A couple months ago, I was showing off a new pistol to a friend of mine. This friend carries a gun regularly, but certainly is not involved in the world of self-defense the way I am. His first question about the pistol was, “How accurate is it?”
After I assured him it would do the job, we chatted a bit more and went our separate ways. But something was gnawing at me. At first I thought I was being a little overly sensitive. Perhaps my delicate male ego was hurt because I thought he was questioning the quality of my pistol. Soon I realized that was not it. What was rolling around in my brain was the reason for the question about accuracy.
You see, there is no good reason to really get too deep down the accuracy rabbit hole unless you are going to be using your pistol for bullseye competition or some other long-range shooting event. Yep. I said it. I called shooting a target at 25 yards a “long-range” shooting event.
I don’t get into that sort of competition. That is not why I own and use pistols. I can shoot straight at distance. In fact, I just came in second in an impromptu shooting event where some friends and I were shooting 4-inch clay pigeons scattered around the berm behind the 25-yard target. But that is not a gunfight. And unless things get REALLY out of hand, I don’t expect to be in a gunfight where I am required to take a 25-yard shot.
When it comes to accuracy, I demand that my pistols be able to put rounds into the chest cavity of a human attacker at ranges between contact and about 15 feet. For you accuracy snobs out there, I will grant you this: It is much easier to put rounds into the chest cavity if you have a highly accurate pistol. But on the flip side of that, if your pistol shoots an 8-inch group from a Ransom rest at 25 yards, I say that is good enough. What would that be, a 2.6-inch group at 25 feet? That means the gun is doing its job of putting projectiles where you are aiming. Now you need to do your job and aim correctly. That’s pretty difficult in a high-stress situation.
Gunfights are close. They are fast. They are dynamic. They are stressful. You don’t need the hammer-forged barrel with the custom-cut rifling and the match-grade trigger and the secret squirrel “God as my witness” sights with the .125-inch post and .156-inch notch.
What you really need is a gun that you will carry all day, every day. You need a gun that goes “bang” every time you pull the trigger. You need to be able to hit an 11- by 17-inch piece of paper from 3 feet while you are moving to cover and pushing your loved ones out of the way.
You need the strength and skill to be able to fight your attacker while you control your gun and shove it in his ribs for one shot that will, hopefully, convince the bad guy that this fight is not worth having.
If you can shoot one ragged hole at 25 yards, I say, “Jolly good.” But now, shove the heel of your left hand into an attacker’s chin, turn to protect your gun, draw and fire from retention as you take two steps backward on uneven ground. If those rounds hit the target, your gun is accurate enough.
All you need then is to work on your fighting skills.