Recently, I started asking around for some input. One of the recurring topics that you guys latched onto was the concept of standards. To be honest, I’m all about objective performance measurements for accuracy, speed, and other elements. As part of a broader goal, I want to make that a recurring element of our community.

I’d like to get your help, though.

You see, there are a lot of places out there with their own standards of performance. I received a few in the Facebook group, but I know there are many out there.

So here is the question: What are your favorite performance standards?

Ideas to get you started

To get the juices flowing, let’s look at some of the examples you guys shard with me.

Ash Hess

Ash Hess, a competitive shooter one of the primary authors of Army TC 3-22.9, put out an article over at Primary and Secondary detailing his baselines at different distances.

• 0-25 4-inch 1 sec or less splits standing (US Army zeroing ONLY 4 MOA for zeroing prone)
• 25-50 4 inch 2-3 second splits standing
• 50-100 4 MOA standing or Kneeling
• 100-199- 4MOA Standing supported
• 200-250- 4MOA Kneeling supported
• 250-500 4MOA Prone   


Now, this is MAX group size, or minimum competency. If you can’t do this, cold, on demand, you need to attend a base level class such as Appleseed before doing other classes. Seriously, you are wasting peoples time going to higher level classes if you can’t meet this

So that’s one option. I honestly can’t say how well I stack up to that one right now because I haven’t tested it at speed and at those distances.

AMTAC Shooting

Another interesting standard came from the American Tactical Shooting Instruction LLC site.

This one has the perspective on the “whole person” concept and dips into the author’s experience with the Sniper Adventure Challenge Race. These standards are much less focused on shooting accuracy than they are on physical capabilities. For example, you’ll find rucking, pullups, bushcrafting, and some shooting standards.

Though he doesn’t go as as publishing what the actual standards are.

This approach interests me primarily because it goes beyond shooting skills alone.

Over to You

Let me know your thoughts.

What kind of standards have you come across? How do you measure your own performance?

Matt

Matt

Matt is the primary author and owner of The Everyday Marksman. He's former military officer turned professional tech sector trainer. He's a lifelong learner, passionate outdoorsman, and steadfast supporter of firearms culture.
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26 Comments
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William
William
Guest

Personally I don’t think I’m necessarily a ‘bad’ shot but there’s no way I’d live up to the ‘Ash Hess’ minimal standard as described above, especially at distance. I’m a hobbyist at best so I’m never going to be kicking in doors or taking shots at threats over 100 yards away. Actually, a worst case scenario for me (God forbid) would likely involve living room or front lawn distances. I think for the average person it’s more of a ‘need’ standard versus a ‘want’ standard conversation.

Brent L Sauer
Guest

At 48 years old, I am about to retire from the Army after 30+ years of service. The ‘standards’ that I have been exposed to have been the Army qualification standards. Until I shot up to 500 yards in a civilian course in 2018, I had never shot at a distance greater than the 300m target in the Army qualification process. Another ‘first’ for me in 2018 was shooting in a two day Project Appleseed event. Knowing that the Army only taught me to qualify over the years, I left any false ideas of the Army having made me a… Read more »

Mark C.
Mark C.
Guest

I clover leafed my first three rounds at 100 yards for the first time with a .308 and some ammo I got in a trade from a metro sniper, Hornady ELD M-Tac to be exact, a few months ago. He was also the instructor teaching the precision rifle course I had taken. Having a suppressor took 25% of the recoil out and this was shooting prone. I didn’t know I could do that. I would wager I’ll never be able to do that in field conditions…and I’ll never take that 12 pound rifle in the field. Something that all the… Read more »

Mark C
Mark C
Guest
Replying to  The Marksman

Good point. I’m not Gov or Leo so a lot of my assumptions were from….80’s action films growing up. Just a fact, I guess…anyhoo, when you start listening to guys who have killed the bejesus out of dozens in the span of three decades and several continents it makes you stop and think. “Dont worry about that, focus on this and we’ll transition to that”…and then the light goes on and it clicks. All the whiz bang stuff becomes neat but null and the basics kick in when it’s time to hustle. I DO think people should have standards though.… Read more »

Colorado Pete
Colorado Pete
Guest
Replying to  The Marksman

When I was going through the gunsmithing program at Trinidad State Jr. College out here 42 years ago (ouch), the ‘holy grail’ was one minute of angle accuracy from a bolt-action sporter rifle (we were building sporters out of WWII German Mauser 98 bring-backs). Things have changed. Everyone seems to want to spend lots of $$ to get a 1/2 minute rifle yet how many get away from the bench, and do really serious position training? Whoops, that’s WORK.

Sunshine_Shooter
Replying to  Mark C.

It sounds like you have a rifle standard, it’s just not unrealistically strict like most tend to be. Something along the lines of “Paper plate @ 200 yards consistently”

Mark C
Mark C
Guest
Replying to  Sunshine_Shooter

Good point. I’m not real good at simplifying things to that degree. I think that’s decent shooting for a hasty shot using a tree for support. I could do better or worse…how much feeling is left in my toes in January?!

Ok ne thing that I have always enjoyed is seeing where I find myself to others standards. Sometimes it real good. Others, not so much.

Sunshine_Shooter
Replying to  Mark C

I enjoy standards for the same reason. It usually ends in “well, at least I know what I need to work on”.

Colorado Pete
Colorado Pete
Guest
Replying to  Sunshine_Shooter

OK…but from what position? And under what time pressure? How many times out of ten? Group size in minutes (a true angular measure of ability) per each position is one measurement. This tells you how far away you can consistently hit a given size target. Another is speed to first hit, starting from standing ready (port-arms, or low ready) to assuming position and firing (ideally) a first-round hit, with the target dimension commensurate to the real-life intended target, at multiple distances. For example, using a paper plate: The TIME for each of the following: standing ready to a standing hit… Read more »

Colorado Pete
Colorado Pete
Guest
Replying to  Mark C.

If the host doesn’t mind me plugging my book here, try this for pistol shooting:

https://amzn.to/2Zb4Jm9

Colorado Pete
Colorado Pete
Guest
Replying to  The Marksman

You are perfectly qualified to write about your own experiences to this point…

Akm295
Member

I don’t have any official standards or recognized courses of fire/ qualifications per se, but I do have some unofficial drills pistol drills I run during my for fun range sessions that help me see where I am at. Keeping a mag inside a 3”x “5 index card at 7 yards, a mag inside a 6” paper plate at 15 yards, and a mag inside a 12” paper plate at 20 yards plus. I also log each trip in my range journal so I know what I did, how I did, and what I want to work on. Sadly ,… Read more »

Tony
Tony
Guest
Replying to  Akm295

A timer is, in my opinion, an *extremely* important tool for training especially pistol skills. I would highly recommend you bump up the priority of a timer on your shopping list. It will open up a whole new world of shooting for you, compared to just doing accuracy oriented shooting. Regrettably, I have been able to do an extremely limited amount of shooting this year. I also have not developed a very robust set of standards for myself. On the pistol side, I use mainly IDPA competitions and my performance on the classifier to gauge my skill level. On the… Read more »

Colorado Pete
Colorado Pete
Guest

For general purpose rifle work (as in hunting big game), Jeff Cooper had three standard exercises that test multiple fundamental skills, from pure marksmanship, to speed, to assuming position/breaking position/moving/assuming position again.

The Snapshot
The Rifle Bounce
Rifle Ten

Along with a bunch of pistol/shotgun courses.

Course descriptions found here:
https://www.frfrogspad.com/courses.htm

Along with a wealth of other info on all types of shooting and related things. Excellent site. The site owner is an old-school Jeff Cooper student and NJ ex-patriate like myself.

The above tests give you a real-world wringing out that you can apply to real-world usage.

Colorado Pete
Colorado Pete
Guest
Replying to  The Marksman

Huge amount of info on there, lots on Col. Cooper as well. The dry practice drills and standards are great. He’s even got a section of quotes and poetry that capture the essence of “our side’s” thinking.

Todd
Guest

There are so many different modes of shooting that I think a layered, or multi-faceted set of standards is necessary. Real shooting covers a range of distances, precision requirements, elapsed time of the target being exposed, whether the target is still or moving, gun handling, and some of the little things that come into play, like distance estimation and compensation, states of readiness, what happens after the target is hit, etc… Those things vary probably from person to person, based on application, terrain, and equipment. Most existing standards are variations on marksmanship and time, and omit other important variables due… Read more »

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