What do the numbers above have in common? If you guessed “they’re common distances for testing the accuracy of handguns”, then give yourself the no-prize prize.
There was a bit of ruckus at Guns & Ammo, when one of the writers said in response to questions as to why he accuracy tested defensive handguns at 25 yards instead of 7 that people who asked the aforementioned question “probably can’t shoot very well”. He then went on to state that he could probably shoot a cloverleaf group at 7 yards with a Jennings (and to his credit, he did get a bunch of cheap guns and shoot a cloverleaf at 7 yards).
For some reason, that whole column rankled me a bit; especially the statement that people who don’t test handguns at 25 yards can’t shoot. Here’s the thing. I can shoot, and pretty well. I don’t see shooting handguns at 25 yards off a sandbagged rest as much of a test of your marksmanship skills. Certainly, it tests trigger control and sight picture, but it removes pretty much all the other human variables that a good marksman must take into account.
Now, that’s not to say that testing at 25 doesn’t have merit. I like grouping handguns at 25 yards, even defensive handguns. But not for practical purposes – it’s more of a “I wonder how well this gun can shoot” train of thought.
For practical purposes, a truly defensive only handgun doesn’t need to be tested beyond 10 yards. I’m not saying that you couldn’t/shouldn’t but that you don’t need to ascertain the accuracy of your pistol beyond defensive ranges.
I also think that it’s a bad idea to call into question the shooting skills of people who question the necessity of bench resting a defensive handgun at 25 yards. It makes you sound like kind of arrogant and standoffish, and personally, it really turned me off to the particular writer’s column.
Update: Robb has a hilarious quote in the comments:
Sandbags mysteriously are generally not around when it comes time to have to use your gun in a self defense scenario.