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No, Mr. LeClair isn’t warning high school students in central Massachusetts not to join their local rifle team. The main man at‘s suggesting that those of us trained to aim for the center of someone who’s put us in imminent, life-threatening danger should, instead, aim lower. And move our following shots upwards. Mark LeCLair (nothing to do with the Montreal microhouse musician by the same name) calls it the “bottom center” approach (nothing to do with S&M-oriented football players). “The focal point being the bottom of the target combined with the avenue of approach would cause the trigger pull to begin towards the bottom of the target as the bottom centerline approach is being accomplished.” You hurt your what? Let’s try that again . . .

Where would the bullets impact: centerline and between the belly area of the target and the upper chest area of the target. Under stressful situations, this process would create a greater impact percentage than the normal center mass aim point.

Basically, by aiming low, your “flyers” wouldn’t whiz over the perp’s head and shoulders, as they would if you aimed for center mass. Mr. LeClair offers the usual disclaimer—“Smart Tactics is not liable for anyone attempting any of the tactics listed above”—but the question remains: is it a good idea to plan for failure?

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  1. According to numerous gun folks such as Ayoob and SP Wenger the pelvis is a pretty good spot to aim for in a defensive shooting situation, so I wouldn't exactly describe this advice as planning to fail.

  2. Pelvis shots are are an alternative target when body armor is worn. Another reason is to break the pelvic girdle which would cripple the assailant. Unfortunately, that is not a guarantee with handgun rounds.

    For assailants not wearing armor, I teach shooting at the center of available mass since the whole body or even the whole upper body may not be available.

    Here's a link to our short vid on the subject

  3. Shooting low (pelvis or lower) and letting the muzzle climb to the triangle is an old rapid-fire shooting technique employed with great effectiveness by the German Army in two wars. It is by no means a crazy idea, and would probably be effective, but — if center mass shooting ain't broke, why fix it?

    As I recall, Ayoob suggested that while holding an attacker at gunpoint (if, say, you are waiting for the police to arrive after your knife-wielding attacker has surrendered to your superior firepower), keeping the gun pointed at his pelvis is a grand idea, and with that I agree. He says pelvis, I say testicles. Tomato, tamahto.

  4. I heard from a LEO that many years ago they were taught to aim for "the center" (i.e. the waistline), which over time and through the evolution from JSP revolver rounds to JHP pistol rounds, has changed to aiming for "center mass". Perhaps Rabbi could comment? From a hunters perspective, hitting a deer in the shoulder blade will certainly drop him/her quickly. The deer may or may not get back up to run (very few make it more than 3 or 4 steps). Many deer have been shot through the lungs with no bone "injuries" and have had to be tracked for hundres of yards to find the kill. Of course, these are .30-cal hunting rifle rounds, not handgun calibers.

  5. I agree that you should not plan to fail. But you need to account for the possibility of failure.

    A quick, low shot does seem safer than a quick, high shot. It's probably a good technique for the average, shoot-once-a-year-or-less CCW holder. For those who train and practice, I'm going to side with those who are saying to not fix what ain't broke.

  6. There are a couple more potential issues with the pelvis shot:

    1: if you shoot low–which is quite common under stress, you may be off target.
    2: if you train yourself to aim for a particular location, you may hesitate under stress if that shot is not available.

    By training to shoot center of available mass, you always shoot for what you see and since you are shooting at the "center" you are more likely to connect with something if your shot is off.

    Patrick is right: a shoulder shot works for hunters because of the high caliber. We can't expect the same results with a handgun.

    My apologies to Patrick for agreeing with him 🙂

  7. I would like to comment on some of your comments:
    Rabbi: shooting low is not a common stress shot, actually shooting high and to the side is. If you train yourself for a particular location it has no bearing when you have to fire under duress, muscle memory not mental picture takes over. I dont see this article saying anything about deer hunting so i was confused about that one.

    Josh: good technique for the average, shoot once a year or less ccw holder? really? You can keep practicing on a that paper target at the range and then you know you can react quickly and accurately when you are assaulted by that same paper target out in town. Unless you train for stressful situation with your firearm,it is doubtful that you would be doing enough to survive in a threatening situation.

  8. If you look at the "miss" ratio of the local police fire-fights you will see that thier miss percentage is too high. Why? Training, discipline, structure, lack of stress fire training and more. when someone has 3 magazine changes on a target less than 25 feet away and everybullet misses, there is an issue. where are they taught? Center of mass.

    I used to be in the mindset that if it aint broke dont fix it until I realized that advancements were passing me by, now I accept and practice to perfect or as close as I can get and it does make a difference. Dont be quick to be a nay-sayer without actually being put into that situation and realizing that technique might just save your life. There is more to shooting than just what you read. Thanks

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