The main reason you can't shot a handgun accurately

Jared Traveler

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What is the main reason you can't shoot a handgun accurately? It is simple, you aren't motivated to do it well. You don't want to shoot better bad enough.

As a former tactical firearms instructor, it is my belief that shooting handguns is approximately 80 percent mental and 20 percent technical.

Don't get me wrong, you can't fake the skill of shooting a handgun accurately. You need skill to do it, but you will not obtain and maintain the skill without a strong desire to do it well. Also under stress, hitting your target takes extreme intentionality and focus.

When it comes down to it, your average person simply doesn't make hitting the target with a handgun a high priority.
 
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Jared Traveler

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So practicing a skill makes you better?

Gosh, who'd a thunk it...
This is in no way the totality of what I am saying. I have seen people training and practicing without the proper focus and mentality. In fact it is extremely common.
 
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Jared Traveler

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I have worked with many guys who have had tons of professional training, fired thousands and thousands of rounds. Yet only reach a certain level of expertise and never exceed it. More money, more range time, more certificates, and more training will only take you so far at being able to hit and hit under stress. Without understanding and developing the right mindset you will never be great at it.

The mental aspect plays into it deeper than many realize.
 
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Jared Traveler

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There are a ton of branches to this topic, but I will start with two stories to begin to illustrate my point. First, as a range instructor, I use to ask students(cops) right before the qualified with their handguns what score they were going to shoot. Virtually none of them would tell me they were going to shoot a 100 percent. They would say, "I'm just happy to qualify at a 70 percent and pass." Or, "I usually quality in the high 90s." Or "Hopefully better than last time I shot." But almost none of them were even expecting to hit the target every time. The rare person who said, "I'm going to shoot 100 percent (extremely rare person) typically did every time, or came very close to it.

Second story is when I was at an advanced SWAT school getting certified on teaching SWAT MP5s and M4s. We were doing foot work drills, learning to move at different angles, firing as a two man team, and covering each other while preforming mag changes, tactical reloads and dealing with stoppages. We were focused on those skills and some of the shooters were getting lazy with their shot placement. The instructor a former SAS guy, stopped everything. He simply stated, "Stop missing the target, it's unacceptable." The strange thing is, nobody missed after that.
 

Steve

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I have worked with many guys who have had tons of professional training, fired thousands and thousands of rounds. Yet only reach a certain level of expertise and never exceed it. More money, more range time, more certificates, and more training will only take you so far at being able to hit and hit under stress. Without understanding and developing the right mindset you will never be great at it.

The mental aspect plays into it deeper than many realize.
Its an interesting way to parse it out. Based on studies Ive seen with a few different police departments, no one really fires a handgun accurately under stress. Its kind of striking. And training didnt seem to make much difference over time.

To be clear, Im not sure if that challenges or supports your point. Could be interpreted either way, I suppose.
 

Monkey Turned Wolf

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@Jared Traveler Are you talking about firing a handgun accurately in a stressful situation, or while at the range? You seem to be referring to both separately but making the one point.
 

wab25

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Not everyone has that problem...

Old man shot the bad guy from 150 feet away, with a 357 magnum revolver. The bad guy had an assault rifle and started to return fire, and the old man shot and hit him 3 more times... thats 4 shots, 4 hits at 150 feet, 3 of the shots made while the old man was being shot at with an assault rifle.

Some people can achieve accuracy under fire with a handgun....
 

wab25

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Here is a guy in WWI that that took out a bunch of Germans, by himself... Okay, he only shot 5 of them with his handgun... but they were charging him with bayonets... Does being out numbered, under fire from machine guns and having 5 guys charge you with bayonets count as stressful?

 

Dirty Dog

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Not everyone has that problem...

Old man shot the bad guy from 150 feet away, with a 357 magnum revolver. The bad guy had an assault rifle and started to return fire, and the old man shot and hit him 3 more times... thats 4 shots, 4 hits at 150 feet, 3 of the shots made while the old man was being shot at with an assault rifle.

Some people can achieve accuracy under fire with a handgun....
And sometimes you get lucky.

We were at an outdoor range shooting AR's. We had targets at 100, 200, and 500 yards. A buddy was on the spotter scope and Sue was shooting. I picked up her carry gun - a Glock 26. Anyone who shoots knows that this gun is...suboptimal...for a 100 yard shot. She carries it with the short 10 round mag, because it's much easier to conceal than with her extended mags. I figured with 10 rounds, I could probably walk it in and get at least one round on paper. I also figured it would give them something to laugh about, because it really is kind of a silly thing to do with a sub-compact handgun.

I fired the first round. It was not only on paper, it was on the 7/8 line. I put the gun down and pretended it was on purpose.
 

Wing Woo Gar

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And sometimes you get lucky.

We were at an outdoor range shooting AR's. We had targets at 100, 200, and 500 yards. A buddy was on the spotter scope and Sue was shooting. I picked up her carry gun - a Glock 26. Anyone who shoots knows that this gun is...suboptimal...for a 100 yard shot. She carries it with the short 10 round mag, because it's much easier to conceal than with her extended mags. I figured with 10 rounds, I could probably walk it in and get at least one round on paper. I also figured it would give them something to laugh about, because it really is kind of a silly thing to do with a sub-compact handgun.

I fired the first round. It was not only on paper, it was on the 7/8 line. I put the gun down and pretended it was on purpose.
My buddy can hit the 8 inch gong at 200 yds every single time with his 4 Springfield XD 45. He can do a mag dump on it and get 10/10. It still amazes me.
 

wab25

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And sometimes you get lucky.

We were at an outdoor range shooting AR's. We had targets at 100, 200, and 500 yards. A buddy was on the spotter scope and Sue was shooting. I picked up her carry gun - a Glock 26. Anyone who shoots knows that this gun is...suboptimal...for a 100 yard shot. She carries it with the short 10 round mag, because it's much easier to conceal than with her extended mags. I figured with 10 rounds, I could probably walk it in and get at least one round on paper. I also figured it would give them something to laugh about, because it really is kind of a silly thing to do with a sub-compact handgun.

I fired the first round. It was not only on paper, it was on the 7/8 line. I put the gun down and pretended it was on purpose.
The first guy I showed, went 3 for 3, with a handgun, on a target only 150 feet away.... that was shooting at him with a rifle. The OP was talking about people who shoot great at the range, but not under pressure. A guy shooting at you with a rifle from 150 feet away should count as at least some pressure... ignoring the fact that the guy with the rifle had just killed two people and their dogs...

The guy was 4 for 4 on an active shooter, from 150 feet away with a handgun... with the shooter returning fire with a rifle. I call that accurate under pressure.
 
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Jared Traveler

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Can you share some data about accuracy rates in stressful situations?
I am not a big statistics guy. But I will say that I believe all handguns are underpowered and to win consistently you should be dedicated to extreme close range accuracy under stress. Shot placement, shot placement, shot placement.

And considering that, you are making the same mistakes accuracy wise at 3 feet, that you are making at 30 yards. It just isn't as noticable. So if you can stack rounds at 3 feet, you will shoot well at 30 yards. If you can't stack rounds at 3 feet, if you are even a little sloppy because you can get away with it up close, you will probably be sloppy aiming in a close range self-defense shooting.

In simple terms I'm saying that your low and left shot in the kill zone at 5 yards, will probably be a low and left shot to the right arm in a fight, or a complete miss. So dedicated yourself to perfect shooting at all times.

In simpler terms, just because you hit a lung or heart on a paper target and got it in the kill zone does not mean you hit where you were aiming. Center mass should be dead center of where you are aiming.

I have shot many qualifications scoring 100 percent and was very unhappy with my shooting.
 
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Jared Traveler

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Its an interesting way to parse it out. Based on studies Ive seen with a few different police departments, no one really fires a handgun accurately under stress. Its kind of striking. And training didnt seem to make much difference over time.

To be clear, Im not sure if that challenges or supports your point. Could be interpreted either way, I suppose.
Hitting accurately understand stress can and does happen. I have seen it go both ways. What you are extremely unlikely to do is perform way better under stress than you do on the range. But range performance alone is not the indicator of what you will do under stress.

If you want to hit under stress, this topic is an important topic to explore.
 

skribs

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So the secret is you just need to want it? Then why'd I waste so much time practicing!
 

Wing Woo Gar

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Hitting accurately understand stress can and does happen. I have seen it go both ways. What you are extremely unlikely to do is perform way better under stress than you do on the range. But range performance alone is not the indicator of what you will do under stress.

If you want to hit under stress, this topic is an important topic to explore.
How do you feel a 3 gun competition shooter will do when compared to the average range shooter?
 

Steve

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Hitting accurately understand stress can and does happen. I have seen it go both ways. What you are extremely unlikely to do is perform way better under stress than you do on the range. But range performance alone is not the indicator of what you will do under stress.

If you want to hit under stress, this topic is an important topic to explore.
No disagreement from me. I am a data guy. At least, when it comes to determining whether the training is translating to performance. I dont see how you can evaluate training without data. I think its surprising how often what we believe to be true doesnt hold up when objectively evaluated.

So, for example, I think youre correct, but may be surprised at the difference in performance is between the range and under stress. If 70% is the minimum to pass, and accuracy in the field is closer to 25%, that to me is notable.
 
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