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

My hubby says… “older than dirt, but not as old as rocks”. Personally I’m going with “almost as old as dirt”

@DBrogue bahahaha - I’ll be borrowing this one.


@Zee we’re you able to access Google Drive folder with the drills and targets?

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Looks like I can :smile: SO awesome!

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Yep, defensive and precision shooting are two different things completely.

It is only under the rarest self defense scenarios the average self defender is going to have to hit a 3" circle or smaller target to save a life.

For most SD’s their time and resources are far better spent working on hitting center mass at the most common self defense distances under stress once they’ve mastered the basics.

The typical self defender isn’t rescuing hostages, or a SWAT/HRT member taking down badguys in a bank holdup hiding behind human shields.

Close contact and distances out to 12’ cover the vast majority of SD encounters.

If you really want to work on challenging things that will likely save your life or the lives of others spend time with a good instructor learning to properly protect your draw and retain your weapon when in contact with an attacker and how to shoot safely with defensive accuracy from your back on the ground from a thumb indexed position both in contact and at an approaching attacker.

Honing your skills with precision drills at ever increasing distance is fun and challenging but it’s far less likely to save your life or the lives of others in a fight.


@WildRose I’m lucky in that I have the opportunity to train with a retired marine & deputy who was the firearms and swat instructor for the department.

We’re always honing SD tactics from on the back shooting to using a curb as cover to seated in a restaurant and having to engage. We rarely train at greater than 14’.

Our local CCW quals are 7, 10, & 15 yards.

7 yards: two to the chest one to the head, two mags until empty at two targets

10 & 15 yards: two mags at center mass until empty at two targets.

I also believe that shooting with different coaches/instructors makes for a better shooter. Some people while good believe their way is the only way. Different perspectives makes one more well rounded.


I’d warn you that while most of that sounds good that 2 to the chest and one to the head isn’t something you ever want to repeat online and certainly don’t want to practice because it comes with grave consequences and should you ever be involved in a defensive shooting your entire online history is going to be gone over with a microscope.

It opens you up to murder charges as it demonstrates a clear intent to kill rather than simply stopping the threat and really opens you up to a wrongful death lawsuit.

That’s what we teach or did for CQB in the military but that’s a totally different world. Some police may teach it but they have qualified immunity and we do not.

I wish other guys crossing over from the military/police world would stop trying to teach it as a part of lawful self defense. No recognized program or trainer I’m aware of teaches it because of all of the potential legal consequences that follow and they could easily themselves end up in serious trouble legally if any of their students is involved in a shooting and applies it.

Remember we must be perfect in our claims of self defense and we can only shoot to stop, not to kill, intentional head shots are going to be seen by prosecutors, judges, and juries as a clear intent to kill.

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@WildRose it’s what they teach here in CA and what they taught in the AZ CCW course. In fact it’s required at 7 yards during CCW quals.

I understand what you’re saying, but I would argue that it doesn’t show a “clear intent to kill,” it shows one was following the training they received from and the standards of the agency that issued the permit.

Here are the qual requirements directly from the Sheriffs Department which is our issuing agency.



I think that a prosecutor is going to have a hard time making hay if that’s what they required to get your CCW.
USCCA teaches a better secondary target is the pelvis… larger and less mobile… and that makes sense to me. But apparently the riverside sheriff hasn’t caught up with the times.

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I’m going to speak with our Sheriff, luckily I worked on his campaign and have direct access. I just reviewed 2 neighboring counties, neither are teaching/requiring this. In fact their quals are a straight 70% from the 3,5,&7 yard lines.

I think these are a hold over from the previous Sheriff he was anti-citizen carry even though he claimed to be pro 2A.


Excellent idea!

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To prosecutors and juries it definitely does. Use at your own risk but it’s absolutely a good way to end up on the wrong side of the bench in either a civil or in deciding whether or not to even charge you and certainly can have a big effect on a jury when it comes to deciding guilt or innocence.

I advise against it at all costs unless there is absolutely no other choice.

That’s one problem with having LEO agencies determine the qualifying criteria rather than civilian self defense experts.

They have qualified immunity, we do not.

You gal’s should consider running this through the ask a lawyer thread or making it part of one of the podcasts in the future.


I would definitely be interested in hearing an Attorney’s thoughts on this. If they feel the same way as @WildRose it might help to get the Sheriff to change the quals and training.

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I have a pretty good relationship with the DAs office too, I’m going to ask them about this.

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Please do. Over the years I’ve been consulted by quite a few plaintiff/defense attys, criminal defense atty’s and DA’s on the subject of the lawful use of deadly force. It’s part of what I do.

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New thread started.


Depends on which gun I’m shooting. I have a 1911 that’s set up as a target pistol, I usually set that 7 to 10 yards for practice. I also have a Glock 30, which is my carry gun, I don’t target practice with it in the classic sense, I don’t even shoot both guns in the same session because the way I shoot them is so different. When I target practice, I do the classic, ‘squeeze the trigger and let it surprise you’ type of firing and take advantage of that sweet trigger. With my Glock, I practice drawing and firing two shots with both eyes open and no sights, I don’t squeeze the trigger, but rather pull in one motion as quickly as possible. I keep the target in close, since most self defense situations will likely happen within 10 feet.

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I disagree completely. The “Failure to Stop drill” is a standardized and prudent response during a self-defense situation when center mass hits are either ineffective or not possible (due to cover/concealment). Every police agency, military, and self-defense training center teaches the “Failure to Stop” as standard response. It is completely defensible in a Court of Law.

The ONLY thing that matters in a Court is AOJ. The prosecutor will look at the particulars of your case and be analyzing the Ability, Opportunity, and Jeopardy of the situation (every situation is going to be different with a different legal filter applied based on which of our 50 little countries (states) you are in). If AOJ is satisfied, the case will most likely not even go to a Grand Jury. If it does get charges filed and goes to a Grand Jury, or even on to a criminal trial, the use of a Failure to Stop is still completely defensible, since it is THE standard response when center mass hits don’t work.

Just remember, during your training sessions, a Failure to Stop is not always 2 chest and 1 head. It might be 3 chest and 1 head, or 4 chest and 2 pelvis, or 1 chest and 3 pelvis and 2 head, or… pick any combo you can think of. They usually Test for 2/1 during qualification courses, but you shouldn’t train to a Qual course; train for real world and mix it up.


My most common shooting distance for self defense training is 24ft and in.

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