what do you consider realistic, minimal defensive accuracy in a handgun?

Grumpy

The Grumpy Grease Monkey mechanical engineer.
Staff member
back in the 1980-2000 or so I worked part time at a local indoor range teaching classes of about 6-8 people a week,
in the art & skill of shooting a handgun.
I enjoyed teaching, but I was always amazed at the lack of familiarity, and lack of basic handgun skill any of the trainees had!
this was a required skill to get a security guard license,
in FLA. at the time and may still be.
it took about 30 hours of training, and yeah, much of it was class room, not actual on the range time!
now keep in mind security guard jobs are not that well paid,
and they are frequently held by either younger guys with near zero other marketable skills (frequently minorities) (frequently not that educated , many could not read/write and pass written exams easily)
or older guys who want a secondary income in retirement.
class (D) is unarmed security and it pays considerably less per hour, class (G) paid more per hour so that was a coveted license.
the vast majority of the new trainees could not hit a full body silhouette target at 7 yards on the first day.
I remember well on one occasion, a student stated the revolvers and ammo we used were low quality trash, and he could not consistently hit a full body target at 7 yards, I took his assigned pistol A S&W 4" mod 10 heavy barrel, and put 6 shots in a 3" orange dot on the target at 7 yards as fast as I could line the sights and fire, certainly under 10 seconds, that seemed to solve the question of equipment not being adequate
by the end of the class most of the more skilled people could hit a 8" x 11" sheet of typing paper at 25 yards which at the time was considered good enough, but obviously the more skilled people were preferred, It was surprising , at least to me how many people could not achieve that level of competency, slow firing a 38spc 4" revolver, we were trying to get them to consistently hit a 6" diameter target at 25 yards with 6 shots in 60 seconds.
how many of you think you can do better?
I had lots of cops watch this process and laugh, but when tested some cops did just as badly.... whats your thoughts?
BTW the range made side money, from the classes selling these, or similar revolvers to the class members on many occasions
 

Grumpy

The Grumpy Grease Monkey mechanical engineer.
Staff member
from what I see , and see posted on many web sites,
most of the people responding seem to think that ,
if you can place 8 out of 10 or 80% of your shots anywhere on a sheet of 8.5x11" typing paper at 50 yards,:like:
shot with your handgun, as rapidly as you can align the sights, and fire, your handgun ,that you carry.

you'll do rather well in a defensive fight with your handgun, so if you can do so locally use that as a practice standard

btw most quality handguns using good ammo ,
can rather easily place all shots in a 6" circle at 50 yards,

in the hands of a good shot off a solid rest
this can be improved on with the better handguns with better sights and good ammo,
so think
through your options, in the handgun you carry,
you may not always have a lethal threat to confront at point blank ranges
main-qimg-7cedd1093477695dac308642874f3b62-lq

only hits count, not how fast you miss or how many times you just missed:facepalm:
and yeah you might be legally libel for the damaged caused by those misses
even if your the "GOOD GUY"
 
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T-Test

solid fixture here in the forum
I don't have a long range pistol. All have barrels 5" or shorter. I have never missed what I have shot at with a pistol but never have shot over 25 yards as I am not a marksman.
Sure my pistols will shoot farther, but I just don't want to as I consider them to be an up close quarters defense weapon.
Kinda like Quigley, don't like pistols, but know how to use one. From Quigley Down Under-- movie with Tom Selick.
 

Grumpy

The Grumpy Grease Monkey mechanical engineer.
Staff member
I think you'll find that you sir, just might want and might benefit or want the opportunity to gain confidence through repeated practice,
I know I sure benefitted from getting out and shooting almost every day when I was in my late teens, as I lived out in the rural areas.
you'll be rather impressed and amazed to find that its very easy to consistently and accurately hit targets at 50 yards,
if you can hit a playing card at 15 yards you can hit a sheet of typing paper , thats about 6 times the size, at 50 yards,:like:
in almost any case with that same hand gun by aiming about 1"-2" higher, even my wifes 2.5" 38 spc
with a lazer sight,
150972_01_lg_1_0.jpg

can do that consistently
yes Im aware, its simply the fact that most of us don't have a back yard ,you can shoot in,
or cheap easy to access local range ,
or other area close to your home or ideally ,
you can shoot in where the neighbors won't object.
I guess I'm spoiled , I handload and I purposely pick rural areas to live in,
and I try to find the local ranges or local dump or area the cops don't mind you shooting in.
I live where I can go out back and run off a few dozed cartridges through my handguns as long as its a reasonable time like Saturday between about 11 AM-6 PM, and I live in a rural area where even if the cops show up on rare occasions they are far more likely to watch me shoot or maybe join in, than be concerned
that was true in FLORIDA and HERE in TEXAS,
I guess my son learned a few things before he selected his property,
and yeah, theres ALWAYS a MRS CRAVITZS,
but if you talk to the local cops, ask about local deed restrictions, local ordinances, laws etc.
and show them where you shoot and what your using for a back stop, most rural cops I've met,
some cops would like a prior notice,
but once they get to know you and if you treat them with respect, you rarely have issues!
have no issues with you cracking off a couple back yard shots occasionally.
 
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Grumpy

The Grumpy Grease Monkey mechanical engineer.
Staff member
all my handguns easily can do that, 8 shots out of 10 in 15 seconds on an 8.5" x 11" target
as with most things practice certainly helps give you confidence

150972_01_lg_1_0.jpg

a 38 spc with a lazer like the one I bought for my wife can be amazingly consistently accurate ,
and the bright red dot on the target certainly helps if you don't shoot a lot with your confidence
my sons S&W can,
13387-mp-OnWhite-Left.png

S&W 1006 10mm GENERALLY ABOUT $900-$1000 used MY 1006 can easily

f2f7.jpg

EAA Witness 10mm Auto 4.5in Stainless (generally near $650 when you can find one in stock)​

my EAA 45 ACP can VERY EASILY
8954-1.jpg


and my GLOCK 10mm with its aftermarket barrel makes that look very easy
Glock2010mm1.jpg

the most accurate handgun I own is a S&W STAINLESS heavy barrel 357 mag similar to this picture
357mgs.jpg
 
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Grumpy

The Grumpy Grease Monkey mechanical engineer.
Staff member
one of the first handguns I ever owned was a ruger single action similar to this picture I had to have reloaded and shot 20 k reloads in the 2-3 years before I was 21
STURM-RUGER-and-CO-INC-NEW-MODEL-BLACKHAWK_102026591_158250_B305C7BB6F520352.jpeg



I bought when I was about 17 (with my dads help) I learned to handload, cast bullets with that gun, and yeah I could not hit shit when I started out
I still remember loading 8 grains of UNIQUE powder under a lyman 158 grain cast bullet
, I cast, and learned to size and lube on a friends fathers, tools (my mentor)
using his reloader, lyman lube sizer and bullets I cast from scrounged wheel weights over a coleman stove in a steel pot with a lead dipper and wooden hammer handle.

I without any doubt , reloaded and shot 20K reloads in that pistol before I was 19 years old, I mowed dozens lawns most months just to buy powder, primers and cases and reloading tools
I completely wore out a pacific reload press by the time I was 23 years old, but by the time I was 23 years old I could damn sure put holes in a tin can with a revolver at 50-75 yards on the first shot more times than not!
s-l1600.jpg

1660279816373.png
I almost wore it out, had to send it to ruger to be rebuilt twice by the time I was 20 years old
I bought a ruger 44 mag for $138 when I was 20, and sure got my moneys worth as I had used that gun for 8-9 years before I could afford a S&W 28 and a S&W 29.
I remember how frustrated I was when I first got that ruger,
I could rarely hit a tin can at 30 feet the first week or so, but with experience , a mentor, and practice you get better


you might enjoy these links


 
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Grumpy

The Grumpy Grease Monkey mechanical engineer.
Staff member
in no way am I or anyone else suggesting knocking security guards or law enforcement, , I will point out that as an instructor in the case of new untrained members of any group, who are totally unfamiliar with handguns, shooting skills among NEW first time firearm shooters, like the people I've trained , over several decades , well, the NEW TRAINEES understandably
have yet to develop the basics in firearm control and related skills, this skill acquisition, takes time, experience and in most cases a mentor.
(and it certainly helps if the person your training wants to improve not just get through the class with a minimal passing grade)
I think most of us will admit that when we started out most of us were pathetic and lacked discipline, consistency and repeatability, I know when I purchased my first handgun, hitting a coke can at 20 ft was challenging.
yet, over time that skill through constant practice & experience is vastly improved.
if you shoot competitively, on a regular basis you usually can and will improve and become more consistent.
if the competitions held regularly and its FUN to compete, in the matches especially if its not a financial burden you or anyone who really wants to improve will tend to become a better shot.
for several decades my best friend was a member of the dade county SWAT team, we constantly tried to out score each other, in matches, and both our scores improved over time.
that does not make either of us an Rob Leatham or ED Mcgivern

you might be amazed at how consistent you can get at punching holes in a 3" ORANGE STICKY DOT,
IF YOU HAVE TO KICK IN TO PAY FOR HIS LUNCH
IF YOU BOTH SHOOT AT YOUR OWN 25 YARD ORANGE STICKY DOT,
AND YOU MISSED AND HE DOESN,T.

 

Grumpy

The Grumpy Grease Monkey mechanical engineer.
Staff member
NRA TRAINING COUNSELOR GUIDE Appendix 5: NRA Instructor Training Program Pre-Course Qualification Pistol A5- Revision date 06-17 1 Appendix 5 NRA INSTRUCTOR TRAINING PROGRAM PRE-COURSE QUALIFICATION PISTOL Name of Candidate ______________________________Date______________ The NRA Instructor Training Pre-Course Qualification is to be administered after the potential Instructor Candidate has completed the entirety of the Basics of Pistol Shooting (Instructor Led Training.) The Pre-Course Qualification must be administered before an individual attends an Instructor Training Course and is a hands-on, practical exercise to evaluate an individual’s knowledge, skills and attitude in safety, loading, unloading, clearing firearm malfunctions, and shooting skills. The qualification is conducted in three phases. Alternatively, candidates may provide documented proof of Classified Sharpshooter or better in NRA Conventional or Action Pistol, Classified Marksman or better in International Defensive Pistol Association (IDPA) or Classified “C” or better in US Practical Shooting Association(USPSA)/International Practical Shooting Confederation(IPSC) or a certification as an NRA LEAD Handgun/Shotgun or Tactical Handgun certified instructor. Passing/Failing: The NRA Pre-Course Qualification for Pistol will have a maximum score of 100 points and a minimum passing score of 80 points. Minimum passing requirement must be met in each phase. Unsafe Gun Handling: Candidates who demonstrate unsafe gun handling will be given 0 points for that particular skill test. Examples of unsafe gun handling include pointing the gun in an unsafe direction or any area not designated as safe by the Training Counselor, sweeping one’s own body, or placing the finger on the trigger before being ready to shoot. PHASE 1 - LOADING/UNLOADING Location: Classroom or Range Using dummy ammunition, instructor candidate must load and unload a single action revolver, double action revolver, and a semi-automatic pistol. Requests for assistance will result in a deduction of 3 points per action type in the exercises; candidate will be given a score of 0 for safety violations.
 

Grumpy

The Grumpy Grease Monkey mechanical engineer.
Staff member
NRA TRAINING COUNSELOR GUIDE Appendix 5: NRA Instructor Training Program Pre-Course Qualification Pistol A5- Revision date 06-17 2 Loading Minimum Passing 12 points / Maximum 15 points 5 points maximum per action type Points Single Action Revolver Double Action Revolver Semi-Automatic Pistol TOTAL Unloading Minimum Passing 12 points / Maximum 15 points 5 points maximum per action type Points Single Action Revolver Double Action Revolver Semi-Automatic Pistol TOTAL PHASE 2 – CLEARING COMMON PISTOL STOPPAGES Location: Range Using dummy ammunition, instructor candidate must demonstrate how to clear a common pistol stoppage using a semi-automatic pistol. Training Counselor will set-up the pistol and conduct a practical exercise involving failure to fire and double feeds. Requests for assistance will result in a deduction of 3 points per action type in the exercises; candidate will be given a score of 0 for safety violations. FAILURE TO FIRE DRILL: If candidate waits 30 seconds keeping the gun pointed in a safe direction, taps the bottom of the magazine, and pulls the slide to the rear, 5 points will be given. DOUBLE FEED DRILL: If the candidate locks the slide to the rear, removes the magazine, and renders the pistol unloaded 5 points will be given
 

Grumpy

The Grumpy Grease Monkey mechanical engineer.
Staff member
NRA TRAINING COUNSELOR GUIDE Appendix 5: NRA Instructor Training Program Pre-Course Qualification Pistol A5- Revision date 06-17 3 Minimum Passing 8 points / Maximum 10 points 5 points maximum per stoppage type Points Semi-Automatic Failure to Fire Semi-Automatic Double Feed TOTAL PHASE 3 – PISTOL SHOOTING Location: Range Candidate will shoot any gun of their choice, regardless of action, sights or caliber, at a blank 9 inch diameter paper target at a distance of 15 yards.
Candidates will fire 20 shots from a two-handed, unsupported, standing position.
Targets will be broken into two tenshot targets or four five-shot targets.
Three points will be given for each scoring hit. In order for a hit to count,
it must fall inside a ½” border from the edge of the plate.
Shots that break the edge of the ½” border will count as hits.
All scoring hits on a target must be within a 6” or less extreme spread (see below).
Candidates will be allowed to shoot their own firearms if desired.
Two requalification shoots are allowed within any 24-hour period.

If adjusted distance is required due to range limitations, the following formulae will be used; all distances are in inches (hit scoring and requirements remain the same): Target Diameter: Target Distance divided by 60.0 Outside Border: Target Diameter divided by 18.0 Extreme Spread: Target Diameter divided by 1.5 Candidate will be given a score of 0 for safety viola
 

Grumpy

The Grumpy Grease Monkey mechanical engineer.
Staff member
NRA TRAINING COUNSELOR GUIDE Appendix 5: NRA Instructor Training Program Pre-Course Qualification Pistol A5- Revision date 06-17 4 Points Pistol Shooting Minimum Passing 80% Minimum Passing 80% Minimum Passing 80% Minimum Passing 48 points / Maximum 60 points 3 points for each scoring hit Phase I Loading Unloading Sub-Total: Phase II Clearing Stoppages Sub-Total: Phase III Pistol Shooting Sub-Total: Pistol Pre-Course Qualification Total Score:
 

Grumpy

The Grumpy Grease Monkey mechanical engineer.
Staff member
"My standard is an 8 inch paper plate at 7 yards with a defensive pistol, 100 yards with a rifle.
You should be able to put most of them in there, as fast as you can shoot."

Id agree that's a rather realistic ,
and for most of us hard to achieve expectation,
when you put

"as fast as you can shoot."
in the requirements,
but Id put in the though process and idea mix.. I've always thought

"ONLY HITS COUNT"
so slowing the pace just a bit,
if it allows a significant increase in the hit ratio, is well worth the effort.

my favorite competition, because its both fast, and obvious whos winning to spectators is bowling pin shoots where they place 5 bowling pins on a plywood/ saw horse table,
that's about 3 ft square with a 2" lip around the circumference
the object is to knock all five pins off the table, usually with a handgun as fast as possible usually at 7 yards, but 25 yard black powder rifle bowling pin matches are a real grin to watch and compete in also.
rules and distances vary with the range or match but its generally a contest where, a range officer blows a whistle, you shoot against both a timer and a competitor, you can shoot and reload if required until one competitor clears his table, of pins
winner takes on the next competitor , until the fastest times recorded/ or the most wins are recorded
again
rules and distances vary with the range or match
 
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