo without any issues at all and fired around 175 rounds total. I probably could have done a bit more, but reloading the 3 17-round magazines that came with the gun takes me several minutes and I was changing targets after each magazine.

After the range session, I thought about how much money I'd spent on ammo and wondered if I could have improved more in terms of training by slowing down and being more careful with each shot. Right now I'm purely interested in the fundamentals of grip, stance, breathing, and trigger pull (both SA and DA). I'm not trying to improve any aspect of my speed until I start seeing much tighter groups.

My question is: How many rounds per hour do you fire at the range and why?

Any advice for a new shooter is appreciated.
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Old January 29, 2012, 01:41 PM   #2
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Most of my range time nowadays is spent on .22, because I'm not in my home state long enough to pursue serious training, and when I am home I'm between contracts so cost is a factor.

So, typically several hundred rounds per hour.

If I was shooting centerfire, in pursuit of genuine training, that number could drop as low as 20-30, depending on what sorts of drills I was running.
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Old January 29, 2012, 01:48 PM   #3
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You didn't list it in your concentration list, and I hope it's just a mistake in your list, but sight picture is important, too.
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Old January 29, 2012, 01:55 PM   #4
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I shoot typically two cycles of 4-5 magazines each for whatever gun I am using.

Depending on if it is my CZ75, P226 or P229 that can be 160, or 150 rounds.

After that much shooting typically my accuracy is starting to suffer just a little bit and I have spent about half an hour on the range so I stop.
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Old January 29, 2012, 02:26 PM   #5
Clifford L. Hughes
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Pistol practice isn't to see how many rounds that you put down range: It's the quality of the shots. A good way to develope quality practice is to dry fire. When I was shooting for several Marine Corps pistol teams I dry fired to develope my grip, my trigger finger placement, my sight alignment and my trigger control. I did this by snapping in against a blank white wall with no target. Against a white wall any sight disturbance from a poor trigger release will be apparent.

Your eyes can't focus on more than one thing at a time so the perfect sight picture is a myth. Focus your eyes on the front sight and let your eyes follow the sight alignment to the target. The target will blurr like it should. If you maintain proper shight alignment the pistol can wobble the size of the ten ring if you release the trigger properly and you will get a ten ring hit.

One more point, no one can hold a pistol perfectly still; however, with practice the wobble ares shrinks.

I just noticed that you poseed under tactics and training. My comment is for bullseye shooting; however, the basics will remain the same: sight alignment and trigger release.

Semper Fi.

Gunnery sergeant
Clifford L. Hughes
USMC Retired

Last edited by Clifford L. Hughes; January 29, 2012 at 02:36 PM. Reason: Spelling, and left something out
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Old January 29, 2012, 02:38 PM   #6
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Just got back from the range. In about 1 1/2 hour I went thru 250 rnds.
The RO came up and complimented me on my shooting so I must be doing something right.
I find that after 150 rnds or so my groups are getting bigger, hands are getting tired. That's when I start shooting one handed or point shooting just for the practice.
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Old January 29, 2012, 02:46 PM   #7
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You didn't list it in your concentration list, and I hope it's just a mistake in your list, but sight picture is important, too.
Agreed, this is something I've been working on with dry firing and need to work on at the range too.

Clifford, thanks for your response. I actually just posted in a dry fire thread that this is something I'm doing (and plan to do a lot more). I'm guessing I'll only be able to spend about 2 hours a month at the range, but I'm hoping to spend much more time doing dry fire exercises with snap caps.

Still, I'm curious about how many rounds you guys go through during a typical hour at the range.
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Old January 29, 2012, 03:04 PM   #8
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I think one can get good training and cut down on the amount of ammo.

You mentioned the Beretta so I'll address it.

Where I shoot my Beretta 92 is in action style matches, Steel Challenge ,USPSA, Run 'n Gun, etc.

These competitions take a lot of rounds but I don't believe you need to fire a lot of rounds in practice. They are timed events and where time gets you is in your reloading or moving.

So, I load mags with only two rounds, draw, shoot two rounds, reload, and fire two more. Or draw fire two rounds, move to the next target as I reload the next two rounds.

You can improve your sight picture and trigger control with dry firing. I don't have a lot of problems with shooting per se, but I'm old and slow, the reloading and movement gets me.

I don't see a lot of benefit (in practice) shooting 17 rounds, reloading and firing another 17 rounds when I loose my time in reloading. I think I get more benefit firing two rounds, reloading and firring two more, reloading and firing two more. That's six rounds vs 51 rounds if I had to do it with full mags.

I reload using cast bullets, much cheaper then using factory ammo, but still I get a lot more practice for the buck,

I would invest in a Shot Timer, thats how you measure your success in action type shooting.
Kraig Stuart
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Old January 29, 2012, 03:23 PM   #9
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Thanks Kraig. I'd love to try some action shooting sports with my 92A1 once I get proficient with it (assuming there are opportunities for competitions in my area).

I hadn't thought about only partially loading my magazines, but this makes a lot of sense.

With the exception of the 51 rounds I bring loaded to the range, I'm going to be loading every successive round by hand at the range anyway (unless I buy several more mags). Probably makes just as much sense to load a few rounds at a time as it does to load another 51 all at once, especially since it keeps the pace of the range session more constant throughout.

Last edited by Cycrops; January 29, 2012 at 03:26 PM. Reason: Misspelled Kraig's name.
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Old January 29, 2012, 03:26 PM   #10
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Basically don't worry about how many rounds you shoot in x minutes.

Instead concentrate on each shot.

Here's an article by Massad Ayoob

Run a check list from the feet up for each shot.
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Old January 29, 2012, 03:26 PM   #11
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About 5 or 6 years ago I attended an Army Marksmanship Unit pistol class. A comment made by one of the instructors made my jaw drop, as well as many other students.

“Practice does not make perfect.”

Say what? Then he continued….

“Perfect practice makes perfect.”

He went on to explain. Putting 100+ rounds down range in an hour, and you will learn nothing. Placing 10 or 20 shots into the X-ring in an hour, and you will learn everything. Concentrating on the fundamentals of pistol shooting before, during, and after each individual shot is the way it should be done. To a beginner, it may take an hour to put 20 perfect shots down range. That’s fine. Speed comes later.
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Old January 29, 2012, 03:29 PM   #12
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Here's an article by Massad Ayoob
Actually just read that yesterday when searching for grip techniques. Ain't the internet a great place?

I don't know how many golfers there are on this forum, but it's amazing how similar a session at the golf range is to a session at the shooting range. A lot of the same factors of stance, grip, timing, etc. come into play.

Practicing too quickly and without concentrating on what you're doing is a good way to develop bad habits that become very difficult to change later.
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Old January 29, 2012, 09:25 PM   #13
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When I have to pay range time by the hour, I pre-load my 4 Glock mags to 17rds.

Most of the ranges in my area don't allow anthing but slow-fire. I have been thinking about getting in a league since that's now the only way I'll be able to practice drawing and firing.

When I am paying per hour, I don't rush my shots but I do everything else quickly like loading magazines - scoring targets and stuff like that.

A new range opened up by me with a flat fee for all-day firing. When I'm there I only load 5 rounds in a magazine, and I take my time loading them.

How many rounds I fire depends on a lot of things.

If I'm not shooting my Glock well, I'll start shooting my Ruger standard, concentrating on fundamentals. When I get a few good shot groups, I pick up the Glock again.

Earlier last year I had a bad day at the range, and determined to do well I just kept firing hoping to get through it. I'm not sure what I accomplished besides expending a lot of ammo.

Now if I'm not doing well, I try to relax, concentrate on the fundamentals - somethig I find myself saying a lot is "this is just like dry firing..." But if my shooting doesn't improve, I don't force it, I go back to my Ruger, shoot a few more targets and call it a day.

I did have an experience later last year where I was experiencing a problem, I was getting a flyer out of every five shots and I couldn't seem to get better consistency. But things turned around for me after maybe 20 minutes of shooting, I seemed to get in a zone and I was really happy with the groups I was creating. When I have a session like that, I'll definately put more rounds downrange because I'm having fun
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Old January 29, 2012, 10:03 PM   #14
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practice drills

I often do the same thing as C0unt Zer0 : If I'm going to the range for practice, I usually take a major caliber handgun and also one of my .22s. I shoot the .22 to warm up. Sometimes if my concentration is a little off, I can shoot through it, and I use the .22 to accomplish that at low cost. If I'm just not there that day (which doesn't happen often) I only shoot the .22 that particular practice session.

I have a Beretta 92FS and I also have a .22 conversion unit for it, made by Beretta. They called it a "Practice kit". I'm not sure they make them anymore. If they ever go back into production, or if you can find one at a reasonable cost, buy one. Mine is quite reliable and not ammo sensitive, and the decocker/safety works the same as on the M9.

If I'm at the police range on an open day, I'm not paying for the range time and sometimes I go out there for a couple hours, with handgun & rifle, and shoot a LOT.

But usually my practice is at a commercial range at $15 an hour. My normal practice routine burns up 150-200 rounds and takes 60 to 90 minutes. (Usually 150 rounds and an hour) I find that's often enough shooting for one day.

I usually shoot once a week. Often times with one of the .22 conversion units, because it's cheaper.

This is one of my "routine" practice courses. If I'm shooting it with the Beretta 9mm it's on an IPSC or IDPA silhouette target at 50 feet, and if I'm shooting with the .22 conversion unit it's at 50 feet on an NRA B-24RC target.

All rounds fired from the holster, beginning with round chambered, hammer down, safety off:

Stage One -- two hands
Draw and fire 2 rounds. Repeated 6X for a total of 12 rounds

Stage Two -- strong hand only
Draw and fire 2 rounds strong hand only. Repeated 3X for a total of 6 rounds.

Stage Three -- weak hand only
Draw with the strong hand, transfer the gun to the weak hand, fire 2 rounds. Repeated 3X for a total of 6 rounds.

Stage Four -- kneeling
Draw, drop to high kneeling, and fire 6 rounds

total of 30 rounds fired
150 points possible
Targets scored 5-4-2
You can only learn from experience if you pay attention!
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Old January 29, 2012, 10:05 PM   #15
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shooting in Illinois

And there's lots of IDPA/USPSA/PPC shooting going on north and west of Chicago.

Illinois is actually a gun-friendly state, except for the metro Chicago area.
You can only learn from experience if you pay attention!
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Old January 30, 2012, 12:17 AM   #16
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Rule of thumb is that you should take the shot within the second after you line up your sights and acquire a sharp front sight picture.

That said, I shoot 50~150 rounds per hour, depending on my performance that day. On some days I feel like I can shoot from my hip and beat the living you know what out of the bullseye. On other days I am not sure if I can even hit the paper.

For days where I doubt I can even hit the paper, I load some snap caps and dry fire at the target. It rarely gets better until my next visit, but at least I don't waste ammunition for that day.
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Old January 30, 2012, 12:44 AM   #17
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Here is something you may want to consider. The ammo savings by shooting a .22LR will eventually pay for the .22LR firearm. You can work on the fundamentals, proper shooting form and accuracy shooting a .22LR. You should still practice with your centerfire firearm, but you don't need to fire it all the time. Also be aware that most .22LR firearms should not be dryfired - some can but most should not.

Proper shooting form and techniques help a lot for accuracy. I would look for a club that has Certified Instructors, RSO's or well experienced shooters willing to assist other members. Not all instructors charge a fee, but some do. Know in advance if there will be any fees.

Todd Jarrett uses and teaches some very sound fundamentals and shooting techniques. Here is one clip of him on the fundamentals.
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Old January 30, 2012, 01:19 PM   #18
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A .22 pistol is something I will purchase eventually (I already have a .22 rifle). The new Ruger SR-22 is pretty neat looking. Beretta does offer the .22 conversion kit, but for the price I could have a very nice dedicated .22 and grow my tiny collection a little bit

That said, I find the larger pistol calibers much more challenging and exciting to shoot.
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Old January 30, 2012, 02:53 PM   #19
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I typically shoot a single box of 357 magnum ammo and it takes about 1 hour.
Shot placement is everything! I would rather take a round of 50BMG to the foot than a 22short to the base of the skull.

all 26 of my guns are 45/70 govt, 357 mag, 22 or 12 ga... I believe in keeping it simple. Wish my wife did as well...
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Old January 30, 2012, 03:09 PM   #20
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A few random thoughts:

[1] As has been mentioned, it's not so much how many rounds you shoot, it's how well you shot them. Pay attention to what you're doing and make every shot good.

[2] As someone else mentioned, only perfect practice make perfect. And practice makes permanent. So if you keep doing something badly over and over, you will not get better at it. You will only become expert at doing it badly.

[3] Shorter but more frequent practice is better than longer, less frequent practice. If you keep practicing after you've started to get fatigued or your interest and concentration has started to flag, your practice can start to get sloppy and undo the good you did earlier in the day. Frequent breaks during practice can also help.

[4] It can also be helpful to understand the way humans learn a physical skill. In learning a physical skill, we all go through a four step process:
  1. unconscious incompetence, we can't do something and we don't even know how to do it;

  2. conscious incompetence, we can't physically do something, at least consistently, even though we know in our mind how to do it;

  3. conscious competence, we know how to do something and can do it properly consistently, but only if we think about what we're doing and concentrate on doing it properly; and

  4. unconscious competence, at this final stage we know how to do something and can do it reflexively, on demand and without having to think about it.

To get to the third stage, you need to think through the physical task consciously in order to do it perfectly. Then going from conscious competence to unconscious competence is usually thought to take around 5,000 good repetitions. The good news is that, in the case of shooting, dry practice will count. The bad news is that poor repetitions don't count and can set you back.

If one has reached the stage of unconscious competence he will still need to practice regularly and properly to maintain proficiency, but it's easier to maintain it once achieved than it was to first achieve it.
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Old January 30, 2012, 03:19 PM   #21
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Snap caps and dry fire, dry fire, dry fire.

Then go to the range and shoot slowfire at 50 yards till you start seeing some good groups mostly in the black. Only then do you want to start your time and rapid fire sequences at 25 yards and closer. First you learn to shoot then you practice your SD skills.

Besides snap caps and good dry fire practice your best friend is a 22LR. I don't care if it's a pistol or revolver, a target model or back country pack gun. Buy by the case and shoot up by the box. bullseye, reactive targets like balloons, cookies, tin cans chunks of 2X4 pieces cut to 2" lengths, pill bottles filled with water. Different ranges and different angles from your shooting point if you can do so safely. Plink slow and deliberate fire, it's fun, it's cheap and it will help you to judge range.

When you get back to centerfire at 7 yard targets you will impress everybody including yourself.
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Old January 30, 2012, 09:07 PM   #22
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It is not the number of rounds you fire. It is the quality of the shots.

I have seen many shooters who fire thousands of rounds each year. Despite the expense and the wear and tear on their equipment they do not improve.

My most effective training, included 10 dry fires to 1 round fired, meditation on my shooting, Archery practice. and weight lifting.

Once i did not fire a shot handgun for 6 months. I thought about it, I visualized shooting, and I practiced with my hand (no pistol). When I returned to the range, I improved my bulleyes score by an average of 10 points.
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Old February 2, 2012, 07:31 AM   #23
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Then go to the range and shoot slowfire at 50 yards till you start seeing some good groups mostly in the black. Only then do you want to start your time and rapid fire sequences at 25 yards and closer. First you learn to shoot then you practice your SD skills.
Unfortunately the local indoor range only goes to 25 yards and doesn't allow rapid fire.

What kind of groups are considered "good" at 50 yards or even at 25? Is it generally accepted wisdom that you should practice at longer ranges in order to improve short-range accuracy?

Went to the range again last night and slowed things down a bit. Definitely felt like I made more progress than last time.
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Old February 2, 2012, 09:10 AM   #24
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I realize that I'm an aberration of sorts in this regard. Just in the "per hour" part... I almost never spend a full hour at the range and if I do I'm probably shooting rifles.

Handgunnery, I shoot a few mags slow fire, then a few rapid fire, then (maybe) a few from concealment. More likely only one from concealment and sometimes none. Probably not 30 minutes before I get bored.

Yeah, I know. How is that possible. Bored?
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Old February 2, 2012, 09:16 AM   #25
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Go to a smaller target. When I was coaching the Ouachita County Mounted Patrol, I asked a member who failed to qualify what he was trying to hit. His reply was the target. I showed him the X in the 10 ring and asked him to try for that every time. Mentally he tightened his focus and actually tightned his groups.

Work on your mechanics. Consistent grip, sight picture, breathing, muscle tension, body mechanics and call your shots.

Once you have mastered the mechnics, The difference between between 25yds and 50 yds is a mental problem not a mechanical. I have seen action shooters who could hold amazingly small groups at 25 yds and under fall apart on the 50 yd targets. They had a mental problem.
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