I tend to shooting exercises at 25 and 50 yards distance as a matter of routine. When I start to examine variance between point of aim and point of impact with defensive handguns, my baseline is around 10 yards. This is to ensure that I can get enough consistency to actually see where the gun with a particular load shoots at more commonly encountered engagement distance. It's also a first step to backing off to see where we're going at greater distances.
Another reason to start the POA/POI determination at 10 yards is to avoid any potential deviance from point of impact caused by shooting from a seated rest as opposed to hand-held, standing.
Why shoot at the greater distances at all? For those who are LEOSA permitted, the annual qualification may require competency at 25 yards – as it does in my state. There's also the fact that violent offenders "have a vote." The bad guy can elect to offend at considerable distance. This doesn't mean you'll "take the shot" operationally. It's a benchmark: how can you do on the square range? It's different when the target of paper and cardboard doesn't move, doesn't shoot back and isn't in an area in which bystanders mill about.
As the gun in question is the newly released Ruger LCRx 357 – it's currently being evaluated – the question of point of aim/point of impact disparity is illustrated using that piece. Having tried Cor-Bon 125 grain .357 Magnum (hit high) and Cor-Bon 125 grain +P .38 Special (hit at point of aim) and Black Hills 148 grain WC .38 Special (hit point of aim), other ammo was hauled out to the range for more complete examination.
The ammo used for this part of the evaluation included three loads from Hornady: the Critical Defense Lite 90 grain FTX, Critical Defense 110 grain FTX and the 110 grain FTX +P. Another Cor-Bon load, the 110 grain JHP +P was also tested.
All these loads were mild in the Ruger LCRx 357: the 17 ounce weight and Hogue Tamer stock combined to take the edge off. The Critical Defense Lite seemed inconsistent in the LCRx. The load struck low on the target. The 110 grain Critical Defense put four of five hits into 2 ¼" and struck four-inches below point of aim. The +P version of that load was likewise low on the target – about 2.5" low – and had a slight accuracy edge over the standard pressure version.
The Cor-Bon 110 grain JHP +P was simply incredible. Striking 2 ¼" below point of aim, five rounds went into 1 7/8".
It'll be interesting to find out where we're at as the distance increases. The Ruger LCRx continues to shoot just fine and it's now moved to 'constant companion' status.
- - Rich Grassi