I Am Not a 1 MOA Shooter… and I Don’t Have To Be.

I Am Not a 1 MOA Shooter… and I Don’t Have To Be.

Do you tire of internet pissing matches over 1 MOA “shooters”? I know I do.

I was inspired to make this post by a thread on known as the 1 MOA all day challenge. This thread was created to call out shooters who claim to be 1 MOA capable shooters and to test your might against an often repeated standard of accuracy…

The thread asks shooters to post 5, 5 shot groups with no sleds, shooting jackets, or total rifle supports allowed. You can use a bipod, sling support, and are allowed a front sandbag rest.

While I understand the purpose of the thread… to vet the claims of people who say they shoot 1 MOA, it’s often used to antagonize shooters who say they shoot better than others.

As a practical standard, 1 MOA is impractical. Why?

Controlled Conditions and Practical Conditions:

The fundamental shooting positions are an important first step in becoming a great shooter. From the three “standard” field positions, ( unsupported standing, sitting, and prone) we can extract out our efforts at pure, accuracy focused, fundamentals of marksmanship. Mastery of these unsupported positions shows that you have an understanding of mental focus, breathing control, sight alignment, and trigger discipline. That’s it.

This is important as mastery of the three field positions builds on your abilities when you have extra tools such as a bipod, or a barrier to shoot off of, or sandbags, or an optic.

When you add the mastery of these positions with a bipod, scope, accurate ammo, a decent barrel, and a bench then yes, you can achieve 1 MOA if you want… Great. Wow. You have mastered THE BASICS at 100 yards to shoot a tiny group. Practical if your hunting prairie dogs, but it shouldn’t be the standard everyone judges themselves by and we will get to that in a minute.

If that’s your skill and equipment level and that’s how spend your range sessions then you have mastered the basics in an environment as controlled as we can get in an outdoor setting. The wind at 50 and 100 yards doesn’t really have enough time to push you off target, the rifle is supported enough that your shots are smooth and steady. Excellent. If you don’t do much more than this,  how will you expand on your mastery of the fundamentals?

You have to put your mastery in a practical context, and this can take many forms:

Distance and weather adds variables, as does shooting from positions other than the three basic field positions, and shooting against adrenaline, a timer, your heartbeat, and tired muscles are just a few variables we can add into our shooting. High-Power, 3 gun, tactical competitions, long range hunting, professional gun instruction, and directed self practice are all avenues where you can extrapolate your abilities and examine your true skill level with the rifle.

So we have impractical conditions under which we can shoot 1 MOA, but what about the gun?

Impractical Weapons:

I can tell you that you don’t need to be a 1 MOA shooter to develop your marksmanship and skills to the level of a rifleman. I am not a 1 MOA shooter, and how can I be? All my rifles are probably incapable of 1 MOA. They may be close, but the equipment I have thus far is not match grade and the iron sights on my “national match” gun are USGI irons. I took that gun to 600 yards and it sure as hell was the cheapest, ugliest, and non-match weapon on the line.

A2Rifle (2)

My High-Power gun… not national match, but it doesn’t need to be… No… It doesn’t *want* to be.

A 20 inch HBAR national match AR15 with national match hooded sights is made to do one thing really well… help its owner win NRA Service Rifle competitions. I will never come in first place with my Fugly rifle, but it’s a practical weapon that can be used in every aspect of my goals. This gun will go to 2 gun competitions, it will be involved in directed self practice, and it can easily be used in self-defense. This is a practical weapon. It may be out of date, too long, or whatever else the internet wants to piss and moan about instead of shooting, but this rifle can do it all.

So what about other 1 MOA or sub MOA weapons we see on forums? Don’t judge your abilities (or your gear) by the targets Mark Larue posts online with his “more expensive than my first car” OBR rifle. If you want to be a rifleman, you use EXACTLY what you have RIGHT NOW to develop the skills you need to absolutely deliver lead down range with accuracy.

You shoot 3 inch groups at 100 yards? Sounds to me like your accurate enough to hit a man sized target at 500 yards.

Most likely the weapon you have right now is MORE THAN CAPABLE of helping you develop the skills of marksmanship and it will absolutely deliver lead far downrange with authority if you command it to.

I am not a 1 MOA shooter.

I don’t need to be, my gun doesn’t need to be, and YOU don’t need to be.  

You want to be a rifleman? Practice with what you have in a variety of avenues and under differing conditions. Bam. Done. Now your way more legit than the 1 MOA internet wankers who never leave the bench.

Written by lothaen


  1. E.D.M. · December 21, 2014

    Good post! I used to browse those types of discussions regularly, and always felt like I wasn’t getting anywhere. But I realized that most of these guys are shooting rifles capable of doing so while using some kind of support and shooting hand loaded ammo. In reality, for most of them, they have removed the most important variable from the equation: the shooter. The pictures they post are purely about hardware.

    • Chris Sky · July 30, 2015

      you can have the best set up in the world… if you don’t know how to shoot.. you are not gonna shoot 1 MOA… IF you’re REALLY good AND have the right equipment… you could shoot 1/2 MOA @ 100 yards ALL DAY LONG.

  2. Jeff · December 22, 2014

    Yes, good post. I’ve never referred to myself by the size group I can shoot. And while we’re at it, let’s lose the colossally vague and macho term “weapon”. Most of our guns will never be used to shoot at people, and even if they are, let’s use a term that distinguishes our firearm (like rifle or gun) from the gazillions of other items that might fall under the heading of “weapon”. Rant off.

    • lothaen · December 22, 2014

      Thanks for the thoughts!

      If i have a knife and I train in the art of self defense with my knife… is it ok to call it a weapon? I think so. I may never see strife, but handing down what I learn with my rifle to my children is a high priority, and they will be learning its use as a weapon first. With those skills they can do any number of tasks such as self defense, hunting, target shooting, and recreational shooting. My rifle is definably a weapon to me.

      • Jeff · January 3, 2015

        Sure, if you don’t want anyone to know what you’re talking about. Like I said there’s about a gazillion different items that fall under the heading “weapon”. Let’s clue our audience in by being more specific and less macho in our terms.

  3. Matt · December 25, 2014

    How do I join the 3/8 moa club?

  4. Tom · January 3, 2015

    Brother I have been preaching the very same thing for years! Good read and keep up the good work.

  5. rdsii64 · January 25, 2015

    As we say in the south, “preach on it”. Give me a 20 inch AR15 built for business and I can put meat in the freezer, defend my family, embarrass the internet commandoes on range day, and keep the coyotes population to a minimum WITH ONE RIFLE!!

    Semper Fi brother

  6. Ken Deboy · February 28, 2015

    I can’t shoot 1 moa either, and I agree with most of the post. However, calling those who can shoot better than 1 moa “wankers” is pretty lame.

    • lothaen · February 28, 2015

      They are only wankers if they are smug about their ability to shoot tiny groups from the bench… in other words, if they think others can’t shoot as well as them but they have little experience off the bench. I obviously wouldn’t call numerous high level shooters wankers since they have gone beyond the bench and into the realm of competition and have worked hard to get there.

  7. Tom Davis · July 27, 2019

    Amen, the MOA crowd and the custom rifle crowd drive me nuts. I have a few bolt rifles that I have loaded ammo for that will shoot half or 3/4 5 shot groups but I haven’t shot any of them for groups since I worked the load data. A friend just shelled out big bucks for a custom rifle and stated that it would out shoot factory rifles. He doesn’t reload so he is stuck with factory ammo, and my Savage or 700 Rem will shoot with it all day, with factory ammo. I hit what I am aiming at and that is good enough for me.

  8. Steve · November 21, 2020

    Good post. I agree that for practical use, you you won’t be trying to shoot moa groups. However, I try to work my rifles to moa at 200 so that I am comfortable and confident that the rifle is shooting where I am aiming it. Then as I push that rifle out further, and change conditions, I know that If I miss at longer range, or any range, it was something I did wrong and I can concentrate on finding and fixing my problem. Also, shooting the most mechanically accurate rifle I can build makes it so that if I jerk a shot or flinch a bit, I am off much less and possibly get a hit instead of a miss if my rifle is capable of 1 moa instead of 4 moa, especially at extended range. It cuts down on confusion for me and makes up for some of my deficiencies when I’m jazzed up or having a bad day. Just my thoughts on it, although I’ve rolled a lot of coyotes at ink distance with a mini 30 that shoots 4 moa on a good day 😆

Leave A Reply