By Cliff Heseltine

I recently received an e-mail blast from another gun blog that shall remain un-named. It’s one that loves to end their posts with the supposed bona fides of their writers, the idea being that you should just accept what they’ve written as gospel because of the credentials of the author. The subject of that post is not really relevant, but this wasn’t the first time I had read one of these “authoritative” sources and just wondered, WTF? The concept, as presented, just seemed full of logical holes or conceptual errors . . .

Just for the record, I have had military training, served 6½ years as a medic and spent a good deal of time reading about this subject. But I’m not a certified trainer, ex-Special Forces, law enforcement, nor an “operator” by any stretch. What I am is a reasonably intelligent person who tends to look at things “experts” profess and consider them from a layman’s perspective as to their logic and utility. The point of this article is not to try to give you some sort of authoritative pronouncement on how you should think or train, but to promote the idea of considering alternate choices to some dogmas . . .

The concepts here are mine alone and my hope is that they will open a dialogue on the topic of discussing and dissecting training concepts rather than simply accepting them based on the supposed credentials of the trainer.

As a general example; in reading about firearms techniques and undergoing training, we constantly hear the refrain, “Always aim for center of mass!” This adage is especially emphasized in regards to pistols and almost every legitimate and credentialed instructor will use the same or similar silhouette. He or she will tell students how in a stress situation they may need to sacrifice precision and simply try to place their shots in the center of mass of their intended target, indicated by the “X” just slightly right of where the heart would be. Good hits to this six- or eight-inch diameter area are generally guaranteed to impact the heart or the major blood vessels or, with enough penetration, the spine.

They usually go on to explain how pistol calibers aren’t reliably effective and you have to expect to put multiple rounds on target and even then your opponent may not succumb immediately and may remain a significant threat. The size and power of the pistol caliber in question obviously changes that equation, but doesn’t ensure that even a solid hit will immediately stop any aggressive retaliation from a large assailant who may be under the effects of alcohol or stimulant drugs and almost certainly of adrenalin.

So other than actually increasing the odds of getting a hit somewhere on your target, what is the utility of aiming for the center of mass if it may not reliably stop the threat? Yes, I understand that good hits CoM will probably disable the threat eventually, but is “eventually” really the goal in a self-defense scenario? Isn’t the main consideration stopping the threat as quickly and efficiently as possible? No one is scoring you on points here, results are the only thing that matter.

So here’s what I contend – my opinion only – and I welcome discussion either pro or con:

Get off that damned “X”! Paper targets do not shoot back. Paper targets do not fall down. Paper targets do not scream or bleed or curse your mother. The “X” on the center of mass of that paper target is an ideal based on a statistical likelihood of hitting the guy somewhere if you aim at the center and miss. The “X” is the mathematical center of the stylized body mass of your opponent, NOT the ideal place to put a shot that will stop the threat. This is not, by the way, a caliber wars discussion since I’m pretty sure that a .45 ACP or a .357/.44 magnum center hit on the sternum will be extremely effective, but the point of  usual training is that the “X” is ideal, but you will probably not hit it, regardless of the mouse gun or cannon you are carrying.

Since we know statistically that given prompt medical attention a significant percentage of pistol wounds to the body are not fatal, it would appear that the majority of Center of Mass shots hit lungs or the abdomen or other areas that are not immediately fatal or even incapacitating. With smaller calibers even hits directly on the heart may not stop a Bad Guy’s return fire for a minute or even longer before he bleeds out. The same applies for any of the major blood vessels running down in front of the spine. An overweight or heavily dressed target causing penetration issues only increases the problem.

My suggestion if you want to maximize the probability of an incapacitating shot is to move the “X” down from the sternum to just below the belly button.

It would seem to me that prompt incapacitation is more important than a kill shot, especially when kill shots are so notoriously difficult to accomplish and may not be immediately effective. I suggest to train to aim “Low Center” where there is still plenty of mass, but a whole lot more physiology that will be quickly incapacitating if hit by even a medium caliber pistol round.

For example, the lower abdomen contains organs that if hit would eventually cause the BG to bleed out. On the other hand, having worked as a medic, I can tell you that a solid hit to the pelvis or a hip joint will almost certainly put your opponent on the floor almost immediately, regardless of chemical performance enhancers or pain inhibiters. He cannot remain standing if the mechanics of the pelvis and hip are no longer intact. And any sort of hit to a man’s genital area will almost certainly divert his attention from offense to pure defense in a heartbeat.

If you hit low of your intended area the thighs contain the massive femurs without which a man cannot remain standing and a hit on the femoral artery will result in unconsciousness within minutes and death shortly thereafter if a tourniquet is not applied.

If you hit high you have the same effect as if you hit low on a Center of Mass aim point. Unless your bullet severs the spine an abdominal shot will be painful but not a guaranteed stop. The odds are good your BG will keep shooting, maybe even keep walking or running towards you.

So there’s my opinion. Aim at the guy’s balls. As a man I can tell you that even the toughest thug will find that VERY intimidating. Put your mental “X” just below his belly button. A hit in this 6-inch target area is likely to at the very least knock him to the floor in extreme pain, giving you a significant tactical advantage. A hit wide to either side and/or low will still have a high probability of hitting major bones or blood vessels that will stop the fight in short order.

If you know anything about anatomy at all you will see that a Low Center “X” gives you many more important targets from the center line and out 10 or 12 inches on either side, whereas with the Center Mass “X” contains only the heart, blood vessels to the heart, and the spine located in a small 6 to 8 inch target area and except for the deep penetration spine hit cannot promise to stop the attack.

It is imperative that we think about the training available rather than simply accept it as gospel. I welcome discussion of this idea and any critique you may have of other training concepts you have encountered.

131 Responses to Self Defense Tip: Get Off the ‘X’!

  1. Fairbairn and Sykes noted that men shot in the gut would often drop whatever they were carrying and clutch the wound. This is consistent with common reports that Old West gunfighters would aim for the belt buckle and move up. Moving the X down a bit seems good to me. I don’t know about the hip and groin area, but the belly button? Sure.

    • +1

      Don’t forget that when shooting them in the belly it takes a long time to bleed out, increasing his/hers chance of surviving.

    • My basic thoughts are that if you aim for the abdomen …

      * If you miss just a bit high, you may still hit the lungs or the heart, or possibly the diaphragm.
      * If you miss even higher, you still may hit the lungs/heart, or perhaps hit some of the major arteries (aorta, subclavian, carotid).
      * If you miss just a bit low, you could hit the genitals or pelvic bones, or perhaps the iliac arteries.
      * If you miss even lower, you may hit the femur or the femoral arteries.
      * If you’re on target, you may hit the liver (which processes a ton of blood) or the abdominal aorta, or the inferor vena cava, or the diaphragm, or the kidneys, or various other organs and/or vessels.

      Also of note …

      * If you aim for heart and miss, there’s a higher probability of you missing the body entirely, since you could miss over either shoulder entirely, compared to missing if aiming at the belly button.

      * The major blood vessels (abdominal aorta and inferior vena cava) are less protected by the skeleton in the abdomen than they are in the chest.

      Does that sound about right?

  2. A bullet to the hip will put him down, but in the case of a criminal with a gun it also gives him the most stable shooting platform (prone) while reducing his profile (and making further shots exponentiallymore difficult) and pissing him off at the same time.

    I think I will stick with a controlled pair to the thoracic cavity to see if I can shock the assailant into braking off the attack, and if that doesn’t work due to body armor, drugs, or adrenaline, one to the head should stop the attack.

    I must have drunk the Coolaid at my last class, because that makes sense to me.

    • Actually the medic is correct. A shot to the gut and lower is much more likely to disable the attacker. It also gives YOU the advantage of changing position, while he is stuck in that one spot with an extremely painful wound.

      • Not in the videos I have seen. The head shot is the only guarantee with a handgun.
        The best thing to do is get shots anywhere on the body and keep moving.

      • I can tell you from personal experience that abdominal wounds are extremely painful. I was virtually immobilized and out of my mind from pain.

    • As noted by the commenters here, a shot to the lower regions will likely knock your attacker to the ground and put him in extreme pain. The chances that a typical Bad Guy has had any practice shooting effectively from a painful, disabled, prone position with a pistol equal statistically zero.

      You, meanwhile, are still standing, mobile, and free to press your attack or get the hell out of Dodge without him chasing you.

    • Two, quick to the chest to slow things down, then a careful do it right, between the eyes.
      Having said that, Massad Ayoob has discussed the hip as a prime target to stop a charge, as well.
      I believe alternative targets are good, after two center mass which should occur in a half second. Take the next half second to aim for brain or balls. Whatever floats your boat.

  3. “With smaller calibers even hits directly on the heart may not stop a Bad Guy’s return fire for a minute or even longer before he bleeds out. ”

    -Here we come to a logical problem.

    As the recent video of a state trooper shooting illustrates, even a hit in the chest with a .40 S&W duty round to the heart won’t stop an attacker. The guy , fortunately, decided to drive away and die a mile down the road instead of spending his last moments of life trying to kill the cop.

    If a hit to the heart muscle itself won’t halt an attack, don’t plan on a pelvic hit doing so too. Even if the bad guy is shot in the lower spine and dropped where he stands, he still has eyes ,his arms, and a weapon. Which means he can still put you in the dirt.

    My amateur opinion- two the the chest, and if those don’t get the point across, it’s time to turn off the lights via a headshot. Even if my girly, wuss round 9mm +p+ JHP hits the bad guys skull and skids away, a hit to the head tends to scramble the senses at the very least- which buys me time for the follow up hit.

    • Much of what you said makes sense, but a head shot is harder than it seems.

      The critical area is between the nose and eyes. Too low and you hit nothing critical, too high and the head is protected by the cranial vault. It is called a vault for a reason–there is a high likelihood of the bullet skipping off the skull. The critical area on the head is tiny and VERY hard to hit on a moving target when you are moving and acting under extreme stress. Center of available mass is best as that gives you the greatest chance of actually hitting your target.

      • The critical area is between the nose and eyes.

        Doesn’t the SAS still train to double tap while aiming for the mouth, in an effort to sever the brain stem?

        (I am NOT SAS, nor do I have any desire to be. I agree that COM is you’re easiest target, especially under pressure.)

        • That would make sense in a hostage situation, a suicide bomber with no dead man’s switch, or some other scenario where you have a relatively stationary target at short range that *has* to be incapacitated with one shot. In the heat of things, good luck trying that trick with a handgun.

        • It was more a question about the “critical area” of the head as opposed to a “this is what I would do.”

      • While you are anatomically and tacticly correct having a 9mm or larger round glance off the skull is not like Tiget sloughing off a 75 from a Sherman. You are at a minimum going to stun him and most likely knock him down especifically if he is already wounded.

        • tdiinva,

          Go ahead and rely on your stun and fall down tactic if you want. I prefer more direct and proven methods.

        • Sammy, this was technical detail not tactical advice. Perhaps you should learn the difference before you confuse the two in a real DGU. A solid round to head that does not penetrate still transmits energy to through the brain case and cause at least a concussion. It can also cause bone spall which is a little more serious.

        • Tdiinva,

          I have read a lot of your post–too many, in fact. You really should refrain from all posting until you get some serious training. Lest, less-informed readers actually follow your suggestions and get themselves killed for it.

        • Sammy, I have had serious training from DoD and Intelligence Community trainers, not from so-called gun gurus.

        • “I have had serious training from DoD and Intelligence Community trainers, not from so-called gun gurus.”

          Sue your instructors for malpractice.

        • Look sport, in war they say amateurs talk tactics while professionals talk logistics. In Force Protection amateurs are still talking tactics while professionals talk scenarios, such as,

          Are you with your boss in the Green Zone protected by an OSI detail
          Are you caught in an escape and evasion scenario
          Are you making a drop or contact in hostile environment
          Defending yourself in hotel room or safe house

          Next what kind of weapons do you have and what does the threat have.
          What are the ROEs
          Then maybe you get to talk tactics

          And do you know what the most likely scenario you, as private citizen are likely to face?

          Are you going to be offensively engaging an active shooter?
          How about facing down the crips when mistake for a rival drug dealer?

          You probably won’t be facing any of those scenarios. The mostly encounter that you will outside the home is a popup threat within 20′ from the flank or the rear that you missed because you were distracted but the hot babe across the street and most likely had a “combat class” that didn’t teach you squat about identifying threats at a distance. You go ahead and try to use movement to “defeat” the threat that you learned in your course. At 20′ a 9mm round will reach you in reach you in approximately .015 seconds. That is maybe two steps before you go down.

          You are a typical internet warrior. You make assumptions about what a person knows because he disagrees with your favorite guru. Just to clue you in, I don’t disagree with the Rabbi on tactics. I disagree on the scenario that you are going to face as private citizen. That is the critical difference in my attitude. If you actually knew something you would run yor mouth less. The scenario dictates tactics, not the other way around.

        • This advice does not work on pigs, test subject was angrier, not unconscious after slug failed to penetrate skull

      • Center mass is best until it isn’t working. Then go for the head. All that ‘head is a difficult target’ stuff will sound pretty silly if you realize while you’re bleeding out that the guy had a commercially available kevlar vest.

        • I would agree, if you know that you hit Center of Available Mass and its not working, time for an alternative. Head, pelvis, are best, then legs.

        • This is exactly the sort of critical thinking I was hoping would result.

          Yes, two shots center of mass will produce results, or not. Do you really have time to wait and see?

          We also know that two shots from 9mm or larger rounds to the sternum over a commercial Kevlar vest may not be fatal, but will hurt like hell and cause some injury. But Hannibal, I suspect even your law enforcement Kevlar does not protect you much below the belly button. Vest or not, those rounds are going to penetrate and do some serious damage.

  4. I have a question, some including me who have only shot very few times when invited by friends, came up with the upper center? The Manibrium Sternum to be exact, major nerve endings, arteries go through the area…Kind a the head of an eagle if you count the clavicles.

    • The problem of aiming for any specific location, especially a small one is the realistic probability of a missing it.

      I see hundreds of shooters every year. Most are lucky to be able to hit within a 20 inch circle when drawing from a holster. I said, most, not all. Now, lets add in extreme stress of someone trying to kill you, greatly increased speed of drawing and shooting, the bad guy is moving, and the good guy is as well (should be!) and you can see where trying to hit a body is difficult, never mind a small target within the body.

      Yes, head shots, spine shots and certain other areas offer faster/better incapacitation, but hitting them is the problem. I use a 10-inch balloon attached to a remote control car as a moving target. It takes most shooters in my class 4 to 8 shots to hit it–and thats without anyone trying to kill them an no real stress.

      Best practice is to aim for the center of the largest part of your attacker – center of available mass.

      • Shooting a balloon tied to an RC car sounds at once insanely fun…and also insanely sobering as to demonstrating the difficulties of hitting a moving target.

        • True on both counts. I have had a number of good shooters say exactly that, “very sobering.”

          It often deflates the “just shoot them in the head” concept–please excuse the pun.

        • The sobering reality of life is most people aren’t as good as they think they are with pretty much everything.

      • I use balloons stapled to a 8 foot long board, foot apart. Thats my standard 25 yard target set, rifle and pistol. Be amazed how many trained shooters can’t.

  5. There’s another advantage to the “crotch shot” you are missing but is worth noting.

    Pointing a gun at a guy’s nuts is first a massive, massive threat AND it gives you better visibility of the rest of his body, especially his hands near the waist area. You can tell if he reaches for something at hip level much clearer and faster than you can if you are aiming at the upper chest and his hands are low and blocked from sight by your gun.

    This “look at him better” effect works better if you are doing target-focus instead of front-sight-focus. Red dots on handguns mean target-focus shooting. The only iron sight I am aware of that allows easy and accurate target focus shooting is the Goshen Hexsite, which I strongly recommend as the best sort of handgun sight I’ve ever owned:

    http://www.goshen-hexsite.com/index2.php

    (Mine is a homemade variant that Goshen owner Tim Sheehan helped me build for a very weird gun but the effects are very similar: it is an iron sight that works well with both the front and rear sights “blurry” due to target-focus shooting.)

    • An instructor once told me (in the USMC) to switch to burst and aim for the nuts. That way you’ll have plenty of bag guy to hit, and in a good soft spot, as the muzzle climbs. Zip.

    • Never watched South Park much, although it is generally good satire. It may not be good handgun training advice, however.

      A famous pistolero whose name I cannot recall for attribution, wrote a book titled “No Second Place Winner.” The basic argument meaning that you do what you have to do to win the gun fight, period. There are no Marquis of Piers Morgan rules (not implying that he is a queen) I am aware of that say certain parts of the anatomy of someone trying to kill or injure you are definitely off-limits. If you were in hand-to-hand CQB in this situation you would most certainly go for the nuts or the eyes.

      If you are justified in armed response for self-defense you are justified to hit any part of your attacker you can, intentionally or not.

      • I believe in the case of Piers Morgan it’s spelled ‘Q-U-E-A-N’.

        In all seriousness, I think it would be a fine strategy against an attacker wielding a knife, but no so much for one wielding a firearm. If the goal is to make him drop it should work just fine, but just being on the ground won’t do much to stop him from pulling a trigger. It has the advantages of keeping your muzzle down so if you miss you’re less likely to harm an innocent bystander and it is less likely to be fatal unless you hit the femoral artery or hit a little high and catch the liver. Bottom line is that if someone attacks me with a firearm I’m aiming for center mass and I’m pulling the trigger at least 5 or 6 times.

  6. I’m hearing terms like “kill shot”, “bleeding out”, putting the threat “on the ground” or “off his feet” etc. I’m not going to argue whether a thoractic shot is more damaging than a shot to the lower abdomen, but the point of a DGU is not to kill your attacker, it is to make him or her break off the attack. If they happen to die in the process, oh well. COM shots are effective not only because of the damage they do but also because they are impacting the target in the first place. Many DGU shots go low because of anticipation or looking over the sights or both. If COM shots go low they still, in all probability, impact the lower torso.

    So, IMHO, two or more COM is still the best strategy. If these fail to stop the attack, send one between the eyes and the upper lip for maximum damage. Shots above the eyes impact the cranial vault which is the strongest point of protection for the brain. That said, getting hit with that kind of velocity in the forehead will certainly get your assailents attention!

    Just my 2 cents.

    • As much as Mark Fuhrman was kind of a jerk and corrupt, I found this quote of his pretty spot-on:

      “Now the department says we shoot to stop, not kill which is horse****. The only way you can stop somebody is to kill the son of a *****. And what’s the big deal? If you’ve got a reason to shoot somebody, you’ve got a reason to kill him.”

        • I am sure that people will disagree, but if I have a reason to shoot you, I’m gonna make sure you are down for the count, not just a little wounded.

      • Thank you, I’m so tired of this politically correct bullshit. Have to deal with it enough without seeing it from white-knights on the internet. Yes, stopping someone is the goal. But unless you’re using a taser, guess how that goal is accomplished? By breaking apart their central nervous system (you know, their brain or spine) or by causing them to go into vascular shock (by emptying a lot of their blood at once from key vessels being opened up). If you can’t deal with the fact that you’re probably killing them, you have no business behind a gun.

        • +1000

          Part of Dad’s gun ed when I was a wee lad was “don’t point a gun at a person unless you intend to shoot ’em. Don’t shoot ’em unless you intend to kill ’em.”

          It kinda follows from the four rules, too. You know, “Destroy your target” does not mean play footsie with him.

  7. WAY back in the early 90s, the qualification range at Ft. Leonard Wood, MO was set up with older pop-up targets, some of which had sizable holes at the COM. That, coupled with the pebble-infested berms the targets were set up behind led our platoon’s drill sergeant to get us all to lower our point of aim considerably.

    At the pop-up range, our platoon’s reply to the DS’s query of “Where do we shoot?” was responded to with an enthusiastic “SHOOT EM IN THE D**K, DRILL SERGEANT!”. It was more likely to register because there were less holes there, and if your point of impact dropped just low enough to hit the dirt berm, the pebbles and soil spraying up on the target would also register a hit. I still tend to aim lower than COM to this day.

    • Similar experience (Ft. Jackson, SC) with skipping rounds off the berm & onto the 300+ meter target. But I always understood my COM aim point to reside just below the sternum into the gut/diaphram, etc. I hate to confess that “making sense” – which is often wrong – works, but in a defensive shooting, I’m aiming COM because I’m relying more on multiple round impacts than specific point of aim. I’m not waiting to see if the 1st round worked, I’m putting rounds downrange & seeking safe haven. Then if trouble persists, I’ll see about careful aim from behind cover.

  8. Whether you hit (good hits or not so good hits) or miss the bad BG, if the BG stops attacking, runs away, or you simply escape the altercation unscathed- you win.

    However, if you get shot and so does the BG, assuming y’all both survive – draw.

    Finally, if you get shot and BG does not, no bueno for you- you lose.

    Shooting is important, but not getting shot is more important, so move, move, move…I’ll take not getting shot and going home unscathed, FTW.

  9. I know. It’s just a TV show. But that’s how they trained in The Wire. Below or above the bullet proof vest. Groin and then head. Lots of blood loss and structural damage in pelvic region.

  10. Wow, Your article is compelling and logically sound. I think you offer good advice and a sound view point. However, I think there is a fundamental misunderstanding.
    In swordsmanship, we train to cut by cutting rolled Japanese floor mats called Tatami mats. Each matt ends up as a target 3 foot tall and 6 to 8 inches in diameter on a 2 foot tall stand. We typically practice a 6 cut pattern starting at the top of the target and ending at the bottom. However, that does not mean that all opponents in a sword fight should be struck 6 times or from top to bottom or that all opponents are 5 foot tall, or 8 inches in diameter. The purpose of this training, and range based firearms training, is to use standardized targets that can be judged and are uniform to allow a person to build up muscle memory so that the mechanical actions of getting the sword, or gun, on target are without thought. The target is not an opponent. It is a standardized place holder. Muscle memory frees the brain to adjust targeting to suite the situation and tactics.
    I believe that this is where this mythical X is coming from as well. Where the X actually is, is of very little importance. The point is that the X be somewhere easy to judge accuracy, like the center of a page to give the best show of shot spread, that it be uniform so that many different people can train at many different ranges and still compare results, and suggest improvements to technic. The purpose of training is not to train to always hit the X. That is backwards.
    The purpose of the X is to give you a standard place to train to always hit in a controlled environment. That way all those things you are doing on the range to hit the X are the things you do without thought when you are actually defending yourself. I completely agree with your assertion that there are advantageous places to aim when defending yourself. The point of martial training is not to train to specifically hit points, it is to practice the strike and reach a level of experience where the strike comes without thought. I think that in the firearms industry this key detail has either been forgotten over time or is meant to be hidden in the rhetoric tongue and cheek.
    ‘X’ Targets also make money sense to teachers. Mechanically speaking people who are trying to teach large classes need the logistically smallest target system that can fit the most people on the range with the least complexity. I don’t believe these ‘experts’ are intentionally misleading students. I think that the X marks the spot target is the highest value, lowest cost, widest usable solution for firearms training.
    People need to remember in their practice. The most important thing is not hitting the X. The X is just giving you a place to practice hitting and compare results in a controlled environment. Targeting will have to be adjusted according to the defense situation.
    The opinions expressed are my own. I am no high speed operator expert know it all either, just a swordsman trying to navigate a world of guns. The one thing I revel in is getting a chance to explain the old ways. I have always thought it was sad that in America there is no, ‘Gun-man-ship’ for lack of a better word.
    Please understand, I don’t mean marksmanship. I mean, I think it is kind of strange that almost every family in America doesn’t have their own, handed down, system that teaches carrying, etiquette, safe handling, maintenance, deployment, defense tactics, and marksmanship of firearms. Further that there is almost a societal aversion to firearms training, every time I have tried to track down a comprehensive class environment they always seem to be thousands of miles away and cost thousands of dollars to attend. I think training needs to be far more democratized and acceptable. I don’t mean that as an assessment of general gun owners’ skill levels, far from it. Training should be more available not because i think people are poorly trained, but because I think people should be able to be proud of owning guns, as responsible members of society. Not forced to hide and treated like miscreants. Americans should be able to celebrate their history of guns.
    YMMV.

    • It use to be that way; even in California in the late sixties and seventies in rural areas close to Santa Cruz; near the Bay Area; shooting a .22lr as a young boy was an accepted norm. I could take out my .22lr rifle any time at 11 years old and no one would think twice about it.

      Now a days; fuggedabouttit. That is how fast the liberal/progressives have changed our culture; now we have to change it back.

    • Thank you for your well written and considered reply.

      As you noted more than once in your comment, and has been repeated many times, “You fight as you train.” If you train to chop a rolled mat six times top to bottom that will be the muscle memory you take into combat. If you train to draw and fire at center of mass every time, that is where you will aim and hopefully hit in combat.

      But what if you are in a sword fight and your opponent is effectively armored head to groin? Your hours of training are now of limited value since the best strike points are the arms or legs. If we can agree that the possibility of hitting vital structures in a gun fight is better below the belly button (not necessarily fatal, but likely incapacitating), then your hours of training shooting at center of mass will automatically cause you to aim high.

      In most cases where you are shooting at an attacker his death or survival is NOT your concern. YOUR death or survival is your primary concern. We are discussing in this scenario a purely defensive DGU at relatively close range (under 7 yards), not military combat. If you aim Center of Mass and miss high, no hit (except maybe in the face). If you aim Low Center and miss low, no hit (except maybe in the thighs). My contention is that a pelvic hit is more likely to stop the fight early – JMHO. If the guy dies or not is not my problem, only that he has less chance of killing me or anyone else.

      I have never studied fighting with the Katana, but I suspect that wounding your opponent and running away safely is not the focus of the exercise. In a DGU ensuring the kill is not the focus of the exercise.

      BTW, this Low Center concept was intended to illustrate the concept of critical thinking, not necessarily to be the sole topic of tactical discussion. I do appreciate all the comments, however.

    • In football, the teach that you watch the hips for this very reason. The head shoulders and arms could be going any which way, but the hips tell you where he is headed and move the least.

  11. I have taken some handgun defense classes taught by some old wisened cops who have had their share of shootouts over the years. Some of the shootouts have been against guys high on PCP. Their advice is draw and start shouting at the privates and stitch your way to the forehead. Along the way you will hit a hip, a femoral artery, major organs and maybe the heart. The really like the hips as a first focus because of its stopping ability and blood loss potential.

    • The only reason I disagree with this is that assumes too much higher order thinking to do effectively. Maybe those guys did it (I don’t know, just because they were in shootouts does not mean they were this “deliberate” about it), but my sense of gunfighting is that it is a pretty messy affair and very, very dynamic. Is that bad guy just standing there while you “stitch him” from crotch to head?

      Fine motor and high level planning are going to be out the door for most of us. I think that’s statistically supported by the available data on real world gunfights involving armed civilians.

      • This^ – once adrenalin kicks in, my heart pumping like it’s run-for-your-life time, my outstretched. hands are going to be bounding up & down several inches to the beat. If I can put several in the centerline, that’s about all I can expect of myself until I can get to cover & practice breathing again.

      • Training can reduce that; but in a way this technique plays into it. You begin to bring the gun up on target but instead of waiting for center-mass you start firing a bit earlier at pelvis level and just keep going up.

  12. There are many good points going back and forth here. More specific targets probably are more effective than a general double tap to center mass. However, unless you’re getting regular, professional force-on-force traing, coupled with experience and ongoing deadly encounters in the field, then most of it is probably moot.

    The one in a million encounter the typical gun owner will have is, well, one in a million. In a million encounters, there will be a million different ways it plays out, but our hero only gets at bat, so to speak. It makes the most sense to go with a tactic that offers you best all around results.

    There won’t be time, and you won’t have the skill anyway, to pinpoint analyze the situation and apply the perfect countermeasure. Try to do so, without abundant training and experience, and you’re apt to get yourself or a bystander seriously hurt by overthinking and underacting.

    • “There won’t be time, and you won’t have the skill anyway, to pinpoint analyze the situation and apply the perfect countermeasure. Try to do so, without abundant training and experience, and you’re apt to get yourself or a bystander seriously hurt by overthinking and underacting.”

      +1000

  13. Unfortunately, I think the premise of this article is based on a false assumption – it’s not “shoot to center of mass” as designated by an “X” or “A-zone” on a paper target. It’s shoot for the center of EXPOSED mass – meaning the target with the highest hit probability. The assumption that a gunfight is going to occur like in some Western movie is incorrect – if there’s bobbing and weaving involved, and there likely is, your aiming point might be your assailants biceps as he angles toward you. It might be his pelvic girdle, or it may be the exposed bit of ankle as you shoot under a car. Pre-selecting some ideal point to shoot at is counterproductive, because you will end up looking for your ideal spot, rather than putting rounds onto what’s presented to you.

    There’s also some merit into shooting what was called by John Farnam (IIRC) the “zipper”. Don’t “double tap” – instead, start at the lower abdomen shot and just let the natural recoil of the gun stitch a line upward, ending in the chest.

    • All excellent points. Thanks.

      My main point, however, is that in most non-tactical training the target is a full-front silhouette with a big “X” right over the sternum. Practicing with side-on targets or moving target or even pop-ups is not generally available to your average non LEO.

      That being the case, and the incapacitation of the BG being the primary goal to end the fight, I suggest that training by starting at the pelvis and perhaps moving north is a better idea for the layman.

      I think this would be especially effective in a civilian DGU where it is likely the BG will not be expecting you to produce and fire a weapon, giving you some advantage before he can react and take evasive action. If you are a cop in uniform, all bets are off.

  14. I mostly agree with the Jew upstream. I’ll have to try the balloon technique.

    As an aside; Does anyone still teach night shooting? The kind where you can’t really see the target, especially can’t see your gun, let alone, the sights?

    • Last time I did that, my staff sergeant called me out at the range & said if there’s a war to please go shoot for the otherside. A little disoriented?

    • Not sure how much weight that RC car can carry or how stable the platform would be, but I thin a full torso on a stick about four feet high and with the balloon in the center would be excellent practice for a moving target. As I recall, an RC car with a balloon was a fairly difficult target for KJW, even with a rifle.

      Of course, we are talking civilians involved in DGU here. The target should be within 7 yards and confined to the area of a large room. If the target leaves that area (simulating an outdoor encounter with the BG departing the AO) it might perhaps be advisable to stop putting pistol rounds downrange.

  15. It’s common in tactical training to not have bullseye or X targets but instead plain silhouettes, so nothing new here. But there’s also the “aim small miss small” theory, so I like to rate my hits based on which zone they’re in.

    Regarding doubts about the stopping power of a chest shot, did we forget about the lungs as being a vital organ? If someone has a sucking chest wound it’s incapacitating. And of course you have the blood loss.
    And there’s no guarantee a pistol won’t just glance off a hip bone. The argument for the below the belt shot seems identical to the discredited “shoot them in the leg” advice. Particularly ineffective, especially if they have a firearm since their bullet can outrun you even if they stop moving.

    So that’s two incapacitating mechanisms for a chest shot. Interruption of breathing, and loss of blood pressure, along with a large target area (lungs). Versus random and relatively small (white man) blood vessels in the crotchal regions.

    • I have treated hip injuries, broken femurs, and assisted in the emergency treatment of a severed femoral artery. No amount of adrenalin would have kept these guys in a fight for very long. The only thing they are thinking about is they are hit and bleeding and it hurts like a son of a bitch. They are also down on the ground and except for crawling they are immobile. An ideal situation for your chance to exfiltrate. (Love that word.)

      I have never treated a sucking chest wound, but all our training and all reports of field experience indicate that unless there is a massive wound cavity such wounds are NOT immediately incapacitating. This seems to be one of the major complaints about the M-16/M4 firing 5.56 FMJ – they bore a clean hole through the lung and the BG keeps on coming and keeps on fighting until he takes a few more hits or bleeds out.

      Ideally pistol JHP rounds of 9mm or larger will cause a serious wound cavity that minimizes this effect, but any fully expanded hollow point impacting the major pelvic or leg bones after passing through minimal tissue is very likely to create significant damage to those structures.

  16. It seems that the author if this has never done any hunting. Shooting live animals with the intent to kill them as quickly (and humanely) as possible is very, very different than theoretical discussions and dialogs.

    Hunters generally aim for heart and heart-lung shots, sometimes purposefully shooting through the shoulder to get there, for a reason. There are a lot of reasons to not gut shoot a deer, but one of them is that they do NOT stop right there and die.

    I cannot imagine purposefully shooting a deer in the pelvis with the hope of a fast kill.

    Bottom line is that different human beings respond very differently to being shot. Some stop right away, some don’t. I have been to autopsies of victims of violence ranging from .22 chest shots to full on 12 ga 00 buck to the chest at near contact distances, multiple stabbings, hangings and a whole lot more. I cannot recall ever being to an autopsy of someone shot in the pelvis, for whatever that might be worth. {shrugs}

    There are reasons people train CoM. It is quite simply the most likely to produce the desired result. That likelihood comes from most likely hit, presence of very vital organs and a few other little details.

    The other thing that I think is underplayed in this discussion is that the issue of marksmanship is very, very real under the stress of “fight for your life.” Real world gunfights show hit probabilities of around 20%, and those are “any” hits, not just fatal ones.

    Mentioned these before:

    Justin Schneiders: Fired 6-7 rounds at BG at close range, hit once. BG was moving. Justin was shot 3 or 4 times (unclear, since two of his wounds could have been made by one shot).

    Jared Restin: Shot 7 times by BG while also returning fire. Three of Jared’s shots were contact cranial shots of which only one was actually fatal.

    1986 Miami Shootout with FBI: FBI agents fired estimated 650 rounds at two bad guys. By far most of these were misses.

    Training for CoM shots is not dogma. It’s based on the real work results of what is most likely to work vs lower probably of success in real stressful fights.

    This is not absolute, of course. Jim Cirillo proved that handily, with .38 Spl no less. But he was a specialist whose job it was to train and prepare for those situations. It’s hard to ask a lay person with a job, family and other interests in life to function at the same level of proficiency.

    • Thanks JR good points. A quibble from a noob hunter – agreed the target point is differejt for a bunch of reasons including humane kill. But I went back to author Cliffs article and no refernce to hunting…the main and summary point was dont get locked into one protocol ie CoM. Be flexible and adapt and thats why you are starting to see real world suggestions about how to practice shooting from cover…at a kneel around a concrete block vs popup over the top at same place… or laydown and shoot under a car to drop disable the enemy…you’d obviously never apply that to shoot a deer in the hoof…;)

      • True that there are a lot differences between hunting and SD. The reason I brought it up was to question the idea of purposefully, given other options, targeting less lethal zones.

        There are times you take the shot you have. No question about that. But in my initial read, he seemed to be saying something akin to “reject CoM and go for these other areas for this list of reasons.” From that interpretation, I disagreed with his thesis.

        Personally, I think we run the risk of over thinking this stuff too much. By that I mean that I think we open ourselves to mindset problems if we try to predict and micromanage too much how we think things will go down.

        From everything I’ve seen in real life and read on the subject, I think reality is crazier than we can plan for in the specific way we seem to try to do. My thinking is to move more toward an ‘adaptability’ training doctrine, rather than to pretend that I have specific responses for circumstances that will most likely never play out as I imagine or practice them.

        To that end, the mechanics of hitting what I want to hit, whether that’s CoM or a barely visible hand, whatever, become distilled to the same operation.

        And, there’s another parallel with hunting. If you go into the woods looking for a whole deer, you’ll never see one. Sometimes you get partial glimpses, lots of cover, the target is moving, etc. And, yeah, you can shoot from some pretty crazy positions, too.

        So, yeah, I think this idea of conditioning to “only shoot CoM at a human silhouette shape” is flawed, because that’s not what the real target will be anyway. But like many training components, it’s a means to an end proficiency wise. I don’t think anyone serious about training thinks CoM is the only shot to take…it’s just the “best” option if it exists. And practicing the mechanics of hitting CoM is still working on fundamentals of marksmanship that can presumably be carried over to hitting a pelvis, an eye, a hand or whatever.

        I hope that makes sense.

    • JR, you are absolutely correct that I am not a hunter. Could probably count my expeditions on one hand and I have successfully taken one four-point deer and a few pheasants, however:

      “Hunters generally aim for heart and heart-lung shots, sometimes purposefully shooting through the shoulder to get there, for a reason. There are a lot of reasons to not gut shoot a deer, but one of them is that they do NOT stop right there and die.”

      The entire point of hunting is to KILL your quarry. You are out there looking for the target, it is trying to evade. If you have a shot you attempt to take the most effective and immediately fatal target zone. No reputable hunter would ever intentionally aim at the abdomen of legs where the chance of a humane kill was slim.

      But this discussion is not about hunting, it is about being hunted. The Bad Guy came for you, which makes you the quarry, not the hunter. In defense the intention is to stop the threat and escape, not kill the BG humanely and put him in your freezer at home. This is not about being sporting, it is about surviving the fight, with the life or death of the BG an entirely inconsequential side issue. If and when he is in no position to effectively continue his attack on you, THAT is the goal. I contend that a pelvic hit might be the better choice for a pistol round to obtain that result. YMMV.

      • I agree it is about surviving the fight. But I contend that if you are not 100% prepared to kill your opponent to achieve that goal, you are starting behind the curve.

        Someone above stated better than I can something to the effect of fighting for your life essentially amounts to trying to kill your attacker. In the extreme case, it has to be, and you may not have the luxury of alternate tactics.

        Something to think about, anyway. There is no single, one right answer to this stuff.

  17. The Fairbairn and ‘old coots’ comment reflect real world experience. Here’s another from boxing:

    Ever been punched in the chest?
    How about the skull?
    Now…the nuts?
    Or diaphram?

    Think I’ll be trying this out as alternatives.

  18. Ahem…if you shoot them in the crotch you MAY limit their ability to pass along their special genetics. Hope I never have to. GREAT ADVICE.

  19. I agree with the OP’s philosophy and have trained this way for awhile. Bottom line, you are trying to stop the attack but also trying to stop the advance. A good shot on the hip or pelvis means the attackers next step will probably be his last, giving you an immobile and stationary target making follow-up shots that much easier.

    Also with the proliferation of vests, shooting low center is a better bet in almost all scenarios.

    As they say move or die.

    I also have no problem shooting a guy in the junk. There is no honor in combat, just survival.

  20. This makes a lot of sense but there is always a but. The worst thing you can do in citizen’s DGU is turn the fight intova dual to the death. If you imobilize your assailant without fully incapacitating him you run rthe risk that he will try win the fight. As long as he can still bug out even if he going five minutes later there is a good chance he will do so. You don’t want to take that option away from him.

      • The bad guy agrees about the not dying part which is why I want to avoid turning a DGU into a duel to the death. If he is coherent after I shoot him I would prefer he wander off and die somewhere than go for the revenge kill.

  21. For what its worth, I recently attended a handgun course taught by active LEO SWAT guys. They had us vary our point of aim: COM, pelvic girdle, cranio-ocular cavity (facial area between nose and eyes). They also also seemed to favor a “burst” of fire rather than the traditional double tap or controlled pair.

    The pelvic girdle was recommended if the bad guy was wearing armor or COM shots were having little effect. However the instructors admitted that pistol rounds were less effective at breaking the hips/pelvis than rifle and carbine projectiles.

    • Interesting…

      have read where Inexperienced troops encouraged to aim low infirst volley…knowing some will hit on target vs overhead.

      to incorporate the watch the hands then shoot with burst and Mozambique idea it could be something like hammer pair belly button…hammer pair CoM…hammer pair upper lip on a fast moving toward you threat…

    • Faster on target from low ready too.

      Which is how i’d be moving cover to cover while scanning for known/unknown attackers any where on my exit route out of the mall…movie theater…restaurant with kids in tow.

      Thats my general plan…YMMV.

      • “…no plan of operations extends with any certainty beyond the first contact with the main hostile force.”

        –Moltke The Elder

        😉

      • rlc2 – Dontcha know the cool kids have all abandoned the low ready positon in favor of the compressed ready or Sul position? How you goin look like an Operator if you’re using techniques from the 1990’s? 😉

  22. I’m a graduate of some pretty prominent military marksmenship programs and some civilian ones to boot. This technique is pretty valid but it’s never been tought as a primary point of attack. As the author astutely points out, COM shots statistically favor the shooter as you are aiming at the biggest portion of the threat and this is more likely to land rounds on target.

    Where this method has been introduced in the schools I have attended is as an alternate to the ‘Mozambique’ drill of two to the chest, one to the head. The head is a pretty small damn target. If the threat is still advancing after shots COM, pelvic shots are an option to disrupt the targets body mechanics and put them on the ground.

    It’s never been taught as the primary technique, it’s just been presented as an alternative, maybe even tertiary option in the chain of events: COM, still a threat; head (still advancing/perhaps missed); pelvis to stop the advance and give time to seek cover/place better finishing shots.

    A million ways to skin a cat…

  23. Another point to make- in real life shootings, cops seem to be able to hit the heads of thugs despite the issues noted above. Many say a headshot is difficult on the grounds that hitting a target on a square range that sized is tough.

    While I won’t dispute that, I’ll testify to the fact that being scared for your life can imbue you with skills under pressure that’d you’d never be able to accomplish “conciously”. When a bad guy picked me out for a target, I was able to ID his presence, see him coming down the lot, identify a place to take cover (front of my car ) and note the position of his hands while also strategically exposing my own weapon as I reached for and inserted my car keys into the lock.

    I determined all those mental details with adrenaline enhanced sharpness in about half a second. I WISH I thought that fast in conscious life. He saw my gun and booked it .

    For a more professional example, take Jim Cirillos first shooting in the NYPD Stakeout Squad. He engaged three bad guys with a revolver in record time under stress, a feat he was never able to accomplish again at the square range.

    Many of the gun gurus say stress negatively impacts performance, and perhaps on the greater scale they’re right. I just know I was too focused to feel anything except precise calculation of what it took to escape the situation. The emotions came LATER….as did the shakes and the moral questions.

    I’m not trying to say that training isn’t a good thing. But when you’re in “FIGHT” mode, you do things differently.I can see someone unable to easily hit a target in the head at the square range being so focused that they manage the improbable , as Cirillo did .

    • Actually, going by “statistics”, cops can’t hit anything other than innocent bystanders, dogs and children. Find a better metric to go by.

  24. I’d go for chest and head (in that order) if it was me personally, but I wouldn’t begrudge a fellow who shot for the pelvis with a large caliber firearm under certain circumstances. The hips move less than the upper body, and it is easier to predict movement on them. So, from a reasonable distance, a pelvic shot might do the trick on a moving target. A hit would drop a guy, and I think you’d be less likely to be fooled by his/her movement if you’re focusing on the hips. Up close–as, I think, most defensive gun uses are–go for the highest probability of incapacitation: High volume of fire; center mass. That’d be my advice. Don’t trust the guy to grab his hip or stomach and drop his weapon. Make him drop his weapon by incapacitating him as quickly as possible. I don’t care if he lives or dies, but he needs to be unable to fight. (Besides, suppose you do hit a guy in the hip and he goes down, dropping his weapon. Then suppose he reaches for the gun he dropped and you have to shoot him again. Now you have to explain to the police why you shot a man who was already on the ground wounded. Yeah, it was justified; but a lot of folks would see that he was on the ground and immediately think that your follow-up shot was unnecessary and malicious.)

    • “…a lot of folks would see that he was on the ground and immediately think that your follow-up shot was unnecessary and malicious.”

      If you are prosecuted the Prosecutor is going to attempt to make EVERYTHING you did seem unnecessary and malicious.

      You can only rely on forensics at that point to determine how far away you were when you fired the kill shot, and at what angle. If there are witnesses or video they may corroborate you story. If no witnesses or video the prosecution must prove beyond a reasonable doubt that your shot was not justified, not an easy task, especially if the BG still has the gun in his hands when first responders arrive on scene.

      Every DGU is going to be different. Trying to train for a life or death gunfight by anticipating what the prosecution will use against you is a sure way to never be prosecuted – you will be dead.

      Bottom line, don’t shoot if the threat is over. Do not approach the down BG to attempt to disarm or administer first aid. Leave the scene to a safe distance if you can and wait for law enforcement. If you can’t leave, look for safe cover and remain on guard until relieved.

      Ask George Zimmerman if there are any guarantees.

  25. I think it’s very hard to make a definitive statement about where you should aim because every single situation you encounter is going to be a bit different to the point that you won’t know until you’re in the shit. I think it might be a good idea to train for a lot of different scenarios.

    About the only thing you can guarntee is that it seems unlikley that your target is going to be standing up perfectly still and facing you completely perpendicular.

    • Agreed.

      And, in the real test, your opponent likely won’t just stand there with no weapon and you have complete control over when to draw and shoot and the range of the shot.

      Yeah, static range practice is good to practice fundamentals, but it’s woefully inadequate as “training,” especially for mindset.

  26. In bad situations, most defenders, except well-trained ninjas, will be unable to hit ANY small target or area with a handgun. When things go bad, they mostly go bad fast. There’s a big difference between practice speed and game speed. Moving the practice X up, down or sideways is irrelevant.

    If you’re going to practice for SD by using paper targets, why not practice getting solid hits very rapidly in and about the A zone? In a real life crisis, delivering enough hollowpoint ammo of appropriate power (thank you, ShootingtheBull410) should get you home safely.

    • Forget the X, train to hit the bad guy. If you can hit the X with that kind of reliability you might as well start training for other issues.

    • Yep. For all the talk on marksmanship and conscious target choice, a large percentage of real civilian gunfights end with one (or more) of the participants shot in the hand or forearms.

      It’s hypothesized that we shoot at the danger, which is perceived as the person’s gun.

      For those of us that don’t train 8+ hours a day 5+ days per week to be tacticool operators, we do what we can and hope if the time comes, we do good enough. Even if we win, it’s still very, very likely we will get hurt.

      There’s a thought here in my head about red pill and blue pill. We should be beware the danger of previsualizing to many parameters in our favor.

  27. A buddy relayed a report from a friend of his assignmed to Seal Team Six. His buddy went through 40,000 rounds during three weeks of handgun practice working up for deployment. Let that sink in a bit.

    • 13,000+ rounds a week for 3 weeks? How many spare mags and assistents loading them did he have? What pistol did he shoot 40,000 rounds thru that then would be trustworthy enough to deploy with? How many hours a day did he have to devote to this endurance event?

      He had nothing else to do for the 3 weeks prior to deployment but burn up the ammo allotment for his whole unit?

    • No disrespect to your friend, but this expenditure in a three week period by one shooter seems a bit of an exaggeration, even for a SEAL. Given a 12 hour day on the range, 7 days a week, with no breaks for meals or even a piss, he would have fired over 150 rounds every single hour. Nice work if you can get it?

      And ever since “Zero Dark Thirty” I tend to take EVERY claim by persons who are bona fide SEALS, and the many assertions by people who CLAIM to be SEALS, with a very large grain of salt.

      Seems like bars all over America are full of ex-SEAL Team Six members these days.

      • Unlimited ammo. Others loading your mags and policing your brass and maintaining your side arms each day. You and your team mates shooting from dawn to dark……

        Yes, 40,000 rounds in three weeks.

        There’s a reason why these guys are so proficient in putting rounds where they intend them to go.

        Practice. Practice. Practice.

        • Valet Range? Apparently you’ve never been in the service so I’ll let you in on a closely gaurded secret. Bullshit is the most common commodity produced by our fine men and women in the military.

          The difference between a fairy tale and a war story? One starts out “Once upon a time….” The other starts out “This ain’t no shit man…..”

          I admire your respect for our men and women in uniform. Just don’t let it cloud your vision too much. Those of us with a dd214 know that we’re just people, like everybody else.

        • Paul, neither one of us has time on the teams. But 1 guy putting 40,000 rounds downrange in 3 weeks. And you accept that at face value. You don’t do a service to the real operators that put it on the line all around the world by blindly accepting these he said/she said stories at face value.

          Never been in spec ops, sf or the teams. But I’ve been under fire and while there’s others much more experienced than me I have enough knowledge to sniff out BS when I hear it.

          One thing I know about the “operators” from experience. If they’re talking about the shit they’ve been in it ain’t to a non member. They are part of an exclusive fraternity and we ain’t in on the secret handshakes nor do we have the decoder rings.

          Whoever’s been puffing smoke up your skirt hasn’t been any closer to the teams than you or me.

        • OK, JWM if you are ever in the area come on out to Asymmetric Solutions and I will introduce to our former Navy Seal, Director of Operations, and other members of our training cadre and you can call them and their friends liars to their face.

          It should prove to be an entertaining meeting.

        • Paul, I thought you weren’t connected as a spokesmen or employee of that training group? A whole lotta “ours” in that statement. If I’m ever out that way I’ll stop in. I can swap stories with your buddies.

      • I am an old man, and I burn 150 rds in a 1/2 hour of f*cking around. Get real. Want to be “proficient”? You need to burn several thousand rds a month. Hell, my current hard rice count is 2600 a month, spread between 9mm, 7.62 Warsaw and .22lr. And I am just some random old guy.

  28. This is why training is so important. I have only been in one shooting but I can say that the thought process I went through in those very few seconds was extensive and I can recall each moment and every decision I made very clearly.

    When you train properly and consistently, the emotional reaction is limited and you can rely on muscle memory to apply critical thinking to tiny details at an incredibly fast rate.

  29. I have a suggestion: Take whatever shot you know you can make in a DGU weather that’s to the face, heart, gut or groin. If you are facing a well prepared attacker, one wearing body armor or attacking from behind cover, It pretty much rules out any shot that’s not face or groin. I’m just saying take whatever you can reasonably get.

  30. OK, going to just say it. Having put bullets into no few of my fellow man I can attest, gut shots put their ass ON THE GROUND, screaming. And makes their buddies scramble for cover. Period. Full stop.

  31. Two cents: This is how I WAS taught to shoot. First shot for the pelvis then the X. The trainer was a former secret service trainer–for what that’s worth.

    It did take a lot of training to ingrain, though. But then again so did shooting a 16″ target at 500 yards under time, while changing mags, and counting rounds.

    At the end of the day perhaps it’s like the over prescription of medications: Yes the doctors know you could achieve the results through diet and exercise. But 99.999% of people won’t. So they just prescribe the drug…

    Or, the the case of guns, tell people to let it all ride on X.

  32. The reason you shoot high CoM is because you are striking the respiratory system and knocking the wind out of them which, if fired as a controlled pair, induces a pause in the target allowing for a head shot. The mid-brain, ponz and medulla oblongata are the only real way to put someone down. Inducing a pause allows you to engage multiple targets as well.

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