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Hello all,

I've recently posted a question as to the defensive merits of the .22lr rifle in the Rifle Forum.

The one member who has answered thus far brought up another good question: At what ranges should you practice with your CCW pistol?

The gentleman in question says he can score hits with his sidearm at 100yds, and I have no reason to disbelieve any in this group.

Therefore, I'm wondering if I limit myself by practicing with my pistol at ranges from a couple feet to 50yds.

What ranges do you practice at, and do you think I'm limiting myself by practicing at 50yds and less? I've always considered the pistol a close in proposition, but I'm re-evaluating that outlook.

How should I modify my practice?

Thank you all,

Josh <><
 

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Every state has different laws, but, in general, all shootings that result in a death are treated as a homicide, and may end up in court. At least that's the way it is here.
So if you shoot someone at say 25 yds and they die, I hope they were shooting at you with something bigger.
If not, and the prosecuter is an anti-gun type, he will argue for a murder conviction.
So I go with the Tueller drill distance of 7 yds for practice, and closer. At least you have some LEO history/information your defense lawyer can use if you ever have to use your handgun for self defense.
We have a thread here about point shooting at short range. I think that's the best self defense practice.
Save the 25/50 yd stuff for friendly target competition.
og
 
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Back in my IPSC days, my practice partners and I made a habit of using the same little exercise to chill down after hot a heavy, close-range practice session. There were three 8" steel plates at the 100 berm, and we would take our competition handguns and fire at least one clip at them. With a compensated 45 auto, it became rather easy after a while. You just had to learn how much front sight to hold over the rear sight blade. So, we decided to complicate things. We started using our carry guns. I might not be able to hit an 8" plate EVERY time with my S&W 642, but I'll hit it once or twice out of 5, and I'll scare it pretty good with the others.

The most difficult was an American Derringer in 45ACP that I owned at the time. It took 10 or 12 rounds to finally figure out where to hold it, then I hit it once and quit while I was ahead. Yes, it can be done.

Ol' Grandpa, we've (Oklahoma cops) had three police shootings in the past year that stretched the range. One was 54 yards, one at 72 or 3, and the other just over 90. In all of these, the officers had only their sidearms available in that instant. There were no opportunitues to return to vehicles and retrieve long guns. Because these men and woman are trained to shoot at 50 yards, they won all three fights with no injuries to officers. (Two of their trainers are my hunting buddy, so I get the straight skinny.)

In someone is shooting at you from 100 yards, he's still shooting at you. Basically, if you are covered by the "justifiable homicide" part of Oklahoma's Title 12, you are covered no matter what the range. If you're not covered, you're not covered, also. If he turns to run from you at 5 yards, you can't shoot.

Our law recognizes your right to use lethal self defense if the attacker has the intent, means, and forthwith to do you grave bodily harm.
 

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parson,
I agree, for LEO's no problem. For us civilians, if being shot at from over 7 yds and can't retreat, then return fire, hopefully behind cover. But I'm concerned about all the guys I see at the range that only shoot 25yds and more with their handguns (many with reddot scopes), never practice close range. If they aren't familiar with the law and someday try to take out a perp at long range without justification, just because they know they can, then what?

What's everybody think? Am I way offbase? Probably am.
og.....who believes rule 1 is best...run away if possible.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Oldgrandpa,

Sir, I do not believe you're off base. Someone who I know from the boards once summed it up best for me:


Retreat is the better part of valor.
(If the person who summed this up is here, please PM me so I can give you proper credit when I use it from here on out. Thanks!)

So sir, I do not believe you're wrong in that. Who really wants to be in a firefight anyway?

I do not know if you listen to Kenny Rodgers. If you do, listen to "Coward of the County" closely. Up to the point where he takes the law into his own hands with premeditation, I agree with the song wholeheartedly.

Josh <><
 
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There's a steel drum 80 to 100yds downrange. It's interesting trying to "ring the drum". Especially with short barrel's pistol. And it gives decent practice for long range.

I will state that I wouldn't attempt return fire at those ranges unless I had no cover. If I have cover I'll try to wait for the calvary.


Steelheart
 
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I do a lot of 50 yardshooting because it makes me use good fundementals. Whenever I shoot close range stuff it is all about shooting from the draw and with movement and for speed.

Justification is the only thing that concerns me when it comes to a shooting. Nothing else matters without that question being answered.
 

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Hypothetical situation...

Out for a walk in the woods/scrub/whatever and you stumble into someones grow and while retreating the owner arrives and lets fly at you with a rifle, like any smart person you drop to cover and look for a way out, well the BG is still out there and still popping at you, quick glances, indicate that he is 50 - 60 yards out and the only real cover that you have is the tree you are behind....

Now if you have only practiced at short range, touching to maybe 10 yards, you probably have no real idea where to aim to hit your assailant and with the limited supply of ammunition most ccw practitioners have on thier person, laying down suppression fire, while retreating while an option is not viable, you are stuck hoping that he runs out of ammunition closes to your practice distance or that you can get a disabling hit.....

Now say that you do practice at what could be considered extreme range 50 - 100 yards, your option package in the aforementioned hypothetical situation is much greater, not that you are in all that better of a position, but you have more of a chance than before.

Practice for the extreme, once in a lifetime situation (keeping reality in mind) as well as those more likely to happen in your world and you will find when the moment of moments happens to you, that your chance of survival and your ability to handle it will be there at your finger tips.

Having said that, I practice on steel and silhouettes out to one hundred yards with my 45 and I have a very high hit percentage, though if given the option I would rather have a rifle for anything over twenty five yards.

I don't play the averages, Murphy doesn't.

Regards, Mueller
 

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Hello. I appreciate all the responses and they have merit in my opinion.

My defensive practice is generally from three to about 15 yards as I believe that in my own situation, this will cover the vast majority of situations. At the same time, I still absolutely believe in being able to precisely deliver a shot or shots at extended distances beyond 25 and 50 yards and regularly take shots at bowling pins from about 50, 65, and roughly 100 yards. For me, it is a blending of the quick and dirty as well as being capable of precision shooting if needed.

I fully agree that we are most likely to face a murderous assailant at arm's length ranges the majority of the time out to but a few yards. At the same time I see nothing wrong (and quite a lot right) with being able to get the hits farther out if required.

Here in Texas, there doesn't seem to be a written limit on the ranges at which one may be shot at and then return fire. I believe that if the very unexpected and highly unlikely occurs such that we are required to make a longer defensive shot, it would be a good thing to at least have a chance of hitting our target(s).

Could I only be prepared for the close in and dirty or the long range handgun defensive scenarios, I would opt to be ready for the first rather than the latter and to a degree do that as I carry my snub much of the time. As I enjoy shooting I practice at longer ranges. Because I see the possibility of having to use deadly force and no other reasonable alternative exists, I practice defensively as well.

I also try to remain aware of my surroundings and don't mind admitting that I simply avoid as many "bad" places as I can to cut down on the odds.

As I seldom carry a defense rifle anymore, I try and make my handgun abilities as capable as possible.

Best.
 

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Without starting a statistics war I think it is safe to say that about 80-90% of all legitimate self defese use of firearms (including rifles and shotguns) occurrs at less than 10 to 15 *feet*.

While it hurts nothing to be prepared for the arcane and esoteric , we dont want to spend too much of our valuable training time on them. I do know of handfull of cases that were legitimate at 25, 35, 75 , 91 and 108 yards - but note I remember each one as they were exceptions. As a humorous aside the 108 yard shot was by a member of LAPD SWAT in the 80's who actually shot the gun out of the subject's hand and had the audacity to claim it was on purpose :) *all* of those cases involved shooting to save the lives of people much closer to the threat than the defender. All but one were LEOs.

One must remember that the justification for the use of lethal force is almost universally to prevent death or bodilly injury to yourself or a loved one (it is not to respond in kind). Unless there is some unusual circumstance once you get past 50 yards your best defense is not in shooting back but in movement or cover. But I hasten to point out there can be exceptions.

Another important thing to remember is that shooting at long range is not necessarilly harder than shooting at short range. It is merely different. Practicing at 10 yards for the bulk of your shooting is a dangerous thing, unless you can really operate at full speed at 10 yards (only a handful of folks who shoot over 100,000 rounds a year can achieve this).

My training regimine is hardly as intense as it was a few years ago but when I do get to practice I generally follow this guide...for defense (I practice for hunting also which can enhance long range defense).

3-7 yards - 80% (most of it with movement)
10-15 yards - 10% (mostly with cover)
25 yards - 5% (usually just position shooting as it has become impractical at this point)
50 & 100 yards 5% (because it is fun and instructive and one just never knows :) )

The key here of course is speed *with* accuracy. Too many folks are too easy on themselves. Our recent department shooting was completely over from the initial appearance of the threat until he was down in 2 to 3 seconds! At normal ranges (3-5 yards) you should be able to move, draw and fire 6-12 accurate hits in that time frame (depending the exact time and # of targets). A timing system is a mandatory training aid.

If you are one of those fortunate few who can already draw and put 6 rounds in an index card at 10 yards in 2 seconds then disregard this post :)

If you cannot do the same at 3 then don't give up hope...we teach folks to do it fairly regularly and they are just normal folks. Some never get there but they get close and with a bit of good combat mindset they will do fine also.

Sorry to ramble, another good topic!!!
Happy New Year,
Jim
 
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It's always best to retreat if that option is open to you. I would, even though my state is a "no retreat" state. In Oklahoma, you may legally stand your ground. I stay away from places where trouble is likely. All of that isn't to the point. Being able to handle a situation IF it occurs IS the point.
 
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Most practice time should be from 0-15yds. Then out to 50yds to keep yourself familiar with those ranges.

As the FBI puts it, the 'average' gun fights are in low light at less than 7ft., but you know about the story of averages?

Take a bucket of ice cold water, and a bucket of boiling hot water. Now.........put a foot in each bucket. You're a hurtin' sucker right? But.........on the average you're comfortable!

Hope for the best, prepare for the worst. One should know how to point shoot out to 10+ yards, and keep combat accuracy out to 50yds. Combat accuracy in my opinion is anything that is kept within your open hand, fingers included............about 6-8"

My opinions based on my experiences and that of others who've been there. I apply my firearms training within my dept. to what has happened out on the street. Can't prep for every possible thing that could happen.........but keep the training changing and evolving, and you'll see just how far you've gone.
 
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My one and only event happened at 73yds while I'm standing in a parking lot(no cover). Thankfully they surrendered before it got ugly.
 
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One of my early-on teacher/mentors (a good revolver man named Bob Houzinga... if you've followed IPSC over the past 15 years or so, you know who he is) makes his classes start and end each session with accuracy drills. These are drills performed at moderate ranges, 15 to 25 yards. The point he makes is this:

Distance favors the trained man.

This is truth, provided you train to fight at distance! ;)

There's the trick. If you don't train at extended ranges, you might not know what to do when TSHTF and you're 35, 50, 65 yards from your assailant. But Bob's point was deeper than that. What he was saying was that if you can perform well at 25 yards, you're going to be a snake at 10 feet.

I do most of my personal training at 7-15 yards. I rarely train inside that distance, and when I do it's usually just for sh*ts & grins. When I'm training hard prior to a major match, I'll extend my training ranges to 15-25 yards, and slow down enough to make my hits, then close in to 10-15 yards at the end of the session. It's amazing how easy it is to hit those HUGE 8" center circles on an IDPA target at the usual 3-7 yard ranges encountered in typical match courses of fire, when you've been training at 20 to 25 yards every day for 2 weeks prior. Sorta like training for a road race with ankle weights, then wearing your light & fast racing shoes on The Day.

Yesterday I had my daughter out for a bit of shooting in the melting snowdrifts at our club range. After we finished her stuff at 15 yards, I putzed around with my new 1911 for a while. Eventually I was ready to quit, but I had a full mag left. Instead of emptying it fast & furious into the 15-yd silhouette target, I turned and started lobbing 200 gr SWC's down at the 100-yard steel plate. It's about 8x16" and hangs from a single chain. Danged if I didn't hit that plate with 4 of my 8 bullets. This here is an accurate gun, but truth to tell, I've been following my teacher's advice for a number of years now and know I can hit center mass 1/3 of the time or better at 100 yards with any of my carry handguns.

Not boasting, but I feel good about that.
 
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