Monday, October 21, 2013

Point Blank Range

There was a story on the news this morning about a shooting in a Mexican resort town. I forget the details, but the reporter described how the assassin, dressed as a clown at a birthday party, entered the premises and shot his target at "point blank range."

Everybody knows what that means. But as I was walking to the office this morning I realized that the words themselves don't make any sense. Is point blank the same as "at gunpoint?" And what about blank?

Well it turns out that the bullseye on a french target is a white dot, un point blanc, and point blank range, according to Wikipedia,
 is the distance a marksman can reasonably expect to fire a specific weapon hitting a specific target without further adjustment of the fixed sights. A marksman should be able to hit the target every time at point-blank range, providing there are no deficiencies in the weapon, ammunition or marksman. 
The reporter didn't say whether the assassin was a marksman or not, nor did he identify the point blank range of the weapon used. Nevertheless, I think it's safe to assume that he was pretty close.

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