Tiger McKee

Shootrite Firearms Academy

Magnified Mistakes

ImageMost violent confrontations occur, or at least start out, at very close distances. Armed with this information the majority of our time spent training and practicing consists of firing combative responses at close range, hopefully while moving to create distance, obtain cover, or present the threat(s) with a moving target as opposed to a stationary one.

We also know there are situations, exceptions with elements outside the norms, that require long distance shots with a pistol. In 1994 a military base security guard took out the threat, who had already killed five and wounded others with his AK style rifle from seventy yards. The officer rode his bike full speed from a half mile away and using a kneeling position fired four shots, scoring two hits.

Making long distance pistol shots requires applying the fundamentals of marksmanship; aim, hold, press, and follow through for every shot. The time it takes to cycle through this sequence, especially the trigger press, is dictated by the accuracy necessary. Luckily extra distance usually means you have a little additional time to apply the fundamentals, plus create more stability by bracing against something solid and/or lowering your center of gravity – braced kneeling vs. standing.

The only way to practice hitting at long range is firing at increased distances. Using small targets up close will help you with accuracy, but the problem is that the actual distance to the target changes several factors. Visually, a target at long distance will look different than a small target up close. As distance increases the desire to look at the target increases. Practice is necessary to constantly focus on the front sight.

The effects of your mistakes increase with distance. At seven yards you shoot a two-inch group. From fifty yards, roughly seven times that distance, you’ll shoot about a twenty-inch group, or ten times the size. I’m not smart enough to why, I just know and accept that your group size will open up exponentially in relationship to distance.

Another reason to practice in advance is to insure your pistol sights are zeroed. A zero that works fine at twenty-one yards could put you completely off target at fifty to seventy-five yards.

For extreme distances, say two hundred yards, put the front sight in the middle of the target and lower the rear sight to get the elevation necessary for the bullet’s trajectory. If you try to hold a normal sight picture – with front and rear aligned – and aim high you can’t see the target. The front sight has to be on target and in focus. For example with my 1911 at two hundred I know to hold the rear sight halfway down the front sight.

So next time you go to the shooting range practice at longer distances and different positions. It could be the solution for the problem you’ll come across. Plus, if you can hit from one hundred, it should be easy to “stand on it” at typical pistol distances.


September 6, 2012 - Posted by | General Training

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