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-   -   How many rounds to become proficient? (https://forums.1911forum.com/showthread.php?t=80328)

CTI1USNRET 04-21-2004 06:19 PM

How many rounds to become proficient?
How many rounds do you think it takes to become proficient with your weapon? Reload practice? Clearing jams practice?

MarkW 04-21-2004 07:00 PM

Everyone is different
It depends on the individuals skill, dexterity, mental capacity, etc.....

Crazy Horse 04-21-2004 07:15 PM

I would say if you took a pistol shooting course from one of the many well known shooting schools, in which you'll shoot approximately 3000 rounds in five days of 8-10 hours-per-day of shooting, that at the end of that course you'll have the fundamentals of basic shooting down. From that base you can then either take more advanced courses, which I would highly recommend, or practice on your own.

Once you have the fundamentals of pistol shooting down, the key is PRACTICE. Practice, practice, practice. The more you practice, the better you'll become. I would say that everyone should shoot a bare-bones minimum of once a month, with a more recommended amount of shooting being once a week (i.e. every weekend). Get into reloading because that really takes the bite out of ammo costs; besides it's fun.

If you don't take lessions from one of the well known schools, then you're gonna have a hard time CORRECTLY learning the basics of pistol shooting. Then you'll just be practicing bad techniques over and over; reinforcing that which you're doing wrong.

Learning how to shoot from your buddy, may or may not be a good idea. Depending upon what sort of skill level your buddy has and whether or not your buddy has the teaching skills to be able to adequately translate his knowledge of shooting skills (given that he has them in the first place) to you.

The bottom line is I would highly recommend taking a basic five day pistol course from one of the great schools, namely: Thunder Ranch, Gunsite, Sig Academy and Blackwater - to name just a few of the better known ones.

XTrooper 04-22-2004 07:05 AM


Originally Posted by CTI1USNRET
How many rounds do you think it takes to become proficient with your weapon? Reload practice? Clearing jams practice?

There's no magic number that, once reached, will make someone "proficient." Everyone learns and responds to that learning at a different rate.

NORD 04-22-2004 12:20 PM


Originally Posted by CTI1USNRET
How many rounds do you think it takes to become proficient with your weapon? Reload practice? Clearing jams practice?

Just to give you an idea...I have about 2000 rounds through my 1911 and I am still learning and practicing. I feel confident with my pistol in some situations but I know I have a lot to learn still. I have learned some invaluable tips and ideas just reading threads on this forum!

CTI1USNRET 04-22-2004 12:30 PM

I'm not just starting out. I've put about 15,000 rounds through two 1911 pattern autos in the past two years. I'm just curious to hear the numbers you guys think indicates sufficient practice.

I'll be buying a progressive press and expect my shooting will increase dramatically.

I'm also considering a course at the SIGARMS Academy in Epping, NH. I live about 70 miles from there.

jbewley 04-23-2004 09:16 AM

I agree with Crazy Horse. I can tell you from personal experience that I put probably five thousand rounds down range in the first year I got back into shooting. My grip/stance/etc was worthless, and while I read a lot of books and tried a lot of things, I never got it quite right.

I'm not talking about one of those "Man, my IDPA scores are awful" kinds of bad-shooting. I'm talking about "I sure wish I could hit a paper plate at seven yards" kind of bad shooting.

If I had continued down that path, I'd have put another ten or twenty thousand rounds downrange without a lot of improvement.

Then I took a five-day Defensive Handgun course from Thunder Ranch. The real value from taking a (good) formal class is that you have an instructor correcting you every time you screw something up. So you build good skills instead of reinforcing bad ones.

The net result isn't that I'm the world's best pistol shot. I'm not. However, I have a stable stance and grip, and as long as I'm halfway paying attention, I can put rounds where I need to. And now I find that my skill improves every time I go shooting. Before, I couldn't say that.

So, in my case (everyone learns differently), formal training was well worth the money.

Walking Point 04-23-2004 10:05 AM

One of the best things about USPSA and IDPA is that they will show you where your weaknesses are when it comes to accuracy and gun handling under whatever pressure the timer/crowd can manage to generate.

brownie0486 04-23-2004 02:01 PM

I've got 30+ years behind pistols and at least 500,000 rds down range in that time, I'm just getting where I'm proficient enough in my mind. :rolleyes:

I've seen men and women shoot for years and not be proficient but a danger to everyone around them. Training will be key as another noted, and not the training which entails you firing bny yourself with buds on the ranges line.


AFDavis11 04-23-2004 02:12 PM

With the right practice, carrying, drawing, clearance drills, reloading, dry fire, sight alignment, gun retention etc. I think you should fire atleast ONE round. After that shooting 100,000 rounds is no different than the first. In fact most target shooting is actually NEGATIVE training and will simply ingrain more bad gunfight habits than good. So, I'll throw out the controversial and flame absorbing "one" as my answer. Ofcourse you'll have to throw in years of training in all the other aspects before you'll know whether I'm right or not. :p

Nortonics 04-28-2004 04:28 PM

In shotgun clay sports it's generally accepted that it takes between 10,000 and 15,000 rounds before you're considered married to you gun. I'd say that's not an unlikely number for handguns too...

DPSRangemaster 04-28-2004 04:31 PM

I am at 16 years and about 100k rounds and have yet to become an expert at any but I consider myself proficient with all that I own + others.

Later, TI

wichaka 04-28-2004 04:36 PM

How many rounds do you think it takes to become proficient with your weapon? Reload practice? Clearing jams practice?

It takes the average person 3-5,000 repetitions of something for it to become second nature, i.e., you'll do it automatically.

Some folks are much faster at picking it up, I've not seen anyone who had to go that many reps., but the more practice the better.

Brass Balls 04-28-2004 04:38 PM


TimWarner 04-28-2004 04:47 PM

My theory is, if you ask yourself if you're proficient, and you have to think about the answer, keep practicing.

Mus 04-28-2004 06:34 PM

It seems like alot of people have trouble distinguishing between proficiency and mastery.

I think Crazy Horse gave one of the better answers.

XTrooper 04-28-2004 08:22 PM


Originally Posted by CTI1USNRET
I'm also considering a course at the SIGARMS Academy in Epping, NH. I live about 70 miles from there.

I took an advanced pistol course there a few years ago when Bank Miller was still director of the academy. It was excellent and I'd recommend the school to anyone.

AZ Husker 04-28-2004 08:27 PM

Damn thing is I keep forgetting how many rounds I've fired...I'll NEVER get there. :dope:

aclundwall 04-28-2004 08:45 PM


I became proficient somewhere between 61,875 and 61,876 :biglaugh:

Man, there's no answer to this. Go to your local target range and compare yourself to those around you, and you'll feel pretty good.

Then go to a match, and watch the hotshots, and go home feeling humbled!

Redhat 04-28-2004 10:06 PM


Originally Posted by CTI1USNRET
How many rounds do you think it takes to become proficient with your weapon? Reload practice? Clearing jams practice?

First you have to decide what "proficient" is. It also depends on your practice sessions. Some folks blow hundreds of rounds in a single session and don't improve anything. Practice doesn't make perfect...perfect practice makes perfect. In other words you should focus on the basics and then concentrate on your weaknesses. It helps greatly to have someone with you who knows what to look for like jerking the trigger, losing focus on the front sight etc.

I would advise you to become comfortable with immediate / remedial action drills...what to do if the gun jams or fails to fire. One way to practice this is using dummy rounds that aren't loaded with powder or primer.

Once you have the basics of grip, stance, sight picture, trigger control and follow through down you can maybe begin some drawing from a holster (with gun empty). until you can do it smoothly , coming from holster to target (sight picture) with proper grip established. This can be followed by dry fire shooting (with no ammo), until you have the feel of it.

The rest depends on how far you want to go. What I have described is just the beginning. I have been doing this for about 12 years and so my definition of "proficient" is probably a little different. When you can handle everything from draw to jams to hitting the target you're on your way but by that time I thinkl you'll discover the more you think you know, the more you have to learn...it never ends.

If you have the means...get professional instruction this will save you time in un-learniing bad habits that you may start out with.


Good Luck

bud41 04-28-2004 10:12 PM

1000s in every firearm I own, but I bet I've shot more .22 LRs since the age of 10 than any weapon I shot. and now if I take my Ruger 10/22s and MKIIs
out my kids will shoot 1000 and ask for more, and all are proficient with most weapons owned, mastery should be home schooled., and self learned.

KIMBER45TLE 04-28-2004 10:39 PM

Loaded Question
I've seen some people pick up handguns and were naturals at it and out shoot me inside of a week. Am I good? No, use to be maybe, but not now eyes are getting bad or at least that's what I tell them at the range. There's always something to learn and the best way to learn it is to find someone better at it than you. I still hunt with a handgun, does that make me good? NOT. I'd love to spend about six months with Bob Munden on OLN. Would that make me good? Don't know if it would make me good, but probably a darn sight better.

ckcooper 04-29-2004 01:19 AM

I would have to agree with Redhat...dry firing will greatly improve your trigger control. I would also agree with all that suggest practicing malfunction drills. You will be amazed at how you fumble the first time you try to clear a jam under pressure. As a cop, I have been fortunate to get quality and quantity training with my handguns at no cost. I would also suggest slowing down your pace at the range. I see too many people try to empty their mags as quickly as possible, with horrible technique (and horrible results) If you slow down and get the fundamentals right you will be smoothe and more efficient, then the speed will come naturally.

Reddevil 04-29-2004 10:07 AM

I've never kept track of how many rounds I shoot. Maybe that's something I should do. For me, I don't see how I can tell if I'm proficient or not by the amount of rounds I've shot. I think that's something I'll figure out by improved range practices. I think to really be proficient with their carry gun, one has to not only practice with their carry gun but also practice with a .22 trainer. For those of us with 1911's and Glocks, we just need a .22 top end. Buying a good gas-powered airsoft gun that's the same as your carry gun and practicing with that and dry-firing all help to be more proficient. It all comes together after attending shooting schools or classes and using all these tools to practice everything you've learned. Putting live rounds down range isn't really necessary to become proficient since most of your training can be done with dry-firing and airsoft. Going to the range just helps verify that what you've been doing has been right. There's an excellnt thread on the subject similar to this at Warriortalk... http://warriortalk.com/showthread.php?t=749

lotono 04-30-2004 04:56 AM

hand gun profeciency
aside from safe handling and cleaning, you should be able to hit anything with in 5 to 50 yards and kill it or put it down . and put a second one in it with in the next two shots one shot is better.. the receiver of bullet in question is a 125lb to 244lb manimal. :p

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