The relative ineffectiveness of defensive handgun rounds at stopping threats means that “stopping power” and “one shot stops” aren’t impossible, but incredibly unlikely with a determined attacker.
As an example, take a look at the mass stabbing last fall by the radicalized Somali refugee at the St. Cloud mall in St. Cloud Minnesota.
He was stopped by a firearms instructor and competitive shooter named Jason Falconer who was carrying concealed at the time.
(The press is overstating his status as an “off-duty police officer” because it sounds better than implying that non-law enforcement can ever do good with a gun. I don’t know Falconer, but we have common friends. He IS a peace officer. He’s a former police chief and is currently a reserve officer for the town of Aden, MN—population 1,396 and wasn’t scheduled to work for the next 2 months, so he’s hardly what you would typically think of as “off-duty” when he was at the mall.
His reserve status and current standing as a peace officer allowed him to have a badge and legally carry in the mall, which was a “gun free” zone–thank God. His training, proficiency, and expertise were a result of his personal commitment to firearms training that went WAY beyond what typical law enforcement personnel receive.
Back to the shooting…after stabbing 10 people, the terrorist ran into Falconer.
Falconer told the terrorist at gunpoint to get on the ground. He did initially, but then got up and rushed towards Falconer. Falconer shot him and the terrorist dropped to the ground & got back up & advanced again. Falconer shot him again and he fell to the ground and got up and advanced again.
Falconer hit the terrorist with at least 6 rounds of Winchester SXT in his torso—solid hits with a proven round—but the terrorist was still able to keep getting up and advancing on Falconer (3 separate times) and finally crawled towards him, knife still in his hand.
This isn’t unusual. Another relatively famous example that comes to mind is a close range shooting that Sgt. Gramins from Skokie Il was involved in where he hit an attacker/armed suspect 14 times with .45 hollowpoints in the torso…6 of which were considered fatal…but the attacker didn’t stop shooting until Gramins was able to deliver a round to the head. (This is one of many real life incidents that dispels the myth of the .45 being a one-shot-man-stopper.)
Again, it just shows how ineffective defensive handgun ammo is. It works…eventually…but not nearly as well as a rifle or shotgun and just because someone has fatal (eventually) wounds doesn’t mean that they’re not still a threat.
Falconer shot the terrorist while advancing, while backing away, while on the ground after falling, while getting up, and turning corners. At one point, he maneuvered so that clothes racks were between him and the terrorist. He did an incredible job and his commitment to training is evident.
Does that sound like anything you can train for on paper at your local range?
So what’s the takeaway here?
First off, to the extent that you can, shoot targets that give you a visual indicator when you’ve neutralized them.
Steel, polymer reactive targets (from Caldwell & Cabelas), balloons, force-on-force, or balls like the video I shared with you a few weeks ago are all good options:
In short, it’s very difficult with paper targets. Paper targets are VITAL for developing fundamentals of marksmanship, but defending yourself with a gun also requires that you execute those fundamentals while simultaneously assessing the effects of the rounds that you fire.
Shoot too few rounds to stop the threat, and you endanger yourself physically. Shoot beyond when the threat has been stopped and you endanger yourself legally.
Second, make sure that you’re not developing linear range training scars when you’re practicing…
A contractor friend of mine and I were talking today and he was sharing a lesson he learned from a class with Pat McNamara. Pat said…roughly…when you’ve got your gun out in front of you after shooting a bad guy, don’t be in too big of a hurry to bring it back to your chest. You’ve got all day to bring it back after you make sure that the threat has been eliminated, but if the bad guy gets back in the fight, you’ll be able to respond faster if your gun is already out in front of you.
Pat’s point is very similar to the scar that some competitive shooters develop where they shoot a course of fire and immediately drop the mag, rack the slide, and lock it back. This is a good habit for competition, but it looks REALLY silly in a force on force scenario and could be a deadly habit in a self-defense shooting.
You want to make darn sure that everything that you’re doing when you’re shooting has a defined purpose. Sometimes it’s fundamentals, sometimes it’s reality based, sometimes it’s focusing on individual components of your technique. No matter what, it should be purposeful.
A lot of this practical training is hard to do down at your local range. There are safety considerations when you’re learning to shoot and move and there are safety considerations with the guy in the next bay wanting to try the same stuff you are doing. As a result, most ranges don’t allow much in the way of realistic training.
That’s why it’s SO vital to train with dry fire. My recommendation and preference is that you use an inert training platform like the http://dryfirepistol.com . If you don’t have one yet, I recommend using an airsoft pistol that you’ve rendered incapable of firing projectiles. If you don’t have either of those, I recommend using a barrel plug with your real pistol (after all ammo has been removed from the training area) so that there is no way that a live round can be negligently introduced.
Once you’ve got that figured out, the next thing you’re going to want is pistol training curriculum that will let you get away from the limitations of square range training and get you prepared for a real-world 360 degree gunfight.
These are things that you want to master NOW…not things you want to try to figure out on the fly when your life’s on the line.
I want to strongly suggest that you check out www.ConcealedCarryMastersCourse.com. It’s firearms training, and results, unlike anything you’ve ever seen before…there’s even an option to get the training PLUS a SIRT laser trainer.
What have others who have gone through the course said?
“This has improved my shooting and techniques dramatically. Just when you thought you knew what your doing a great video compilation comes along and makes it better”
“Since beginning working on fundamentals and dry fire drills, my accuracy at the range has markedly improved.”
“My performance has become markedly better and continues to improve.”
And here’s what Eric Davis, former Master Training Specialist for the SEAL Sniper program, has to say about Larry’s Concealed Carry Masters Course:
“When acting as a lead SEAL sniper instructor we had to leverage every technique we could to optimize human performance.
We were successful as seen by the effectiveness of our students like Chris Kyle and Marcus Luttrell.
Larry has broken down and accelerated the process of teaching and learning defensive combat shooting utilizing many of these same structures in the Concealed Carry Masters Course.
If you care about learning to defend yourself and your family in the most effective manner possible you have no other choice than Sealed Mindset’s Concealed Carry Masters Course.”
– Eric Davis, former Master Training Specialist for the SEAL Sniper program
When you go there, make sure you read about the 4 officers who are alive, in part, due to the training as well as the 3 big reasons why their training methods are so much more effective than traditional firearms training. Learn more now by clicking >HERE<