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

Discussion in 'General Gun Discussions' started by Rockrivr1, Dec 20, 2005.

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  1. Rockrivr1

    Rockrivr1 Member

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    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.
     
  2. Janitor

    Janitor Senior Member

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    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 ...)?

    :)
    -
     
  3. Sinsaba

    Sinsaba Member

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    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.

    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.
     
    Last edited: Dec 20, 2005
  4. XavierBreath

    XavierBreath Member

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    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.
     
  5. Preacherman

    Preacherman Member

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

    IlikeSA Member

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    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:
     
  7. SpookyPistolero

    SpookyPistolero Member

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    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'.
     
  8. XLMiguel

    XLMiguel Member

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    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
     
  9. Oldtimer

    Oldtimer Member

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    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!
     
  10. MrChicken

    MrChicken Member

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    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.
     
  11. Gunpacker

    Gunpacker Member

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    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.
     
  12. Sleeping Dog

    Sleeping Dog Member

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    Yeah, but you need to aim that miss carefully so you don't hit any bystanders. :eek:

    Regards.
     
  13. Gunpacker

    Gunpacker Member

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    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.
     
  14. pax

    pax Member

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    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
     
  15. Taurus 617 CCW

    Taurus 617 CCW Member

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    +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.
     
  16. Sergeant Sabre

    Sergeant Sabre Member

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    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.
     
  17. mosttoyswins

    mosttoyswins Member

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    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.
     
  18. Infidel

    Infidel Member

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

    Jim K Member

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    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
     
  20. XavierBreath

    XavierBreath Member

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    If we are going to quote people........
    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.
     
  21. Sleeping Dog

    Sleeping Dog Member

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    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.
     
  22. magyvor

    magyvor Member

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    This Man Makes Sense!


    +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 :)
     
  23. Mr_Moore

    Mr_Moore member

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    Great Question.

    I had actually been thinking of this but never asked it. I am reading the responses with interest.
     
  24. dfaugh

    dfaugh Member

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    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...
     
  25. mack69

    mack69 Member

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    +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. ;)
     
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