What's A Good Distance To Pratice Shooting ???

GuntGunt Posts: 33 Member
When at a gun range, what's a good distance to start off if you want for a 3 shot within a nickel size.
(I would think 20 feet)
Brooklyn Johnny
Delta Co. 1/22Inf. 4th Inf. Div.
6/67 ~ 6/68


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Replies

  • BAMAAKBAMAAK Senior Member Posts: 4,259 Senior Member
    Welcome.  20 feet is fine but some guns won't do that small a group no matter how close.  Pocket pistols are one example.
    "He only earns his freedom and his life Who takes them every day by storm."

    -- Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, German writer and politician
  • knitepoetknitepoet Senior Member Posts: 18,044 Senior Member
    edited August 2 #3
    I don't worry about the "3 shots in a nickel" sized groups, and prefer to practice at much longer distances than 20'

    If I can shoot satisfactorily @ 20-25 yards, then 20' is simple
    Seven Habits of Highly Effective Pirates, Rule #37: There is no “overkill”. There is only “open fire” and “I need to reload”.


  • earlyagainearlyagain Posts: 2,282 Senior Member
    This year I stopped paceing off the distance. I set out my targets by eye at what looks like what I feel like shooting.

    The only exception being the verification of sight alignment.
  • cpjcpj Senior Member Posts: 38,834 Senior Member
    I TOTALLY applaud your desire for groups that small.  Most accept “combat accuracy”.  
    But 3 shots in a nickel from a defensive handgun is a tall order. 
    "I'm here for the guns, hunting, and skirt wearing men."
    Zee
  • Wambli SkaWambli Ska Moderator Posts: 27,811 Senior Member

    Most of my practice is practical handgun for SD.  Of course I want small groups but I'm more concerned with landing all the shots in the sweet spot (COM, head or pelvic girdle) from different distances, stances, grips and while moving and shooting as QUICKLY as I can. 

    I mostly shoot in a 15+ yard pistol lane that is about 12' wide and has berms on three sides.  When I have it to myself (about 90% of the time) I will be shooting from anywhere in there without a care about distance...

    "Attack rapidly, ruthlessly, viciously, without rest, however tired and hungry you may be, the enemy will be more tired, more hungry. Keep punching." General George S. Patton
  • GuntGunt Posts: 33 Member
    Thanks guys...I'll start at about 25 yards and work myself in. 
    Brooklyn Johnny
    Delta Co. 1/22Inf. 4th Inf. Div.
    6/67 ~ 6/68


  • 104RFAST104RFAST Senior Member Posts: 1,247 Senior Member
    I practice minute of paper plate @ 30ft, 2 or 3 quick shots, just point and shoot. 
  • Diver43Diver43 Senior Member Posts: 8,205 Senior Member
    Gunt said:
    Thanks guys...I'll start at about 25 yards and work myself in. 
    I may be different than some, but I would start at 7 or 10 yards and work my way out to 25
    Logistics cannot win a war, but its absence or inadequacy can cause defeat. FM100-5
  • NNNN Senior Member Posts: 23,407 Senior Member
    Diver43 said:
    Gunt said:
    Thanks guys...I'll start at about 25 yards and work myself in. 
    I may be different than some, but I would start at 7 or 10 yards and work my way out to 25
    I agree with this recommendation unless you have a backstop that will show you
    where you are hitting if you miss the tgt; such as with a new gun you haven't shot before.
    This message has been deleted
  • ZeeZee Senior Member Posts: 19,969 Senior Member
    The human anatomy with an IPSC Target overlay. 


    "To Hell with efficiency, it's performance we want!" - Elmer Keith
  • JayJay Senior Member Posts: 3,190 Senior Member
    Create your own drills to work on the skills you want to improve on. Want to work on fundamentals? Shoot at tiny targets at closer range or slightly larger at longer range. Example, at 7 yards, fire one round at the target. With the second round, try to put the bullet through the first hole. 3rd round through the second hole. 4th round through the 3rd hole. If you draw a line or make a group in a certain pattern, find the flaw in the fundamentals and correct it. 25 yards, use clear tape to put a quarter on the target. Try to hit it. Note where your group is and correct the problem. If working on speed and accuracy, draw a target zone on the target. Similar to what Zee posted. Create a short series of drills and use a shot timer. Time each drill and write it down.  Hits outside the target box add X amount of time to the total time. Natural competitiveness will make you want to shoot faster, and with more accuracy. Taylor the drills to fit the skill level. Use ball and dummy drills. Lots of good fundamental practice, not a lot of ammo used and adds in the bonus immediate action drills.. Just food for thought. 
  • JayJay Senior Member Posts: 3,190 Senior Member
    Point is, practice with a purpose. Making holes in paper doesn’t do much good if there’s no purpose behind it. Decide. Today, I want to get better at this. Create drills that work on that goal. Make the drills measureable so you can note your progress and have a baseline to improve on. Accuracy is fundamentals. Speed is mechanics. Fast mechanics, fundamentals slow down with target size and distance. 
  • JayJay Senior Member Posts: 3,190 Senior Member
    And don’t forget you can do a lot of practice without firing a shot. Fundamentals and mechanics. 
  • Wambli SkaWambli Ska Moderator Posts: 27,811 Senior Member
    My usual is the IDPA standard target, absolutely not as good as the VTAC version that Zee posted but I get them 100 for about $25 from several places.  I also go to goodwill or similar store every once in a while and buy a bunch of cheap used shirts/t-shirts and staple them over the targets.  Shoot for a while without a point of reference and then remove and see how I did.  Learned that one from a very savvy shooter here.



    The shot up t-shirts then get recycled and become bore patches and cleaning rags  :D
    "Attack rapidly, ruthlessly, viciously, without rest, however tired and hungry you may be, the enemy will be more tired, more hungry. Keep punching." General George S. Patton
  • GuntGunt Posts: 33 Member
    All good points guys, thanks.
    Brooklyn Johnny
    Delta Co. 1/22Inf. 4th Inf. Div.
    6/67 ~ 6/68


  • TrueTone911TrueTone911 Senior Member Posts: 6,045 Senior Member
    Diver43 said:
    Gunt said:
    Thanks guys...I'll start at about 25 yards and work myself in. 
    I may be different than some, but I would start at 7 or 10 yards and work my way out to 25
    This!
    I refuse to join any club that would have me as a member.
    Groucho Marx
  • Ken_S_LaTransKen_S_LaTrans Posts: 108 Member
    "The average gun fight happens at an average of X number of feet with an average number of X rounds fired in an average of X number of seconds".

    I promise I am not trying to be a smart aleck here...I really am not...but over my career, I was never in an "average" gun fight.  None of those "averages" came into play in those encounters.

    So, what is the answer?  The best answer I have ever come up with for the "average" defensive handgun owner is the longest distance they may have to shoot inside their home.  Being able to place every round from the cylinder or magazine of their home defense sidearm into a hand sized group as fast as they can press the trigger is the "baseline of performance".

    As fast as they can press the trigger?  Yes.  As fast as they can press the trigger while maintaining the hand sized group.  This speed will increase or decrease as skill builds or erodes.  Skill will increase with practice, and it will erode without practice.

    If your group size gets smaller...increase your speed.

    If your group size gets larger...decrease your speed.

    In defensive shooting, you are not looking for perfect one inch center to center groups.  That happens when you are working on fundamental marksmanship with "all the time in the world" to get your hits on a non-dynamic, stationary target.  (I have never been shot at by a stationary target).  Remember...you are NOT looking for perfection, you are looking for effective and efficient.

    Once you have achieved a personal best, or par time on the hand sized group...add a reload.  Then work to deliver TWO magazines or cylinders full of ammo into the target at the longest distance you will have to shoot inside your home.

    Once you have built a baseline skill with shoot-reload-shoot...then move on to shooting the target at different points on the anatomy.  High center chest, pelvic girdle, slow down and deliver head shots.  It is better if you have a training partner who can call out shots that you have to accomplish...without you knowing where it is going to be.  Work from the holster.  Add in some movement.  Set up a mock doorway that you my be shooting through to engage your target.  In the mix...toss in multiple targets as multiple attackers.

    In the end, what you will find is that your skill will grow...but so will your confidence in your ability to deliver fast, efficient, effective, STOPPING shots on demand at much closer and much further ranges.

    The sole reason why I chose the longest distance inside your home as the baseline is because chances are that your home will be the defensive arena in which you have to fight.  You may...might...maybe...have to fight outside your home, in public, but that will probably be a closer distance affair, but if you have trained to confidently fight at longer distances then the close in fight will be well within your skill set.

    I also chose it because not everyone has the training budget to shoot 2000 rounds a week, or a month, and some not even 2000 rounds a year so your training budget has to be used efficiently as well.

    So, don't think about "average"...think about "most likely" and I think you will find that when you jump off the foundation your skills will be solid.  

    I reload.  I shoot USPSA, IDPA, and 3 Gun....I cast my own projectiles, buy powder and primers in bulk, and shoot an average of 1000 to 2000 rounds a week in matches and teaching (at a regional LE academy) so my shooting doesn't cost nearly what shooting factory ammo does but it has taken me a long time to get to the place where I can afford it.  

    NOTE:  I call this a baseline, because you can build all your other skills off that foundation. 






    ONLY THE INFERIOR CRY FOR EQUALITY
  • Ken_S_LaTransKen_S_LaTrans Posts: 108 Member
    A paragraph was left out somehow in posting:

    As your foundation becomes more solid...devote 50 rounds of the training budget to the longer shots.  Don't "not shoot them" because of "averages" or other numbers that may not apply to your situation.  Just work hard on the foundation.
    ONLY THE INFERIOR CRY FOR EQUALITY
  • DanChamberlainDanChamberlain Senior Member Posts: 3,195 Senior Member
    Diver43 said:
    Gunt said:
    Thanks guys...I'll start at about 25 yards and work myself in. 
    I may be different than some, but I would start at 7 or 10 yards and work my way out to 25
    Start close and work out. My motto. 

    It's a source of great pride for me, that when my name is googled, one finds book titles and not mug shots. Daniel C. Chamberlain
  • bullsi1911bullsi1911 Moderator Posts: 9,444 Senior Member
    Gunt said:

    What's A Good Distance To Pratice Shooting ???

    All of them.

    Yes, it’s kind of a snarky answer, but you should practice and get comfortable shooting at every distance you can.  
    To make something simple is a thousand times more difficult than to make something complex.
    -Mikhail Kalashnikov
  • VarmintmistVarmintmist Senior Member Posts: 6,376 Senior Member
    When I was working on stuff for a pistol team, I went to a bullseye club and got smoked by a whole line of geriatric distinguished shooters. I was having a good time shooting out to 50 yards with a 1911 and I was doing OK. Family stuff got in the way and I didnt get to go to the match but I think I am going to keep going to the range this winter. It is all basics but you HAVE to do them RIGHT. Trigger, sight alignment, breathing grip.. it all matters and I figure if I can hold the 7 ring at 50 yards with a std 1911, then closer will be easier.
    It's boring, and your lack of creativity knows no bounds.
  • BigslugBigslug Senior Member Posts: 6,760 Senior Member
    Whatever you happen to be doing that's screwing up your accuracy, you'll probably be doing it regardless of distance. The difference is that your errors will be more apparent at longer ranges, and you'll get a much better idea of what you're doing wrong.  For combat shooting, a 4" group gets it done at two yards or two thousand.

    Sooooo. . .take a 4" target (I like empty dog food cans) and put it at a distance where you're missing it about half the time.  This will begin to illustrate the small changes you have to integrate to make the difference.
    WWJMBD?

    "Nothing is safe from stupid." - Zee
  • bisleybisley Senior Member Posts: 10,158 Senior Member
    I like to think I represent the average gun owner/shooter, in that I love to shoot, but don't practice enough to have superior skills. I know that I need more practice, I want to practice more, yet I keep not doing it, because...life, and laziness. I understand and believe that good fundamentals are a necessity, and that enough repetitions are needed to produce 'muscle memory,' and that smooth is fast. I also know that self defense shooting skills can be improved dramatically with dry-fire drills, which I also don't do enough.

    So, here is my prescription for other people with slovenly shooting habits:

    Practice on small targets at the longest distance that challenges you. In other words, if you can hit the bulls eye three or four times out of a full magazine, and your misses are mostly close to the bulls eye, that's your distance. For me, it is 15 to 25 yards with a full size semi-auto, or 10 yards for a semi-auto subcompact. When you are feeling pretty good about the hits you are making, switch over to a more rapid fire rate, and decrease the distance until you find a sweet spot between distance and accuracy, and do several repetitions, before you quit for the day. Shoot until you know that fatigue is starting to affect your accuracy, the quit for the day.

    I know this flies in the face of what good instructors and more experienced hand gunners teach, and they are not wrong. But...from my perspective, the important thing, for me, is to retain my basic fundamentals, from one range session to the next. Following the advice of experts was good for me, when I was younger, more vigorous, and more dedicated to achieving the highest level of skill I was capable of. I gradually lost that determination, over a long period of time, because my perceived threat level diminished, and because it made sense to me to give up some of my shooting time, in favor of other things in my life that needed more attention than I was giving them.

    Following my so-called 'regimen' will allow shooting skills to decline. Mainly, doing this has cost me my consistency, and I struggle from one range session to the next to recover my skills to the point that I can still hit small targets more often than I miss. But, I know if something happens that causes me to once again become 'inspired,' I will be starting from a place that only requires me to accept new challenges and work harder.

    Don't take my 'advice,' unless you have become too lazy to do the work, and can't find the inspiration to do any better. In fact, don't even consider it to be advice. Just consider it one way that you might possibly retain enough of your ability that you can get back up to speed quickly, if you ever find the inspiration.
  • Gene LGene L Senior Member Posts: 9,738 Senior Member
    I practice handgun shooting at short (handgun) range, maybe 7 yards or so, and go first for accuracy and then for speed.  Very, very few self defense shooting occurs at 25 yards, and I would hate to try to defend an engagement at that range in court.  If you're competition shooting, go for it.  Not me.  I'm too lazy to compete any more.
    Not too many problems you can't fix
    With a 1911 and a 30-06
  • ZeeZee Senior Member Posts: 19,969 Senior Member
    Practice your strengths. Train your weaknesses. 
    "To Hell with efficiency, it's performance we want!" - Elmer Keith
  • bellcatbellcat Senior Member Posts: 1,350 Senior Member
    I generally shoot my pistols at 10-20 yards. I’m not an excellent pistol shooter and can accept that if I’m in a SD situation, a shot over 20 is not probable.
    "Kindness is the language the deaf can hear and the blind can see." Mark Twain
  • 104RFAST104RFAST Senior Member Posts: 1,247 Senior Member
    If I encounter a active shooter beyond 20 yards, sure hope he's standing in front of a brick wall 
  • BAMAAKBAMAAK Senior Member Posts: 4,259 Senior Member
    If you make good hits at 25 yds, you can make good hits at 7 yds.  The reverse may not be true.
    "He only earns his freedom and his life Who takes them every day by storm."

    -- Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, German writer and politician
  • Gene LGene L Senior Member Posts: 9,738 Senior Member
    BAMAAK said:
    If you make good hits at 25 yds, you can make good hits at 7 yds.  The reverse may not be true.
    I'm not so sure.  The discipline for long range shooting isn't the same for short range shooting.  Long range trains you to do a very different action than shooting close in.  It's fun to shoot at 25, as a LEO I did it many times, but it's far different at 25 than it is at 7.  I doubt many civilian gun fights happen at long range.
    Not too many problems you can't fix
    With a 1911 and a 30-06
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