Accuracy expectations in the smaller 9mms

This is a discussion on Accuracy expectations in the smaller 9mms within the Concealed Carry Issues & Discussions forums, part of the Defensive Carry Discussions category; I noticed some comments in the other thread on thinner, smaller 9mms that the accuracy of some was not up to their standards. Are these ...

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Thread: Accuracy expectations in the smaller 9mms

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    VIP Member Array 9MMare's Avatar
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    Accuracy expectations in the smaller 9mms

    I noticed some comments in the other thread on thinner, smaller 9mms that the accuracy of some was not up to their standards.

    Are these smaller guns expected to be as accurate as full-size guns? I mean, handguns are not expected to be as accurate as rifles, for ex. (Altho in the correct hands, with loads of practice I think anyone can achieve accuracy with their chosen weapon).

    Is it more about accuracy expectations at a certain distance? Or are the smaller guns supposed to be as accurate at the same distances as the bigger guns? And sure, let's take all the factors into it...greater recoil, shorter barrel....what else?

    Because I am also interested in a smaller carry gun, mostly thinner, and would like to think that the better ones will be accurate...in hands that practice with it....at basic self-defense distance of 30 feet. This is my requirement, YMMV.

    Are these small 9mms not even accurate to 30 feet?
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    I'd say that those who say the little 9's are not accurate, are either just not spending enough time with them, or have mistaken them for a sniper rifle.

    I'm not trying to brag here, but for the sake of the point, I can put every round inside of 3" at 25 feet, all day long off-hand with both my PF-9, and PM9. In the hands of a better shooter, I bet they can do better as well. Ironically, I don't shoot any better with full size 'range guns'. Anyway, that sort of accuracy is good enough for me.
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    I think if you shot a small gun off of a bench, you'd find the accuracy of the gun, to be just a accurate as a full size gun. The problem as I see it is with the shorter sight radius, it makes it harder for some people to shoot it as accurately. Practice can overcome that.
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    In terms of mechanical accuracy, they should be fine. It is generally more user error.
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    How small? How accurate? I have a Walther PPS and it is damn accurate out to at least 50 ft. I was shocked.
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    Are these small 9mms not even accurate to 30 feet?
    Sure they are.

    The problem is the position of the barrel relative to the target when the shot is fired.

    If that barrel in on the bullseye when the shot is fired, it will hit the bullseye.
    If not, then it will hit wherever that barrel is pointing.

    It sounds easy, but often is not and a multitude of factors can be the difference between a hit or a miss.

    Most of the time, when people tell me a gun is not accurate, it isn't the gun that is missing, it is the person shooting it.

    On the rare occasion when a gun is not accurate it is usually due to a mechanical issue of some sort. Sights are off, barrel is out of spec, cylinder is not properly aligned, it could be lots of things but these aren't things you will find on a gun that is new.

    Fact of the matter is, the smaller guns are harder to shoot. Too many people don't understand that a gun that is so small that it can barely be held in the hand will be difficult to hit with and when they fire it at an 8 by 10 sheet of paper, they will be disappointed.

    Other people that take the time and effort to practice with it and become proficient will be able to shoot accurately with it.

    We have heard it before...it ain't the gun, its the shooter.
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    VIP Member Array 9MMare's Avatar
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    I have a feeling that part of the problem is that since some are unpleasant to shoot...I'm thinking of a particularly small revolver I shot...that people may be flinching and not even realize it.
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    I have a feeling that part of the problem is that since some are unpleasant to shoot...I'm thinking of a particularly small revolver I shot...that people may be flinching and not even realize it.
    Thats a lot of it.
    Unpleasant? Thats an understatement on some guns.
    Some of them downright hurt to shoot. I've seen people close their eyes and turn their head away from the blast...and thats no good for accuracy.

    Its hard to concentrate when your hand feels like a hammer hit it, the fireball singes your eyebrows,your ears ring from the sound and your sinuses break loose from the blast going off.
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    I think the shorter sight radius, reduced grip, enhanced recoil can all play a role.

    I know for a fact I am not as accurate personally with my j-frame as I am with one of my 1911's. A j-frame is not a beginners gun, but a lot of people try to turn it into one. Similarly, a pocket .380 or 9mm is not a beginners gun. If the shooter does not have the fundamentals of good marksmanship down with a full sized pistol, their flaws will be magnified by a sub-compact.
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    I think it all boils down to understanding the difference between squeezing a trigger (straight back, applying consistent pressure) versus jerking the trigger.

    I can get a full magazine into one ragged hole at 7 yards with my LCPs, PM9, G26, or G19. The guns themselves are plenty accurate.
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    I am much more effective with compact to full-size semi's with light trigger pulls and short resets than I am with the little DAO guns. I can also draw and fire much faster and more accurately with a bigger pistol than I can with a small one. If others are equally accurate with sizes and actions across the spectrum, hats off to them. I'll stay within the realm of my limitations and govern myself accordingly.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Mike1956 View Post
    I am much more effective with compact to full-size semi's with light trigger pulls and short resets than I am with the little DAO guns. I can also draw and fire much faster and more accurately with a bigger pistol than I can with a small one. If others are equally accurate with sizes and actions across the spectrum, hats off to them. I'll stay within the realm of my limitations and govern myself accordingly.
    Good points. For me, I think it surfaces why I want to stick with the DA striker fired guns for carry. I have now experienced SA guns in highly active situations...mounted shooting. And I've hit the trigger accidentally between balloons while pulling the hammer back during a bobble or big move a few times.

    In a serious situation under stress...I have no doubt that the pull of a DA weapon will feel like little or nothing...and I'd rather have some resistance than none in an uncontrolled situation. But it does mean that I have to make sure I am proficient with that trigger, as I feel I am with my current full-size 9mm.
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    Let's distinguish between INHERENT Accuracy and PRACTICAL Accuracy.

    Any firearms inherent accuracy an be tested with pretty consistent results because it is due to the quality of mfg. and the consistency of the ammo used.
    (think Ransom Rest )

    Practical Accuracy depends upon how well the individual or an average group of shooters can use that same gun to make holes in paper.

    Example - given the same gun and ammo - Rob Leatham could drive nails with a gun you can hardly keep on the paper.

    A small 9mm is simply harder to shoot well than a fullsize gun or a .22 target pistol.
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    I have no trouble with my PM9 between 7-10 yards. Even the recoil is not bad I can shoot 100-150 rounds without a problem. My personal preference for these small guns is a ONE HANDED grip. Yes most people will disagree but I find that trying to get a two handed grip takes both more time and a inconsistant grip.

    Recoil can be an issue but it is usually a personal matter. I sold my airweight j frame because it hurt to shoot after 25 rounds and I shot it poorly. Can I shoot more acurately with my 1911s at 25 yards? Yes! But for reasonable self defense distances my PM9 works fine. I should mention I only carry it when overly concerned about concealment otherwise a H&P P2000sk or P2000 is holstered.

    I will say that the PM9 in .40 is a bear to shoot and not much fun.
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    I've spent a lot of time behind my S&W 442 and my Taurus PT709. Both are small light handguns, obviously one revolver and one semi-auto, and one has a double action only trigger and one has a single action trigger. I've developed very good accuracy with both of them at 10 yards and from 20 yards hitting 5" steel plates with regularity. That's plenty accurate for me. It just takes time and practice if you're willing and able from a recoil standpoint to invest the time and ammo into it.
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