Why practice at 25 yards (with a handgun)?

Saw a comment on a link to one of my American Handgunner pieces over at Active Self Protection.  My article mentioned that I saw value in 25 yard handgun practice.  The commenter couldn’t understand why anyone needed to practice at that distance because “a person at 25 yards is hardly a threat” (written with snark).   This is a failure to think the thing through, from all relevant perspectives.

  1. A firearm is a stand off weapon, and you can easily engage someone at 25 yards.  So 25 yards is definitely within threat distance.  Not often, to be sure, here in the states, but Tom Givens had a student who had to put down a BG at that distance, and I’m sure there are quite a few other examples.  But admittedly, rare.
  2. It is true that almost anything – shooting-wise – that you can do well at 25 is becomes easy at 7.  And while there’s more to a shooting problem than shooting, shooting is part of it.
  3. Consider deadlifting in the context of building paramedic skills.  The medic knows they will have to sometimes lift patients from where they are to where they can receive treatment.  Say the average patient weighs 160 pounds.  When that medic is in the gym, deadlifiting, so that they can get strong enough to perform their job competently (lift patients competently), should they deadlift only 160 pounds?  Or should they shoot for, say, 300 pounds because the gym (like the range) is a sterile environment and everything is harder in the real world?  In the gym you lift from a position of advantage with technique that is designed not to injure you; at a trauma scene you are lifting from weird, difficult, and injury-prone angles.  Similarly on the range you shoot on flat, clear, even terrain while in the real world you have to fight for your life in whatever environment you find yourself in.  In the gym you can take your time and prepare to lift; at the range you can take your time and prepare to shoot a drill.  But in the real world you have to get that patient to safety and-or treatment quickly, just as in a life-threatening situation you have to access and shoot your gun quickly.  In both cases, you need to train in the artificial environment harder and to a higher standard because everything is harder in the real world.

Those are just three reasons to train at 25 yards.


2 thoughts on “Why practice at 25 yards (with a handgun)?

  1. Very well stated my friend. Sadly enough, most law enforcement departments can’t shoot “that far” any more. A “threat” in the true sense of the word, is not defined only by distance.


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