SUBJECT: “If THIS isn’t enough to stop a bad guy, something’s REALLY wrong”
I read a great comment from Joe yesterday saying that if 5 rounds of .357 won’t stop a threat, then he’s REALLY got a problem…and he’s right, but not for the reason most shooters think.
Another version of that saying is, “If I can’t solve a problem with 6 rounds of .45, then I was probably doing something I shouldn’t have been doing.”
2 other versions:
“Nobody’s walking away from 2 to the body and 1 to the head”
“FBI says it takes an average of 3 center mass hits to stop a threat, so 5 rounds gives me 2 to spare.”
Let me start by saying that I don’t think there’s any problem with choosing to carry a 5 or 6 round pistol without carrying extra rounds. Sometimes I only carry a 5 shot revolver...but I usually carry almost 5x that number.
But I do think there is a problem with trying to justify a decision with bad logic and all 4 of these sayings, while being cute, shouldn’t justify what you do or do not carry.
Keep in mind, if a situation has gotten to the point where you need to brandish a firearm, let alone use it, you’ve already REALLY got a problem, regardless of how many rounds you’ve got with you.
And the nature of violent attacks dictates that statistics from “average” encounters are virtually worthless for planning or training purposes.
Here’s what I mean:
1. A lot of the time, a violent attack will be stopped when the intended victim resists. (no shots fired)
2. When that doesn’t work, most violent attacks are stopped when the intended victim introduces a firearm. (no shots fired)
3. When that doesn’t work, most violent attacks are stopped when the first shot is fired, regardless of whether or not it hits the attacker or is an effective hit. (most don’t hit)
4. When that doesn’t work, you’re looking at a situation where it may take 5, 10, or more solid hits to stop a threat in a timely manner. In one case in particular, an officer outside of Chicago HIT an attacker 14 times center-mass with .45 hollowpoints. 6 of those hits were considered “fatal” on a long enough time scale, but the attacker was still shooting at him. It eventually took 3 hits to the head to stop the threat.
Keep in mind that if you knew you were going to get into a violent encounter ahead of time, you wouldn’t go alone. You’d show up with a team, long guns, armor, overwatch, and pick the time and location of the encounter so that the deck is stacked as far as possible in your favor.
But…reality doesn’t work like that.
If you find yourself in a fight for your life, you’re going to go to war with the tools you have on you at that instant and the skills that you’ve developed up to that point.
So, if you are in a situation where you’re armed with an underpowered defensive pistol (which includes ALL typical defensive calibers being fired from short barreled handguns), how do you maximize your odds of success?
Targeting. I would suggest training yourself to think of targets and attackers 3 dimensionally and aim for the vertebrae that’s even with the armpits. Hitting the spinal cord will stop a threat immediately, and there are several targets between you and the spinal cord of your attacker that will stop a threat eventually.
Most people’s “best case” targeting is to aim for center-mass and hope to hit one or more vital organs. When you aim for the spinal cord, even with the armpits, your best case is an instant stop from interrupting the central nervous system. Your fallback, which is most likely to occur, is to hit one or more vital organs.
Why the spine at the height of the armpits and not the head?
If you can consistently hit a moving tennis ball sized target under stress at high speed, then head shots may be an option. Most people can’t go out to the range today and do that on demand. So, until you develop the skill or the head of the attacker slows down, go for the upper-center chest.
Get your hits. You always want to make all your hits, but when you’ve got limited capacity to start with, you need to be able to make up for reduced capacity with increased skill and getting the most effectiveness as possible from each round.
Developing that kind of skill level is normally cost prohibitive and takes too much time for the vast majority of shooters.
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At the end of the day, there’s no magical number of handgun rounds that will solve every problem.
And there’s no magical number of handgun rounds that will make up for misses.
So you’ve got to make your hits. And for the fastest, least expensive system to help you develop the gun handling skills you need to put fast accurate rounds on target…whether it’s with friends at the range or in a life and death situation, you really need >THIS Training<. It’s cheaper than a single trip to the range and will help you build more long term skill than most classes costing several times as much.
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