By Chris Heuss:
I’m a rifle guy. Sure, I’ve always had pistols, but I never shot them much. I trained with a pistol just enough to be confident and effective. Being able to shoot a pistol at 25 yards was always enough for me. My newfound passion for long-distance pistol shooting was discovered like most things: by accident.
I’d been searching for a suppressor host. I decided on a Springfield Xdm 9mm. It ticked all of my boxes: suppressor height sights, threaded barrel, large frame, long sight radius, and aggressive grips.
After leaving my local gun store, I took few boxes of Monarch steel-cased ammo and my new pistol to an indoor range to function test the handgun. I sent the target out to five yards, lined up the sights and bang.
The shot went left, as did the next few. Upon inspection of my front sight, I found the site was not centered. The Springfield’s sights are fixed; I needed a gunsmith or a site pusher to fix the issue.
The sights where off but the shot placement was consistent. At least I had a reliable, accurate pistol.
I moved the target out to 10 yards, held right. Bang! Ten ring. I pushed the target out to 15 yards, held a little more right and hit the 10 ring again. After a mag at 15 yards, I sent a fresh target to 25 yards. Another mag at 25 yards and I was getting bored.
I moved another fresh target out to 50 yards. I had shot my Beretta 92 (with Wilson Combat) upgrades at 50 yards only once before with surpassing accuracy. I raised my Springfield, lined-up my sights, placed the front sight tip to the right, and started scoring hits with relative ease.
I was surprised how easy it was, but I got bored again.
Looking for more of a challenge, I got another clean target and moved it out to 75 yards. I raised my Springfield, lined-up my sights and aimed right again. My front sight was considerably less steady than at 50 yards.
I slowed down my shooting a lot. I concentrated on my breathing and trigger pull as if I was trying to shoot small groups at 300 yards with a rifle. Every time my sight picture was correct, I squeezed the trigger a tiny bit. My first three rounds landed in a five-inch circle.
It’s not great, but it’s pretty good, all things considered. It was my first time shooting a new pistol, steel-cased cheap ammo and off-center sights. Shooting a pistol at 75 yards will turn heads.
After a mag at 75 yards, I was running low on ammo and time. I decided to put a clean target at 100 yards, just out of curiosity. I scored no hits at 100 yards. I couldn’t make a good sight picture. I just couldn’t judge my hold at that distance.
Driving home, I had some time to reflect. I really enjoyed stretching my pistol to an extended range. The desire to shoot further and more accurately overwhelmed me.
When I got home, I did a quick Google search for long range pistol shooting. I found people shooting 200 yards and farther with open sights regularly. I’d discovered a whole world of long distance pistol shooting.
I began to wonder what would it take for me to shoot a pistol at 400 yards. I quickly had more questions than answers. What pistol, caliber, and ammo would work best?
I made some parameters and a loose budget. I needed to keep the pistol in $1,000 range. I don’t have the time to reload so I needed to find the right store bought ammo. Below is a list of basic parameters I have decided on.
1. Semi auto pistol in the $1,000 range
2. Non Custom pistol
3. Over the shelf ammo
4. No optic
5. No rifle rounds or wildcats
6. Target size to be determined
As far as pistols go I know I would need a long sight radius, adjustable sights, a good trigger and good ergonomics. I prefer semi auto pistols so I started a tentative list of contenders.
– Walther Q5 match 9mm
– Eaa Hunter in 10mm
– KimberTLE 2 in 10 mm
– CZ75 in 9mm
– 1911 in .45
– Rock Island Armory ultra match 10mm
My goal is to be able to reliably hit a man-size target at 400 yards. I know a lot of people can do this. People can shoot much further than this. If you want to throw Jerry Miculek into the human category, then humans can even shoot a pistol accurately at 1000 yards with no magnification.
This series of articles is not about them or trying to be as good as them. This series of articles is about my personal journey to 400 yard pistol accuracy.
I am new to this and need your help. Please comment with equipment, ammo, and technique suggestions.
I need suggestions on the following:
1. Pistol (as above)
3. Ammo manufacturer
4. High quality safety glasses
5. Target size
6. Target manufacturer
7. How do I accurately document my progress?
8. Whats a good ballistics calculator?
I look forward to your feedback.