My 0.02 cents.
The shortest distance that I have engaged an enemy was about 50 yards. - Maybe less actually, in Iraq when we got 'bumped'.
Before that I had engaged an enemy from about 50 yards out to about 1000 yards.
1000 yards with a FAL. We used our tracer to watch for the fall of shot.
A small group, we had absolutly ZERO support/heavy weapon backup.
Perhaps I am previledged ( is that the correct word ;) ) to be one of the last riflemen ( excepting snipers,) to have engaged a conventional enemy in a conventional war, with a rifle at this distance ?
BUT ALL THIS IS IRRELEVANT for most of you ( and me,) now.
I believe that Gabe is talking generally about how a civilian will probably engage somebody with a rifle. - LEOs also.
I cannot see how one might defend oneself in court shooting at a BG when the BG is a kilometre away ?
Mind you......who knows. - Whilst walking out to check your work, you might wish to take a shovel ! :D
Infantry combat distances have been reducing since WWII in general.
Actually I think they really began to reduce DURING the later part of WWII with the great deal of urban combat in the towns and cities of France & Germany etc.
Whilst there had been before of course, it wasn't to the same extent.
Hense the proliference during late WWII of pistol ( 9mm ) calibre SMGs by the Brits, Germans & Russians.
Let's not forget of course your Thompson and M1 carbine.
If you have to fight, do not fear death.
We will all die one day, so fight skillfully and bravely!
And if it is to be that you die, then at least go to God proudly.
Meet him as the proud warrior that you once were, and not as a sniveling coward.
Nobody lives forever.