Outshooting your gun

Here’s a phrase I’ve never understood: “I can outshoot my gun.” To me, that phrase means that you can shoot as good or better groups than the gun is capable of producing mechanically with all shooter variables eliminated. Or maybe it means that Gun X shoots 4 inch groups mechanically, but you can shoot 2 inch groups freestyle with Gun Y. I’m not really sure. I’ve always went with the first definition, which is why it doesn’t make sense.

25 yard group no rest

I can shoot pretty decent groups; but I’ve never been able to shoot a better group freestyle than I can shoot from a proper sandbag rest or from a mechanical rest like a Ransom. I just can’t, and as such I don’t think I’d ever be able to say that I can “outshoot my gun.” Now, I can shoot some guns far more accurately than others; no matter how hard I tried I could never get better than 4 inch groups out of my M&P40 Pro Series. But my Gen4 Glock 21 would shoot 2.5 inches all day long. Does that mean I could outshoot the M&P40?

The truth is, I don’t have a good answer to these questions, because I don’t understand the phrase to begin with. Some guns are more accurate than others. Some guns are more shootable than others. Some guns hit that sweet butter-zone of accurate and shootable, and when put in the hands of a good shooter can produce some really amazing groups. My Sig P226 Elite SAO or my Ruger Security Six come to mind in that category.

So what does “outshooting your gun” mean to you?


  1. I haven’t heard it before. Here is my take on what it means.

    With a hypothetical perfectly accurate and precise firearm, your group would be better than the actual firearm in question shoots in a hypothetically perfect shooting vise.

  2. I use it as a dividing line between when it makes sense to upgrade to a higher quality firearm or not. I shoot a Ruger Mk III for bulls eye matches, and it is a very serviceable and accurate pistol. Is it as accurate as a Pardini? Most people would agree that it is not. Are my fundamentals sufficiently good that I will be able to observe the difference in performance when I shoot the two guns free hand, maybe, maybe-not. Is that debatable difference in performance in my hands worth the indisputable difference in cost? Not until I can consistently deliver better results with the gun i currently have.

    1. I think you mean undeniably deliver better results with a different gun.

      If gun X shoots a ransom group of 2″ and gun Y shoots a ransom group of 5″, but you shoot a bench group of 6″ you are not outshooting the gun. If you shoot a bench group of 3″ with X and 6″ with Y, then yes I’d say you can outshoot Y but not X.

  3. I always took that phrase, and people that used it, with a big grain of salt…. It is my belief that all firearms have their accuracy degraded when a person uses them, vs. a mechanical rest or automated test system.

  4. I would agree with Old Windways in the sense that your gun is now the primary limiting factor on your performance.

    Although at first, it reminded me of a Trap and Skeet class I took in college. The abused 1100s cycled so slowly that you could “out shoot” them pretty easily. 😉

  5. I could see this happening with a long gun but there are so many variables with a handgun that I don’t see how it could be an issue unless you had an extreme set of circumstances i.e. Doug Koenig shooting a High Point, etc.

    I know it has never been a problem for me personally….

  6. I always took it to mean that someone’s performance at the moment is a reflection of the limits of the firearm they’re using than of their own skill. If you can shoot 1″ groups at 25 yards with one gun, but a 6″ group with another, then you are capable of more precision than that second gun is.

  7. Seems to me it’s just an excuse for poor shooting. “Oh that group? Nah… it’s the gun. I can outshoot this gun.” 🙂

  8. Like John above says, with a real nice accurate pistol live my SV infinity, I can shoot around a 4 to 5 inch group at 25 yards off hand, but say if I was using a tec 9, well that may not even produce a group at the same range, so in that sense I can outshoot the tec 9.

  9. Shooting Faster Than The Cyclic Rate Of Your Gun… Resulting In A Jam,MIss Feed, Or Miss Fire…. = Outshooting Your gun

  10. It could mean that upgrading your rifle will raise your scores. I began shooting NRA smallbore prone matches with a Kimber 82g target rifle. After two years it had gotten me to 99.1% & had plateaued at the top of the Expert classification. I then upgraded to an Anschutz prone rifle. My scores, in thee months went up 0.6% to 99.65% & solidly in Master classification. So in a sense, I could outshoot my Kimber,

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