If you're in danger and have to shoot, what's better?


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Rockrivr1
December 20, 2005, 10:33 AM
Whenever I go to the range I always put time aside to practice drawing my CCW and firing at a target. I'm trying it a few different ways. Some with speed in mind and some with trying to be more accurate. As I practice more I've been noticing a few things depending on the way I practice.

As an example if I try to draw with speed in mind I can definitely get a shot off faster then if I'm trying to be accurate. The down side to this is that while I'm hitting the target, I'm more often then not on center mass of the target. If I slow down and try more for accuracy I almost always hit center mass, but my speed in getting off the first shot is definitely slower. I'm also noticing that because I participate in USPSA, I'm double tapping my shots no matter which way I practice.

Here's my questions. I know that different situations will dictate what you do when having to draw and fire, but overall what is better? Is it better to be fast and hit the bad guy, even if it's in the arm, leg, shoulder etc or is it better to be a little slower and get center mass, potential kill shot, with the first round?

By being faster I'm thinking I'll get the first shot off, which will give me a better chance overall. Danger is the bad guy is still on his/her feet and may have time to retaliate. By being slower and taking better aim, the bad guy/girl may have time to react and put me at a disadvantage.

Also, if someone does draw and fire, does it look worse in the law's eyes if you double tap the bad guy/girl instead of just shooting once?

Looking for a little advise here as CCWing is pretty new to me.

Thanks for the advise.

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Janitor
December 20, 2005, 10:40 AM
Also, if someone does draw and fire, does it look worse in the law's eyes if you double tap the bad guy/girl instead of just shooting once?
I sure hope not. The way I visualize things I'd just dump the mag into CM as best as possible. If they don't like a double tap, I wonder what will be said about 16 rounds (or 6, or 15, or 8, or ...)?

:)
-

Sinsaba
December 20, 2005, 10:48 AM
...I know that different situations will dictate what you do when having to draw and fire, but overall what is better? Is it better to be fast and hit the bad guy, even if it's in the arm, leg, shoulder etc or is it better to be a little slower and get center mass, potential kill shot, with the first round? ...

Both ... Practice the slow aimed approach, keep practicing it, practice it some more but speed it up just a little, keep doing this till you are drawing full speed and getting your shots COM. If at any time you find consistantly that you are off COM then decrease your speed a bit till you are back on target.

... Also, if someone does draw and fire, does it look worse in the law's eyes if you double tap the bad guy/girl instead of just shooting once? ...

Being dead in a coffin looks worse than either. The purpose of drawing and firing is to stop a threat. Keep pulling the trigger untill the bad guy/girl is no longer a threat.

XavierBreath
December 20, 2005, 10:54 AM
Gunfighting is not target shooting. The goal in a gunfight is survival, not points.

If you get off the first shot, you have forced your opponent into a reactionary mode. If you hit him, he is responding to that shot. If you do not hit him, he is STILL responding to that shot, which he was not expecting 2 seconds prior. All this is assuming that you stayed concealed until you were ready to draw AND fire your weapon. Idealy I would want that first shot COM, but I will take an arm or leg if I gain advantage with that.

I do not claim to have vast gunfighting experience, however, it is my conviction that gaining a quick advantage is crucial tactically. That first shot is a huge step towards gaining that advantage. The goocher is you are one shot down if you miss, so be ready and willing to make the second shot as accurate as possible. Remember that you are responsible for any shots that miss. That first shot should NOT be a "warning" shot, but an attempt to take down the bad guy. What you are doing is sacrificing some accuracy to force him into a defensive role. You are shifting the momentum, gaining the advantage, and preparing to end the gunfight. This is why guns can be loaded with more than one round.

Also crucial in your survival is not getting shot. Cover and movement are the keys there, but that was not the gist of your question. There is a lot more to CCW than just packing a gun.

My two pesos.

Preacherman
December 20, 2005, 10:55 AM
"Speed's fine, but accuracy's final."

IlikeSA
December 20, 2005, 10:55 AM
Most quality guns are accurate enough at defensive ranges (3-7 yds) so that if you pick up the front sight clearly and place it on target at COM, it will hit the COM. That always worked for me in the bunches qualification rounds I have had to fire. At longer ranges (10 yds+) I had to take a little more time for aimed fire. Just remember, the BG does too. If you can move to cover do so, just keep track of him.

As far as the double tap is concerned, Ive loosed 5-7 rds in a second at 3 yards from the draw, and all hit COM. Sure, it wasnt a pretty group, but I had to get that many off in that amount of time. As a former police officer, we all looked at something like that as doing what you had to do. If you had to tap that fast, that's what you had to do. I personally wouldn't frown upon a double tap because I wouldnt want someone to do that to me if I were in your shoes. You did what you had to do stop the threat. Just be able to articulate he was still standing and a threat when that second shot came less than a 1/4 second later :cool:

SpookyPistolero
December 20, 2005, 10:59 AM
Howdy-

If you find yourself in that kind of encounter, or you're talking to anyone about it in the aftermath, you shot to STOP. You didn't shoot to kill. You only did what was absolutely necessary to get him to stop what he was doing, which had better have been something that was putting you or yours in the way of grave bodily harm. Just put as many shots as it takes to get the BG to stop.

In a court room, there are lots of things that could go badly for you, but be more worried about when to shoot instead of how many shots to make. Only pull that trigger when things have reached the gravest extreme*, and later on any jury you have to face will look a lot better than the inside of a casket you might have had to fill otherwise.

All that said, 'you must make haste slowly'. Only hits count, but if you're taking your time with the perfect shot, the other fellow is going to capitalize and put one in you while you're aiming. Just aim for center of mass. Don't wait for the perfect sight picture, get a good approximation of a sight picture, and squeeze.

Fast is good, accurate is good, find a fair compromise for both.



*A good book to read on the subject might be Ayoob's 'In the Gravest Extreme'.

XLMiguel
December 20, 2005, 11:00 AM
I have had a limited amount of trainng, but the prevailing advice has been to work on your accuracy first, speed will come with practice. The point is to get quick at acquiring the flash sight picture - focus on the threat and work on orienting the weapon to the threat quickly and accurately and then fire.

As far as shooting multiple times, in a life-threatening situation where lethal force is clearly justified, the number of shots it takes to stop the fight is almost irrelevant. The conventional wisdom, given that there is no such thing as a guaranteed 'one-shot-stop', is to keep shooting until the BG is stopped, i.e. anyone worth shooting is worth shooting twice . . . YMMV

Oldtimer
December 20, 2005, 11:01 AM
Think of your handgun as an extension of your hand and forearm. If your handgun is held properly, with a locked wrist, you can pretty much judge from the angle of your forearm where your rounds are going to strike. I'm deliberately excluding locking your elbow, for you MAY have to fire with a bent elbow.

You can get in a lot of practise in front of a full mirror. Just double-check the chamber! Your presentation time can be cut down by visually reviewing yourself in the reflected image. Then, when you're on the range, the presentation/draw will lead to firing, perhaps with a follow-up change of position and more rounds fired.

It's also good to have a knowledgeable shooter monitor your presentation/draw and shooting techniques. We all tend to pick up bad habits, but the sooner you correct them, the better off you'll be.....and none of us can KNOW, without it being brought to our attention, that we've picked up bad habits!

MrChicken
December 20, 2005, 11:32 AM
I like the old west gunfighter credo of "Make the first shot count". You may not get another, you might have malfunction after the first shot. Also if your arm shot goes on through to hit a bystander you're in deep trouble even if you live through the gunfight.

Not that I mean to take enough time to get a perfect shot in there, more like a couple of fast 9's, instead of one X.

If you practice your presentations correctly, you should have the gun lined up correctly and ready to deliver good hits without precise aiming at close range. A flash sight picture (front sight on COM) and press... The key to this is getting a good firing grip while the gun is holstered. If you do that correctly, the gun should point naturally like a finger at the target. Next get the gun up so the sights are out in front of your dominant eye and there you have it.

Gunpacker
December 20, 2005, 11:43 AM
As mentioned by XavierBreath, a quick shot will distract an agressor, even if you miss. I suspect that anyone being shot at is likely to at least flinch, giving you time to come to a more accurate position for a followup. Carrying a double action semi on duty, I always thought of the first shot as a throwaway. I can shoot a good revolver DA very quickly and accurately, but a semi usually has a terrible trigger for DA. Even with a revolver, I would be less than "accurate" on the first shot. I felt that a quick DA shot would not slow down my first really aimed shot. Heck, you never know, but that quick shot may save your life, and may be all the action needed.
My feeling is that delaying for an accurate first shot may get you killed, since the opponent already has had time to aim by acting first against an unsuspecting victim. You should hope to have time to get off a shot as fast as possible IMO.

Sleeping Dog
December 20, 2005, 12:13 PM
a quick shot will distract an agressor, even if you miss
Yeah, but you need to aim that miss carefully so you don't hit any bystanders. :eek:

Regards.

Gunpacker
December 20, 2005, 01:20 PM
Hmmm, Sleeping Dog, so you never miss? Or you miss enough to remember to plan for it?
If my one's life is in danger in a sudden occurrence, tunnel vision will likely make planning for surrounding backstops a difficult thing. But hey, glad some of us are capable of doing it. Makes the world a safer place.
Regards.

pax
December 20, 2005, 01:25 PM
Practice accuracy, then speed up until you aren't quite as accurate as you were. Practice accuracy at that speed, then speed up until you aren't quite as accurate as you were. Lather, rinse, repeat.

Under stress, you might shoot faster than you usually do -- but I guarantee that stress won't improve your accuracy one little bit.

pax

Taurus 617 CCW
December 20, 2005, 01:49 PM
+1 for Preacherman

Practicing both is good but it ultimately comes down to stopping the threat, either hitting your target or causing it to flee. Not getting shot also helps.

Sergeant Sabre
December 20, 2005, 01:53 PM
My opinion in regards to speed vs. accuracy is this:

When the time comes for shots to be fired, you need rounds downrange now . The Marines taught me that one shot should = one kill. That's no good, however, if that kill is you . Sometimes it's just as important to shoot first as it is to hit first. When you fire, you cause problems for your adversary that he has to deal with rather than focusing entirely on hurting you. You split his efforts between hurting you and not being hurt himself.

This is illustrated in the training we were given regarding reacting to a surprise attack / ambush. The bottom line was that we were, upon the initial shots fired at us, get on the ground immediately and start shooting in the direction you think the enemy is in. If you can't see him, then just shoot. You might even hit something. But just shoot. Get his head down and break his initial attack.

Said another way, in the intial milliseconds of an attack, there is not time to aim. The goal here is to repel or slow down the aggressor. Putting rounds downrange is the best way to do this. If, after breaking up the initial assault, there is sufficient time to take careful aim and the threat still exists, then take careful aim.

mosttoyswins
December 20, 2005, 01:57 PM
Practice is VERY important, I practice lots of different senarios..

- Quick draw and rapid fire
- Firing from hip, point and fire
- Draw, vocal warning, slow fire for accuracy
- 2 to COM, 1 to head
- Unload mag into COM while walking backwards
- Shooting from knees, off handed, one handed, while sitting on butt etc etc

I try to practice firing my gun from any possible situation I may find myself in.

BUT the reality is you will not know how you will react until in actually happens. Hopefully your instincts and training will take over, that is why you practice.

My .02.

Infidel
December 20, 2005, 02:10 PM
"You can't miss fast enough to win."
-- Clint Smith

Jim K
December 20, 2005, 02:16 PM
I have never fired a shot in anger (nor, have any of the others here, I suspect), but I have spoken to LEO's who had been in gun fights, and the idea of distracting the opponent would not appear to work. To him YOU are a threat to HIS life and liberty, and at that point he has one goal, to kill you. He is not going to be "distracted" by anything that does not take him down and out of the fight.

To me, distracting the BG is of the same order as wounding him in the pinkie, shooting the gun out of his hand, or other comic book nonsense. You must stop his attack on you or die. You are not trying to get him to reconsider, become an aid worker, or join the church choir. You are trying to STOP him and that requires hitting him, not trying to distract him.

Practice for accuracy first, speed will come. As for drawing, IMHO if you are in a situation where you have to draw in the face of an immediate threat, you have not been paying attention. The best place for your gun when you need to shoot is in your hand; if you have to draw you just made a big mistake.

P.S. "Accuracy" at close range doesn't mean target accuracy with perfectly aligned sights; practice should include shooting with the gun in different positions.

Jim

XavierBreath
December 20, 2005, 02:20 PM
If we are going to quote people........
"In our recent pistol class we had a couple of Glocks, a revolver, and a crunchenticker. This made it necessary for me to introduce the entire class to the four firing strokes which may be used with the double-action self-loader.
The Weaver System. In this method the weapon is fired by cocking it with the trigger finger on the way up. Pressure commences as the piece is raised from "smack" to "look." The pressure is even and so timed that the trigger stroke is completed exactly as the sights are picked up by the eye. This system was used by Jack Weaver in his prime with a revolver, and I can testify that it worked beautifully in the hands of the master. It is difficult, however, and calls for unusual talent and coordination.
The Crunch-Through System. This system is most commonly used in law enforcement schools, and it is the least efficient way of using the weapon. No pressure is applied to the trigger until the sights are picked up, at which time the shooter presses straight back (crunch) completing the firing action while attempting to maintain the sights on the target. The second shot is fired with the piece cocked, hence "crunch - tick."
Thumb-Cock System. In this system the shooter catches the hammer with the thumb of his support hand when the hands come together at "smack." Then as the piece is pressed up into line the hammer comes back, reaching full cock just at the top of the presentation. This is probably the best method for handling the double-action automatic. It is every bit as quick as the two foregoing systems, and it offers a shooter a cocked hammer for every shot.
The Shot-Cock System. With this system the shooter simply flings his first shot down range, cocking the piece with his trigger finger as fast as he can without particular attention to sights or alignment. He then places his second shot from a cocked mode with the precision that affords. This may sound bizarre, but I have seen it work on the range and I have discovered it to work on the street. The interval between the first shot and the second is almost nil, and the first shot just may hit. The shooter, however, concentrates on the placement of his second shot. (I do not teach this system, but I do mention it. Whether it is "correct" or not is beside the point, since it works.)
Anyone who chooses a double-action auto-pistol as his service arm should experiment with all four strokes and find out which suits him best. It takes a master to master the Weaver System. The Crunch-Through System is unsatisfactory. Thumb cocking works just fine for most people. The Shot-Cock System is viewed askance by most instructors, but, as I say, it works and I will not condemn any system which works."
Jeff Cooper
Vol. 6, No. 11
Things are rarely so simple as a sound bite might indicate, and each scenerio is unique.
It's not about winning, it's about surviving.
FWIW, I stand by my statements in Post #4, but it is interesting that someone such as Cooper would advocate a throwaway shot in some instances. Unwavering dogma is dangerous.

Sleeping Dog
December 20, 2005, 02:57 PM
Hmmm, Sleeping Dog, so you never miss?
Dunno, I haven't drawn on a bad guy to shoot him. But there are situations, crowded store, bus, etc, where a miss would probably result in the wrong body stopping the bullet. Is getting off the first round, regardless of trajectory, the most important goal? Or is it worth the risk to one's own life and limb to take another moment and aim? I hope I'd avoid collateral deaths. That's all I was saying. "Know your target and what's beyond it."

Even better is if the bad guy sees my hand in my coat pocket and goes elsewhere. Two shopping days til Christmas, and I don't want to spend the time talking to cops.

Regards.

magyvor
December 20, 2005, 03:25 PM
I have never fired a shot in anger (nor, have any of the others here, I suspect), but I have spoken to LEO's who had been in gun fights, and the idea of distracting the opponent would not appear to work. To him YOU are a threat to HIS life and liberty, and at that point he has one goal, to kill you. He is not going to be "distracted" by anything that does not take him down and out of the fight.

To me, distracting the BG is of the same order as wounding him in the pinkie, shooting the gun out of his hand, or other comic book nonsense. You must stop his attack on you or die. You are not trying to get him to reconsider, become an aid worker, or join the church choir. You are trying to STOP him and that requires hitting him, not trying to distract him.

Practice for accuracy first, speed will come. As for drawing, IMHO if you are in a situation where you have to draw in the face of an immediate threat, you have not been paying attention. The best place for your gun when you need to shoot is in your hand; if you have to draw you just made a big mistake.

P.S. "Accuracy" at close range doesn't mean target accuracy with perfectly aligned sights; practice should include shooting with the gun in different positions.

Jim


+2 Jim !

I have always found faith in that Practice is essential. But knowing that you have no Idea how you will react when the time comes to defend yourself, try and be prepared for that time in advance. Know your surroundings. Pay attention.

Just recently while walking towards my car after dark, I noticed a couple people standing in the shadows about 50 yards from me. It was dark enough, and I was not near anyone, so I discretely drew my gun and held it to my side. I got to my car, the people never advanced towards me, and I left. These people were probably just shooting the breeze..or maybe lived near by, or were just going for a walk. The point is, if they had approached me I would have been much more prepared to defend myself.

Does this mean that while at Mcdonalds eating a double greasy and some punks walk in you should slap your 45 on the table ready for action? Of course not...I just think if you try and be AWARE of your surroundinds and situation at ALL times, you are 1 step ahead of the game.

Just my .02 cents :)

Mr_Moore
December 20, 2005, 03:32 PM
I had actually been thinking of this but never asked it. I am reading the responses with interest.

dfaugh
December 20, 2005, 03:34 PM
2 to the chest (pause), one to the head...This is what my LEO friends are being taught, currently... The pause is brief, but to see if it stops the fight...The one to the head is in case the opponent is wearing body armor...

Allows maximum effect, minimum amount of ammo usage in case of multiple bad guys...

mack69
December 20, 2005, 03:34 PM
+1 on the Mozambique drill...as defaugh mentioned above....

IIRC....the first order of business is to nuetralize the threat. If that can be done by one shot in the arm or leg so be it...most likely not gonna happen...
I'm from the shoot till slide lock school myself. ;)

Rockrivr1
December 20, 2005, 03:40 PM
Thanks for all the advise. I will continue to practice, but I'm noticing that I've plateau'd at a certain speed before I lose accuracy. I'll keep at it and see if I can get past this level I seem to be stuck at. I bought a pair of Crimson Trace grips for the 642, which is my primary carry weapon. Maybe the extra edge of a laser will give me a little more speed to COM shots.

Double Naught Spy
December 20, 2005, 04:03 PM
Here's my questions. I know that different situations will dictate what you do when having to draw and fire, but overall what is better? Is it better to be fast and hit the bad guy, even if it's in the arm, leg, shoulder etc or is it better to be a little slower and get center mass, potential kill shot, with the first round?

By being faster I'm thinking I'll get the first shot off, which will give me a better chance overall. Danger is the bad guy is still on his/her feet and may have time to retaliate. By being slower and taking better aim, the bad guy/girl may have time to react and put me at a disadvantage.

What is better is that you don't get shot, stabbed, etc. It doesn't do any good to get off the first shot that misses, hits in a non-life threatening and non-incapacitating location, or to get off the first shot that mortally wounds but not incapacites your opposition if the opposition is then able to shoot you.

The recent classic case is the one of Mark Wilson in Tyler, Texas who fired from behind cover at the armored guy with the rifle who was shooting people on the square. Wilson got off the first shot in regard to the confrontation between himself and the guy with the rifle. He shot the guy several times before the guy returned fire, but all were non-vital hits as he was wearing armor. I haven't been able to verify, but apparently Wilson did score one penetrating hit that was below the man's armor, but that did not incapacitate him. The guy with the rifle then shot and killed Wilson.

Point? Wilson was faster than the guy and his first few shots were accurate by being in the guy's armor-covered chest, so no damage and it was a bad shot that did harm, hitting below the armor. Comparatively speaking Wilson was faster than the other guy and his shots were mostly accurate, but Wilson lost the fight and lost his life.

Platt of Platt and Matix was mortally wounded before he shot and injured several FBI agents, killing 2 or 3 of them. Mortally wounded but not incapacitated people can still kill you regardless of how fast and/or accurate you are.

People say the #1 rule of a gun fight is to have a gun. No. It is to not get shot.

"Speed's fine, but accuracy's final."

"You can't miss fast enough to win."
-- Clint Smith

I like these quotes. They are conceptually simple, often made, and seem to be solid reasoning, but are too simplified to necessarily be correct in a given situation. Both of these comments were comments more times than I can count while taking classes at Thunder Ranch.

The first is a misquote of Wyatt Earp who is attributed with saying, "Fast is fine, but accuracy is everything." The change of 'everything' to 'final' gives the impression that a proper shot on a specific location will be what ends a fight. It is an interesting concept when applied to handguns where calibers are anything but final on a consistent basis.

The problem with the quote is brought to light above where it was noted that there is going to be some compromise between speed and accuracy. There may be a few in the world where they can shoot full speed with absolute accuracy, but those folks are few and far between. For the rest of us, increased precision in firing (consistently) results in increased time to properly align the shot. For the rest of us, there is going to be a pretty good time gap beween when we can shoot and then the gun is on target and we make it fire into that precise desired location. The longer you take to make your shot, the greater your chances of a better shot, but also the greater the chance that the opposition will be able to shoot you. So, accuracy means nothing if you are not able to get your accurate shot off before the opposition downs you.

The bottom line for the Earp quote, then, is that it does not take into account the amount of time that may be required to make the shot or the risk from threats to the person attempting to make the accurate shot.

In regard to not missing fast enough to win, that is just plain old gun propoganda. I am amused and bewildered when I hear people chanting the mantra of "You can't miss fast enough to win." The statement is far from being any sort of absolute truth. If this was an absolute truth, then warning shots would never have any affect on the opposition, nor would missed shots. Suppression fire would not work either since those shots would be missing the opposition. However, we do know that warning, missed, and suppression shots can have significant impacts on the opposition, but psychological and not physical.

It was either in Robert Waters' first edition "Best Defense" book or in a gun rag discussing self defense from which this story became known to me. Basically, an old lady heard some guy trying to break in her front door. She grabbed her .25 acp and when the guy managed to get part way in, she was waiting for him and fired a single shot, scoring an excellent one shot stop that resulted in the intruder taking flight. She missed the intruder and the slug was embedded in the door trim.

psyopspec
December 20, 2005, 06:11 PM
Slow is smooth and smooth is fast.

Standing Wolf
December 20, 2005, 06:49 PM
One of the reasons I like to carry a .44 magnum is that in the event I miss, the muzzle blast and flash may well scare the criminal into orbit.

In all seriousness: I believe I'm as accurate with my carry guns as I may ever need to beóbut hope I never need to find out.

pax
December 20, 2005, 06:57 PM
The bottom line was that we were, upon the initial shots fired at us, get on the ground immediately and start shooting in the direction you think the enemy is in. If you can't see him, then just shoot. You might even hit something. But just shoot. Get his head down and break his initial attack.
When a Marine returns fire, he knows that everyone in the direction the attack came from is an enemy.

When an ordinary citizen returns fire, she knows no such thing. We are responsible for the end resting point of every shot we fire, not just the ones which hit the intended target.

pax

Templar223
December 20, 2005, 07:28 PM
Better yet, pay attention to your surroundings and you won't have to worry so much about being a 'quick-draw' expert or about how many times is too many times to shoot a BG.

The best way to win a gunfight is to avoid it. Even if you have to "turn the other cheek". If it's only embarassment you take away, you're doing fine. Even a good shoot has a lot of "baggage" associated with it... stress, financial costs of legal defense, depression, loss of friends / job / etc.

If you would really like to learn the intricacies of the legal aspects of using deadly force, take Mas Ayoob's LFI-I course. It's the best money you'll ever spend.

John

Preacherman
December 20, 2005, 11:18 PM
One of the reasons I like to carry a .44 magnum is that in the event I miss, the muzzle blast and flash may well scare the criminal into orbit.

ROTFLMAO!!!

:evil: :D :neener:

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