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Thread: Shortest range for meaningful feedback?

  1. #1
    just over it all awp_101's Avatar
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    Shortest range for meaningful feedback?

    The past few range trips Iíve been shooting .22s offhand at 7-15 yards with most of it between 8-10 yards (where the light is best at the indoor range). I think it would be a good idea* to actually get a baseline of what the pistols and myself are capable of in benched slow fire before sending more money down range.

    What would be considered the shortest range to get meaningful feedback if I want to diagnose the following?

    Grip benched

    Grip offhand

    Trigger press benched

    Trigger press offhand


    The goal is to improve precision rather than speed.

    Is 3 yards too close? Should 5-7 be the minimum?

    *Maybe it was a visit from The Good Idea Fairy, but my thought is we bench a rifle to establish a baseline of what it/we are capable of before practicing position shooting so I should probably do the same with the pistols I want to get better with.
    Don't try to fool us, we know the worst is yet to come

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  2. #2
    Site Supporter CCT125US's Avatar
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    I've learned alot at 5 yards shooting iHack, F.YL., 1/2 dots.
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  3. #3
    Quote Originally Posted by awp_101 View Post
    The past few range trips Iíve been shooting .22s offhand at 7-15 yards with most of it between 8-10 yards (where the light is best at the indoor range). I think it would be a good idea* to actually get a baseline of what the pistols and myself are capable of in benched slow fire before sending more money down range.

    What would be considered the shortest range to get meaningful feedback if I want to diagnose the following?

    Grip benched

    Grip offhand

    Trigger press benched

    Trigger press offhand


    The goal is to improve precision rather than speed.

    Is 3 yards too close? Should 5-7 be the minimum?

    *Maybe it was a visit from The Good Idea Fairy, but my thought is we bench a rifle to establish a baseline of what it/we are capable of before practicing position shooting so I should probably do the same with the pistols I want to get better with.
    That's actually a very good idea. When I was testing 9mm factory ammo in Glocks, I found that everything shot about the same within 15 yards. At 25 I could start to see differences in group size and point of impact. At 50, Load A might hit center of mass on an IDPA target but Load B hit in the left shoulder. At 100, Load A would still be centered but Load B might be off the paper.

    Here's six rounds at 10 yards fired a few weeks ago. Nice group (about an inch) but a little low. The load is nothing crazy, a 270-grain RCBS semi-wadcutter at 900 fps. The revolver is a 45 Colt with a Bowen rear sight, reamed cylinder throats, and a near-perfect trigger. This combination is easy to shoot well, so any flyers are my fault. Based on this, I should get 2.5" groups at 25 yards, right?

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    Umm, no.

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    I fired these 12 rounds a few minutes later at 25 yards. Theory let me down, as did sight alignment (one flyer at 9 o'clock), trigger control (two flyers at 6 o'clock), and follow through (three flyers at 12-1 o'clock). If you take away the flyers, then the six remaining shots more or less conform to theory, but the flyers tell me where I need to improve.

    I may hunt deer with this revolver later this year. If so, then I need to work on those flyers, especially the high ones, or keep my shots within about 30 yards. Once I get the group tightened up, then I need to adjust my zero and start working at longer ranges.


    Okie John
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  4. #4
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    When I was properly introduced to Dot Torture by TLG at AFHF the course of fire for that drill was shot at 3 yards. When you could clean the course at 3 yards you move back to four yards and practice there until you cleaned the course again. And then you moved to five yards.

    There is a lot you can learn up close. But without pushing yourself with small targets (IIRC Dot Torture is shot on 1.5 inch dots), time constraints, or distance you run the risk of what Uncle Pat used to refer to as "marksmanship masturbation". You are by yourself, making a rathole on easy targets, just to feel good. There is little risk of letting yourself down. There is little risk of learning anything. The reason Dot Torture has 10 dots on the sheet for a 50 round COF is accountability of each round.

    One of my instructors for Firearms Instructor Certification at the state level is adamant, that, as instructors, if our shooters are shooting ratholes during quals we need to stop and re-hang targets so we can do a "hard count" for scoring. Accountable for every round. Most instructors in the state will tell you they trust their guys and if they are capable of shooting 50 round groups into 8-10 inches, under time pressure, from 1 to 25 yards, you should give them the benefit of the doubt that if you have fewer than 50 holes on the target, a few of those rounds likely went through the rathole, and not off the paper.

    Anyway, this is why training logs and plans are so imortant. Even if you don't write stuff down you need to have some idea of what you are hoping to accomplish. What are you working on TODAY? When I zero rifles I start at 25 and work outward to my desired zero, then beyond to learn my hold overs. If I do Dot Torture this week, next week I should work COM 15, 25, or 50 yards away. Or maybe recoil control is the focus, so I will do hammers and failure drills at 3-7 yards.

    And @okie john is very right that if you spend too much effort up close and never shoot at longer distance you my not notice flaws in your technique or gear, as close range stuff may hide small issues that become bigger issues the farther out you go. When I had access to the range facilities I would take my LE6920 and shoot steel at 717 yards. Our quals for our patrol rifles have 6 rounds at 100 yards, the furthest distance. Shooting at 500-700 yards makes 100 yards seem like nothing. My handgun warmups a few years back were headshots at 25, offhand, cold, for an entire magazine.

    There was a thread years ago on ARF.com on why 10 round + groups are more illustrative than 3-5 round groups every one loves, which okie john well demonstrated.

    Bottom line...whatever you do, when it gets easy, find a way to make it harder. Mix things up to figure out where the wheels fall off. Work on what you suck at.

    pat

  5. #5
    just over it all awp_101's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by UNM1136 View Post
    There was a thread years ago on ARF.com on why 10 round + groups are more illustrative than 3-5 round groups every one loves, which okie john well demonstrated.

    Bottom line...whatever you do, when it gets easy, find a way to make it harder. Mix things up to figure out where the wheels fall off. Work on what you suck at.
    Right now I pretty much suck at all of it, that's why I'm starting with grip and trigger control. Until recently my "groups" were 10 rounds (or full capacity if the mag held less than 10) but I went to 5 rounds when decided I'd better quit pissing away ammo until I could get a better handle on things.

    My plan is once I can consistently do it with 5 rounds, I'll bump it up to 10 (or mag capacity). Then add speed. Then add distance, etc.

    I learned my lesson about doing just the fun stuff when I kept shooting just the falling plates at the outdoor range. Not was I merely mediocre at it, I couldn't tell you why I missed. And if I don't know what I did wrong, I can't work on it.
    Don't try to fool us, we know the worst is yet to come

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  6. #6
    I mainly work on trigger presses in dry fire.

    Meticulous standards to a small target.

    IMO thereís too much going on in live fire to work on it.

    Confirm it, yes. But working on it is a dry thing.

    Live fire (IMO) is for training vision at speed and getting muscle memory on matching oscillation of the gun to vision and trigger.

    This is my wifeís 9th live training session.



    Everything else is worked on in dry.
    Pointing at cardboard things....

  7. #7
    Over 25 years of 9mm and .22 pistol shooting I have gone up and down regarding target difficulty quite a few times. The indoor range where we shot for the first 18 yrs was max 50 or 60ft. W/ the .22 I started w/ 3 inch dots at 30 ft and worked my way to 2 inch dots at 60ft and once in a while I tried 1 inch dots. W/ the 9mm we usually practiced at 3 inch dots at 30 ft. The 30 ft was the longest shot we would ever have to make in our home so seemed like a good choice. We also did 2 inch dots at 30 once in a while. Then 5 years ago I started shooting idpa and also shooting at an outdoor range. We now pretty much exclusively shoot at 8-9inch paper plates at < 30 ft. Fortunately we are both now retired and our Izaak Walton range has plenty of target stands, plastic barrels, and walls made from pvc pipe and snow fencing. So wife and I set up our own stages when we go to practice. Shooting and moving is so much more fun than indoor stationary shooter and targets. Paper plates at 30ft may seem pretty easy. It is standing still and shooting slowly. It becomes a real challenge when on the timer and/or while moving.
    Other than safety my two over riding mandates are; 1- Always have a plan of what we are going to practice today and count hits to see if we are getting better but also, 2- make sure to have fun at the very least for the last 2 mags we shoot.

  8. #8
    Site Supporter Borderland's Avatar
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    All we have is 15, 25 and 50 yds at my outdoor range. I shoot a lot at 15 yds. The range was set up for 7 yds at one time but they no longer let anyone shoot at that distance. Seems the bullets weren't staying inside the trap which is 15 yds. They still don't and the reason is members bring guests who can't shoot very well. The range is surrounded by residential neighborhoods so it a huge liability.

    I have a 2" Taurus with a canted barrel that showed up right away on a 7 yd target. I used to start at 7 yds with any new pistol or revolver.
    Last edited by Borderland; 06-23-2022 at 08:37 AM.
    In the P-F basket of deplorables.

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by Borderland View Post
    All we have is 15, 25 and 50 yds at my outdoor range. I shoot a lot at 15 yds. The range was set up for 7 yds at one time but they no longer let anyone shoot at that distance. Seems the bullets weren't staying inside the trap which is 15 yds. They still don't and the reason is members bring guests who can't shoot very well. The range is surrounded by residential neighborhoods so it a huge liability.
    And it's not just the guests. I RSO at two ranges. One is a fairly restrictive membership, rifle to 500 yards, pistol at 7 and 25 yards, and tends to attract above average shooters. The other is open to the public, and we expect the casual guest shooters to suck because they almost always do. For them, our goal is to teach basic safety and see which few want to continue past that.

    What never ceases to amaze me though, is watching a few long time members show up every week, slow fire 50 or 100 rounds at the same static target at the same 12.5 yard distance (this range has 12.5 and 25 yard targets, and hardly anyone uses 25 yds) and they're not any better than they were five years ago. They're not pushing themselves, they're not learning anything, they're going through the motions throwing lead downrange and mostly shooting patterns not groups. Some of them still can't consistently stay on the paper. Every time I have duty, I watch with continued amazement.

    Guess what I'm getting at is that most folks on P-F, whatever their current skill level, seem to be interested in learning and getting better and tapping into the wealth of experience here. And I really respect that, because I know it's not like that everywhere.

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by awp_101 View Post
    The past few range trips Iíve been shooting .22s offhand at 7-15 yards with most of it between 8-10 yards (where the light is best at the indoor range). I think it would be a good idea* to actually get a baseline of what the pistols and myself are capable of in benched slow fire before sending more money down range.

    What would be considered the shortest range to get meaningful feedback if I want to diagnose the following?

    Grip benched

    Grip offhand

    Trigger press benched

    Trigger press offhand


    The goal is to improve precision rather than speed.

    Is 3 yards too close? Should 5-7 be the minimum?

    *Maybe it was a visit from The Good Idea Fairy, but my thought is we bench a rifle to establish a baseline of what it/we are capable of before practicing position shooting so I should probably do the same with the pistols I want to get better with.
    You bench a rifle (or pistol) to take the "loose nut behind the trigger" out of the equation to greatest extent possible so you can see what the gun / ammo (they are a system) are capable of. There is no "we" because the idea is to take "you" out of the equation.

    Once you measure that mechanical capability there isn't significant benefit to shooting benched.

    Appropriate distance depends on target size.

    Iron sight dot torture starts at 3 yards. for RDS handguns it start at 5 or 7 depending on who you ask.

    Remember at 3/5/7 yards bore / sight offset is a thing.

    This thread has many printable targets with small ( 1, 2 & 3" ) aiming zones useful at short range:

    https://pistol-forum.com/showthread....ntable-Targets

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