Shot Placement?

Discussion in 'Survival & Sustenance Living Forum' started by number1, Jun 5, 2007.

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  1. number1

    number1 Guest

    I'm hearing time and time again that with a self-defense handgun load, shot placement is more important that how big the bullet is, or how fast it moves. I remember seeing a video where a Navy SEAL was talking about their equipment, and that their sidearm is a 9mm, and how the round gets made fun of. He went on to say that his enemies won't be making fun of it when they've got two in their heart, and one in their brain.

    I admit I know very little about human anatomy. I don't know how the body will be affected by a hit to a given spot.

    Are there any resources that summarize things like this? Obviously, taking a shot to the brain or heart will quickly remove the threat, but are there any other areas?


    Hello Number 1/ALL

    YUP, the critical factor in so many shootings as to weather 1 shot stopped the sillyness, PLACEMENT! Thats why, Though I'm not a big Fan of .22LR as a Defence round, it sure has taken it's share of Folks in a lot of shootings? I've always wanted to use a firearm that was about .32, as I have seen those calibers below that fail, Placement was indeed the Key, even with the smaller calibers, in fact prehaps even more?

    So many in Law Enforcement as well as the Military rejoiced when we switched to a large capacity auto, I cried a lot over it? I caried a 38 with +P amo with a good Hollow Point for years and had 0 COMPLAINTS! Looking at younger, fellow officers at the range that 17 rounds of what ever ammo is doing no good, if few hit the paper? I've always said shoot what ya carry, try to shoot it well, as that might depend on weather you roll home at night? So many spay and Pray and I enjoy fast shooting, but it's gotta be a hit what you aim at situation, or it was just wasting ammo?

  3. Recon 173

    Recon 173 New Member

    All major police groups have, at one time or another, done research involving shot placement, penetration and so on. Shot placement or accuracy of fire is a very important factor to survival shooting. So is the ammo choice. For example there are people who claim that "a lightweight bullet traveling at a high rate of speed is just as effective as a big bore bullet." That is also a huge load of carp. If you are going to shoot at an armed and dangerous man, you want a bullet that has weight and speed behind its movement. I would never, never carry, use or reccomend Silvertip Ammo to anybody. And I do mean NEVER! Illinois State Police had two troopers stop a biker up near Chicago. The biker was wanted on some felony warrants. Since he had nothing to lose, he pulled his revolver and started shooting at the troopers. The troopers returned fire, in those days, with their Model 39 S&W 9 mm pistols. A total of about 22 hits were made on the biker. The biker died at the scene. What actually killed the biker was a heart attack, not ISP bullets. At the autopsy, it was determined that not a single one of the troopers' Silvertips got past or through the biker's leather coat. The troopers had managed to hit the biker but none of their bullets, because they didn't have the right amount of weight behind them, could do the job. So, to me, shot placement, bullet weight and speed of the bullet (power behind the projectile) are the three most important factors for defending yourself.
  4. bkt

    bkt New Member

    Only a shot to the brain stem or spinal column will immediately incapacitate/kill a target. A shot to the heart, aorta or liver will be lethal, but the target could have several seconds or longer of life in him depending on the size of the round used.

    Hands down, shot placement is more important than any other factor. People will argue that a low-recoil 9mm will help with shot placement over a hand-cannon .45. Others compromise on a .40.

    Everything I have read or been taught says to try to place your shots effectively, but keep shooting until your attacker goes down.
  5. robocop10mm

    robocop10mm Lifetime Supporting Member Lifetime Supporter

    There are only 3 ways to insure a stop.
    1. Destroy (or seriously damage) the central processing unit (brain).
    2. Unplug the wiring from the CPU to the rest of the system (sever the spine)
    3. Deprive the CPU of power (Reduce blood pressure to or near zero or bleed out the system)

    #'s 1 and 2 will end the agression immediately.
    #3 will take a few seconds to a few minutes.

    Unfortunately, all three are lethal.

    To accomplish #1 you must hit one of the more mobile areas of the body (Head), penetrate the armor (Skull) and penetrate deeply enough to destroy the CPU.

    To accomplish #2 you must penetrate the body, reach the spine, penetrate the spine, sever the spinal cord. This must be accomplished high enough in the body to effect the arms.

    To accomplish #3 you must put a hole (or several holes) in the pump (heart), one or more major arteries or veins, or strike a blood rich organ (liver). This will take some time to effect the CPU as the retained oxygen in the brain will take several seconds to be depleted causing unconsciousness.

    Shot placement is vital in the equation as are pentration and bullet diameter. A big hole in a non vital area cannot be relyed upon to incapacitate the attacker.

    A deep hole that does not penetrate a vital area is painful but useless.

    A small hole through a heart will not bleed sufficiently as heart muscle tends to be elastic and self sealing (to some degree).

    Skulls are very tough and I have seen bullets ricochet off when the angle of impact is too great. I have seen .38 silvertips lodge in facial bones and fail to penetrate to the brain. That was one he!! of a headache for a few seconds but the follow up shot took out the right ventrical of the heart and the attacker bled out fairly quickly.
  6. h&k bigdaddydieseldan

    h&k bigdaddydieseldan New Member

    absolutely positively 100% percent correct shot placement is thee most important thing in a shooting situation :eek: :eek: :cool: :cool:
  7. AR Hammer

    AR Hammer Guest

    The reason you can't find a lot of information about how to stop a human is simple, it's just not a good idea to spread that kind of info around unless you are a 'Professional'...

    I took a semester of human anatomy to learn about 'Vulnerable' spots, and what would, and wouldn't, be a 'One Shot Stop', or 'No Reaction Kill' before I could be a military instructor in such matters.

    Also, there are a few basic 'Rules' or 'Truths' you must embrace before you decide to practice this stuff.

    1. The closer an adversary is to you, the better chance you have of hitting a 'Soft' spot,
    But equally,
    The greater risk there is of you being injured or killed by that very adversary.
    The farther you can keep away from an adversary and still engage the better off you will fair.

    2. Larger calibers that move faster, and are more likely to be fired from ACCURATE firearms.
    This allows for 'Stand Off' from adversities and greatly increases your chance of surviving the incident.

    3. The brain stem, on an axis from front to rear between your front teeth, is the ONLY sure 'No Reaction Kill'.
    Any shots to the skull will not guarantee you a no reaction kill, and in the event the adversary has a finger on the trigger, he will likely get at least one round off.

    No matter what you have seen or read, an eye socket shot IS NOT a 'No Reaction Kill' point. Neither is a nasal cavity shot, too much bone to deal with.
    Both are virtually 100% lethal shots, but what's left of the brain/brain stem can convulse the body.

    4. I'm not a real fan of small caliber firearms, handguns in particular, but even a .25 auto will drop the largest opponent if you use it to sever or damage the brain stem.

    A small caliber firearm can be pressed against the neck, and it's natural target will be the indentations for the Carotid arteries and terminate at the Brain stem.

    5. A direct shot to the head IS NOT a sure kill!
    There is one case study after another where someone has been hit in the head by small and large, fast and slow bullets, and not died, or at least not died immediately, and in many cases wasn't seriously incapacitated.

    6. Secondary or 'Second Tier' targets would be Major arteries or ball and socket joints, especially Carotid arteries in the front of the neck, Femoral arteries in the hip joints/groin area,
    Shoulder & hip joints. A hit to a ball & socket joint usually results in 'Instant Body Shock' and incapacitates in 3 to 5 seconds.

    Carotid artery shot will incapacitate in a maximum of 3 to 5 seconds.
    Femoral artery shot will incapacitate in about 15 seconds maximum.

    Simply press a small caliber pistol against the soft tissue, and it will find the natural channel these major arteries lie in.
    On the neck, it's the soft tissue channel to either side of the larix.
    In the groin, is to either side just inside of the hip joint.
    These areas are rarely protected by body armor like the heart/lungs/liver might be.

    7. A 'Third Tier' target would be the femoral artery further down the inside of the thigh.
    Damage to the femoral artery further down can be treated with a tourniquet, but the adversary WILL be out of the fight virtually immediately.

    8. A shot to the pelvis is a sure 'Stopper'.
    Even if you miss the Femoral artery, you will shock the spinal column, and the adversary will loose temporary use of their legs.

    Human Brain Anatomy,

    The lower part of the human brain/brain stem is called the "Medulla Oblongata".
    The 'Perfect Shot' will sever the brain stem between the medulla oblongata, and the upper spinal column.

    If you sever above the 'Pons' (another part of the brain stem above the medulla oblongata) you WILL have convulsive reactions and heart/respiration will continue.

    If you sever the brain stem AT the medulla oblongata, you *MAY* have convulsive reaction, and heart/respiration *MAY* continue.

    Severing the brain stem directly below the medulla oblongata is the ONLY 'No Reaction Kill'... Period.

    From behind, you would aim for the 'Arch' at the base of the skull (bottom of the Occipital bone, between the Occipital Condyle that rest on the first vertebra. (where neck meets skull)

    From the front, you would aim between the front teeth with the head level, to a point projected trough the center of the Occipital Bone in the rear.
    This is the EXACT point where the medulla oblongata ends and the regular spinal column starts.

    From the side, you would aim even with the bottom of the ear lobe, about half way between ear lobe and back of neck.

    I can GUARINTEE this information is correct. It's 'Field Tested'.
    Last edited: May 12, 2008
  8. coltm4

    coltm4 New Member

    robocop's got it right. also take note that you have an 87 percent chance of survival from a pistol wound. your first 2 shots should be center mass followed by (if necessary) by a shot to the FACE (not the forehead like in the movies). if you're facing your taget face to face and place your round right through his nose it will pass through the skull unmolested and sever the brain stem. that's much easier said than done needless to say.
  9. G21.45

    G21.45 Guest

    :rolleyes: Hmmm .... I've carried them all. I've settled down with the 45 acp. In the wintertime I alternate my rounds between JHP and FMJ. Whatever else you do hit 'um, at least, 3 times; and, if they're still standing, then, give 'um 3 more. Winchester Silvertips, in any caliber, are absolute crap; and, 9mm anything ain't far behind. (It's a joke - OK!) :p

    The proper way to think of the human body as a ballistic target is to view every humanoid silhouette as an inverted, 'T'. The head is at the top of the vertical shaft. The shaft itself is comprised of a 4 inch wide area that runs concomitant with the backbone; and, the lower horizontal cross member consists of the pelvic girdle. ;)
    Last edited: May 31, 2008
  10. coltm4

    coltm4 New Member

    i think you described what i was trying to say a whole lot better. i'm a big fan of .45 ACP as well unfortunately my dept. uses 9mm. however i use winchester ranger T-series in my off duty and duty weapons. i heard the ranger t-series in .45 perform really well. they're just hard to get.
  11. chorst294

    chorst294 New Member

    I have trust in my .45acp's and .357's to penetrate and strike vital areas of the human body. People should realize that they have to do their part to have a good outcome. Shot placement is critical. Also understand, if a dangerous, life threatening situation presents itself, stress on the human body will effect your shooting. don't think that because you shoot at stationary pie plates at 15 yards that you'll be able to shoot that well in a violent encounter with people actually shooting back. Look at police. They are required to qualify, hitting a standard man sized target 80% of the time minimum. In real life shooting incidents, police hit more like 25%.
  12. G21.45

    G21.45 Guest

    :) You know, for a New York cop, you're unusually well-informed! (I'm still getting even for that last ticket.) ;)

    Yes, the Ranger T's are an excellent round - Probably, best-of-breed. If you're concerned about shooting through barricades or auto bodies, then, Ranger Bonded is the way to go. Either way, though, you can't go wrong!

    One of the principal reasons I use the 45 acp ain't just for the nice big slugs; it's because the recoil impulse is longer (and, yes, heavier) than most of the other centerfire combat pistol rounds. This gives me greater control over my front sight and less, 'air time' to have to deal with between shots.

    A lot of shooters are afraid of 45 acp recoil. After a lifetime of doing this I've had exactly the opposite experience! Familiarity is everything; and, I'll take heavy and slow over fast and snappy every time! Like so many other things in life, it's all about how you train and what you teach yourself to get used to! :cool:
    Last edited: May 31, 2008
  13. npbwbass

    npbwbass New Member

    Very good info!

    I think everyone who carries should have a course in human anatomy. Even hunters check the animal's anatomy out to know what to shoot at. Sometimes I think people are a little flippant at how serious the concept of killing in self defense is. I am glad to read the depth of study and knowledge some take in this. Great job guys!

    Hollyweird has hardly ever properly displayed correct shooting techniques yet people own and carry firearms and think if they do it like the movies things will be just like the big weird screen.

    As to my caliber I use the 9 x 23 Winchester now with a 124 grain Speer Gold Dot doing 1,495 fps out of my 1911 Colt. It gives me 357 Mag performance and is extremely accurate. I like it a bit better than the 45ACP (I still love the 45ACP) in my case simply because out in in NM tactical shots can get a little long and the flat trajectory helps this old man make some nice long range hits with a semi-auto.
  14. coltm4

    coltm4 New Member

    i was stationed at fort Bragg NC for a couple of years while in the army. some of that southern culture rubbed off on me for the better. you think it would be good to have a couple of bonded rounds in my mag mixed with t-series? i wish i could carry my HK USP .45!!! oh yea, i'm not a big ticket writer. my partner and i like to get out of patrol car walk around and actually talk to people. the law abiding people tend to like it and we get some good arrests as a result. my idea of being a cop (when i was a kid) was running after bad guys, not writing tickets.
    Last edited: Jun 3, 2008
  15. G21.45

    G21.45 Guest

    Because of our long winters and the heavy garments people wear during cold weather, I mix FMJ and JHP rounds inside my own wintertime magazines.

    We, also, had a shooting incident in Hazleton, PA, two years ago where the perp engaged the responding officers in a prolonged handgun battle. He was wearing a down vest; and, even though, he took an incredible 17 hits from the officer's G-22 Glocks, (wide-mouthed 165 grain Gold Dots) he remained on his feet and continued to fight until a late arriving backup officer finally knocked him down with two shots from a 5.56mm patrol rifle.

    At the autopsy, the county coroner remarked that she was surprised to find feathers in many of the bullet wounds - All, but two of which, (the last two!) failed to penetrate more than about 1/2 inch. No wonder he kept on firing his weapon!

    First, I was just kidding! Second, my compliments. That's the correct, good old fashioned, 'Officer in the neighborhood' way of doing your job. ;)
  16. gorknoids

    gorknoids New Member

    A head shot is the deadliest shot, obviously. Now you have to consider the odds of hitting it.
    A moving human can bob and weave using his head and shoulders, but he can't do that with his hips (Any football player will tell you the same thing.)
    Shoot for the gut and then work upward.
  17. chopkick

    chopkick New Member

    Gorknoids you are right on in your assessment. Sure a headshot or a round through the heart would be ideal but unrealistic in a fast paced self defense situation. And it is ludicrous to even talk about a shot into the femoral or carotid arteries (sorry) unless you are a very experienced sniper. The pelvic girdle is a very large target and if shattered will immediately collpse the subject ending the threat.
    Oh, don't get me wrong. It's nice to sit around and fantasize about ending a conflict with a well placed shot into the "Sweet Spot" (pharyngeal cavity). But realistically you want to stop the threat as qiuick as you can and get the hell out of Dodge. In football if you take out the runner's legs you immediately stop him and end the threat of him scoring. Folks, the same goes for ending a threat in the street.
  18. BigO01

    BigO01 New Member

    Hate to tell you friend but a gunfight/fistfight/mugging ain't a football game , your adversary isn't trying to run 50 yards to score a touchdown he'll be trying to cut/shoot/stomp/punch/club you to kill you .

    Knocking someone down isn't even close to same thing as disabling them if it was cops wouldn't practice firing their gun while laying on their backs shooting between and over their feet and head .

    Just because someone falls no matter how hard to the ground doesn't mean they will lose control of a weapon in their hand and it certainly doesn't mean a second or third unseen weapon in their belt or a holster is going to be knocked loose out of their reach .

    Even when faced with only a knife threat putting a person on the ground means next to nothing if he is close enough to throw said knife at you "A skill some folks still practice" .

    After getting to know some of those guys who are into primitive hunting and all the mountain man thing I can tell you for a fact if you knocked one of them to the ground you better pray their "Hawk" isn't tucked in their belt because if it is and you think breaking their pelvic girdle will save you , you will find out how wrong you are when that thing splits your head wide open .

    As far as guns go you just put an armed man in the most steady shooting position he can be in , it's called Prone , ya know the ones snipers use to make those 1/4 mile shots and it can be used with a handgun too .

    I suggest you seriously rethink your position on all of this because this kind of advice on a public forum will get people killed and if used and not articulated correctly could land you in jail for shooting when your life wasn't in danger of immanent death a standard almost universally required to fire a gun at someone .

    It might be fun to fantasize about shooting someone , stopping the threat and never really putting them in danger of dying but fact is you might as well try the Lone Ranger shoot the gun out of their hand BS as a pelvic girdle shot .

    They don't call it deadly force for nothing you know !
  19. rickrem700

    rickrem700 New Member

    Shot placement

    Statistics say that three times through out your life you will have a life threatening altercation of some sort.
    In the event you are able to defend your self through the use of a firearm, a lot of things have to come into play to assure your survival.
    FBI statistics reveal that most gunfights happen in an area 12 feet between assailant and victim, some a little closer and some a little farther, but you get the idea, in the heat of battle for life and death a whole lot of things happen, dew to stress and emotion as well as physically, and mechanically.
    To become successful at the fine art of self defense you must practice it untill it becomes second nature, as if there is know thought involved, just a knee jerk reaction, this can only be done through practice, once you have mastered speed and accuracy, shot placement becomes the issue, now your not shooting a target stapled to a piece of wood, the human target moves and takes cover and is much harder to put holes in, you would be surprised at how many gunfights take place with in just a few feet of each other,where both parties empty there magazines and score zero hits.
    If you just take your pistole to the range and fire a box of rounds every so often at a 10 X Bull's-eye target you are going to become a fair shot after a while, but to really train yourself to become sufficient in a self defense situation, you have to pretrain your mind to react in a hostile situation, so that everything you have learned flows in a nice fluid motion to insure your survival.
    This involves getting rid of the 10 X Bull-eye target and replacing it with human silhouette target, this gets the brain familiarized with shooting at a human target, along with that, practice shooting from a variety of positions, as your target will be moving and be in different positions, most law enforcement practice a double tap to the torso and one to the head, I am guessing this rarely ever happens in real life as the head is probably the hardest thing to hit in a gunfight, my personal suggestion would be to try if possible to keep them all center mass as much as you can, if the opportunity offer a guaranteed shot to th melon then by all means take it, remember as I believe someone already mentioned a head shot dose not always mean death instantly, it requires you sever the spinal cord at the base of the skull, that will stop all twitching of nerves period, this is a tuff shot to make in the heat of battle, it is referred to as ("INSTANT INCAPACITATION") normally carried out by sharp shooters in law enforcement, where a scoped rifle and a marksman eliminate the bad guy wth extreme prejudice in a hostage situation, in the event you make a head shot, do not shoot for the forehead, try to place shot right under the nose and above the lip and teeth, in a head on situation that should sever the spine and cause instant death, there by defusing said bad guy, A good rule of thumb know matter where you are shooting in a life and death situation, is don't stop shooting until bad guy is no longer a threat!!! Empty the magazine till you have one round left, just in case he or she should twitch, good to have that last hail Marry shot!!!
  20. chopkick

    chopkick New Member

    Big001, I suggest that you reread my post and let it sink in a little before you come at me half-cocked (pun intended). Let us evaluate what I said and the point I was trying to make.
    In a fast paced life or death situation, if you think that you can draw your weapon and get the headshot, tear it up. Apparently you have never heard of the 21 ft. rule. Maybe you can google it. If a determined attacker is armed with a knife, axe, club or any other weapon that he may be able to wield proficiently, he can cover a distance of 21 ft. in the time span of about 1 second. That my friend is barely enough time to assess the threat, draw your weapon and get a shot off. The thoracic cavity is a large target as is the pelvic girdle. The difference is you are going to hit only organs with a chest shot. Yes it will be effective but after how many second or minutes? It is on record that a violent felon was able to continue fighting for over a minute and was able to kill the officer that put a round through his heart. The pelvic girdle is the most important part of the skeletal system. The legs are connectd to the pelvis and the spine is connected. If you shatter the pelvis, the aggressor will collapse. Will he still be dangerous? Possibly. That is why is said get the hell out of dodge. I really don't care what he has stuck in his pants. Once the aggression in my direction has stopped I will look for cover or simply bug out depending on the circumstances. The football remark was an analogy about taking out the legs. Duh! Same principal.
    Concerning the remark about the sniper. I have nothing against them at all. They are doing a heck of a job overseas. I believe the blog was about shot placement in a self defense situation. Yeah if you are laying in wait and want to choose your shot, good luck. But even a sniper will take a head shot over that of the carotid or femoral arteries.
    I don't know of anyone who sits around fantasizing about taking someone out. That remark was about other bloggers suggesting that shots be taken to small targets such as the base of the skull, the femoral or carotid arteries. That kind of thinking will get someone killed.
    You thinking that my remarks on this open forum are reckless or irresponsible is just as misinformed as your comparing a pelvic shot to that of trying to shoot the gun out of someones hand.
    And just to let you know, you had better be certain that your life or someone else's life is in immediate peril before you even consider drawing your weapon.
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