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Accuracy vs Precision

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  • Accuracy vs Precision

    Subject came up in a discussion a while back, started with application in hunting, moved on to defensive situations. Some interesting points were made. Thought it might be a fun subject here.

    So, thoughts? How does accuracy and\or precision apply in your world? Hunting, target, defensive applications? Ace2
    Sometimes the term 'Idiot' is a description and not an insult.

  • #2
    The two words are commonly used interchangeably but they aren't really the same are they
    "I suppose it's tempting, if the only tool you have is a hammer, to treat everything as if it were a nail...." ~Abraham Maslow~

    "Skill makes you harder to kill" ~ Unknown

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    • #3
      I'm thinking, in defensive shooting, first shot wins.
      Robert J. McElwain


      "The strongest reason for people to retain the right to keep and bear arms is, as a last resort, to protect themselves against tyranny in government." ~Thomas Jefferson Papers, 334 (C.J.Boyd, Ed., 1950)

      "He who is not angry when there is just cause for anger is immoral."
      St. Thomas Aquinas

      One of the penalties for refusing to participate in politics is that you end up being governed by your inferiors.

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      • #4
        Based on the common definitions, accuracy is hitting what you want to hit; POA =POI. Or how close to a "standard" , in this case a POA.

        Precision is how repeatable the shot is, or how tight of a group, regardless of POI, or the "repeat-ability" of the shots.

        For instance, I blew off work today to work on some load development for a couple rifles. For this I was more concerned with precision, the grouping, than hitting the bulls-eye, so I didn't bother with any sight adjustments. I was after "precision". Later I worked on actual shooting at 407 & 547 yards and I was after accuracy of getting hits.

        All of your examples: defensive shooting, targets and hunting favor Accuracy (except for the benchrest guys, they're into groups). But for some, the long range stuff for example, accuracy, at least repeatable accuracy, pretty much isn't possible without a degree of precision.
        The Lion Does Not Turn Around When the Small Dog Barks

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        • #5
          In the laboratory, accuracy is the mean result around a known value. So right 3", left 3", up 3", and down 3" results in a mean of 0. Good accuracy, bad precision. Precision is the tightness of a group regardless of how close it is to the theoretical "true value". So a group with all four shots touching all edges but down and to the right 6" would be good precision, bad accuracy. I suppose in relation to defensive shooting accuracy over precision would be better. Precision and accuracy would be the goal.

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          • #6
            "Accuracy" is relative, accuracy required for one thing might be very different than for something else

            If you are the deer hunter with a 30~06 you have more leeway in the shot placement and in the consequences compared to, WDM Bell's "Rear Quartering Brain Shot" on elephant with a 7mm Mauser
            "I suppose it's tempting, if the only tool you have is a hammer, to treat everything as if it were a nail...." ~Abraham Maslow~

            "Skill makes you harder to kill" ~ Unknown

            Comment


            • #7
              Originally posted by RJMcElwain View Post
              I'm thinking, in defensive shooting, first shot wins.
              It's a race to the last hit. The last hit wins because it's the one that stops the threat.

              ----

              Shots are either accurate or they're not meaning they hit the designated target or they didn't. Accuracy is a yes or no.

              Precision is measured on a sliding scale. The hit can be more or less precise.

              I've posted a longer more in-depth explanation on the site.


              Originally posted by HedgeHog77 View Post
              In the laboratory, accuracy is the mean result around a known value. So right 3", left 3", up 3", and down 3" results in a mean of 0. Good accuracy, bad precision. Precision is the tightness of a group regardless of how close it is to the theoretical "true value". So a group with all four shots touching all edges but down and to the right 6" would be good precision, bad accuracy. I suppose in relation to defensive shooting accuracy over precision would be better. Precision and accuracy would be the goal.
              The goal is to incapacitate the threat as quickly as possible.
              Last edited by mjkeat; 03-12-2019, 04:00.
              Failure is an opportunity to learn.

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              • #8
                Originally posted by Ace View Post
                Subject came up in a discussion a while back, started with application in hunting, moved on to defensive situations. Some interesting points were made. Thought it might be a fun subject here.

                So, thoughts? How does accuracy and\or precision apply in your world? Hunting, target, defensive applications? Ace2
                The two are related, but they're not the same thing. In the arena of defense shooting, getting your shots on target (accuracy) as quickly as you can is the goal. Anywhere in a 6" (or is it 8"?) circle is quite adequate for defensive encounters. Getting your shots in a 3" circle in the same situation is an example of precision and is not needed in most defensive circumstances.

                Given my choice between fast accuracy and slow precision, I'll take the accuracy anytime.
                Taceant colloquia. Effugiat risus. Hic locus est ubi mors gaudet succurrere vitae.
                The Pale Horse available on Amazon for your digital reader.
                I don't know why I'm better with revolvers, keat so please stop asking.

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                • #9
                  Originally posted by RJMcElwain View Post
                  I'm thinking, in defensive shooting, first shot wins.
                  First hit likely wins, but not guaranteed. You need accuracy too.
                  The people think the Constitution protects their rights; But government sees it as an obstacle to be overcome.
                  If your religion says suicide and murder are wrong; Aren't you doing both if you are not prepared to defend your life and the lives of others?
                  I am not a lawyer, but I have personal opinions.

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                  • #10
                    Originally posted by ricco View Post
                    "Accuracy" is relative, accuracy required for one thing might be very different than for something else

                    If you are the deer hunter with a 30~06 you have more leeway in the shot placement and in the consequences compared to, WDM Bell's "Rear Quartering Brain Shot" on elephant with a 7mm Mauser
                    A knowledge of anatomy is also necessary.
                    The people think the Constitution protects their rights; But government sees it as an obstacle to be overcome.
                    If your religion says suicide and murder are wrong; Aren't you doing both if you are not prepared to defend your life and the lives of others?
                    I am not a lawyer, but I have personal opinions.

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                    • #11
                      Originally posted by Jim Macklin View Post

                      A knowledge of anatomy is also necessary.
                      Can you provide a little more detail?
                      Failure is an opportunity to learn.

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                      • #12
                        Originally posted by gerhard1 View Post

                        The two are related, but they're not the same thing. In the arena of defense shooting, getting your shots on target (accuracy) as quickly as you can is the goal. Anywhere in a 6" (or is it 8"?) circle is quite adequate for defensive encounters. Getting your shots in a 3" circle in the same situation is an example of precision and is not needed in most defensive circumstances.

                        Given my choice between fast accuracy and slow precision, I'll take the accuracy anytime.
                        Nor is it desired. Why? Because it requires the use of more skill which generally translates into less efficiency which equals more time. It tales more time to get to the last hit, the hit that stops the threat.

                        Typically the target area is the collar bone to the diaphragm and nipple to nipple which translates fairly well to an 8x8" square on a target. It's referred to as the high center chest rather than center mass partly due to the fact it's a little higher on the body than what many visualize when thinking center mass.

                        This is the the target we spend the most time training and practicing with because ots most likely the target the threat will present to us due to the body's natural desire to square up/orient to an attacker or victim. We're stronger and more balanced in this position plus we receive more sensory info this way as well.

                        ----------

                        I know there has been some confusion dealing with this topic in the past even from one of the forums favorite #pewpew instructors so here's a video explaining Accuracy. He touches a little on precision as well.

                        https://youtu.be/thXZbn41z3E
                        Failure is an opportunity to learn.

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                        • #13
                          The legend of Jedadiah Jimlee, Robert E. Lee's most precise sniper. Never fired a single shot because he spent the entire war aiming.

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                          • #14
                            *****
                            Last edited by gerhard1; 03-12-2019, 15:23.
                            Taceant colloquia. Effugiat risus. Hic locus est ubi mors gaudet succurrere vitae.
                            The Pale Horse available on Amazon for your digital reader.
                            I don't know why I'm better with revolvers, keat so please stop asking.

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                            • #15
                              So....he never missed? Ace2
                              Sometimes the term 'Idiot' is a description and not an insult.

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                              • digger
                                digger commented
                                Editing a comment
                                Yep. He never fired a shot that missed his target!
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