Q&A: What does it mean for your gun to outshoot you?

Have you heard the expression, “your gun can outshoot you”? Mike Morton explains what it means…

Most rifles are more accurate than we are – and that’s a good thing

Q. One of the guys at my club said our guns can outshoot us. I’d never heard this before. What did he mean by that?

A. You’ll often hear people say a gun can outshoot the shooter; it’s a fairly common expression. All it means is the margin of error exhibited by a gun is so much lower than our own margin of error that it can be discounted. Well, almost.

Let’s take a made-up example in which a shooter is capable of delivering a group that measures 20mm centre to centre at a particular distance. Let’s suppose that the rifle, when shot in perfectly controlled conditions – like being shot indoors while held in a vice (as long as it’s a PCP!) – is capable of producing a group measuring just 8mm centre to centre at the same distance. In this case the gun is clearly capable of outshooting the operator.

But having a rifle that can clearly outshoot us doesn’t mean its margin of error should necessarily be disregarded. In the same example, with the shooter performing at his best and the rifle performing at its best, the worst group attainable should be 28mm, with everything else coming in less than that. If he was offered another rifle that could group within 4mm, which would he choose, with all other factors remaining equal? Both rifles can outshoot the shooter, but the rifle with the smallest margin or error will help keep his overall group size to 24mm or under, offering a net gain of a 4mm reduction in group size.

While this may not sound much in practical terms, having a rifle that can outshoot you is a huge morale-booster. Knowing the accuracy your rifle is capable of delivering means you can concentrate on doing your part: taking the perfect shot. And if you miss, who are you going to blame? Well, it won’t be the rifle!


This article originally appeared in the issue 105 of Airgun Shooter magazine. For more great content like this, subscribe today at our secure online store: www.myfavouritemagazines.co.uk

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