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Bad news for COM target SD advocates

Discussion in 'General Gun Discussions' started by Blackhawk, Jan 6, 2003.

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  1. Blackhawk

    Blackhawk Member In Memoriam

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    I've had a "running battle" (figuratively speaking) with advocates and experts about the best BG target should you end up having to shoot in an SD situation. They say COM. I say head.

    In San Antonio, Texas, on January 2nd, 1 unarmed felon took away the guns of two LEOs and ended up shooting 4 LEOs before one of them finally killed him after hitting him 6 times with a Glock 22 (.40 S&W) from point blank range. Meanwhile, that heroic officer was himself shot 4 times by the felon using a Glock 22 he'd taken from one of the SAPD officers.

    Today I found this at http://news.mysanantonio.com/story.cfm?xla=saen&xlb=180&xlc=912899&xld=180 :
    The bad news for the shoot COM advocates is that it ended up taking head shots to stop the felon.

    "But head shots are too difficult" is the wail and whine. Okay, so practice until they're EASY. Then guess what? COM and cookie shots become REALLY easy. If you want to learn how to do something hard, practice something similar that's harder yet.

    An additional benefit of being able to make head shots is that it doesn't really matter what caliber of carry cannon you have. A .22 or .32 in the nose has pretty much the same effect as a .45 in the same position. It's just not as messy.
     
  2. Oleg Volk

    Oleg Volk Moderator Emeritus

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    Kill zone on a human head is about the size of a squirrel and moves fast in any real life situation. Counting on hitting despite return fire that is optimistic.
     
  3. cheygriz

    cheygriz Member

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    Blackhawk,

    Sounds good in theory.

    Now would you like to hear the REALLY hard part?

    The average officer knows, that statistically, in a 20 year carer, there is only about 1 chance in 1,000 that he will ever need to fire his gun at another human being, so you can't get him/her to practice enough to attain a high level of proficiency.

    ( And BTW, as a 15 year police firearms instructor, I can honestly say that it's easier to get the female officers to practice than most of the men.)

    Then there is the even harder part. If you think going through Navy Seal training is tough, try going to your city council or county commissioners and getting them to appropriate enough money to buy that much ammunition.

    Head shots are great in theory, but the devil is in the details.
     
  4. Double Naught Spy

    Double Naught Spy Sus Venator

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    It isn't that head shots are difficult. If you can properly place a COM shot, then you can properly place a head shot. Actually, head shots are a stupid concept. It needs to be a brain, brainstem, or upper spinal cord shot. Shooting somebody in the face is a head shot, but unless it hits the brain, brainstem, or upper spinal cord, then it is just an ugly but not necessarily incapacitating injury.

    The purpose of COM shots is not that they are easier. The purpose of COM shots is that they give the most room for error while still permitting a hit on the target, whether the error be due to the shooter moving or the shootee moving.

    There is a lot less liability in COM shots since people DO miss the exact intended point much of the time in unplanned shootouts. You then end up with projectiles down range that go to unintended places, sometimes occupied by people.

    Interestingly, there are TWO types of COM shots. There are the 'COM' shots where people are taught to shoot center of chest or 'COC' in order to hit the heart and lungs (critical organs) and there is actual COM where the aimpoint for actual center of mass is much lower- at the very bottom of the rib cage or slightly lower. This ends up as a liver or upper stomach sort of shot. True COM shots have the greatest chance for a hit, but very easily may end up hitting short term inconsequential areas of the body such as the gut. Yes, they hurt, but don't incapacitate quickly and may not incapacitate for days if untreated.

    As for shooting somebody in the nose. Maybe it will work and maybe not. If you fire at the nose with the gun at the same elevation as the nose or lower, then you stand a good chance of the bullet traveling to the brain. If the gun is higher than the nose, then you stand a good chance of the bullet completely passing under the cranium, missing the brain and maybe hitting the brainstem or spinal cord and maybe not. A .22 into the nose if fired from above may simply result in a messed up nose and palatte, denture work, but otherwise the guy isn't going to be too bad off.
     
  5. Oleg Volk

    Oleg Volk Moderator Emeritus

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    The other reason for COM shots is that subsequent rounds can be fired with the gun aimed higher than for the first shot and still hit something.
     
  6. Blueduck

    Blueduck Member

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    Head shots look easy when standing on the ten yard lane on nice calm day shooting at a still target..

    When your moving, the targets moving, and explosions from the other guys gun are going off in your face I'm betting a whole different ball game.
     
  7. bogie

    bogie Member

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    Meowzambique 'em.
     
  8. ahenry

    ahenry Member

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    All valid points however...

    The psychological impact from being shot in the face will probably be far greater than a shot to the chest. Not a bad idea to stack the deck in your favor. If you can consider yourself accurate enough to make a head shot then you’re probably better off with it. The corollary being you ought to stick with COM unless and until you are good enough to make your head shot (on a bobbing head) each and every time.
     
  9. Frohickey

    Frohickey Member

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    Shouldn't you just do both?

    Go for COM first, place a doubletap there, and naturally follow it up with a CNS shot? If the BG is going down, then your front sight will have nothing to shoot at, and you don't shoot the CNS shot. If the BG is still up, then your front sight would be inline with the BG's head.

    COM is best because its a higher percentage shot than CNS. CNS shot is what you need because your COM shots are not working. It could be a BG with kevlar, on drugs, etc.
     
  10. El Tejon

    El Tejon Member

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    Blueduck, you forgot "in the dark.";)

    As the wise man in Tejas saith, shoot what is available until something else is available.
     
  11. Shawn Dodson

    Shawn Dodson Member

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    Try a few realistic force-on-force drills with Simunitions or AirSoft. Hitting the target is a challenge, much less hitting COM or head.

    You're moving, your bad guy adversary is moving, you're trying to hit him, he's trying just as hard to hit you, you have to be concerned about hazards downrange, your adversary doesn't care about hazards downrange, at what point do(es) your hit(s) stop the bad guy?, etc.

    General hits to the head and neck don't guarantee a stop. Your slugs still have to damage something vital.
     
  12. Nero Steptoe

    Nero Steptoe member

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    How many U.S. Presidents who were shot in the head lived to tell about it?? I'm sure there must be some. (I'd shoot for whatever I could hit, I suspect.)
     
  13. Redlg155

    Redlg155 Member

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    I am an advocate of center mass for the first two shot and then a head shot if at all possible.

    I pretty much equate a head shot to such....

    Shooting the moving pendulum of a clock while the clock itself is in motion.

    I can't make that shot reliably 100 percent. I know I have a greater chance of success under pressure if I shoot COM.

    Granted, each situation is different, so it is beneficial to practice headshots in case the perfect opportunity of a stable target presents itself. In a hostage situation or small window of opportunity shots you will need all the accuracy and confidence you can muster to make the shot.

    Good Shooting
    RED
     
  14. kidcoltoutlaw

    kidcoltoutlaw Member

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    hip shot puts him on the ground so the head is easier to hit.
     
  15. Dave Markowitz

    Dave Markowitz Member

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    Is that where you throw a cat at the BG after shooting him COM?

    :neener:
     
  16. Don Gwinn

    Don Gwinn Moderator Emeritus

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    The "Meowzambique" was perfected by Vermont State Troopers.
     
  17. ACP

    ACP Member

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    Good post. If shooting point blank, I imagine one could walk the shots up to the head/neck region. If a couple body shots put them in a defensive/protective position, it might not be TOO diffiult to unload the rest into the cranium -- esp. if they are within arms reach and already wounded.

    BTW, I can't believe you have more than 600 posts in less than 10 days. What was your TFL total??
     
  18. Blackhawk

    Blackhawk Member In Memoriam

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    DNS, there are only about two ways to shoot a BG in the nose with the gun above him: (1) He's a 4' tall midget, or (2) he's already down. Otherwise, a nose shot is way more likely to be from below his snout because you're in a crouched firing position. As he charges, his head is liable to be bobbing up and down instead of back and forth, which means your perfectly aimed nose shot is going to impact from neck center to forehead, and any hits in that line are very likely stoppers.

    Otherwise, the best argument for COM shots is to use the BG as a bullet catcher so your non-stopper hits don't fly off into somebody else.

    However, hitting any vital organ except the brain isn't an instant stopper. If your hit is online with the spinal column, that will be an instant stopper, provided your bullet penetrates far enough, and most of us use HPs to avoid "over penetration."

    In this case, an overly muscled, pumped felon was charging and shooting. The only reasonable way to stop him was with a head shot, as the hero figured out -- probably after he'd already taken hits from the felon's recently acquired SAPD issued Glock 22.

    Practice head shots. Then if this felon's counterpart comes after you in a parking lot at dark-30, you'll be challenged in line with your training. If your attacker is slower and softer looking, you shouldn't have any trouble making a GOOD COM shot.

    Overtrained or undertrained, your choice.... :what:
     
  19. JohnK

    JohnK Member

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    Isn't the hit rate for police officers still around 25%, as in they miss 75% of the time? If the average officer can't hit COM more than 1:4 I can't see them hitting the head at all.

    Training to a level where you can make head shots is a good thing, obviously the better you can shoot the more likely it is you're going to survive in that situation. I won't argue that a hit to the head is most likely better than a hit to the COM, or even better mid/upper chest, but it still seems to me that a hit in the COM is better than a miss to the head.
     
  20. Blackhawk

    Blackhawk Member In Memoriam

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    I think it's about 20%, but police do a lot of "long" range pistol shooting. Loaded with adrenaline and 20 yards away from a hoppin' and jumpin' target, I'm not sure I could do better than 1 of 5 hits.

    However, this shooting was VERY close range. The perp landed on top of the hero LEO. IOW, it was a SD range shooting, 7 yards or less. A head at 10 feet is a decent sized target compared to a torso at 30 or more feet.

    If a BG is 60 feet away, I don't have any business taking a shot unless he's shooting at me or about to. Then it's a COM shot.

    There IS no "this is the shot to take" SD situation. They're all going to be different.

    Just bear in mind that a GG could end up emptying a .45 COM into a charging BG and still lose.... I'm just of the strong opinion that our GG should be able to make a 10 foot head shot and trained to take it if needed.
     
  21. bogie

    bogie Member

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    Remember that the object isn't necessarily to kill the bad guy. The objective is meow STOP the bad guy. _Most of the time_ a center-mass shot results in a stop, and center-mass is significantly easier to hit, especially in a situation where someone is shooting at you, moving, or otherwise making your concentration skills redline.

    A 25% hit rate is pretty darn good in those circumstances.
     
  22. Teufelhunden

    Teufelhunden Member

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    I don't know the formal name for it, but I've heard discussion of raising your definition of COM into a triangle drawn from nipple to nipple to nose. This would triangulate the heart, upper lungs, and CNS systems such as the spinal cord and brain stem.

    It seems like a better area to aim for since more stuff in that triangle is quickly fatal than a potentially low traditional-COM shot (gutshot)--but then again, a crummy shot to the gut still beats a miss over the shoulder...

    -Teuf

    Edit: Added an image here for reference.
     
    Last edited: Jan 6, 2003
  23. Blackhawk

    Blackhawk Member In Memoriam

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    cheygriz, you're absolutely right. If you don't practice a shot, that's not one you should suddenly decide to rely on in a pinch.

    Like LEOs, I'm sure SD shooters with CCWs fall into the "never practice" to the "obsessive about practice" ranges too.

    If you do practice, IMO, you should practice to achieve something useful, and any SD situation where you must shoot is almost surely going to be at close range. What does "must shoot" mean? Simple. You don't stop the attacker RIGHT NOW, you die.

    On TFL, there was a thread that had a post about a BG who was shot multiple times (6-8) by a guy in a bar. The BG beat the shooter to death, then walked a few blocks to an emergency room. The personnel finally noticed that a guy in the waiting room was bleeding. Then he got treatment. Point is that point blank COM shots cannot be relied on to stop an attacker. So practice a shot that will....
     
  24. Blackhawk

    Blackhawk Member In Memoriam

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    That's debatable.... :D

    Getting shot turns the adrenaline spigot on full flow, and a gut shot takes a LONG time to slow somebody down much less stop them. "LONG time" in such situations is much longer than you've got.
     
  25. bogie

    bogie Member

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    Okay - stand up and dodge around a little.

    Pay attention to meow you're moving. Ignore the snickers from the folks around you. Mutter about the :cuss: fire ant infestation or aliens in your underwear or something.

    Now, you'll notice that your head moves around. A lot. So do your arms and your legs. In fact, your shoulders and chest can do a fair boogaloo...

    What doesn't move much is the area centered (roughly bowling ball-sized - seriously...) in the vicinity of your belt buckle.

    Learned this playing football - much easier to tackle a belt buckle than to tackle a leg, arm, or head. Legs, arms and heads can feint in a particular direction. Belts can't.
     
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