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Head shots?

Discussion in 'Strategies, Tactics and Training' started by glummer, Jul 25, 2009.

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  1. glummer

    glummer Member

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    It has occurred to me that, in a gunfight, your danger lessens (relatively) if your opponent is moving, as his accuracy will be off; conversely, when he is at his most dangerous, he must have his head stationary, at least momentarily, in order to aim. Would there not be some utility in concentrating on head shots, as they are about the only real stopping shots anyway? Are there any practical/tactical courses/stages where fast headshots are emphasized, rather than COM?
     
  2. rcmodel

    rcmodel Member in memoriam

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    As for the pistol games, yes there are some games that add extra points for head shots.

    In real life, only in hostage rescue, employing rifles.

    The head is always moving, and it's a very small hard target to hit under the pressure of a gunfight.

    And waiting for it not to be moving will get you killed.

    A perfect COM shot may break the spine and have the same instant incapacation of a head shot.
    But if you miss dead center by an inch or so, or six, there are plenty of other nearby vital organs that will stop the fight.

    I personally know two police officers who shot a BG in the head.
    In one case, it was with a .38 Spl snubby. The bullet glanced off the BG's forehead and shot the ceiling light fixture out without stopping him, although it did make him drop the knife & give up.

    The other one almost ended badly too because the first bullet glanced off the forehead without penetrating. The other shots were COM and stopped the fight.

    We could blame it on the old .38 Special RN police ammo, or we could blame it on bad shooting for hitting the forehead insted of slightly lower between the eyes, or we could blame it on a poor choice of target in the first place.

    rc
     
    Last edited: Jul 25, 2009
  3. psyopspec

    psyopspec Member

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    Agree with rc. In addition, remember that what you described applies to you too. If you are stationary, you are an easy target. And if you're concentrating on that head shot with what's left of your fine motor skills, odds are you're stationary. In a gunfight, stationary=dead.

    As far as stages, they show up from time to time in IDPA and other games; however, they are neither practical, nor tactical per your OP. In force on force with airsoft, paint ball, and MILES at ranges from contact distance to a hundred yards, head shots are always very rare when both participants are trying to take out the other while not being taken out themselves.
     
  4. zxcvbob

    zxcvbob Member

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    Only if that's the biggest target that presents itself, or COM hits appear to be ineffective.

    A glancing blow to the head often doesn't do much.
     
  5. Blueduck

    Blueduck Member

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    I know that some trainers (Gabe Suarez is I think one) that advocate starting at center mass and working upwards to the center if the face with subsequent shots till the threat is stopped.
     
  6. possum

    possum Member

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    of the training that i do both courses and on my own range, i focus very little on head shots when training in the ccw capacity. the reason is 2 fold, one the head is a smaller target therefore harder to hit when you are moving, the target is bobbing and weaving/ moving, as well the fact that it will be a dynamic critical incident. the biggest problem with the smaller target aspect is the fact that in almost any dynamic critical incident that you are in there are more than likely gonna be innocent bystanders, and the chance of missing the head and hitting some one not involved has a higher chance of occurrence.

    i train 4-6rds to the high center chest region, my failure to stop form there moves to the pelvis region. take out the trunk and the tree will fall.
     
  7. iiranger

    iiranger Member

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    Really bad idea...

    The biggest thing you should think about, if you are really justified in shooting at someone, chances are the bad guy is loaded up on chemicals, drugs and alcohol for starters, and he may be so high he vibrates... stationary head... ??? b). Not likely he/she/it will be alone... As suggested "waiting" will get you killed...

    At the same time, you will be "high" on adrenalin unless you are high on martinis and downers or uppers legally, not likely... You may "piss your pants"/ vomit/ shake uncontrollably... try to find a "combat veteran" who will discuss it... they don't want to remember unless they are NUTS... or so the few I have known have told me... (and then there are the nightmares... cf Audie Murphy's biography, not in the movie "To Hell and Back", gee why...) There is a reason they say "save the last one for yourself" they don't wish to discuss.

    Number ONE is always "take cover" unless there is absolutely no time at all, then you shove the gun in the guys mouth and fire... hey a head shot...

    Much better a bag of cell phones with 911 on speed dial. Hide and call 911 repeatedly, don't talk, dial another phone. 911 will be unhappy but they will send the troops. Let them do the shooting and clean up...

    Number TWO is "aim for center of mass" and shoot more than once 'CAUSE you may not hit... I do NOT care what your score on paper is...

    Number Three, as suggested, the effects on a skull by a bullet at close range is very unpredictable... Serpico, as I recall, had a .22 target pistol on his temple when fired. Bullet went down the bone to his ear and messed it up. Can't hear good one ear but went on breathing. NYC cop told, in video, of a shoot out, bad guy had a .45 ACP, cops had just encased shotguns and drew two snubbies by mistake--it happens. One 5 shot and one 6. Bad guy walked between them, gun on store owner, both cops opened up... 11 shots to the head. Bad guy went down, dropped gun. They called in. When the ambulance arrived someone said, "Ambulance is here" and the bad guy got up and walked to the ambulance !!!

    Pray it never happens. Pray sincerely and often. If it does and taking cover is not possible shoot repeatedly for center of mass and hope you hit something... and don't forget the other bad guys... luck.
     
  8. archigos

    archigos Member

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    I suspect that if you're in the wrong state, a head shot is going to be a lot more likely to get you in legal trouble for legitimate self defense.
     
  9. possum

    possum Member

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    if this is what i think you are talking about, it is basically like a "zipper" drill, DTI teaches similar as well. basically start at the center of mass, and or high center chest, and continue to fire rds up like a zipper would on a coat, all the way up and end at the head.

    this is also a drill that is taught to alot of women, commonly known as the triple tap raking upwards. basically one in the chest, one in the collar bone are and one to the head, and the reason that this works so good for alot of women, especially ones that don't train/shoot alot, is that they can use the natural recoil/ muzzle rise to place the shots at the next location, basically they don't have to "follow through" like you would normally to get back on target after each shot.

    it is also normally recommended for people with smaller caliber handguns. ie .380 and below etc.
     
  10. sidheshooter

    sidheshooter Member

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    Somewhat OT, but the last shooting that I went out of my way to follow involved an off duty officer who shot another man in the back of the head with a glock 27 loaded with 180 gr. gold dot. The guy got up, ran off, and called for help through a good samaritan woken up by the ruckus.

    The officer ended up going through a lengthy trial; you can read some of the details in the most recent issue of American Handgunner, since Mas Ayoob was hired on as an expert witness for the trial.

    Point is, nothing is a guaranteed stop.

    COM is as good as anything, and easier to get a bead on.

    As well (and even further off topic), I am fast coming around to Greg Hamilton's idea of only using ammo and gun combinations that were designed to work together; a lot of good loads seem to be a bit dependant upon barrel length to work optimally.

    If a life-saving head shot is in the offing, it had probably best be with something that can get through all that boney structure; a hit somewhere on the dome is a lot more likely than a hit in the triangle/t-zone.
     
  11. Sunray

    Sunray Member

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    "...concentrating on head shots..." Concentrate on hitting the bad guy anywhere. Like rcmodel says, head shots aren't reliable.
     
  12. mljdeckard

    mljdeckard Member

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    The truth is, the head is actually somewhat more difficult to penetrate. Particularly the front of the skull. You have numerous angles and cavities, and it is very difficult to get a hit at a direct angle.

    Getting a CNS hit isn't very realistic either. There's a reason we train to get as many COM hits as possible. You're trying to damage as many cm3 of tissue as possible.
     
  13. Jmackk

    Jmackk Member

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    Could a jury hag you in court if you had to shoot someone in the head. Could'nt they say that if you had the time to take that carefull of aim that the threat was not sevear enough to employ deadly force?
     
  14. prelaw09

    prelaw09 Member

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    Depends who's doing the shooting. If it's me, then you are correct. After a few hours of instruction, I can engage multiple targets quickly if standing relatively still or from behind a barricade. My BIL, on the other hand, has worked security detail in Iraq and Afghanistan and can hit multiple targets on the move with ease. He demonstrated this at the last shoot we went to together.

    Bottom line. It all comes down to training and practice.
     
  15. Makotoseven

    Makotoseven Member

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    for the average joe shoot for the big pudgy part that everything is attached to :)
     
  16. YammyMonkey

    YammyMonkey Member

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    While it is very hard to get a quality head shot in the stress of fighting for your life, it is still something that should be practiced. For whatever reason, a headshot may be the only available option & if that's the case you're going to be in a bad place if you've only practiced body shots. Chances are, your gunfight won't cater to your strengths.

    As for the pelvis, there was a really good discussion over on TPI a while back & the consensus was that while it is a relatively large target with a fair bit of good stuff- including space to hold leaking blood, the concept of breaking down the pelvis & making someone immobile was very much overblown.
     
  17. Double Naught Spy

    Double Naught Spy Sus Venator

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    That is why I practice with moving targets. That is why I practice shooting on the move. Chances are that in a fight, you and your opponent will likely be in some form of motion.
    http://www.vholdr.com/node/3362
     
  18. Kwanger

    Kwanger Member

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    Purposely taking head shots in a close range, rushed and panicky self defense situation will only increase your chance of a miss. If you shoot COM, you might well hit the dude in the head, or in the foot come to that, but the point is, if you shoot at the center of what you can see, you've got a better chance of getting a hit....any hit being better than none.
     
  19. FiveOneFiveFiveFive

    FiveOneFiveFiveFive Member

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    I would think wherever you could are able to put holes in the bad guy is a good place.
     
  20. benEzra

    benEzra Moderator Emeritus

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    The biggest issue the OP is not considering, IMO, is time.

    It takes longer to make a headshot than a center-mass shot. If your hypothetical bad guy shoots you center-mass while you're lining up a headshot, you lose.
     
  21. Lucky

    Lucky Member

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    Pretty fing stupid to practice standing still with motionless targets and simply expect to miss badly on moving ones.

    DNS appears to be the first person of 20 to actually suggest practicing moving. Wow.

    It's one thing to expect performance to degrade, but it's pathetic and lazy to lower your standards because of it. Maybe induce physical stress when practicing, like pushups. Maybe induce mental stress, like reading a book out loud then have to drop it when someone says draw. Maybe have someone move the target for you. Maybe use a smaller scoring zone on the targets, so the group can double in size and still be good.

    ...Or you could just plan to miss.:rolleyes:
     
  22. kansas coyote

    kansas coyote Member

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    If I told you "they" would have my head !
    I think this guy ask this question on every forum on the net .
     
  23. 30mag

    30mag Member

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    Counterstrike.
     
  24. Rockwell1

    Rockwell1 member

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    I can't imagine someone NOT being knocked out cold by that
     
  25. AKElroy

    AKElroy Member

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    +1. I have "executed" pigs in a trap w/ 230 ball from a 5" 1911. Frontal skull shots repeatedly made a shiney white spot and a really pissed-off pig. Only behind the ear shots got the job done. From what I have read, pigs are probably our best human analogue, so I agree with the above quote.

    I will be placing my shots center-mass. Heads are hard.
     
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