What distance do you set your target at (handgun)?


@Dawn, My “line in the sand” is at 5 yards. I typically warm up at 3 yards and focus a lot of my time at 5 and 7 yards. Since I handguns are used mostly for hand defense, my hallways (both upstairs and down) are about 20 yards. The only time I practice at a distance greater than 7 yards is when my daughter and I have a “friendly” competition to see who can hit target closest to center mass.


I typically start at 7 yards and then go to 10, 15 & 20 with pistol. With rifle, it depends on which rifle I’m shooting. AR-15 (.223/5.56) I start at 20 with iron sights, switch to 50 with the red dot and go to 100 to 150 with the 3x magnifier. With the 6.5 I start at 50 and go out from there. My AR-10 (308) I start at 100 and go out from there, sometimes out to 500, though I do try further than that sometimes.


Welcome to the group @Jason2! I started to add in a 4 yd and sometimes closer because that’s in the distance range of most assaults.


Thank you for the welcome Zee! I might try that sometime. Thanks!


Welcome to the community @Jason2. Sounds like you have a good plan for practice.

@Leonard, you and I have the same thoughts. I live in an apartment and don’t have a lot of room. If someone breaks in the entrance door it is already at 15-20 feet away and I won’t let him or her get any closer if I can help it.


Sounds like a good distance plan, @Jason2!

Are you shooting completely at an outdoor range or are you doing pistol at an indoor range?


Obviously, the rifle is outside, though I do bring my AR-15 in .223/5.56 to the indoor range. I go to the indoor range with my sidearms from time to time, but I have a landing strip on my property that’s nice and flat and I have a few targets set up at the far end. That’s where I shoot the most. I can practice drawing and shooting from hip or concealed carry positions, which every range I’ve been to has rules against. I have neighbors who like to shoot too, so we have a good time!


Thank you @NJStraightShooter, glad to be here!

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Welcome to the site. Sounds like you have a nice setup.

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I always work at multiple distances because real world situations never occur at fixed, standardized instances or angles.

Of course when you are teaching and testing a specific program you have to stick to what the program demands but I’m assuming your intent here is to discuss personal preferences outside of NRA and USCCA classes and qualification as well as state certifications.

I’m fortunate enough to own my own outdoor range and am able to shoot myself and train my students at any reasonably imaginable distance, angle, and scenario we can put together.

For myself I work the most probably at precision shooting because I do a lot of hunting with a handgun in addition to working on my own and training defensive shooting skills.

Wherever one is weakest one should concentrate their training is my philosophy.

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Not necessarily to argue but where did you come up with the 6’ distance being the norm for home invasion defense?

My experience is that they occur more commonly at 12-16’ since in most situations the defender is shooting at the length of a hallway or width/length of a bedroom, den, living room etc as the bad guys enter.

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You’re going to have a hard time arguing the “imminent threat” of grievous bodily harm or death beyond that range in most circumstances.

Something over 90% of self defense shootings occur between 6-21’ so it is within those distances that it makes the most sense for someone carrying for SD to work within those distances.

If you’re a cop those distances can change quite a bit as a lot of shootings can occur during a grapple or at much longer distances due to shootouts with bad guys which is why cops reasonable work quite a bit more on contact shooting and shooting well beyond 30’.

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Being able to shoot on your own property is such a huge bonus, @Jason2!

Glad to have you in the Community!

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Thanks, it works for us. Thanks for the welcome too!

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Exactly. I have a 2 mag rule. I will shoot at least two mag’s five days a week as long as I’m not traveling. Unless you have your own property/range to shoot on that’s just not possible.


That’s pretty cool! Do you fly?
We can shoot off our front porch but we dont have a place to land a plane :smile:

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I agree with you @WildRose. I live in a Medium Sized Apartment and if someone makes it inside our entrance door which is about 25 to 30 feet away, and they start to charge towards me before I get a shot on them it may be 15-20 feet when I stop them. That is where I expect the distance to be on an inside attack.


It’s all family land. My uncle has the plane and a lot of our friends and family have planes. I’m not a licensed pilot, but I fly (pilot) all the time. I just have to have a licensed pilot with me. I’m not into it like the rest of the family though and never had the inclination to get licensed.


Piloting an aircraft is close to the ultimate power rush perhaps second only to running a big Dozier. :grinning:


Years ago, I was driving the big Euclid Dump Truck in a scrap metal yard in Elizabeth, New Jersey. That took some getting used to at first. Doesn’t handle like a car at all. :wink:

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