When you’re shooting at someone to eliminate an imminent, credible threat of death or grievous bodily harm, do what the police do: aim center mass. Never mind movies or antis who suggest you should “shoot to wound.” Aim at the threat’s body to stop the threat. Specifically . . .
That bit in the middle.
The thinking is simple enough: the bigger the target the better your chance of hitting it. At the same time, all of the perp’s vital organs are conveniently located in the middle of his or her body. You’re far more likely to stop a threat if you hit the bad guy’s oxygen and circulation engines (lungs and heart). Gut shots smart too.
Which is all well and good if the bad guy is facing you head on. What if he’s sideways to you?
Same thing. Aim for the middle. In fact, you are well-advised to get yourself some of these “side-on” targets; gun ranges generally don’t stock them.
Some gun gurus recommend aiming for the pelvic girdle (that bit below center mass in the orange illustration above). They usually add the caveat that you should do so when the bad guy is right on top of you. At which point shooting any part of their body is a capital idea.
Back in the day, before the widespread adoption of semi-automatic pistols, instructors used to talk about shooting a revolver to “zip up” the bad guy. It’s got nothing to do with hoodies. They advised armed self-defenders to start shooting at the BG’s pelvis and keep firing. As the gun’s muzzle rises follow-up shots will rise too, moving from pelvis to center mass.
Yeah, no. Aim for center mass.
As Sheriff Newell Normand points out in the video above, shooting a bad guy isn’t easy. You’re moving — you ARE moving, right? — the bad guy’s moving and adrenaline’s flowing like Niagra Falls.
While cops tend to get a mulligan or 100 when rounds go astray, you don’t. Every bullet you fire comes with a lawyer attached (as they say). You need every round to hit the bad guy, and none not to.
So move, shoot, aim at the bad guy’s center mass and hope for the best. Remember: people don’t fall over and die when you shoot them. Keep shooting — center mass — until the threat stops. And don’t miss.
That said, if your foe’s wearing body armor or you really, really want to stop them dead in their tracks, go for a head shot. Realizing that the only way to raise the odds of that working is to get close. Gruesome as it sounds, gruesome as it will be, a contact shot is best.