Long Range Work


A cross section of commonly encountered handguns were used for the test,
along with a goodly amount of Cor Bon ammo.

There may be a time when you’re called upon to fight at long range. Keeping this in mind, I took a cross-section of commonly carried handguns and shot them — at long range.

This is not a scientific study, but merely a look at the ammunition shot, the handguns, and at what range. The same 12″x16″ steel plate target was used for all the guns, and we used a simple hit or miss system. This target was selected since it’s about torso size. To reduce some error and to replicate firing from supported cover, all firing was done resting the hands and arms on support. There were no sighters or practice rounds. We shot it once, and documented what was shot and hit.


It appears out to 75 yards, using a modest rest, the probability of a hit on a man is about 70 percent. I do wonder, though, how well you may be able to tell if a threat at that distance is armed or not to justify shooting. Remember, you have to be in fear for your life or the life of another, before you can use deadly force.

It was difficult to adjust the range if the bullet did not strike the target since during the test there was at least a foot of snow on the ground. In other situations you may be able to see impacts off-target and adjust your sights. A partner may also spot and help direct your fire. Also, the bigger bullets from the .45 and .44 handguns seemed to be more stable. I’ve always thought this to be the case, and the information seems to validate the point.

The highest revolver score was 69 percent, fired from a 4″ Model 29 .44 Mag in DA mode. This could appear to be weird to some, but I fired that segment personally and shoot DA quite often. However, to balance the books, the lowest score with a revolver was 47 percent, also fired DA, from the Model 57 .41 Magnum.

I think the auto scores also reflect the best triggers. I think this is a significant factor, as a crisp trigger is much easier to use than a creepy one.

It’s my belief that with a reasonable amount of practice these scores would improve, and that same practice might also provide you with additional skills to engage a target at moderate to longer ranges — should you ever have to.

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