Are you a "good shot"?

Are you a "good shot"?

This is a discussion on Are you a "good shot"? within the Defensive Carry & Tactical Training forums, part of the Defensive Carry Discussions category; I have been thinking a lot before deciding to post this. By way of introduction, I work at a small gunshop and indoor range as ...

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Thread: Are you a "good shot"?

  1. #1
    VIP Member Array Superhouse 15's Avatar
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    Are you a "good shot"?

    I have been thinking a lot before deciding to post this. By way of introduction, I work at a small gunshop and indoor range as a gun fixer, gun cleaner, gun seller, free advice giver, and such like. I get to watch a lot of people shoot and give the occasional shooting lesson, as well as the free advice thing. I consider myself a "good shot", as do some other employees.

    Without getting into my personal definition of that, what makes someone a good, or a poor, shot in your eyes? All day long I watch people who cannot put hits in the "Coke bottle" scoring area of a B27 target (the shilouette of the guy with one hand in his pocket, you know...) at 7 yards on a well lit range. There are plenty of people who miss a 10"x10" bullseye target completely at that range. I can watch someone miss the entire target paper at 7 yards, or cover it with holes from top to bottom with a pattern that looks like a 50 yard shotgun target.

    The flinch is king and trigger jerk queen. I have lost count of the number of requests to adjust sights that shoot "low and left". There are plenty of people who teach their bad habits to others under the guise of "teaching my (wife, girlfriend, husband, brother-in-law, domestic partner...) to shoot", and do nothing but create frustration and a missed opportunity. Another potential future shooter quits in frustration.

    What do you consider your minimum level of performance? What level of skill do you consider acceptable to use a pistol for CCW? Is there a combination of group size and time? A fast draw from concealment? At what point would you be satisfied with a target you shoot, or at what point would you seek instruction to improve? It may be just a hit anywhere on a target, it may be a fast, loud noise that hits nothing.

    What is your definition, and why?

    And last, at what point would you offer advice to someone unsolicited and how can it be offered in a diplomatic way? Is there a way to offer instruction without appearing to show off, or to intrude? How would you approach someone? How have you been approached, good or bad?

    If I have described you and your shooting habits, I do not mean to criticize. Everyone is different in their abilities. I take CCW in public seriously. I'm still young, but my niece is much younger, and I hope she can grow up with the ability to defend herself and will have the freedom we all enjoy. Every bad shooting, every ND and accident, every slob shooter, and every thug style cap popper gangsta embarass us all as gun owners and show us in a bad light. Our hold on our Rights is precarious and attacked constantly. I appreciate your input and suggestions.

    Please forgive the long post, it's been a long day at a busy station.


  2. #2
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    Random thoughts ........ I consider I am (as a generalization) a ''good shot'' - but this means different things to different folks. In IDPA I get my butt kicked by some but at same time I am not any total novice ... I used to be pretty good.

    I have old eyes and cannot sight as well as I did but after 30 or so years of shooting find that gun handling is natural to me - in particular the platform I carry and practice most with. Therefore .. I'd say I can manage competently - not as hot as the top shooters but certainly not the spray-em-everywhere brigade, tho heck, see plenty of those as you obviously do.

    My pre-requisite is gun control - and even if my sighting lets me down I have enough muscle memory and overall experience to make shooting fairly satisfactory. My groups have opened up of course but that is not something that concerns me too much.

    How to address the crappy shooters to assist? Well - diplomacy is key IMO and for me my advanced age helps (maybe!). I might say - ''Know what? - I think you could improve on that - why not try - xyz''. "I reckon you could halve that group size if you ...... " - and point out an error you spotted. If you see obvious flinch - suggest as a sorta ''game'' trying them on ball and dummy - most folks even if egocentric find it most rewarding if they can step down and be self critical.

    Holster work is very individual IMO - but slow is smooth is accurate - and folks should build on that and not try to be Munden or Mikulec from square one! So ... I 'd tactfully slow a guy down - and get him/her achieving good hits slow - and then let them build up gradually.

    I am satisfied with a target if my hits are zoned where I expect them - even if as said my group size has expanded. I want to see no wasted shots - and while fliers off the main POA are annoying, if all hits are zonally adequate I ain't gonna worry.

    Try to sum up the shooter's overall competence and match any offers of ''advice'', geared to their age and what you know you can do - ''old dogs and new tricks'' has to be handled carefully sometimes as does the effort to help the newbie who thinks he knows it all.

    Praise first - however crappy what you have seen but suggest it can be improved ...... better still if you can demonstrate first. Make your approach subtle ..... and as I have found, the grin on a face when a fault is cured is worth all the patience sometimes needed.

    BTW - I think most will agree - there are and will be some folks who will always know best and are a lost cause when it comes to getting them improved!! Above all tho even with these types . safety - safety - and safety. Poor shots are one thing - unsafe shooters are quite another!!
    Chris - P95
    NRA Certified Instructor & NRA Life Member.

    "To own a gun and assume that you are armed
    is like owning a piano and assuming that you are a musician!."


    http://www.rkba-2a.com/ - a portal for 2A links, articles and some videos.

  3. #3
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    Good shooter, yes. great, no . I do not try to teach , guess I am either not diplomatic enough or just don't relate well.
    "In matters of style, swim with the current; in matters of principle, stand like a rock." Thomas Jefferson


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  4. #4
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    Quote Originally Posted by Superhouse 15 View Post
    I have been thinking a lot before deciding to post this. By way of introduction, I work at a small gunshop and indoor range as a gun fixer, gun cleaner, gun seller, free advice giver, and such like. I get to watch a lot of people shoot and give the occasional shooting lesson, as well as the free advice thing. I consider myself a "good shot", as do some other employees. Without getting into my personal definition of that, what makes someone a good, or a poor, shot in your eyes? All day long I watch people who cannot put hits in the "Coke bottle" scoring area of a B27 target (the shilouette of the guy with one hand in his pocket, you know...) at 7 yards on a well lit range. There are plenty of people who miss a 10"x10" bullseye target completely at that range. I can watch someone miss the entire target paper at 7 yards, or cover it with holes from top to bottom with a pattern that looks like a 50 yard shotgun target. The flinch is king and trigger jerk queen. I have lost count of the number of requests to adjust sights that shoot "low and left". There are plenty of people who teach their bad habits to others under the guise of "teaching my (wife, girlfriend, husband, brother-in-law, domestic partner...) to shoot", and do nothing but create frustration and a missed opportunity. Another potential future shooter quits in frustration.
    First, let me say, as a fellow "gunshop and indoor range, gun fixer, gun cleaner, gun seller, free advice giver, and such like" employee, I greatly sympathize with everything said above. Been there... again and again, and again.

    Before I answer the rest of your questions I would like to say that I have not "arrived" anywhere and I hope I never will. I hope that I am always willing to learn and to grow and that I never get a head that is too big for my shoulders. No one is perfect and no one is above learning and practicing and striving to be better..

    In light of that these are my answers. I may not even live up to my own standards, but I try and I hope I can continue to grow.

    What do you consider your minimum level of performance? What level of skill do you consider acceptable to use a pistol for CCW? Is there a combination of group size and time?
    As I said, my standards may be subject to change, but for now, my level of acceptable use of a pistol for CCW is when someone can fire a full magazine (or cylinder) into a target at seven yards, without flinching or any sign of fear, with a confident and steady demeanor and make consistent, steady hits in the center of the target. A group should be recognizable, and though time, to me, is not horribly important, it shouldn't take longer than a shot a second or so.

    A fast draw from concealment?
    While I think much practice in this area should be done, I don't determine whether someone is a good shot or not by how they draw.

    At what point would you be satisfied with a target you shoot, or at what point would you seek instruction to improve?
    I'm never really satisfied with my targets. I feel better about them, but further examinations makes we wish I'd done something different. Further more, I also hope I never STOP seeking instruction. I want to learn everything and I hope in thirty years I'm still taking classes and trying to improve.

    It may be just a hit anywhere on a target, it may be a fast, loud noise that hits nothing. What is your definition, and why?
    Though I am particularly hard on myself when it comes to my shooting, I have to look at the end result and know that, if forced to do so, any one of my shots could take down an aggressor. If I can hold the target up in front of myself and see that every single round would have made a .45 sized hole in my chest, I have to at least acknowledge that it would have done its job.
    And last, at what point would you offer advice to someone unsolicited and how can it be offered in a diplomatic way? Is there a way to offer instruction without appearing to show off, or to intrude? How would you approach someone? How have you been approached, good or bad?
    I have been approached several times, ALWAYS before I even started shooting.
    At one point in time, I took out my gun, was preparing to load and shoot it when a man came up to me and started giving me pointers on how I should hold it, squeeze the trigger, stand, align my sights, and so forth.
    I listened to him politely because he was trying to be nice and he was flirting and inflating his ego a little.
    My husband also ignored him, knowing what was coming.
    If we were in a competition he would have lost. He went away with his tails between his legs and apologized if he seemed rude.

    I NEVER approach anyone before I've seen them shoot unless they ask. I also never assume that because someone is lucky they are skilled. Some people are naturals, but in my opinion, a good shooter should never be "surprised" when their bullets keep hitting their mark.

    I step in when I see MAJOR jerking or when, at 5-7 yards, the rounds aren't even hitting the paper. In fact, we are told to step in when this occurs, to protect our walls, floor and ceiling.

    My approach is come with a diagnosis and a solution. I wait until they have finished shooting their magazine as to not frighten them. I tap them on the shoulder and say something to the effect of, "I noticed, on your last round, when the slide locked back and you didn't know it, that you flinched. Did you notice it as well?"

    I ask them to show me, though I've already seen, how they stand, grip, and then I show them what I do and have learned from those who have instructed me. I don't shoot myself. This isn't about me and it's not my ammo. It's about them. I can't stand it when people, giving free advice, take up other people's ammo and time to show off, and that's exactly what it looks like. Half the time they don't do that well anyway. Who am I to think I've got much more than the basics to share?

    I go over trigger control and a little bit of sight alignment and then stand back and watch them for their next magazine or so. Usually I see a little improvement as grip and trigger control have more to do with the problems I see than any other problem. If they are improving and seem to get at least what I have told them, I leave unless they ask me to stay. There's no reason for me to think I can offer any more than that. I'm not an instructor. I can only share so much.

    If I have described you and your shooting habits, I do not mean to criticize. Everyone is different in their abilities. I take CCW in public seriously. I'm still young, but my niece is much younger, and I hope she can grow up with the ability to defend herself and will have the freedom we all enjoy. Every bad shooting, every ND and accident, every slob shooter, and every thug style cap popper gangsta embarass us all as gun owners and show us in a bad light. Our hold on our Rights is precarious and attacked constantly. I appreciate your input and suggestions. Please forgive the long post, it's been a long day at a busy station.
    I think you make a valid point in this thread. There are those who think that just because they have a gun they are John Wayne or Clint Eastwood and I've seen far too many people throw hundreds of rounds down range and barely make 50% of them count. It's such a waste. The saddest part is that they think they are doing well.

    If the individuals in the range are egotistical or showing off, then I don't bother. They won't listen anyway, and the individuals who take it upon themselves to "teach" their significant others how to shoot, though some of them do well, far too often I see it is an ego trip used to show off how brave one can be in the sight of loud bangs and recoil. Far too often the "instructor" is making no noticeable grouping to hang an example on.

    I'm asked continuously if I think I am a good shooter.

    My only reply is, "I can hold my own."

    I will not say I'm good because I don't believe I am. I don't know that I ever shall. To believe I'm good, to me, would be the equivalent of believing I've arrived somewhere. I refuse to let myself think that. To think that way is to get cocky and to get cocky is to get arrogant and to get arrogant is to get stupid.

    Any of my "free advice" is followed up with an invitation to sign up for one of our classes with our certified NRA instructors. And I hope the search for instruction doesn't stop there as mine has not.

  5. #5
    Member Array riverkeeper's Avatar
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    CCW: Humility, a passion for learning and an open mind ...

    go a long way to getting better. I am not qualified to set a standard and I believe that constantly learning and trying to improve is the way to go.

    CCW only!

    A smooth quick draw from concealment, presentation in any direction and fire.

    Retention, 1/2 Hip, 3/4 hip, extended Point and a little Full Sighted Fire -- DRAW and RAPID! FIRE in 2 to 6 shot strings.

    Zipper
    Multiple humanoid reaction targets at close to moderate ranges - my favorite.
    Various distances -- contact on out. 3 to 15 ft primarily.
    Transition sighting techniques in the same string
    Self Defense in Retention
    Move and shoot

    To roughly measure your times, check out following, start slow, stay smooth always. I use a laser and wife scores the time and hits...she shoots too.

    http://www.personaldefensetraining.c...77b2dc00e41b89

    Based on informal shooting matches at family reunions against relatives who are active pistolero hole punchers but not into CCW methods....I do very well in CCW type shooting. Range jockeys might beat the crap out of me .. but maybe not.
    Old testament....Shooting to Live 1942
    http://www.gutterfighting.org/files/...ng_to_live.pdf
    Newer testament... Kill or Get Killed 1976/1987
    http://www.gutterfighting.org/files/...Get_Killed.pdf

  6. #6
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    I sure would politely try to offer some friendly unsolicited advice to any shooter who carries a self-defense firearm and completely misses a B-27 man target as that translates into dangerous stray and errant shots out on the street where there are innocent folks everywhere.

  7. #7
    VIP Member Array ccw9mm's Avatar
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    My goal before ever applying for my CHL, years ago: avoid striking the proverbial "3yr old child" in the background, should I ever find it necessary to defend myself with my firearm on a city street. Had I not been able to gain enough proficiency and accuracy to convince myself of that, I never would have carried ... on principle alone.

    That meant, under stress-induced conditions I would need to reliably and consistently strike an attacker in the 3-10yd range without missing the 9- or 10-ring. I shot 10Krds/yr minimum until I attained that basic proficiency with a variety of handguns. Only then did I pursue concealed carry.

    Basic accuracy for me is this basic "street" guideline: on slow-fire out to 10yds, strike all bullets within a hand (~6-7"); on rapid-fire, strike all bullets well within two hand spans (~15"). If I couldn't do that, I'd be reliably missing an attacker and striking something else. If I couldn't to that, basket weaving or some other pasttime would be a preferable pursuit, for all the good I'd do folks downrange in a defensive situation.

    Today, I am far more accurate than that, but that was the minimum I started with. Particularly during rapid-fire, firing from concealment, firing from the draw, and firing at multiple moving targets, even. Amazing what 50Krds and a hard focus can do for you, during initial training.

    Today, I regularly work on shooting drills at 3, 5, 7 and 10yds. Now, I occasionally can carve out half dollar-sized circles in the target, slow-fire. Rapid fire, I rarely send a flier outside a single hand span (~6") out to ~10yds or so, and usually it's tighter than that. At 25yds, due to eyes, I'm marginally accurate, but still can generally keep it within the 8-ring (no guarantees) even when quickly running through strings of 3-4 rds. Rapid-fire from concealed draw, I'm able to place 2-3 rds within a fist-sized grouping most every time, out to ~5-7yds. Granted, this is all on various ranges, but I have also done years of IPSC competitions, to get to the point where I could rapidly engage multiple targets relatively quickly. I'm not nearly as fast as many folks on a tight or meandering IPSC course layout, but I'm accurate enough to strike everything reliably well.

    The reality is, stress and the associated dump of chemicals in the blood stream, tunnel vision, the "shakes" and other symptoms all play havoc with aim and the ability to keep focused. IPSC competition and many training sessions out in the country inducing stress into shooting scenarios help keep me sharp enough that I still feel I can meet the original standard I set for myself.

    The day I can no longer meet the basic goal I originally set for myself, I'll hang 'em up and no longer carry while out and about ... on principle.
    Your best weapon is your brain. Don't leave home without it.
    Thoughts: Justifiable self defense (A.O.J.).
    Explain: How does disarming victims reduce the number of victims?
    Reason over Force: The Gun is Civilization (Marko Kloos).
    NRA, SAF, GOA, OFF, ACLDN.

  8. #8
    VIP Member Array Cupcake's Avatar
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    I think once a person can shoot slow fire into a fist sized group at 5yards, that is plenty fine for defensive shooting and they should move on to continually improve the speed at which the can empty a mag into this group. What is a good speed? I dunno, just better than the week before. When firing fast I don't get down on myself if a couple flyers out of the mag (as long as they are within say, a handspan).
    Spend few minutes learning about my journey from Zero to Athlete in this
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  9. #9
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    I have my good days and bad days at the range. I've picked up a bad habbit recently that I am trying to shake, but I always hit my target at 5-7 yards (in the chest). My groups are better at 15 yds (i dunno why??). I feel that is you can hit the target at 5-7 yards you are more thatn ok to ccw. Considering most attacks will be much closer than 7 yards.

  10. #10
    Distinguished Member Array Ghettokracker71's Avatar
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    I never want to get conceded and think I am a good shot even once my skills have greatly improved with lots of careful practice. That being said: I usually hit where I am aiming, but I will always think there is room for improvement.


    "To blame a gun for a mans decision is to foolishly attribute free will to an inanimate object"- Colion Noir.

  11. #11
    New Member Array o`hairy 1's Avatar
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    good shooter yes excellent by no means need more practice . but have picked up good skills from military and other shooters all one has to do is listen.I was broke at an early age of flinching by my brother with a revolver took hints and learned and I give some of the same tips.
    If you can reason with some of these people we can all probally be a
    lot safer.
    always be on the ready

  12. #12
    VIP Member Array obxned's Avatar
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    Someone famous once said, "You can never be too rich or too thin". Well, you can never be too accurate or too quick. I think some other famous person said something about coming in second place in a gun fight.
    "If we loose Freedom here, there's no place to escape to. This is the Last Place on Earth!" Ronald Reagan

  13. #13
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    there is always room to improve. Always.

    There are lots and lots of people who really think they are skilled with a pistol, but cant really shoot it. They might be able to hit the target most of the time, but toss in real world factors such as weather, stress, movement etc. all of a sudden they stink.

    It also depends on the "game" being played. A lot of guys can whip me in a bullseye game, but I can whip them in a tactical game.

    Giving advice... dont do it unless your asked. Otherwise your wasting your breath. I dont know what it is about the gun culture, but so many think they are experts on pistolcraft from the moment they pick up their shiny new gun. Many dont take kindly to unsolicited advice. If they are ready to accept it, they will seek it.
    "Just blame Sixto"

  14. #14
    VIP Member Array ccw9mm's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by SIXTO View Post
    It also depends on the "game" being played. A lot of guys can whip me in a bullseye game, but I can whip them in a tactical game.
    Yup. Very different animals.

    Some of the most interesting shooting I've done has been in the field, on hunts, or during a couple of IPSC courses that were run in inclement weather. Great training, as each situation demanded completely different skills. By no means were any of these mere target practice. There is so much to learn ... and I've only addressed a tithe of what's possible. Given practical physical limitations (nerve damage in hips/leg), I hope it's enough should the time arise.
    Your best weapon is your brain. Don't leave home without it.
    Thoughts: Justifiable self defense (A.O.J.).
    Explain: How does disarming victims reduce the number of victims?
    Reason over Force: The Gun is Civilization (Marko Kloos).
    NRA, SAF, GOA, OFF, ACLDN.

  15. #15
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    I'm no Jarrett or Latham....I'm better than anybody I shoot with, but that's not that many people.

    I could always improve, but I'm not good enough to make a living at it.
    Quemadmodum gladius neminem occidit, occidentis telum est.-Seneca

    "If you carry a gun, people will call you paranoid. If I have a gun, what do I have to be paranoid about?" -Clint Smith

    "An unarmed man can only flee from evil, and evil is not overcome by fleeing from it." -Jeff Cooper

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