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The MSM coverage of this Quebec cow killing has focused on its necessity, or lack thereof. “Police officers who shot two cows that escaped on their way to the slaughterhouse say they had to kill them because they were a threat to the public,” the AP reports. “Gatineau police spokesman Pierre Lanthier said Monday the cows charged police. Lanthier says it occurred near a primary school and says the cows could have killed a child.” For our purposes, set aside the idea of the cops waiting for a shotgun or rifle (as they did) and notice how many shots were required to send Elmer to the great meat processing factory in the sky. Of course, there’s a few key differences between a bovine that’s [temporarily] escaped from the slaughterhouse and Mr. Bad Guy. For one thing, bad guys are way harder to shoot . . .

They’re smaller and move more quickly. They’re more agile and [generally] possess more intellectual ability. They jump out at you. They carry weapons. To stop a rogue human from attacking, you really need to be on top of your game. You have to shoot them effectively. And that means slowly.

As I’ve mentioned before, adrenalin has a major impact on cognition. For one thing, your perception of time slows down. You’re moving a lot faster than you think you are. If you slow down, take your time and focus on the front sight, you’ll still shoot quickly. But you’ll be far more accurate.

Given “stray” bullets’ potential for costly collateral damage, given the advantages of shooting the perp where it hurts, you can’t have enough accuracy, really. When push comes to shove, you want to worship at the altar of center mass. And here’s the kicker: you don’t need a lot of shots on target to win a gunfight. Because all you really need to do is slow the bastard(s) down.

Remember Ralph’s Rule: when you’re in trouble, leave as soon as possible. One well-placed hit on a person trying to kill or maim you and/or yours can be incredibly discouraging—for him (her, them). It may give you time to leave, when possible.

Caveats? Lots. There’s no guarantee of anything in an armed self-defense situation. But it’s certainly true that accuracy is your friend. For the greatest possible accuracy in a life-or-death situation, follow Bart Simpson’s sage advice: don’t have a cow, man.

42 Responses to Self-Defense Tip: Focus on Shot Placement

  1. Shot Placement?

    I think this one falls under “correct gun for correct job” don’t bring a handgun to a job that requires a shotgun with slugs or a rifle. Got no problem with these officers shooting the cow just wished they used the correct tool to do the shooting.

  2. I was going to ask why they opened fire (and were they aware what was behind their target?), but I discovered the cow somehow escaped from a trip to the slaughterhouse.

    Const. Pierre Lanthier (Yes, this is in Quebec) defended the action, saying police “have to decide if it’s threatening for the population” and, in this case, determined that “they had no choice but to shoot the animal.”

    Doesn’t look like a lot of endangered population around, unless you count the dozen police officers.

  3. I am still thinking there is a better way to deal with a loose cow. Cops shooting in the neighborhood is generally not a good idea to put an animal down.

  4. I have a problem with them shooting the cow. Why didn’t they call the owner, or an officer with farming experience? The way they were shooting they were trying to waste several hundred dollars worth of property. If they did feel they needed to put it down because it was dangerous or whatever, then ya a rifle or a shotgun would have been in order. As a hunter, I found that video hard to watch.

      • +2, the only people around it seems are the people filming and commenting on this situation.This cow had to be 5 feet in front of this guy before he could hit it in the head. pathetic, aim much? or is it too cold to train on occasion? (sarcasm alert)

        the cow was not changing them it was trying to run around them. I’m not against killing animals, but for Christsake how about getting someone who can actually shoot the animal so you can eat it?? None of these cruisers have a shotgun with slugs in it? (not sure if canuck cops carry AR’s)

        • I thought Canadian law prohibited people from shooting in self defense? The officers should have set an example and just yelled vigorously to scare the cow away.

        • While I agree the cops probably didn’t have to shoot the cow, and I agree that a cow’s head is huge, it doesn’t do it just to hit the head. You’ve got to hit the brain, which is a fair bit smaller than a human’s brain. Bovine anatomy probably isn’t on the required list at the Academie.

    • +3 It is a cow not a charging bull!

      They did not want to be bothered and this was the quick solution

      “Lanthier says it occurred near a primary school and says the cows could have killed a child.”

      BS — I believe the “think about the children”excuse is over used in many cases especially when it is not even close to the truth it is CYA.

      I believe the police need a hunters ethics class…such a joke how this was handled.

  5. Somebody got to empty their Glock today. Without a clue how to bring down a 1500 lb animal. I think this qualifies as cruelty, and incompetent.

  6. cows are hard to kill,i have slaughtered two cows with head shots point blank with a 30-06 rifle.The first went down in his bucket of food, but the second one did not because the shot was 1/4 inch to the left.The cow just looked at me like what the f++k,their brain is so small its easy to miss.second shot finished it.But show me a man who can take 2 30-06 to the head point blank.

  7. A cow was a bigger risk to public safety than an officer rapidly discharging his firearm?

    I don’t usually have a ton of empathy, but my heart went out for that cow watching that video.

    If it was a dangerous animal, say lion or tiger, sure, put it down. But a cow? Running away from you?

  8. That was pretty bad. I gotta say, I feel sorry for the cow. If I were the guys filming the whole event, I would’ve dove for cover around the time the cow is running down their street with the officer emptying a magazine wildly at it. What if the cow had veered towards their house? For damn sure that cop wasn’t paying any attention to what was behind the cow that he was (presumably) missing repeatably.

  9. In the account Robert posted on the Jefferson City shooting where the DGU was able to place a single shot into the BG, the fight was over. Humans freak out when shot.

  10. Holy Cow.
    In this neck of the woods nobody would believe I had to defend myself against a wandering bovine.
    More than once I felt obligated to call, or have a rancher notified of loose cattle, sheep or goats.
    Killing a ranch animal is not looked on to kindly. Be prepared to buy it at market price.

  11. Idiots. Two 12 year olds from 4H could have taken care of this in half an hour. Oh No! Livestock! Run for your lives!

  12. I’ve worked cattle before. Generally the worst danger is getting in their way when they decide to run away. As cows are fairly stupid, their decision path on which way to run is random at best. I’ve been run over before (hurts!) but it was my own damn fault for not getting out of the way. Absolutely no danger to the public (from the video) and absolutely no reason to shoot it. I’d put the officer on unpaid suspension for a week, and reprimand all the other officers involved for not stopping the idiot with a gun. Seriously, when one cop screws up there are dozens of others standing around not doing a damn thing to stop it.

    Around here (South Texas), the cops are smart enough to simply follow the cow and wait for real cowboys to show up. For one thing, it may be tough wrangling a live cow into a trailer, but you need real heavy equipment to hoist a dead cow onto the same trailer. Most cowboys I know would prefer to work with a living animal.

    For another, an animal shot on the side of the road should not be allowed into the local grocery meat market. It might take several hours to get the right equipment to lift it into a truck, then even more time to get it to any type of refrigerated storage. By the time it can be cleaned and butchered, there could be all sorts of problems. At that point the whole animal is wasted.

  13. “…cows charged police…”
    Wow. That “Nancy” needs to spend less time watching Sci-Fi horror movies. Drew said it best, a 12 year old from 4-H would have handled this one better.
    That being said, his erratic shooting really shows how well prepared that officer is for an armed encounter. The bad news is that next time he has to draw his weapon, perhaps it will not be a disoriented bovine that he is facing…
    What a moron.

  14. Aside from the cow thing…..

    I disagree with you a bit Robert: You need to hit fast and often, faster than the other guy. Fast misses don’t count, however:)

    Slow down to go fast works…to a point. We should train up to a fast speed if possible.

    I just finished Shooting to Live, and for 80ish year old techniques, they are remarkably current and I think helpful to the CCW citizen carrier.

  15. About four cows got out from a farm near the HQ hut at Ft. Leonard Wood where I was working. I shooed the cows onto a plot of grass so I could get out of cutting it.

    They dropped patties all over the damn place. Served me right for trying to sham.

  16. These guys really suck at being cops. What would they do if they were confronted by a real threat instead of a lost cow?

    Seriously, how hard is it to kill a cow at point blank range. I know they are big, but when you can walk within spitting distance it is not hard to put a bullet in the cow’s neck/ear/angled-thru-the-ribs-to-the-heart.

    nice work dumbasses.

    Poor cow.

  17. God only know what the Quebe-quacks would have done if they had the wild animal outbreak that Ohio had a couple weeks back.

    Didn’t that flatbed have some tie-downs? Lasso that MFer and wait for the owner.

  18. That was incompetant and sicking on many levels. The animal was not charging… it was going away from the “officer” when he opened fire. I wonder if he had a clear picture of what was behind the steer? Ha. Of the rounds that hit the animal, some hit in the rear haunch — the steer was favoring two opposing legs when it disappeared from sight. How bout heart lung area? How bout the brain? Our local butcher kills these animals on sight with a .22mag. One shot, one animal. I wonder if that “officer” had his eyes closed when he pulled the trigger. It looked like one of his fellows had to honk his horn to keep him from shooting the squad car.

    You can’t tell from the video if the animal needed killing — you can’t let it continue if there is a path to a high speed roadway. Judging by the rest of the sickening display, my guess is no.

  19. Poor judgement, poor execution….. just plain poor. Just try to remember Quebec wants to leave Canada and most of Western Canada (where I am) don’t really mind if they go. And they can keep their bullet proof rabid zombie cows.

  20. I will admit I had the kill a sheep with a 380 about 12 or so years ago. My cousin kept a flock of about 30 on our farm & one day one went , for lack of a better word, nuts. It kept charing my grandmother , who was in her 80’s, over& over. No clue ask to why. We did everything to back down this wacko sheep but nothing worked. It knocked my grandmother down & it took 3 of us to get it off her. We pulled it off & it came right back at her. I am going on memory but I think it took 10 shots to kill it. Not something I wanted to do but had to. It was not pretty but I was not sure where to shoot then after a couple shots I focused on the head

    I am not sure what the police above were thinking but one would assume they had access to greater firepower than a handgun. My cousin now always has a slug gun or a 30-30 with him while working his animals ( sheep & cattle) but it is more based on the feral pig threat than a rouge cow or sheep.

  21. Good grief that was moronic.

    Yes it was a cow, yes it was going to slaughter, but c’mon. That’s now how you “capture” a stray animal that’s probably scared out of it’s mind, or course it’s going to “charge” you when you box it in.

    In 10 minutes could probably find a dozen or so highschool kids in 4h that could handle the situation better than these “professionals” and I don’t live in a very rural area.

  22. In the good old days of my childhood in rural Nebraska, the local custom butcher shot fat cattle right out of the feedlot with a .22 rimfire. Just draw a line from each ear to the opposite eye. Where the lines cross is the sweet spot. Anywhere else and a .22, or 9mm pistol bullet, is just going to annoy something that size.

  23. The gal said it best….’That’s pretty effed up’. When my Dad was little he worked in a slaughterhouse. He had a single shot .22 short and when hit just like Mr. Ortmann described every cow went down like a sack of taters with no suffering. Maiming that cow as they did was sick and completely unnecessary.

  24. A few years back, I pulled over a Mississippi State Trooper and sent him off to deal with a herd of black angus cattle wandering along the highway.

  25. That was horrid. Clearly the cop had no experience with killing a large animal – not hunting much less ranch/slaughterhouse culling.

    But, in his defense, a head shot might also have proved problematic. Sure a .22 or .22 mag will reliably penetrate the skull on a clean frontal shot. But a .22 mag is a penetrating machine compared to a jacketed hollowpoint 9mm antipersonnel round, which is much more likely to deflect and fail to penetrate the heavy bone. I’ve seen .44 mag hollowpoints that have failed to penetrate/been deflected by the gristle plate of a Florida wild hog.

    While not as quick, given a similar situation I would have opted for a rapid double or triple into the top of the heart/lungs fired broadside. The animal would have been down within a minute.

  26. Apparently, Me, Myself, and Irene was a required training film for these folks.

    Additionally, goats drop dead when you hit them in the noggin with a 55 gr FMJ .223. You’re absolutely correct, shot placement is everything.

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