Bellow is another guest post from friend and frequent contributor to Looserounds, The owner of www.thenewrifleman.com talks a little about differing levels of accuracy.
A mental roadblock in learning to shoot is comparing yourself to others who have different goals. We see many online who post pictures of their rigs and the fantastic groupings they can achieve with setup x, y, or z. When I was new to the AR15 world the exposure the rifle gets as a 1MOA capable weapon (with the right ammo, barrel, ect) sets up the expectation of how good you should be shooting. Shooting tight groups and shooting for practical accuracy are two very different goals.
Is 1MOA the Gold Standard?
1 MOA is a great grouping and clearly shows the mastery of the rifle and component selection. You take the same rifle and shooter and put them in a competitive environment at short and mid-ranges and the groupings will open up significantly. When your heart is racing, when you have run from station to station, and when you are shooting from un-conventional positions, a 1MOA rifle’s capabilities are lost to the 4-10 MOA shooter. The rifle is still shooting to 1 MOA but the shooter is winded, stressed, and fighting a time limit. He or she won’t be shooting that rifle to its capabilities in such a scenario.
If you are trying to push yourself to get tight groupings inside of 100 yards or less… what is your goal? You don’t need 1MOA at 100 yards to accurately put down a man-sized target. If someone was trying to cause you harm inside of 100 yards there is *no time* for 1MOA techniques. What will come in to play is your muscle memory, your eye quickly acquiring the sights, and your finger snapping off as many shots as necessary. The goal is to put someone down, and at 100 yards or less, fast and sloppy groupings are practical since we can keep shooting until the threat is gone. The beauty of the AR15 is that it is a controllable semi-auto weapon.
Other situations will demand more accuracy and that’s why we also practice shooting supported from conventional and unconventional positions. As a *new* shooter, work to achieve a modest goal of 3-4 MOA groups at 100 yards. Shooting 4 MOA will get hits on a man-sized target at 400 yards. Shooting 3 MOA or better will get you hits on a man-sized target at 500-600 yards. This is all provided that you understand your drop compensation and can dope the wind at the further distances. That skill will come with time and practice as well. If you go to the gun range and look at your fist sized 100 yard groupings in disappointment… stop being disappointed. You are doing well enough to push yourself and your rifle easily to 400 yards with a little practice.
When you hit the range, stop worrying about shooting small groups. Work on practical accuracy. Spend your time working on muscle memory and fast shooting out to 100 yards. Also spend time working a slower approach where you can reduce your group size by shooting from stable conventional and unconventional positions. Don’t worry about the guy with the varmint AR15 next to you and his 1MOA groupings. His goals are likely different then yours. He want’s to shoot woodchucks. You want to learn to defend your self, your family, your country, and your way of life.
1) If you belong to a club that doesn’t allow you to practice defensive shooting… then time to find a new club or get involved with the club to change the bylaws.
2) Getting to a competition will show shortcomings in your current shooting ability. Learning how you suck allows you to work on the skills that suck.
3) Your box stock AR15 will take you very far in your journey to become a rifleman. The human behind the trigger is the bottleneck.