Sub-1/3 MOA With A Handgun

It’s not so unusual to hear of sub-MOA accuracy or better from a well-tuned rifle. Bringing the accuracy of a rifle below half-MOA, though, is a challenge to the gunsmith and shooter alike, and every increment below that is an increasingly difficult challenge. Sub-1/3 MOA from a rifle is definitely an achievement for the gunsmith, shooter, and handloader each.

Sub-1/3 MOA from a handgun? Get out of here (link to Accurate Shooter )!

That’s Precision: 10 Shots in 0.29 MOA — with a Pistol!

Report by Boyd Allen
This pistol belongs to Dan Lutke, a Bay Area benchrest shooter who publishes the results for the Visalia matches to the competitors and the NBRSA. He has been an enthusiastic competitor for an number of years, at various ranges, notably Visalia and Sacramento. The action is a Remington XP-100, to which a Kelbly 2 oz. trigger has been fitted. On top is an old Japanese-made Tasco 36X scope (these were actually pretty darn good). The Hart barrel (a cast-off from Dan’s Unlimited rail gun) was shortened and re-chambered for the 6x45mm, a wildcat made by necking-up the .223 Remington parent case. The custom stock/chassis was CNC-machined by Joe Updike from 6061 Billet Aluminum to fit the XP-100 action and mount a target-style AR grip with bottom hand rest. The gun was bedded and assembled by Mel Iwatsubu. In his XP-100 pistol, Dan shoots 65gr custom boat-tails with Benchmark powder.

XP100 target pistol 6x45 6x45mm benchrest

TEN Shots in 0.303″ (0.289 MOA) at 100 Yards
How does Dan’s XP-100 pistol shoot? Look at that target showing TEN shots at 100 yards, with eight (8) shots in the main cluster at the top. The ten-shot group measures .303″ (0.289 MOA), as calculated withOnTarget Software. Not bad for a handgun! What do you think, can your best-shooting rifle match the 10-shot accuracy of this XP-100 pistol?

XP100 target pistol 6x45 6x45mm benchrest

I’m not going to go out on a limb and say this is a record – but it sure isn’t far off!

Nathaniel F

Nathaniel is a history enthusiast and firearms hobbyist whose primary interest lies in military small arms technological developments beginning with the smokeless powder era. In addition to contributing to The Firearm Blog, he runs 196,800 Revolutions Per Minute, a blog devoted to modern small arms design and theory. He is also the author of the original web serial Heartblood, which is being updated and edited regularly. He can be reached via email at


  • Jack Morris

    That’s flippin incredible!

  • balls

    that’s not a pistol.

    • lol

      Shhhh the ATF thinks it is cuz no stock lol.

    • The XP-100 has always been a pistol, since 1963.

      • Don

        But that is no XP-100 either… That is a Remington action with a custom trigger mated to a shortened rifle barrel affixed to a modified rifle stock with an AR grip. I’d be willing to bet that it also has a custom action as well… The XP-100 is a bullpup design where as the bolt sits behind the grip… Can you share with us how then this can be called an XP-100…

        • Because it literally is one. A Remington XP-100 from the factory.

          • Don

            I hate to tell you, if you go to the original post of his article, he states it is a totally custom made firearm and not a factory made firearm. He had a RIFLE BARREL cut down… He had a CUSTOM milled stock made… He installed a CUSTOM Kelbly trigger… He installed and AR grip… So the only thing that is XP-100 is the action, and that’s going on the assumption that it isn’t a custom unit as well. So using your logic… If we stuff a Corvette engine and tranny in a Camaro then we can call it a Corvette, right?

          • No, because then it would have a Camaro’s VIN number.

            The XP-100 retains its serial number. I don’t care if he threads a sandwich onto the receiver, that doesn’t make it a footlong sub.

            This really isn’t that hard to figure out.

          • Don

            No way, the engine block and tranny will have a serial number on it issued to a Vette not a Camaro… Or if you want to take it further but closer to comparing a stock item to a fully custom item… Shouldn’t a 65′ 427 Cobra be called a 65′ AC Ace since the Cobra is nothing more than a hopped up/customized version of the Ace then? 🙂 🙂

        • The XP100R variant had the pistol grip behind the bolt. This change was made as the XP100R was fitted with an integral magazine versus the single-shot XP100. Even before the XP100R was ever released, gunsmiths had been producing rear grip conversions. Check out the online editions of American Handgunner from the late 1970s and early 1980s for some of the wild and wacky stocks that IHMSA Unlimited Division shooters were using.

        • Adam

          When i was shooting Metallic silhouette, i had a custom ,made in Remingtons custom shop in .308 for unlimited class and a factory class in 30-221 Fireball. Both were handguns from the factory…

          • Don

            But his is not, the only thing factory about his is the action. And again that is assuming it is not a custom piece like the rest of the firearm is.

          • Adam

            Well if you dont agree with it, My advice is to take it up with the BATFE as they are the people who decide what is classed as a handgun and what is not…. And what the specifications are…

          • Don

            Now why would I want to go give the Feds another reason to snoop around our favorite pastime 🙂 🙂 One of the great things about the US is that we can all have differing opinions.

          • Adam

            Its simple, contact the BATFE….. It still comes under the definition of a handgun as defined by the LAW…

  • Blastattack

    “Handgun”. It’s a rifle with a pistol grip and no stock. Impressive results nonetheless though.

    • Been a pistol since 1963, man.

      • Blastattack

        Regardless of how the law defines it, that is neither a handgun nor a pistol. That is a rifle without a stock. Same as the AR15 “Pistols”. They meet the legal lack of definition, but by no logical count could they ever be considered a handgun.

        • It’s a pistol.

          I know the SIG brace and M855 fiascos have gotten everyone excited about this issue, but really the XP-100 is a pistol. Yes, it’s unusual, but it’s still a pistol by more than just legal fiat.

          • Dropship Ace

            That’s some impressive mental chicanery to come to that conclusion.

          • Ridiculous. You’re accusing me of deceit in a discussion of semantics?

            It is a pistol. It never was a rifle; pistols come in a wide variety of forms. If your contention is seriously that it shares a mechanism with a rifle and therefore is a rifle, you are in discord with the great majority of historians and experts on the subject.

            One can make an argument that pistol AR-15s are intended to be used as rifles, and exist only to circumvent the law. The XP-100 is not addressed by this argument, as it does not exist for legal reasons, it exists to fulfill a particular role in competition and hunting.

    • Alucard

      What is impressive with bench rest shooting?
      Its not like anyone can’t get similar results using a bench rest,had it been a 1″ group from a unsupported standing position then I would be impressed.

  • Chase Buchanan

    “It’s not so unusual to hear of sub-MOA accuracy or better from a well-tuned rifle.”
    How convenient, then, that this “handgun” is also a well-tuned rifle. Pretty good work though.

  • toadboy

    Does he shoot it handheld and standing, or is it clamped on some kind of rest?

    • It wouldn’t be safe to shoot a 2 oz trigger held in the hand. I’m sure he shot it off a bench rest.

      • toadboy

        Then what we have is someone being praised for their excellent pistol marksmanship not by practicing pistols until they became the best, but by building a competition match rifle, and modifying it so that it can fit the definition, barely, of a pistol. I guess that is one way to get to the top. I have never seen a pistol competition where they use those rail-gun rests. Is it done that way anywhere?

  • guest

    This is as much of a “handgun” as Thrust SSC is a “car”.

    • It’s a Ruger XP-100. A handgun.

      • Avid Fan

        Remington. Damn autocorrect, right?

        • Hard to be a knowitall when you have a brainfart. 😉

          • Avid Fan

            Good on ya mate. Glad we’re still friends.

      • guest

        As much of a “handgun” as a rifle with no butt is a “pistol” and a buttstock is a “brace” or a semi-auto only carbine is an “assault rifle”.
        Stretching any definition or term is a pointless busyness.

  • Grindstone50k

    Alternative title: “Sub-1/3 MOA With An SBR”

    • Where’s the stock, mate?

      • Grindstone50k

        Just throw on a Sig brace and call it good.

  • Southpaw89

    Well, if any handgun was going to do it I’d expect this to be the type, that being said 1/3 moa is impressive out of anything.

  • jamezb


  • Don

    That’s an impressive grouping, but… The whole idea of locking a gun down in a bench mounted vice so that it doesn’t move and then calling the guy pulling the trigger a marksman has always made me laugh. I’ve never got the whole benchrest shooting sport. Give the guy a bipod with no back pistol grip support and then let’s see what he comes back with. Do that and then I’ll be impressed…

  • Don

    You might want to reword your definition, especially since this guy specifically said that he cut down his old rifle barrel for this firearm and he mounted an AR pistol grip on his. His XP-100 definitely doesn’t resemble a factory XP-100 in the least… Just saying 🙂 🙂

  • Alucard

    At first I was impressed then the photo loaded and the article mentioned firing from a bench rest.

  • IXLR8

    It is the “top fuel dragster” of pistols. It only does one thing, but better than anything else can do it.
    I wish they had shown the ammo, and projectile. I wonder what the velocity, mean, and standard deviation is for those rounds.