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At what range does a handgun become ineffective?


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At the range where the user can’t hit their target, which for most people is 30 yards or less, pistols are really hard to shoot well.
The gun and cartridge may be capable of longer range accuracy. Elmer Keith used to regularly hit targets at 100 yards and farther, but he was quite the prodigy, firing a gun and cartridge he practically built himself.

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A lot depends on the gun too. You are not going to take a .22 rimfire and shoot it in a derringer and hit anything at 100 or 200 yards consistantly, no matter who the shooter is. 

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I've heard it likened to field artillery.
Consider tube length to distance fired.
A good artillerist can drop a round in your hip pocket anywhere from her to yonder, and it doesn't much matter how far yonder is: in like manner, a handgun barrel's length vs distance fired ... well, you get the idea.
I've used Keith's method of sitting with my back to a stump or something solid, drawing up my knees and clamping a two-hand grip between my knees: I've made hundred yard shots on groundhog sized targets, back when my eyes and I were both young.
The pistol can be remarkably accurate; the shooter is the deciding factor... most times ... I must agree with Big Sage, though, in his incisive observation!

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13 minutes ago, Big Sage, SASS #49891 Life said:

A lot depends on the gun too. You are not going to take a .22 rimfire and shoot it in a derringer and hit anything at 100 or 200 yards consistantly, no matter who the shooter is. 

 

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It's mostly the shooter's skill, the ballistics of the cartridge and the quality of a gun. 

 

I make no claims about being a super pistol shot, but I have no doubt that I could take a Colt 1903 Pocket Hammerless in .32 ACP and hit a standard IPSC target at 100 yards with more than half the time.

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Depends on the gun and the caliber.  I have some (.357, .41 & 44 mag) that are good out to 100 yards and a TC (30-30) that is dead on at 150 yards.  I like to play around with long range handgun.  The longest shot I have ever taken on a mule deer is 75 yards.  It was with a Super Blackhawk, 7 1/2 inch barrel, .44 magnum and it dropped with a 180 grain bullet.   

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We shoot our pistols at 100 yards every time we go to the cabin. Hits come regular.

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In 2014 after night of horse patrol downtown in the entertainment section:

It was in the early morning hours on Friday, Nov. 18 when 49-year-old Larry McQuilliams roamed throughout downtown Austin with AK and .22-caliber-type rifles, shooting more than 100 rounds at government buildings and a bank.

Inside his rental van was a copy of the extremist tract Vigilantes of Christendom, which preaches race war.

When he approached the Austin Police Department headquarters, Sgt. Adam Johnson shot McQuilliams once from 312 feet away—while holding onto the reigns of two horses. That’s roughly 100 yards.

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I was involved in IHMSA Silhouette shooting from about 1981 -1996 . and perfect runs with a revolver on the 40 targets was not unheard of.

The fartherest targets were at 200 meters. With the other handguns that were used , single shots of several different styles , if a competitor had a miss , he was pretty much out of the running for winning that day.

Rex :D

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It takes lots of practice and hopefully that practice isn’t on live animals, like one ***hole I know of. 
 

Personally, the only thing I would shoot at with a handgun at 100 yards would be targets…or the guy that got away with my rifle / ammo. ;)

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I showed up the range one day in 1985 with a 6 1/2" Blackhawk with iron sights in .357. There was a bowling pin on the target rail at 100 yards. I loaded up, let loose one round, standing  and the pin fell. I unloaded the pistol, put my stuff in the car and went home. That was the best shot I was ever going to make.

 

Imis

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Decades ago I shot Silhouette with a scoped Thompson Contender out to 100 Meters.  Around the same time, a good shooting buddy and I would shoot 2 liter Coke bottles filled with colored water at 100 yards.  We had to "walk" the rounds into the bottles, but it was surprising how good we got with iron sights.  I used my Super Blackhawk or my Redhawk.  My buddy had a Virginia Dragoon that he was very good with.  We were shooting .44 mags with loads a little more than .44 special strength.

 

This was way before we started shooting cowboy.

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The maximum lethal range of the hotter .44 magnum rounds is > 400 yds, but can anyone HIT what they WANT to hit at that range? Very few people in this world can, and they would use a long-barreled tricked-out revolver.

The EFFECTIVE range of any handgun is the range at which you can reliably hit your target with that gun. As you practice more (I used to shoot 200 to 400 rounds every week in practice), you get better and your range gets longer until you reach your physical limits of eyesight and eye/hand coordination.

For self-defense purposes, the effective lethal range of nearly every handgun caliber is more than enough.

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6 hours ago, Rex M Rugers #6621 said:

I was involved in IHMSA Silhouette shooting from about 1981 -1996 . and perfect runs with a revolver on the 40 targets was not unheard of.

The fartherest targets were at 200 meters. With the other handguns that were used , single shots of several different styles , if a competitor had a miss , he was pretty much out of the running for winning that day.

Rex :D

Yep

and you had to have a cartridge with enough “oooph” to knock over a ram at 200 yards. My 44 mag , 300 grain bullet needed about 600 fps at 200 yards to qualify. Bullet weight (grains) x remaining velocity (fps) divided by 225,200 > .78. to be legal. 
With open sights at two hundred it is still a thrill to see the ram go over. 
Regards

:FlagAm:  :FlagAm:  :FlagAm:

Gateway Kid

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I fired 50 rounds from my S&W 36 "Chief's Special" in .38 Special at a billboard size target with a 6-inch bullseye.  The range was 100 yards and when I went down to look at my shot group, I could cover all 50 shots with a quarter.

 

Just took me only using fifty quarters to cover all the shots with a quarter.

 

S&W Model 36 "Chief's Special" in .38 Special

UHABCb.jpg

 

 

 

.

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I have a 44 Alaskan on its way to my LGS.
With that, I figure I could shoot at the ocean 100 yards away and still miss.
The intended use is MUCH closer, same for my 3" SP101.

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14 hours ago, Larsen E. Pettifogger, SASS #32933 said:

At what range does a handgun become ineffective?

 

For SASS shooters about three feet.

Depending on the load a 9mm has about 300lbs of energy at 100 yards. The military says that 59lbs is lethal. Now I'm not a ballistics expert, but that sounds like it'll still get the job done depending on the shooter and the target. 

 

I work at our LEO range every Wednesday and lucky me the instructors get free ammo. The instructors regularly train on 1/3rd silhouettes at 100 yards. I can now alternate and hit all 14 rounds from my S&W M&P Shield 9 Plus in the mid 8 seconds, we challenge each other on who can do it the fastest. We have also taken the 9mm, 40 S&W, and 357 all the way to 200 yards and I can hit an average of 5 of 14 rounds with that same 9mm on a 24" steel plate. My hit ratio increases with the firearm. With my 6 inch Manurhin MR73 with Speer Lawman .357 I can hit at 200yds on average 5 of 6 times (slow controlled fire). With the 40S&W  it drops way off. The hold on that at that distance with my duty gun is around 15 feet right and 15 feet high. You can no longer see the target you just pick a spot on the berm and shoot. 

 

Forty Rod. Try going to an RDS. The red dot will definitely help with old eyes (Presbyopia). IMO it is THE greatest tech to come out for defensive shooting since the hollow point. It'll also help teach better trigger control as your brain no longer has to focus on the sight picture/alignment anywhere near as much and you can immediately see your arc of movement with the dot and improve your hold. 

 

JEL

range 100yds200yds.jpg

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My Remington Outlaw .38 with a 7.5" barrel reaches out to 100 yards consistently, shooting 2-handed, offhand.

And the only time that it was for a bonus, I missed.  :angry:

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When it bounces off the shirt instead of penetrating.

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Handguns would be ineffective at most naval gunnery ranges.  (or were you talking about  shooting distance ranges)?

 

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I took a bull Elk at 55 yards, and a 4x4 Mulie at 75 yards in both cases the bullet completely penetrated the chest cavity both were one shot kills.  I used a 41 Mag with a 240 gr Hard cast flat point bullet. 

 

Jabez Cowboy

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