What is Accuracy?

What is Accuracy?

1) Conformity to fact.
2) Precision; exactness.
3) The ability of a measurement to match the actual value of the quantity being measured

For what we will be discussing, I actually don’t like the most common definition, as a  measure of a guns ability. Instead we’ll focus on the word Precision, as its definition is more suitable to this article.

1) The state or quality of being precise; exactness.

2)The ability of a measurement to be consistently reproduced.

3)The number of significant digits to which a value has been reliably measured.

So now that we have the definitions squared away, we’ll see how this all relates to our guns.

The ability of a measurement to be consistently reproduced.

Before we continue let me state that there is no standardized test in the firearms industry for accuracy. There is no set # of shots fired or a set distance shots must be fired at. But there are guidelines.  For the most part, the industry has used the following to police its accuracy claims. NOTE: NOT ALL FIREARMS MFG. ADHERE TO THESE NUMBERS.

3 – 5 rounds fired at a given target @ 50 FEET
From a mechanical Ransom Rest

3 – 5 rounds fired at a given target @ 100 YARDS
From a bench rest

Inherently, most firearms are considered to be COMBAT ACCURATE.  Combat accuracy means that a gun, when pushed to its absolute limits, is capable of producing group sizes in the realm of 3″ – 5″ @ 50 feet. It also means that a gun has been built to function in a wide variety of conditions.

Glock, Beretta, Colt, Sig, S.A., H&K USP, are all examples of Combat Accurate firearms.

Combat accurate firearms by design only need to this “accurate” since the average HUMAN target falls well within those specifications.

I stand 5′ 7″ tall and weigh 195lbs. The circle across my chest measures exactly 4.5″ in diameter. At 50 feet a Combat Accurate firearm should have no problem putting ALL rounds fired from it within that white circle.

TARGET ACCURACY can only be achieved by very few firearms.

Target accurate firearms NEED to shoot 2″ or better at 50 feet when pushed to there limits. It also means these firearms were designed to function in a very CONTROLLED environment.

Colt National Match, Kimber Gold Match, H&K USP Match, STI, Caspian, Wilson Match, LesBaer Match are all examples of Target Accurate firearms.

The cork across my chest measures exactly 2″ in diameter. A Target Accurate firearm needs to be capable of placing all shots fired from it within that 2″ circle.

The tolerances that a particular firearm are built to, will determine what type it will be.

Combat Accurate firearms must function in a wide variety on conditions.

From the holster of a police officer, in the middle of Alaska where it’s -20 degrees, to the the sandy dessert in Iraq, to a swamp in the middle of Vietnam, a Combat weapon must function in order for the person using it to have a fighting chance. In order for a firearms to have this reliability its tolerances are “loose,” in order for it to function with a wide variety of variables acting upon it..

Target Accurate firearms are held to very tight tolerances. These guns are designed to be pinpoint accurate in a very clean, controlled environment. A Target Accurate firearm’s reliability can not be guaranteed when it has been exposed to a given amount of contaminants.

Because the manufacturing process of Combat Firearm do not require as many quality control checks or tooling changes as a Target Accurate firearm, they tend to cost LESS than a Target grade gun.

Target grade guns require tooling to be changed at more frequent intervals than Combat grade firearms. This is done in order to maintain the tolerances needed for the accuracy expected. Also, Target grade guns are often HAND fitted. The tolerances are often so close that a person, not a machine (yup are we still needed for some things) is best suited to fit the pieces of the firearm together. A person’s labor cost more than a machines, thus target guns tend to cost WAY more $$$ than a combat gun.

So, what is accuracy? What’s it worth to you? And how accurate a gun do you really need.

Only you can answer those questions. Hopefully the above just made it a bit easier.

Oh yeah, don’t forget that the features of a firearm add up more $$$. But that’s a whole different article!



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