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3 - 5 yards shooting paper

then move to 7 yards....10 yards....15 is about max for a small snub 38 revolver or pocket semi like a 380 (for the average person)

I've seen experienced shooters hit steel plates at 75 - 100 yards pretty regularly with snubs
 

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I do most of my defensive type shooting at 7 and 10 yards.3 yards for practice for one of those draw and shoot situations where the bad guy is really gotten to close already. This is with a Taurus ultralite 38 snubby. But there are much more experienced shooters here that can probably tell you better.
 

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Important thing for a new shooter is to learn trigger control

If a using a hand gun this is best done shooting a revolver with a decent trigger..... double action

Always go back to the basics
 
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