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Discussion Starter #1
Hey All, need your input to ease some uncertainty regarding handgun shooting distances for general target shooting and for self-defense shooting.

What distances would you recommend for these two applications?

Currently I shoot from 25', 50' and a 75' lines...

Thanks!
 

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Almost all of my recent target practice has been at 75' with .22 cal pistols handheld. For SD practice that is probably a bit far. I usually shoot between 21' and 45' for SD practice with larger cal handguns.
 

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From the Aimed Point Shooting (pointshooting.com) website.


From: "Why No Sights" on the L.W. Seecamp Co.

...."The mean score for NYPD police officers (1990-2000) for all shootings is fifteen hits per 100 shots fired, which is almost the identical hit ratio seen among Miami officers ~ who in the years 1990-2001 fired some 1300 rounds at suspects while recording fewer than 200 hits. Almost unbelievably, some NYPD figures show 62% of shots fired at a distance of less than six feet were complete misses."

".... An exhaustive NYPD report (NYPD SOP 9) revealed that in 70% of recorded police shootings (the majority under poor lighting conditions) officers did not use sights while 10% of the time officers didn't remember whether sights were used. In the remaining 20% of the cases, officers recollected using some form of visual aid to line up the target, which could be the sights themselves or just the barrel."

"....The NYPD statistics showed no correlation between an officer's range scores and his ability to hit a suspect at close range."

"....The ability to shoot targets at 25 yards using sights sadly seems to provide little or no advantage in close combat."

"....Nor are there recorded instances where an officer required a reload in close combat. When reloads do occur, there is no immediate threat to the officer's safety and the perpetrator has usually barricaded himself in a defensive posture. A study by Etten and Petee (l995) showed that neither large capacity magazines nor the ability to reload quickly was a factor in shootings."

"....Speed reloads at short ranges just don't happen, and practicing paper punching at long ranges using sights appears to prepare one for short range conflict to the same degree it prepares one for using flying insect spray. (Hitting an annoying yellow jacket buzzing a picnic table without spraying the guests or the food might be better practice for combat than long range paper punching. So might a plain old-fashioned water pistol fight.)"

"....In the FWIW department, of 250 NYPD police officers killed in the line of duty in the years 1854-1979 there was only one instance where it could be determined an officer was slain at a distance of over 25 feet ~ by a sniper 125 feet away. Of the 250 fatal encounters, 92% took place under fifteen feet and 96.4% under 25 feet. In the remaining eight instances the distance was unknown."

"....The 25 yard shooting proficiency test for carry qualification required by many issuing authorities is absurd. It's a request to perform a feat that would land you in jail if you ever tried to perform it "in self-defense."

"....It's like passing a driver's test that requires you to slalom between traffic cones at 120 miles an hour. Seventy-five feet shooting proficiency is not too much to ask from a police officer who may be firing at a barricaded target, as the ability to drive at high speeds is not too much to ask from a Trooper pursuing a fleeing vehicle, but it's ridiculous to ask it of civilians."

"....Shoot an "assailant" at 75 feet. Then try to find a lawyer good enough to keep you out of prison."
 

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I've always practiced from 12 to 20 feet for SD. Also been using the point and shoot, with no sights used. Put all my rounds in a 5x7 sheet of paper at 15 feet, thats with my CZ75b or the sr1911. Ain't no bullseye on a BG, and usually no time to line up the sights. With the GP100 I'll move out to 50 feet, but its my woods gun.
 

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3ft, 3 yrds, 7 yrds, & 10 yrds for SD practice

as far as you wish for target shooting, depending on the handgun (like long range silhouette), myself generally not over 100 ft with a handgun
 

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Keeping in mind that I'm all .22LR except my carry gun which I load with .38s:
I target shoot at 25 yards (the 10/22 at 50 yards). I practice my SD, with both my calibers, at 20-25 feet.
 

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If you can hit at 25 yards then you should be good closer in. I normally shoot at 25 yards and will move in to 7 yds for front sight drills.
 

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Discussion Starter #11
Thanks guys for your feedback! Got some good intel on my question with shooting distances, which I'm going to adjust just a bit upon my next Range visit.

I'm thinking of holding my primary SD shooting distances in tight, say from 0 - 25', while integrating some draw & fire moves, point and shoots and firing from different body positions other then a stance such as from a kneeling position for instance.

Work on my secondary SD and primary target shooting out a little from 25' - 50' from a standing position.

Finally my secondary target shooting distance would be out at 75' from a standing position as well..

The Range I visit goes out to 50 yards for handguns. I do shoot at this distance but it's just plinking style shooting with my NM Single Six which has a 9 1/2" barrel and it raises heck at that distance with golf balls.

Thanks again for your help!
 

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My indoor range is marked off in yards at 5, 7, 10, 15, 20 & 25.

For my small carry guns, I'll start short and go long, up to about 10 or 15 yards. For my full sized pistols I'll work them at every station, though I don't always do 20. If I'm going that far, I figure I might as well go out to 25 yards and it saves me a spot on my target.

At 5 to 10 yards, I start off with regular, controlled shots, then progress to more rapid fire (though real rapid fire isn't allowed at the range) and I also do practice double-taps, which are allowed. Drawing from the holster is not allowed, which I really don't like. I feel if I'm going to practice, I should practice as close as real world as possible. In the police acamdemy or qualifying on the force, we always drew from our holsters at every station. It's part of the shot, though we didn't do double-taps back then (late 70's) and I was using either model 19 or 66 S&W 4". I loved that 4" S&W. But it belonged to the department, not me. It was a very pretty gun.
 

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For work I have to qualify from 2 yards to 50 yards. 2 yards is one handed: draw, "aim" empty the gun in under 6 seconds. 50 yards is five shots, two hands, twenty seconds. Obviously a mix of skills at the ranges inbetween, but give those a try. It's much different drawing and firing (especially from a concealed holster under a shirt) and getting quick shots off than it is taking your time and aiming with a nice stance.

At 2 yards my shots "walk" right as I shoot. At distance I'm often high and to the left. I see alot of people practicing on b-27s at 5 yards, slow fire - not that difficult to get good scores, even if you're hanging upside down.

I like 15 yards, two handed for 'showing off' at the range, but if you can't draw and empty your 6 or 8 rounds into center mass, one handed, from "push off distance", that may be a good place to practice.
 

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Self defense range with my LC9 I usually stay 20 feet or closer. If I shoot my MKIII or Single Six its usually warm up at 25 feet and then I go to 50 for a bit of a challenge. My Beretta 96 is accurate to 75 feet but I usually still shoot it at 50 feet. My girlfriends S&W 686 performs the same as the Beretta.
 

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We don't do any SD practice because we don't have CC in Australia.
At our handgun range however, we have a few disiplines where we shoot 25 metres, 10 metres and seven metres.
 

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For work I have to qualify from 2 yards to 50 yards. 2 yards is one handed: draw, "aim" empty the gun in under 6 seconds. 50 yards is five shots, two hands, twenty seconds. Obviously a mix of skills at the ranges inbetween, but give those a try. It's much different drawing and firing (especially from a concealed holster under a shirt) and getting quick shots off than it is taking your time and aiming with a nice stance.

At 2 yards my shots "walk" right as I shoot. At distance I'm often high and to the left. I see alot of people practicing on b-27s at 5 yards, slow fire - not that difficult to get good scores, even if you're hanging upside down.

I like 15 yards, two handed for 'showing off' at the range, but if you can't draw and empty your 6 or 8 rounds into center mass, one handed, from "push off distance", that may be a good place to practice.
It's been over 30 years since I was in the academy, but I think our starting position was 10 seconds, 5 feet, 12 rounds with our 4" model 19's holstered. Throwing a reload into the middle was kind of strange at that distance, but it was the best stage to test our reloading abilities since we had plenty of time at the other stages. We all carried speed loaders though they weren't issued. We got a gun and paid for everything else ourselves. Got a uniform allowance once we were on the force… something like $12 a month. Of course this was the late 70's back when McDonald's really did give you change back from your dollar. :D
 

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Now take this to heart OK! NO MUGGER is going to stand off 20 or 30 ft to get your money period. Now I practice at 5 to 12feet NOT even using the pistols sights, really not necessary to do that, just point the front of the barrel and fire 3 times at each target quickly (Slow at First OK) then you can speed up later as you get more accurate. It is important to get the pistol drawn and on target FAST and fire the 3 shots or more. YOU will hit the target! This is not important to shoot tight little groups, just hit the vitals with your shots. Later you want to practice moving at a 45 degree angle away from the threat as you FIRE your weapon, it will make it harder for the "mugger" to hit you with a shot.

Now for target shooting of paper, I would start out at say 20 feet at first, then as you learn to keep the sights in line on target more steady, move further back to 30, 40 and 50 ft. As you get to where you can cover your shots on target at 50 ft with the palm of your hand, then perhaps you will attain the confidence to shot out to 20, 30 and 40 yds.
 

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Now take this to heart OK! NO MUGGER is going to stand off 20 or 30 ft to get your money period. Now I practice at 5 to 12feet NOT even using the pistols sights, really not necessary to do that, just point the front of the barrel and fire 3 times at each target quickly (Slow at First OK) then you can speed up later as you get more accurate. It is important to get the pistol drawn and on target FAST and fire the 3 shots or more. YOU will hit the target! This is not important to shoot tight little groups, just hit the vitals with your shots. Later you want to practice moving at a 45 degree angle away from the threat as you FIRE your weapon, it will make it harder for the "mugger" to hit you with a shot.
I try to do that, but my indoor range doesn't allow holstered drawing and shooting. But I will lay it on the table, point and shoot waist high. It is a VERY good way to practice... but don't miss and hit the ceiling or the floor. Ranges tend to frown on that. Mine has a price list posted for fixing things! ;)
 

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Do a lot of target shooting and practice precision at varying distances. I try to practice some sd type shots if at the river or lease. What's fun and works skills is to set out some clay pigeons out in front at a fairly close distance. Quick draw, moving sideways, moving back, etc. You can get pretty good hitting them, but more importantly is getting close and working quick fire and mechanics. Do practice drawing with similar clothing and how you would carry. Is amazing how difficult a normally easy draw can be under duress.
 

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It's been over 30 years since I was in the academy, but I think our starting position was 10 seconds, 5 feet, 12 rounds with our 4" model 19's holstered. Throwing a reload into the middle was kind of strange at that distance, but it was the best stage to test our reloading abilities since we had plenty of time at the other stages. We all carried speed loaders though they weren't issued. We got a gun and paid for everything else ourselves. Got a uniform allowance once we were on the force… something like $12 a month. Of course this was the late 70's back when McDonald's really did give you change back from your dollar. :D
Ahhh...the good 'ole days. A reload at 5 feet = classy. Those re-loads in the middle can throw a wrench into anybody's qualifying run. Sounds like I should be asking YOU for for SD advice. :)
 
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