What is the 9mm Pistol Effective Range?

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Introduction

If you define the effective range as the distance a shooter can deliver a hit to a man-sized target, then the maximum effective range for a 9mm round fired from a handgun is about 1800 meters. If it sounds absurd, it is because the assumption is ridiculous. 

However, the estimate takes into account match grade ammo when fired from a perfectly maintained weapon and by a skilled marksman in a stable shooting position. The target is motionless and at a known distance in the perfect environmental conditions.

The basic answer to this question varies based on the gun and the shooter abilities. The safe estimate for both target and combat shooting is, however, between 25 and 50 meters. And this estimate is for the average effective range for an average shooter using average equipment on an average day. Significantly less because there are just so many factors to account for.

From experience, a reasonably skilled shooter with a 9mm handgun may be able to hit a man-sized target out to a hundred yards on a practice range. Sometimes 200 yards and that is if the gods of luck smile.  In the real world, in cases of life and death situations, or self-defense shootings, it is quite common for shooters to miss their targets seven out of ten times within a few yards distance.

What is a Pistol For?

To expand on this question we must understand the purpose of having a pistol and its primary use. You have to ask yourself, what is the use of a handgun? A pistol was never intended to be a battle weapon. In combat situations, it plays the role of the sword in the bygone eras and it is used as a last resort. Compared to a rifle, the handgun is a prosecuting firearm at close quarter combat. 

Rarely are handguns used in hunting and the 9mm is not a hunting cartridge. But for the most part, a handgun’s primary purpose is a personal defense weapon. Personal defense does not include a range beyond 25 yards. Throughout history, most personal defense situations are between 10 yards or closer. I see a scenario where one tries to explain to a jury an assailant more than 30-40 feet away puts you at risk of causing you grievous bodily harm or death. 

If it was in the defense of others, 25 yards is still far enough away, and I estimat