RF recently sent me a link to Guest Post by Stacy Paxton on the Differences Defending against Male and Female Aggressors. I found it completely ridiculous. There’s almost nothing in the article I could let stand without challenging. Ms. Paxton’s main thesis: armed self-defenders need to have different strategies depending on the sex of the attacker. First, the source . . .
Chelsea, the woman my mother hired to train me, was a great instructor. She was a veteran of Desert Storm. Her civilian job (if you can call it that) was as a highly trained supervisor with a public safety department, whose members rotated positions as law enforcement officers, firefighters and paramedics every few months. Chelsea had received advanced training in all three disciplines. She said those skills, in conjunction with those she acquired as a military police officer, contributed greatly to her ability to train women how to protect themselves . . .
During the break, Chelsea said we’d be training on female targets next. She said that engaging male targets was easier because all we generally had to do was punch out our arms at a more or less straight horizontal angle to put our gun on the level of a man’s chest, regardless of the range.
Chelsea proceeded to tell me that my primary target on a female attacker should be her lower pelvic region. I was horrified. I looked over to my mother, who gave me a couple of strong nods, indicating that I was indeed getting the straight scoop. It certainly was not what I, as a teenage girl, wanted to hear. But, there it was. And, I was learning it from two women with extensive training – and experience – in emergency medicine and defensive pistolcraft.
What follows is a justification for the “Fast Female Incapacitation Technique.” A technique that’s required because . . .
Men typically have considerably thicker bodies, with much greater bone density and muscle mass, than we do. As a result, the same defensive hollow-point round that will stop reliably inside the chest of a male attacker is very likely to pass completely through a female attacker – with enough energy to jeopardize the life of any innocent bystander, unfortunate enough to be positioned behind the woman it initially strikes!
Again, this is due to our having less bone density and muscle mass in our pectoral (chest) and latissimus dorsi (back) musclature, which enclose our heart and lungs.
Another issue, of equal importance, is the fact that women typically have a MUCH higher tolerance for pain than the average man. That point is critical, in and of itself, because it can enable a determined woman (with a chest wound) to continue her attack through a degree of pain that would stop most male attackers cold.
The Facebook link that inspired this post is notable by its absence. As presented at femaleandarmed.blogspot.com, The Fast Female Incapacitation Technique seems entirely based on shooting female attackers in the pelvis. And that’s because . . .
The uterus, which contains a significant amount of blood, is supported by complex network of arteries and other blood vessels. When perforated or ruptured, the uterus tends to convulse with intense spasms that serve to draw blood from other areas of the body and pump it out through the wound channel (among other routes). The rapid blood loss quickly creates a condition of hypovolemic shock. We’ve all heard the horror stories of women whom have bled to death, in doctor’s offices and even hospitals, when their uterus was nicked during “routine” gynecological procedures. Now, think about multiple gunshot wounds, under street conditions, and you’ll get the idea.
The ovaries act as the pain receptors in the application of FFIT shots. We all know the various cliche’s about pains that only a woman can fully understand. here’s childbirth. Then, there are the host of “female problems”, so excruciatingly painful that they make women want to cry, vomit and/or pass-out. These kinds of pain do not even begin to compare with what a female attacker, engaged with FFIT shots, would feel!
I think you get the picture. IMHO FFIT violates three fundamental principles that I hold in high regard when it comes to Personal Defense Training . . .
- Humans are humans; the major structures and behavior in the midst of a lethal attack are the same for men and women.
- Training efficiency is incredibly important; you should limit you number of techniques as much as possible to maximize the value of your training time.<
- Reliance on complex decision making in a fight should be limited; you should train to create as much consistency in your response to a lethal attack as possible.
I realize that specific extreme circumstances may require pushing aside those principles in favor of a greater good or significant urgency.
And maybe I missed something in biology class, my in-depth study of human anatomy in regard to combat and defensive skill development, the empirical evidence of how attackers are stopped by defensive shooting and/or something an ex-wife had tried to explain to me. So, I went to a panel of experts in both Firearms Training and Being Women.
Lynn Givens, Rangemaster, highlighted another section of the article:
Defensive pistol ammunition creates a fluid shock wave that radiates outward from the actual wound channel. The force of the fluid shock wave is sufficient to cause multiple ruptures of the uterus, if the bullet passes within three or four inches of it. It is this same shock wave that will transmit its energy to the nearby ovaries, which will instantly register a far higher degree of pain than even the most determined female attacker is likely to be able to withstand.
“This quote shows a complete lack of understanding of what pistol bullets do. A hit three to four inches from the uterus, or any other organ, will not damage that organ when pistol ammunition is involved. That stretching and tearing injury that is distant from the actual wound channel only occurs with high velocity rifle ammunition. The wounding mechanisms of pistol and rifle ammo are apples and oranges.
“The most common comment from people who survive the hits from pistol bullets is that they were surprised by how little pain was felt at the time. The wounds hurt much later. The pain is felt after the adrenaline has worn off, but not at the time of injury. Extensive wound ballistics research shows that “pain” is not really a factor in most cases of rapid incapacitation by gunshot.
“The only two things that force rapid incapacitation by handgun bullets are hits to the Central Nervous System (CNS) and hits to major vascular structures like the heart, aorta, pulmonary arteries, etc. Those are in the chest, whether male or female.”
Gila Hayes, instructor at The Firearms Academy of Seattle, said agreed with the surface thesis: that we shouldn’t be mentally preparing to fight a particular gender, build, race, or other “type” of assailant. Beyond that, she found the arguments “accuracy-challenged” . . .
“One. The pelvic aiming area was very popular about 15 years ago, though I never heard it promoted for female incapacitation. It was merely suggested for breaking down skeletal structure against a mobile attacker, think rushing stab, etc. (something that was vigorously argued both pro and con) and for the high liquid content of the blood-rich organs as well as intestines, which it was thought would increase the hydrostatic shock value (also vigorously argued) and that relates to the argument in the blog.
“I have not heard experts such as Massad Ayoob promote pelvic aiming point as much as it seems I did in the past. once did. I cannot say I ever heard that its efficacy was proven one way or another. I think I’ll stick with center of mass shots, unless otherwise untenable.
“Two. The blogger’s ammo assertions are just plain odd. The light, fast hollow points (think 135 gr jhp for .45 acp; 90-110 gr jph for 9mm) will probably even fragment in tissue — let alone over-penetrate and go out the back even on a thin target. Her assertion, on the other hand, is probably absolutely correct if all ammunition is subsonic 147 gr for 9mm or Lord help us 230 gr round nose for .45. The claim that ‘Virtually ALL self-defense ammunition is designed – from the moment of its inception – with MALE attackers in mind’ is hard for me to swallow.
“How different would it be shooting a thin male of 5′ 3” 130#–which describes people of a variety of ethnic extractions, especially if poorly nourished, as in colonial India—as it would be an “average” woman?
“Gender really doesn’t come into it, IMO, especially when the first expanding bullet is said to have been designed for small game and predates the Brits’ India Adventures. Besides, and here is the really amusing argument, are you going to have one magazine loaded for female attackers and carry another for male attackers? How will you make that work out?”
Kathy Jackson of The Cornered Cat agrees with me (and most sensible people) that having a plan is good. Having an over-complicated plan is not.
“Research has consistently shown that the more choices people must make, the more time it takes them to act (search “Hick’s Law” for one example). When your life depends on coming to a near-instant decision under extreme stress, you want to minimize the number of unnecessary choices you face — not increase them.
“That said, I would like to hear more about the history of this technique and see some research-based evidence that supports it.”
As the Brits say, that’s not bloody likely. Meanwhile, it’s important to note that yes, women can pose a lethal threat. Don’t be sexist in your situational awareness. But don’t forget that the fundamentals are fundamental because they’re fundamentally sound. Time-tested. Proven.
Whether you’re male or female facing a male or female attacker, you stray from the basics at your own peril.
Rob Pincus owns and operates ICE Training. Click here for more information.