Question of the Day: What’s Your Favorite Shooting Distance?

If you can ignore the mucho macho homophobic asides, trainer Gabe Suarez’s blog entries are not without insight. His latest effort at focuses on a self-defense rifleman’s need to know how to shoot people—yes people!—at both close-quarters and long distances. My experiences at the rifle range backs up his theory that shooters tend to focus on one or the other . . .

I see people shooting long range all day long and marksman practicing CQB . . . at speciality schools like Gabe’s. I ascribe to the theory that it’s a good idea to develop shooting skills at all distances with all kinds of weapons systems.

When I go to the rifle range, I’ll shoot my .45 at 100 yard targets. When I go to the indoor range, I’ll fire my Remington 700 SPS at point blank range.

Of course, we all have our favorites. Mine? Handgun at 10 yards, rifles at 50. Yours?


  1. avatar miforest says:

    I like the 10yd range for handguns, 50 for rifles and shotguns wit slugs. I also do 100 a lot but prefer 50. most off-hand, but some bench too.

    1. avatar John Fritz says:

      Exactly same numbers I use at the range. 10 yd handgun / 50 yd rifle or shotgun.

      1. avatar Ryan Finn says:

        I’m with you guys.

  2. avatar Ralph says:

    For shooting at people, I’m thinking drones at 6000 miles would be my personal fave, especially if the people can shoot back.

  3. avatar Gunnutmegger says:

    Much like exercise, you gain more from shooting practice when you set a high bar and strive to exceed it. A low threshold might be easy to achieve but it gains you little in terms of skill.

    For handgun marksmanship (as opposed to defensive drills), 50′ or 75′ are the distances that make you work to achieve tight groups while still being within the practical range of a handgun with iron sights. Sure, defensive/draw-and-shoot drills are more realistic at 15-30 feet and that’s a good distance to practice those skills at. But you won’t improve your skills as much if you only shoot handguns at spitting distance.

  4. avatar JOE MATAFOME says:

    My favorite distance is 25 yards with my Kimbers and the 500’s. I always start with five shots at 5 yards and move out 5 yards each round until I get to the 25 yard mark. I’ll shoot 30 rounds at the Army L target (used in RI for qualifying, you need to score 195 out of 300 which is really easy) and then add up my score. I start at 25 yards with the 500’s and I usually shoot about 10 to 20 rounds. I just ordered the reduced target loads from Ballistic Supply for my 500’s, and I’m going to use this ammo (very light recoil) to qualify on the army L.

  5. avatar Bob H says:

    5-10 yds with .32 NAA pistol (I have trouble hitting the paper with this weapon at 15 yds)
    5-30yds with .40 and 5.7 x 28 pistol.
    25-100yds 5.7 x 28 and .40 carbines.
    All shooting done without supports, benchrests, bi- or tri-pods.

  6. avatar Sean says:

    Depends on the gun.

    Shot my Garand today at 100 and 200 yards. Squeezed a magazine out of my 5″ Kimber at 100 yards just to see if I could hit anything. I think I hit the target 3 times.

    10 yards is my usual pistol shooting distance. 5-7 yards when shooting my Kel-Tec P3AT, or my 442.

    Other guns, other distances. It depends

  7. avatar Foghorn says:

    Pistol? 15-20 yards.

    Rifle? Plop me at 600 yards and I’m happy all day long.

    1. avatar Ralph says:

      600 yards? What are you shooting, bro? I can’t hit crap with my AR15 at 600.

      1. avatar Foghorn says:

        when I’m having fun, I use the rifle pictured in my post here. When I’m competing, I’m using one of the two ARs discussed here. Sweet Trijicon 3-9×40 on one, iron sights on the other.

    2. avatar Magoo says:

      Yep, me too. Nothing better than 600 yds when I’m on, and nothing better to focus the mind when I’m not.

  8. avatar -Hoff says:

    Generally as far as I (we) can? Aside from the Army, I’ve never actually shot at a range. For the most part, its “go jump on the 4 wheeler and drive till I yell at ya to stop” We shoot the mosin nagants and mausers all day long at 300 yards or so (we’re shooting, err… propane tank sized targets). My ground hog guns are easy 200 yard tack drivers. Pistols are the tree line usually at 40 or so yards. Shotguns, 100 or so to sight in for deer season. What I have noticed is that no matter what me or the gang is shooting, we’ve never really dropped below 20-25 yards. Hell, even our bow targets are at 20 and 30 yards. 10 yards has always felt, I dont know, unsafe? Thats too damned close.

  9. avatar DonWorsham says:

    30 feet is my max for my handguns. That is the distance (really it’s 32ft) from the bedroom door to the side enterance door. I shoot my AR once a year at Camp Perry, OH in what is called a ‘snow-flake shoot’. Pop-up targets from 50 meters out to 300 meters.

  10. avatar Jamie says:

    Pistols: 5-50 yds.
    Shotgun: 20-50 yds
    AR15: 100-300 yds
    AR10 & Rem 700 .308: 3-500 yds, my fav!
    If I’m not hunting I’ll be pulverizing clay pigeons, milk jugs & milk cartons. I’m not a fan of group shooting other than to zero my guns, I wanna see shit fly apart when it gets shot:)

  11. avatar Tom W. says:

    I take my Grandfather’s advice, a WWII Veteran, and implement a K.I.S.S. methodology……. Keep it simple, stupid.

    Think about your given firearm, and its given purpose. M1 Garands, worked at point blank ranges, and distance, for the shooter that kept perspective.

    Shoot a Luke Skywalker super .45 at 100 yds? Great.
    Shoot an old Winchester 94 and hit whatever you point at?????? Also Great.

    Situational awareness, and practice, practice, practice. How many self-defense shootings occur beyond 7 yds?

    If you door or window is kicked in at 0 dark thirty, you defend yourself with whatever means necessary. If it’s a Barrett .338 Lapua Magnum, or a 50 year old Colt Police Positive, hits are hits, and misses are misses.

    Be proficient with what you have.

  12. avatar Sean says:

    Subcompacts: anything less than 25′

    Handguns: anything less than 50′

    Shotguns: anything less than 50′

    Rifles: 100 yards exact – 400 yards exact (NOT 138′ or 321′)

    I dislike practicing at distances 5 yards or less. I prefer a 2 handed isoceles stance/grip.

  13. avatar Magoo says:

    RF says: “If you can ignore the mucho macho homophobic asides, trainer Gabe Suarez’s blog entries are not without insight.”

    If you say so, but I think the guy is a douchebag. The photo says it all, really.

    1. avatar MALTHUS says:

      It’s photoshopped, but humorous because it contains an element of truth.

  14. avatar Gabe Suarez says:

    “Mucho macho homophobic”? Well thank you for the compliment bro.

    Maggoo…right back atcha.

    The Barret is not photoshopped at all. We have a sense of humor and after a Anti-Material Sniper Course, we decided to ham it up for the photo. Holding that big dog for the camera is a workout in itself.

    We like to push things so we shoot handguns (on IPSC steels) out to 100 yards. No problem if you have the fundamentals down. Don’t do much with shotgun these days, but the 300 yards for the assault rifle (I can’t bring myself to call them carbines…and after all you guys know my feelings on being PC). We have taken semi auto 308s like M1As and Saigas, and PSLs out to 1000 yards too.


  15. avatar Gunnutmegger says:

    “Holding that big dog for the camera is a workout in itself.”

    Only if you have internet muscles.

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