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Accuracy expectations for a SD handgun

Gene LGene L Senior MemberPosts: 12,573 Senior Member
edited April 2020 in General Firearms #1
Well, you can't be too accurate for a self defense handgun, I guess, but you have to pay for that increased accuracy.  Not always in $$$$, although often that's the case.  I'm talking SD only, not plinking or hunting.

All my handguns except one are SD guns.  All are accurate enough for SD and a couple may be quite accurate.  I haven't tested them, so I don't know.  Since I no longer have to qualify and test myself to someone else's rules (no more 25 meter shots or timed reloads) I feel satisfied at putting holes in a target at 21-30 feet, a more statistically reasonable distance.  LEOs are duty bound to engage distant targets, but I'm not.

Which brings me back to the title.  Why pay extra for highly-accurate SD handguns when you almost certainly won't need it?  And I mean $$$ for example for adjustable sights for something if God forbid you're probably going to ignore in an extreme circumstance.  Not just money, but weight, size, and concealability.

Not trying to start a controversy here, and certainly not trying to influence YOUR choice, just maybe trying to explain my fading interest in paying the extra  freight.

Concealed carry is for protection, open carry is for attention.
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Replies

  • mitdr774mitdr774 Member Posts: 1,767 Senior Member
    If I can keep them all on paper (roughly 1 foot square) at 30 feet I'm okay with it.  I know that if I ever have to use one in defense it will probably be capable of much better than I am.  I have never been in that position and hope to never be.  
  • BigslugBigslug Senior Member Posts: 9,321 Senior Member
    edited April 2020 #3
    With some caveats, I generally point and laugh at discussions of SD handgun accuracy.

    Pretty much any magazine article I can recall going back to the mid-1980's covering just about any halfway reputable brand had the WORST Ransom Rest accuracy at 25 yards being about 4-5" groups - most of them well under that.  Considering the anatomy of the target, 4" gets it done.  

    Nothing new for the forum old timers, but I have REAL peeves with the boutique 1911 market, as it has lost sight of what a handgun is FOR, are manufacturing to specs that SOUND impressive, and is charging for performance that most shooters will never need or be able to extract -especially in the dark while under the influence of a quart of adrenaline.  Truly a case of a lure marketed to catch fishermen more than fish.

    The most important attribute of a SD handgun is THAT IT WORK.  Save the rifle-level accuracy for rifles.
    WWJMBD?

    "Nothing is safe from stupid." - Zee
  • JKPJKP Senior Member Posts: 2,538 Senior Member
    I'm not sure what you mean by paying more, most $500 SD oriented handguns are pretty darn accurate.
  • earlyagainearlyagain Posts: 7,928 Senior Member
    If my guns will do this off bags at 12 to 15 yards Im happy.

    Problem for me is. I ain't likely to do as good freehand and in a hurry. An even bigger problem is I can only do about half as good with my main HD gun.  Better to have armed failings than unarmed vulnerability I guess.
  • GunNutGunNut Posts: 7,642 Senior Member
    My reasoning stands in reverse of others.  I want as MUCH accuracy as I can because when the chips are down I KNOW I will be rattled, so why handicap myself any further with a non-accurate gun.  I want my variables down to a minimum!!!

    Accuracy used to cost a LOT of money, especially in platforms like the 1911 where a whole lot of gun tightening and such had to happen manually to have tight groups.

    BUT that is no longer the case.  Today I CAN have 100% reliability, the relatively tight specs that drive this accuracy AND a reasonable price too.  Used guns such as Kimber and SA 1911s can be had in the $500s-$700s range all day long, many with VERY few rounds through them.

    This is the last Kimber I bought.  Not a cheap handgun but the cost for like new used one is very reasonable, specially when compared to my Wilson Combat CQB I bought about 8 years (I think) back.



    And this is what I expect of her. 


    And I got that shooting mixed mags like this one at 100% reliability and yet there is no "slop" on this gun. 
  • Gene LGene L Senior Member Posts: 12,573 Senior Member
    JKP said:
    I'm not sure what you mean by paying more, most $500 SD oriented handguns are pretty darn accurate.
    Going back in time, I guess.  For example, back in the day, there was a BIG difference between the price of a S&W 65 and a 66.  I'm convinced we pay for every machining cut/adjustable sight on any handgun, and as I said, not necessarily in dollars...weight, size etc.  Was thinking about the Ruger revolver mentioned in another post. a fine gun with adjustable sights.  I stated my pref for the fixed sight version, the Speed Six.  At the time, quite a bit cheaper and slicker.  Fine as a SD handgun and to me, preferable.  But that's just me.

    Nowadays, most small guns have adjustable sights, just not target sights.  Some, like Glocks, need a drift tool.  I approve of this, especially in a LEO weapon as I shoot them typically left at longer range, but doubt it makes a difference up close.


    So we're paying for all this, but frequently the costs are so routine they're accepted as normal.  I miss the days when we had choices.
    Concealed carry is for protection, open carry is for attention.
  • GunNutGunNut Posts: 7,642 Senior Member
    Gene L said:
    JKP said:
    I'm not sure what you mean by paying more, most $500 SD oriented handguns are pretty darn accurate.
    Going back in time, I guess.  For example, back in the day, there was a BIG difference between the price of a S&W 65 and a 66.  I'm convinced we pay for every machining cut/adjustable sight on any handgun, and as I said, not necessarily in dollars...weight, size etc.  Was thinking about the Ruger revolver mentioned in another post. a fine gun with adjustable sights.  I stated my pref for the fixed sight version, the Speed Six.  At the time, quite a bit cheaper and slicker.  Fine as a SD handgun and to me, preferable.  But that's just me.

    Nowadays, most small guns have adjustable sights, just not target sights.  Some, like Glocks, need a drift tool.  I approve of this, especially in a LEO weapon as I shoot them typically left at longer range, but doubt it makes a difference up close.


    So we're paying for all this, but frequently the costs are so routine they're accepted as normal.  I miss the days when we had choices.
    That is an absolute true point.  In the old days machining/machinist time was paid for by the consumer at a premium.  Todays CNC has made a few extra cuts on a slide or frame for adjustable sights of some sort almost a non issue cost wise.
  • earlyagainearlyagain Posts: 7,928 Senior Member
    A selling point now is that a dovetailed front sight is more secure than a staked one. If an adjustable rear sight is dovetailed into the frame and is a solid unit, it seems to offer little compromise in
    comparison to a fixed sight as far as durability. And great advantage is gained in versatility.

    What's interesting to me recently is the introduction of practical optic sights on SD handguns, and small ones at that. Do they offer any real advantages and will they prove durable? The world of rifles, shotguns, and carbines says yes. Time will tell the rest.
  • ZeeZee Senior Member Posts: 27,452 Senior Member
    If a bad guy is holding your kid as a human shield at the furthest distance in your house........how accurate do you want your gun to be?

    My expectation (preference) is that a defensive gun be able to shoot at LEAST a 3”x5” card at whatever distance I expect to be my maximum. 

    My expectation of myself is to be able to shoot the half “A-Zone” of an IPSC Target under whatever conditions I’m facing. Moving. Sitting. Standing. Moving target. Etc. 

    Basically, I need to be able to hit center chest or the head of my assailant at whatever distance or condition I am being..........assailed. 

    For example, the furthest shot I would be faced with at my church in an “active shooter” situation is 35 yards. So, I carry a gun capable of making a head shot at that distance. Because........I might have to. 

    I think many expect less of their guns because they themselves are incapable. So, it’s easier to place a lower standard on the gun when the shooter can’t rise to a higher standard anyway. 

    Why would I even think of a defensive situation in terms of “minimum standards”?

    Mind boggling. 
    "To Hell with efficiency, it's performance we want!" - Elmer Keith
  • Gene LGene L Senior Member Posts: 12,573 Senior Member
    I think optics are for gamers.  Are they capable of greater accuracy?  Yes, that's why they're used in games, when events like running toward a threat quickly is (unwisely, IMO) prized.  Hell, it's self Offense, not Defense.  Chose to play it, but I'd keep in mind it's just another test of skill, like horseshoes. Has a value only inside its own circle.
    Concealed carry is for protection, open carry is for attention.
  • shotgunshooter3shotgunshooter3 Senior Member Posts: 5,970 Senior Member
    I'm with GunNut and Zee on this one. I want my SD gun to be as accurate as possible. More accurate than myself, in fact. I should be planning and preparing for worst case, not most likely case. If I'm ready for the worst case, and instead the most likely case presents itself, it's that much easier. Strive for perfection, catch excellence along the way. 

    Additionally, from a training standpoint, I want my handgun to outperform me. This is because, in my personal goal to keep getting better, if I'm outperforming my handgun then I'm not able to reach full potential. 

    As far as an actual, quantifiable standard? Right now my goal with my defensive pistol is to get 10 shots at 25 yards into the black on a B8 (5.5") within 15 seconds. So, I want my handgun to be able to shoot better than 5.5" at 25 yards, at a bare minimum. If I can do that consistently at 25 yards, I can do it at closer distances too. When I meet that goal, the next goal will be stricter. 
    - I am a rifleman with a poorly chosen screen name. -
    "Slow is smooth, smooth is fast, and speed is the economy of motion" - Scott Jedlinski
  • shotgunshooter3shotgunshooter3 Senior Member Posts: 5,970 Senior Member
    What's interesting to me recently is the introduction of practical optic sights on SD handguns, and small ones at that. Do they offer any real advantages and will they prove durable? The world of rifles, shotguns, and carbines says yes. Time will tell the rest.
    My venture into the world of MRDS equipped handguns is well documented. I stand by my opinion that, if you're willing to dedicate the time and effort to overcome the learning curve, it is genuinely a worthwhile enhancement to your handgun. MRDS handguns aren't the future, they're the now. 
    - I am a rifleman with a poorly chosen screen name. -
    "Slow is smooth, smooth is fast, and speed is the economy of motion" - Scott Jedlinski
  • 10canyon5310canyon53 Member Posts: 2,122 Senior Member
    edited April 2020 #14
    GunNut said:
    My reasoning stands in reverse of others.  I want as MUCH accuracy as I can because when the chips are down I KNOW I will be rattled, so why handicap myself any further with a non-accurate gun.  I want my variables down to a minimum!!!

    Accuracy used to cost a LOT of money, especially in platforms like the 1911 where a whole lot of gun tightening and such had to happen manually to have tight groups.

    BUT that is no longer the case.  Today I CAN have 100% reliability, the relatively tight specs that drive this accuracy AND a reasonable price too.  Used guns such as Kimber and SA 1911s can be had in the $500s-$700s range all day long, many with VERY few rounds through them.

    This is the last Kimber I bought.  Not a cheap handgun but the cost for like new used one is very reasonable, specially when compared to my Wilson Combat CQB I bought about 8 years (I think) back.



    And this is what I expect of her. 


    And I got that shooting mixed mags like this one at 100% reliability and yet there is no "slop" on this gun. 
    Only way my guns are going to produce groups like that is if somebody else is pulling the trigger.  If I produced groups like that.....I was probably close enough that there will be powder burns on the paper target.  :D  I can't blame my inaccuracy on my guns....it's all me.
  • GunNutGunNut Posts: 7,642 Senior Member
    GunNut said:
    My reasoning stands in reverse of others.  I want as MUCH accuracy as I can because when the chips are down I KNOW I will be rattled, so why handicap myself any further with a non-accurate gun.  I want my variables down to a minimum!!!

    Accuracy used to cost a LOT of money, especially in platforms like the 1911 where a whole lot of gun tightening and such had to happen manually to have tight groups.

    BUT that is no longer the case.  Today I CAN have 100% reliability, the relatively tight specs that drive this accuracy AND a reasonable price too.  Used guns such as Kimber and SA 1911s can be had in the $500s-$700s range all day long, many with VERY few rounds through them.

    This is the last Kimber I bought.  Not a cheap handgun but the cost for like new used one is very reasonable, specially when compared to my Wilson Combat CQB I bought about 8 years (I think) back.



    And this is what I expect of her. 


    And I got that shooting mixed mags like this one at 100% reliability and yet there is no "slop" on this gun. 
    Only way my guns are going to produce groups like that is if somebody else is pulling the trigger.  If I produced groups like that.....I was probably close enough that there will be powder burns on the paper target.  :D  I can't blame my inaccuracy on my guns....it's all me.
    How do get to Carnegie Hall?  Practice man, practice 😁
  • 10canyon5310canyon53 Member Posts: 2,122 Senior Member
    I would love to but the range is closed and my ammo supplier is holding my order hostage.  :#  I suspect they accepted orders for stock they did not have.....
  • earlyagainearlyagain Posts: 7,928 Senior Member
    I think the addition of optic sight aids offer speed to target acquisition in some circumstances. Maybe a very serious enhancement? If not, it's still a very interesting trend.

    As far as people settling for less accuracy than what is possible or optimal. Its really no different than settling for tires, vehicles, smoke detectors, circumstances, or a whole host of things that statistically have more influence on personal and family safety than armed threat responce. There's nothing wrong with seeking accuracy, skill, and speed up to and beyond proficiency. It does however only cover one very small part of an entire life panoramic.
  • Gene LGene L Senior Member Posts: 12,573 Senior Member
    edited April 2020 #18
    I'm with GunNut and Zee on this one. I want my SD gun to be as accurate as possible. More accurate than myself, in fact. I should be planning and preparing for worst case, not most likely case. If I'm ready for the worst case, and instead the most likely case presents itself, it's that much easier. Strive for perfection, catch excellence along the way. 


    A worthy goal, but you can't really prepare for the worst case scenario because the possibilities are infinite and have no limits.  You've apparently self-defined a worst-case as 5" or so at 25 yards and 10 rounds in a few seconds.  It would be interesting to know how you reached these limits as worst case.  Why not 40 yards, for example?  What if a tiger attacks you while you're fighting off a gang attack?  

    The gun world and other industries have made fortunes by convincing people they need things and creating a market for them.

    I'm way too old and poor to spend a lot of money on games based on extremely unlikely scenarios that never happen in real life. Extreme preparation requires extreme investments in cash and time, so us old, poor people have to prepare for what is likely to happen.  Forget tiger attacks.  Forget carrying a dozen mags.


    Some real-life examples of extreme civilian shootouts would be instructive.

    I don't criticize your hobby, got my own hobbies that sound foolish to others. I suppose it's fun, but it ain't self defense.
    Concealed carry is for protection, open carry is for attention.
  • mitdr774mitdr774 Member Posts: 1,767 Senior Member
    I know that my guns are capable of far better than I am.  I also know that I need far more practice than I get.  I get to the range as often as I can, but it's been a couple months in large part due to the current shutdown going on.   I also tend to practice with what I carry and right now supplies are hard to replenish.  I have enough, but I would prefer to not run out anytime soon.  With some luck the ranges will open back up within a month.  The local shop is able to sell guns again, so that is a sign of things turning around.
  • ZeeZee Senior Member Posts: 27,452 Senior Member
    Gene L said:
    I'm with GunNut and Zee on this one. I want my SD gun to be as accurate as possible. More accurate than myself, in fact. I should be planning and preparing for worst case, not most likely case. If I'm ready for the worst case, and instead the most likely case presents itself, it's that much easier. Strive for perfection, catch excellence along the way. 


    Some real-life examples of extreme civilian shootouts would be instructive.

    I don't criticize your hobby, got my own hobbies that sound foolish to others. I suppose it's fun, but it ain't self defense.
    My preparation is based on the “active shooter” scenarios which have gained the lime light in recent years. That.......is a realistic threat that I prepare for. It involves greater distance and possibility or body armor (head shots). Therefore, I train and prepare for that.

    Not gang wars and tiger attacks. Nor meteors and Armageddon like Sam used to poke fun at. Or even Ninjas. 

    So, being as what I prepare for is more common than we would like, I believe it a practical preparation. One I will likely and hopefully never have to deal with. But, I’d rather not wish I had and didn’t prepare. 
    "To Hell with efficiency, it's performance we want!" - Elmer Keith
  • GunNutGunNut Posts: 7,642 Senior Member
    The church scenario is one that is rather real for me and my church is a huge building so my handgun option for Sunday Service reflects that.
  • Gene LGene L Senior Member Posts: 12,573 Senior Member
    edited April 2020 #22
    Every round you fire practicing for a highly unlikely scenario is one round less you didn't fire for a more likely scenario.  Life is not without some chances, but there is a good reason I dropped my Godzilla insurance.  Got to play the odds and not rely on winning the Lottery.

    The church shooting is only remarkable for where it happened.

    Of course, I don't care how you practice.  My objection is from how seriously shooters take this.  Back during the IPSC (or whatever it was called) I was a lane officer at a shoot here.  One of the competitors said to another, "We're from Philadelphia. We LIVE this #$#$ for real."  


    No, you don't. Like everyone else here, you're playing a game.
    Concealed carry is for protection, open carry is for attention.
  • ilove22silove22s Senior Member Posts: 1,507 Senior Member
    i guess it all depends on your definition of "accurate".

    most of my CF toys are more accurate than me.  I havent benched most of them, but at the 21~30 feet, i can hit what i aim at.  If someone is tossing lead at me at that time and if i can concentrate and aim, then im sure i can do my part.

    Also depending on the circumstances, i do have a ready to rock n roll shotgun.  Those are for times when i dont need to be accurate, but just close.

    The ears never lie.

    - Don Burt
  • ZeeZee Senior Member Posts: 27,452 Senior Member
    edited April 2020 #24
    Gene L said:
    Every round you fire practicing for a highly unlikely scenario is one round less you didn't fire for a more likely scenario.  Life is not without some chances, but there is a good reason I dropped my Godzilla insurance.  Got to play the odds and not rely on winning the Lottery.

    The church shooting is only remarkable for where it happened.

    Of course, I don't care how you practice.  My objection is from how seriously shooters take this.  Back during the IPSC (or whatever it was called) I was a lane officer at a shoot here.  One of the competitors said to another, "We're from Philadelphia. We LIVE this #$#$ for real."  


    No, you don't. Like everyone else here, you're playing a game.
    No, you don’t care. But, you ask questions and then criticize folk’s answers when they don’t match your own. A trait often used by Sam, an old cantankerous bastard that loved to down play others opinions. Regardless the facts. 
    So, why DO you do that too?

    Last I checked, an active shooter situation was more common than a tiger attack In the US. Or Godzilla (Maybe not in Japan). Why be an ****  I feel it’s a legitimate question. Why......be.......an ass?  
    You asked a question and when folks answer......you say they are playing a game and not reality. 
    I see an active shooter situation as an unlikely event I will ever face. But not a far fetched event. 
    A tiger?  Godzilla?  Yes........both unlikely and far fetched. Hell, I’d even say the snide Godzilla comment is even unrealistic. But then, you knew that. You were just being an ass. No?

    So, what is it, Sam.....I mean Gene?  Are you asking a question because you are truly interested in what people think, plan, and train for?  Or are you just waiting for someone to step outside your perceived reality so you can pounce on their opinion. 
    Inquiring minds want to know. Or at least......I do. 
    "To Hell with efficiency, it's performance we want!" - Elmer Keith
  • JayJay Senior Member Posts: 4,349 Senior Member
    edited April 2020 #25
    I guess this was one of those fantasy scenarios as well... or chalked up to a lucky shot. But following the incident, it spurred a rivalry between a buddy at work and I. Which resulted in the two of us pushing ourselves to make that shot. While fun, it’s also training. And resulted in us being able to routinely hit 18” targets at 100 yards with our pistols. In itself, maybe that’s a game to some. But pushing your limits makes you better equipped. If I can make a hit at 100 yards, what can I do at 25 then?... smaller target and a bit faster.. I want my gun to be MORE accurate than me. 

    https://medium.com/war-is-boring/cops-deadeye-aim-took-down-austin-gunman-at-100-yards-its-true-849b68c60583
  • earlyagainearlyagain Posts: 7,928 Senior Member
    There's no telling how many lives were saved by the guy at that last church shooting that was prepared with the skill to answer the threat. This is indisputable fact.

    I don't attend church. Not a likely scenario for me.
  • Gene LGene L Senior Member Posts: 12,573 Senior Member
    edited April 2020 #27
    Why Zee, that's a bit rude.

    Yes, I'm kinda interested, especially in how far this thread had drifted.  You shoot great, fine.  Go impress someone.  You've stated your preferences.  I have no intentions of becoming mute especially when people insist their hobbies are vital.  It's fun for those who can afford it, but I can't help but think of Preppers...continually preparing for Worst Case that never happens.  A harmless form of paranoia that keeps MRE suppliers in business. Paranoia sucks.  But not my money, not my time.
    Concealed carry is for protection, open carry is for attention.
  • ZeeZee Senior Member Posts: 27,452 Senior Member
    edited April 2020 #28

    "To Hell with efficiency, it's performance we want!" - Elmer Keith
  • GunNutGunNut Posts: 7,642 Senior Member
    Gene L said:
    Every round you fire practicing for a highly unlikely scenario is one round less you didn't fire for a more likely scenario.  Life is not without some chances, but there is a good reason I dropped my Godzilla insurance.  Got to play the odds and not rely on winning the Lottery.

    The church shooting is only remarkable for where it happened.

    Of course, I don't care how you practice.  My objection is from how seriously shooters take this.  Back during the IPSC (or whatever it was called) I was a lane officer at a shoot here.  One of the competitors said to another, "We're from Philadelphia. We LIVE this #$#$ for real."  


    No, you don't. Like everyone else here, you're playing a game.
    So I’m trying to understand the reasoning here.  Why would practicing at longer distances and more challenging scenarios hurt my chances if I end up in a much simpler or shorter distance SD predicament?

    In my mind, if I can thread the needle at 50 yards would 10 feet be even a challenge?!?!
  • JayJay Senior Member Posts: 4,349 Senior Member
    The thing is, statistically even “trained” individuals miss about 70% of their shots under stress. So, Identify weaknesses and train to a standard that exceeds “the norm.”  Raise your ability to perform in extraordinary situations in the best conditions, so you can have a chance of meeting expectations in the worst.  And to tie that into the question of the OP again, my SD gun needs to be much more accurate than me to meet the expectations of what I’m doing. 
  • JayJay Senior Member Posts: 4,349 Senior Member
    I say frequently, there’s always someone out there who is better than me or luckier than me. I won’t rely on luck. And I admittedly do a half ass job at training to be better than the guy who’s better than me. But I won’t be worse than most. 
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