Long Gun Engagement Distance

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What dictates your most likely engagement distance with a threat? Rob Pincus asks this question near the start of every rifle training course he teaches, so students will understand why the target set up on the range isn’t 50, 100 or 300 meters away — it’s three to five meters away.

Why Use This Distance?

During rifle training and rifle range drills, the target should be placed based on where you keep the rifle. Rob stages a rifle inside his home. He is not out on patrol as part of a military unit where he might need to engage an enemy 300 meters away.

The capability of the rifle, or any long gun you use, is not what dictates the engagement distance. The environment in which you have access to the rifle and potential need to use it defensively dictate the engagement distance. For most people, the environment in which you have access to the rifle means inside the home or workplace — that’s where you stage the rifle. This dictates the engagement distance at which you should practice and conduct rifle range drills, not the capability of the platform.

Worst-Case Scenario

Your shooting drills should take into account your most likely home-defense situations, for example hearing your front door being breached, grabbing the rifle and trying to reach your family members or your barricade area when an armed intruder threatens you. You take several shots. The ability to engage a target very quickly at relatively close range is what you should practice most often.

Head Shots

Other rifle range drills you should do are close-range high-precision shots, specifically firing at the head, for instance if there is a hostage situation or any other reason you need to drop someone immediately with one shot, or if the head is the only shot available.