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View Full Version : Shot Placement, in the real world


Half-Price Assassin
June 3, 2006, 11:09 AM
I have been reading alot of these "shot placement", threads, and how alot of people here use this as their main reason for choosing something smaller then a .45 or higher for their personal defense pistol. But this term (shot placement), got me thinking, while playing my new video game i bought two days ago. Now stay with me, i know this may sound alittle crazy at first, but here goes. As i was playing this new game (Hitman 4), a game where your guy, has to kill targets, and avoid being killed by security guards, police, and gangsters, "shot placement", does exist in this game. A head shot takes someone down in one shot, an upperbody shot takes them down in two, maybe one, a body shot takes maybe two, or three, and limb shots take maybe five or more shots to stop your target. Now in this game, as your guy is moving around the stage, when he pulls his weapon, little crosshairs appear on screen (which you use to target your enemy, and use to target certain points to "stop" them). Now during the gun battles of this game i find my guy being attacked by one, or most of the time multiple bad guys, where i have to "stop" them before they kill me, or weaken my guy up. And as they are shooting at me or chasing me i try to target their vital spots (head or upperbody), to "stop" them as quickly as possable. but this is alot harder then you would think, and here i am using a video game controller, and am in no fear of really getting killed, or being snunned by the loud gun blasts. When the bad guy do attact me, and are running around and taking cover, getting a head shot, or heart shot, or spinal cord shot is very very difficult, and when i do return fire (while trying to target their vitals, i usually end up hitting limbs, and lower body area). So I started to apply this to real life, and i starting to think if i have a very very difficult time using "shot placement" in a video game, in the comfort, and safety of my own home, then what would it really be like in real life, where things are much faster, and way more unperdictiable. Do many of you guys really think you could calmly put your sights or use point shooting, and target your enemies vitals, in a dark alley, if he is moving around, hard to see, or waving a gun at you? I think alot of us if put in that situation, where our lives (or loved ones lives) are in danger, would just point and squeeze, and not have the time or mental state or world class pistol skills to just get a head shot or heart shot in under a second from drawing our pistol. Now i know this can be done and shot placement is the best stratagy for winning a gun battle, but many of us need to realize its probably the most difficult, to actually master. even if your a legend on the IDPA field, doing that on the streets is a whole different story. Even if you can hit the red x or head of a paper target at the range at 15yards, slow fire, this means very little in the real world. The new Hitman game got me thinking, if cant hit the vitals most of the time, in a video game, what makes me think i can do it 100% of the time where my life or families life is in danger? Shot placement is ALOT harder and difficult then many of us (who probably never been in a real gun battle) think. I think alot of .45acp and up, shooters know this and want a gun and round that will have a higher percentage in stopping a threat when hitting a non vital area. Not that they would aim at a non vital area, but sometimes in those half second moments of life, or death, its the best you can do.

what are your thoughts on this?

HorseSoldier
June 3, 2006, 11:34 AM
I have been reading alot of these "shot placement", threads, and how alot of people here use this as their main reason for choosing something smaller then a .45 or higher for their personal defense pistol.

It's an issue with .45 or larger rounds as well. First, missing real fast does not usually win gun fights (might scare someone off, I suppose), and second, bullets consistently and reliably fail to drop guys.

Best bet is

a) Hit what you aim at
b) Aim center of mass
c) Hit COM a bunch of times
d) Carry a steel framed pistol so you can pistol whip the bad guy to death after however many shots you do hit with don't work.

'D' might never come up in a defensive shooting . . . or it might.

Hafoc
June 3, 2006, 11:54 AM
I don't know that I'd take a computer game as reflecting reality-- but it got you thinking, and thinking is always good.

I've never had to shoot anyone, thank Goodness. I have had a gun in reach when I went to see what was up with the drunk at the front door at 3:00 AM, and man, was I glad to have it! Sometimes having a weapon is just the extra courage you need to do what you would have had to do anyway.

If you want to KNOW about shot placement in the real world, you have to ask someone who really had to do it. Or you have to rely on statistics. Neither is definitive, since you can't ever know how your situation is going to compare to the averages, or to somebody else's situation.

I've read reams of stuff on real world gunfights, on theoretical gunfights, on shot placement vs. stopping power, and most of what I've read seems to be designed to prove what the writer wanted to believe before starting. Based on all that, the only rule I've been able to derive personally is to pick the most power that I can EASILY carry. That's going to vary depending on how much weight you can deal with and how large a piece you can conceal. Are you willing to wear a sports jacket in 90 degree weather so you can carry a full-sized automatic beneath it? That sort of thing.

Problem being that if you go with something smaller and less powerful, hoping to make up for it with shot placement, you often get something that's harder to shoot accurately too. Take my Kahr PM-9. It's a little DAO automatic in 9mm, pocket-sized. Theoretically, I should be able to shoot better with a 9mm than a .45 because of lesser recoil. But as a practical matter, the Kahr has a very short barrel and a DAO trigger, which make it incapible of target accuracy.

It is, however, small enough and easy enough to carry that it can be there when you need it. Limited as it is, it makes it easy to obey the first rule of gunfighting; "Bring a gun."

Kermit
June 3, 2006, 12:03 PM
I feel confident regardless of which of my guns I have on me. shot placement is important, that's why I always stress commitment & quality practice....that understood, I can shoot my USPc 45 LEM as well & as quickly as any of my other handguns.

michael t
June 3, 2006, 12:14 PM
Thats why you carry a sword. When head comes off no question its over. Works for Highlander. So must be true. :rolleyes:

44 AMP
June 3, 2006, 02:57 PM
Sounds like your gane has tried to incorporate some real world variables. As you have surmised, real world situations are considerably more difficult. Many writers have written about this, some pushing their own pet theories, and some not. Massad Ayoob has written several books and many articles discussing what happens in shooting incidents. Many people disagree with his conclusions, many do not.

Today, in recognition of the difficulty, people train to shoot for center of mass. Because it is the biggest target, and aiming at the COM increases your chances of a hit.

I know of one case where a police officer, who was an expert shot, and had won matches was involved in a shootout at about 15 FEET. Both men emptied their guns, neither one hit the other. The stress involved in a situation like this does strange things to your "normal" skills and perceptions.

Right or wrong, you will do what you trained to do. If you haven't trained, likely you will do nothing.

Rainbow Six
June 3, 2006, 04:15 PM
I've been in real life situations on duty and while I wasn't "calm", which Merriam-Webster defines as "a state of tranquillity", I have never went into panic or been overcome with fear. I've been shot at, luckily only once, and even luckier they missed. I've been in many other high stress situations during building clearance arrests and felony take downs. I can honestly say that in even the scariest situations I've experienced loss of fine motor skills control and auditory exclusion but I have always reverted to my training and mental mindset and never went into panic. And oddly enough it's funny how many times I've remembered a razor sharp sight picture after a shoot/don't shoot situation, especially in close quarters type situations.

Here's my take on things... I don't wish to hurt anyone. In fact I pray that I never have to take a human life. In my opinion, that would be one of the hardest things in the world to live with. (I'll outline the few things that would be harder for me to live with later in this post.) At the same time I've put a lot of thought into it and I've decided that as long as I'm alive, breathing, armed and able... NOBODY on this earth will harm me or especially my loved ones in my presence. I make the same commitment to those I'm sworn to protect as well.

In making that commitment I take on the responsibility to do all I can to prepare myself mentally to destroy without regard to my own personal risk anyone who places me or "mine" in jeopardy. And that is where I think a lot of armed citizens and even some cops drop the ball. Practicing and getting proficient with your weapon of choice is obviously important. That's what all the range time and dry firing is for. If you can't use it properly while not under stress you should NEVER carry it with intentions of using it under stress.

What should be at least equally as important as being proficient with your weapon is mentally preparing yourself to fight for your life, or the lives of others. Part of that preparation, and maybe the biggest part, is deciding whether or not you think you are actually mentally capable of taking another human's life. If not, don't carry a gun... period. Personally, I never considered this aspect of it until I had been in LE for a while and talked to some of the "real" veteran officers who had been there and done that. I had no reservations about doing what I had to do but I had put ZERO thought into the psychological aftermath or the psychological/mental aspects of gunfighting *DURING* the use of deadly force. After talking with both cops and war vets who had been there, done that, and had to live with it I had to do a LOT of soul searching to decide whether I really wanted to risk having to live with it.

I ultimately decided that it would be easier for me to live with being forced to take a life than it would be to live as a victim at the mercy of predators, or to have my loved ones do the same. I also ultimately made the decision that protecting those I'm sworn to protect was worth the risk of the consequences. The soul searching made me realize that in fact my whole nature goes against seeing anyone helplessly terrorized or harmed/killed by a piece of **** predator type.

With my decision made I eventually developed the following mindset. If you put me, my family, or any of my "charges" in harm's way in my presence, you are nothing more than a "target" to me as long as you pose a threat. My focus will be to stop you by any means necessary. My training and mindset is to counter offensively until there is no longer a threat. When it comes to defending my loved ones my pre-incident mental decision is to do exactly that even if it ultimately means disregarding my own safety to a great extent. I'd die to save my family if it came down to it. By constituting a threat to me or my charges you will have effectively and willingly become a target that I will engage at all costs and expenses and ultimately destroy if required to do so to eliminate the threat that you pose.

Being overcome with fear is NOT an option for me. My greatest fear will be in failing to protect myself or my charges. Panic isn't an option either. Again, the fear of my charges coming to harm because I panic would presumably be a far greater nightmare for me than me having to use deadly force to defend them. The ONLY option for me is to focus on the source of the threat and end it as quickly as possible.

I believe that most who go into spray and pray mode have either failed to prepare mentally for "battle", or they have mistakenly thought they were mentally prepared to do battle only to find out at the worst possible time that they in fact weren't. There are exceptions no doubt and even with clear "rules of engagement" and mental preparation there is no guarantee you'll hit center mass as you train to. Even so, I contend that true mental preparation and pre-incident decision making on certain things goes a LONG way toward avoiding panic and spray and pray reaction to a threat.

I also think that it is the responsibility and duty of anyone who carries for the defense of self and others, and especially for cops to truly educate themselves on "killing". They should also do some real soul searching and truly decide whether they can do it if required to do so. If not, again I say DO NOT CARRY A GUN. If the decision is made that a life can be taken under the right circumstances then every bit as much effort should be put into developing mental preparedness as is put into being proficient with the weapon of choice.

Sorry for the long rant, but I think it truly applies to the "spray and pray" part of your topic, and your question.

Rainbow Six
June 3, 2006, 05:02 PM
I have been reading alot of these "shot placement", threads, and how alot of people here use this as their main reason for choosing something smaller then a .45 or higher for their personal defense pistol.

And to address this part separately, I'm a firm believer that past a certain point (.38/9mm or larger, modern ammo, etc...) caliber is of little or no consequence in self defense type shootings. I also believe that shot placement and penetration is of infinitely greater importance than projectile size. I don't even say that a 9mm is a superior choice. I simply claim that it's just as adequate (or inadequate) as any other standard defensive caliber as far as I'm concerned.

I base my equal confidence in a 9mm and a .45 on the fact that I believe shot placement and penetration are infinitely more reliable for stopping a threat than a fractional difference in projectile diameter in all but the most extreme made up scenarios.

I can place my shots just as well with my P220 (although maybe a bit slower on follow-up with hotter defensive loads) as I can my P226 9mm so shot placement really isn't a factor in my choice. My decision to carry a 9mm most of the time when I'm off duty and have a choice is based largely on ammo costs. I favor the higher capacity of most nines to some extent but not to the point of it being a crutch or a must have. Overall, practice ammo costs probably drives my personal handgun choices more than anything else.

marlboroman84
June 3, 2006, 07:15 PM
I often try to simulate stress when at the range to see how my shot placement fairs, but it's hard to simulate the kind of stress you would feel while in fear for your life. Even during BCT we didn't really have an extremely stressful situation simulated for us to fire under. A friend of mine (who is a pretty good shot) has one thing going for him, he does not like loud noises at all so the sounds at the range unsettle him quite a bit and he develops a pretty good shake, but can still manage to hit the X ring quite a few times out of a clip. I wonder what kind of situations we as concealed carry folks could use to simulate stress? Any ideas or suggestions? I'd say paintball to a degree, but still no fear of loss of life and accuracy with a apintball gun is shaky at best.

Rainbow Six
June 3, 2006, 08:06 PM
Nothing I've done in training has truly duplicated the body's stress reaction to real life crazy stuff... The closest thing is force on force with simunitions but even then you know you won't be killed if you're hit. It just hurts like hell. I've never really had training "real" enough to incude auditory exclusion, loss of sense of time (like slow motion in your head). Doing sprints prior to firing a string can sort of simulate the loss of fine motor skills control and incude some shake, but it's not exactly like a real life situation.

I'm not discounting the "realistic" training methods. Just sayin' that none that I've tried have been that "real".

snolden
June 3, 2006, 09:25 PM
heat stress is pretty good stress simulation. go to an outdoor range, feel the sweat in your eyes, sweaty palms, etc. at around 120 heat index. That is the closest I have been.

Some things to remember:

Always aim, whether by sights, front sight press or body index method.
MOVE TO COVER IMMEDIATELY, NOT concealment
Shoot to stop, don't stop shooting until the threat is eliminated.
Don't stop moving!!! Running laterally away from the threat is always a good tactic. It has worked for warriors for thousands of years.
Carry a trunk gun if legally allowed as more and more folk are wearing body armor.

Shot placement, huh? Yup, it is gonna be tough if you ever have to do it, but remember most people shot with a handgun live.

V-fib
June 4, 2006, 08:33 AM
Do many of you guys really think you could calmly put your sights or use point shooting, and target your enemies vitals, in a dark alley, if he is moving around, hard to see, or waving a gun at you?


Four important words: Crimson Trace Laser Grips :cool:

Skyguy
June 4, 2006, 11:13 AM
Quote:
Do many of you guys really think you could calmly put your sights or use point shooting, and target your enemies vitals, in a dark alley, if he is moving around, hard to see, or waving a gun at you?

Four important words: Crimson Trace Laser Grips
------------------------------------------------

Lotsa people point shoot. Me too. But past 10 ft most folks' shot placement is all over the place.
Without unending practice, there's no consistent accuracy.

Lasergrips superimpose the POI on the threat.
They are extremely accurate! Just place the dot and you'll hit that spot.

They are superior to point shooting in dusk, darkness, over/under/around cover and awkward positions.
They excel at moving targets, bobbers, shoot/no shoot, bladed targets, etc where the accuracy of point shooting is relegated to luck.

.

CraigJS
June 4, 2006, 01:47 PM
Vast majority of SD shootings happen at 25' or less. Hitting a bullseye at 15 yards (45') is a long, long shot..(for SD) Along with your bullseye training practice point shooting to CM 0-7 or 8 yards. Cheap white paper plates make great targets for doing this. (aprox. 8-9" in dia.) Under stress you'll be lucky to be able to see your sights much less be able to use them.
Great read on the subject is, Basic Gunfighting 101, by Michael T. Rayburn
He teaches PS to LEO's and civies.
www.pointshooting.org
I have NO affiliation with the site, man or organization. Check it out..

Be safe! CraigJS

18DAI
June 4, 2006, 01:56 PM
Another difference between "games" and reality, in the game you don't get shaking hands, tunnel vision and auditory exclusion. Oh ,and if you screw up in the game you can hit restart. Regards 18DAI.

Rainbow Six
June 4, 2006, 05:43 PM
Another difference between "games" and reality, in the game you don't get shaking hands, tunnel vision and auditory exclusion. Oh ,and if you screw up in the game you can hit restart. Regards 18DAI.

You haven't played some of these games then. :D Well, maybe not auditory exclusion, but tunnel vision and a degree of shaking hands can come into play on some of the better games. I've had the shid scared out of me playing some of today's first person shooter games! You find yourself ducking for cover, actually positioning your body to peek around a corner, etc... It can get VERY real sometimes. ;)

18DAI
June 4, 2006, 07:46 PM
Rainbow Six - Sounds interesting. Can you recommend a PC compatible one thats that realistic? My 11 year old controls the TV, so that format is out. Thanks! Regards 18DAI.

RoscoeC
June 4, 2006, 08:21 PM
Four important words: Crimson Trace Laser Grips

My son received a Baretta 92 from his grandfather complete with laser grips. He proceeded to the range and promptly proceeded to "teach" himself. When I could get to the range with him his technique was beyond miserable. He couldn't even hit with the laser. I removed the batteries, proceeded to correct his technique and practiced until he could shoot adequately without the laser. THEN and only then did we put the batteries back in the laser grips. Now he rarely uses them. Point being buying laser grips doesn't make you an accurate shooter. You still have to learn the basics, and then if you are going to use the laser, you need to practice with it just like anything else. I personally am not a big advocate of them. While they do mark POI, they also do an excellent job of marking the BGT (Bad Guy's Target). That being YOU.

Rainbow Six
June 4, 2006, 09:42 PM
Rainbow Six - Sounds interesting. Can you recommend a PC compatible one thats that realistic? My 11 year old controls the TV, so that format is out. Thanks! Regards 18DAI.

I play on X-Box and PS2 but any of the later Tom Clancey shooter PC games should be pretty realistic. I play with the room lighting low or off and I've absolutely lost myself in the game to the point of sweating and actually moving, ducking, and such as if I were really "there". It is LOADS of fun.

I started out in the shooter games with Rainbow Six (hence my user name here...), Rogue Spear, and the likes on PC. The latest Clancey game I've played was Ghost Recon for X-Box. I think it's available for PC. Awesome shooter game. Been a while since I had a machine decent enough to play the good games on so I'm not exactly up to date on what's best on PC.

You have to be pretty darn tactical to get through some of the stages in Clancey's games. They are definitely not just "run and gun" type games. I prefer the one man missions, or the ones where I have a team with me rather than messing with setting up and trying to control several teams at once.

18DAI
June 4, 2006, 09:56 PM
Rainbow Six - Thanks for the tip, I'll give em a try. Regards 18DAI.

Skyguy
June 4, 2006, 10:08 PM
While they do mark POI, they also do an excellent job of marking the BGT (Bad Guy's Target). That being YOU.
So does muzzle flash, flashlight, reflection, YOU, etc.

Some quick tips, Roscoe:

No need to pull the batteries. The Lasergrips have a 'master' on-off switch. :)

Practice is necessary to shoot accurately. 90% of practice should be with sights/point shooting, 10% with Lasergrips. They're that easy to use.

Learn proper use.....use them intermittently. Use the laser only when needed. That's the tactic. And that's what the pressure switch is for.

Since your son is a novice, uneducated in the immediate tactical advantages of Lasergrips, he deserves a qualified trainer. Another good option is to just sell them.

Hope that helps.
.

garryc
June 14, 2006, 11:40 AM
I can honestly say that in even the scariest situations I've experienced loss of fine motor skills control and auditory exclusion but I have always reverted to my training and mental mindset and never went into panic.
The mind and body can be taught to overcome the effects of a fight or flight stress response. You will need to raise your heart rate to aerobic levels then shoot, or do some other thing that requires fine motor skills.
As it turns out, my range is in the country so I go there to jog. So I jog two miles then I sprint the 100yrds up the hill to my vehicle, throw on my gun belt, sprint the 175yrds to the firing line, draw, load and fire as fast as I can at targets I set up before I went running. I run barricades, kneeling, squatting and sprinting, firing about 30rnds. I've gotten pretty good at it.
Why do you think a marine drill sergeant wakes his recruits up the way he does, mental training.

kentak
June 15, 2006, 07:21 AM
I would think aiming with a game controller and aiming with a pistol are two different skill sets. Can't make assumptions about one from the other.

K

pickpocket
June 15, 2006, 12:10 PM
I've never been a big fan of dime-sized group on a man-sized target. Just doesn't make sense to try to keyhole a round into a hole that's already been created. Seems to me that you'd want as many individual separate holes as you can get.

As for the "caliber wars" - I just don't think I can argue against the physics of a bigger hole. For me, I want as big a hole as I can make and I want the round to get as close to the protected center of the body as it can get - and that means high weight, low velocity. After all, isn't that where all the important stuff is - buried deep inside the body?
However, I believe it is more about the type of bullet and shot placement than it is about the caliber of the round.

Shot placement - 99% of people out there are not going to place their rounds where they think they will under life-threatening stress. The more you are exposed to that stress then the easier it is to work through and overcome. Most people are not exposed to that level of stress consistently enough to be able to realistically expect to "work through it".
The people who can are the people who will draw a weapon, shoot, and reholster without even thinking about it and only marginally acknowledging the threat itself, because by the time they have identified a target and before the weapon has been fired they are already seeking another target. Unless you are this person I would submit that you should probably leave some room for the possibility of fight/flight or instictive response.
If you think that your groupings are poor at 8-10 inches - place a 10-inch circle COM on a man-sized target. That should work out nicely if it had to.

Also - while lasers help, I've seen trained professionals drop the first couple of shots VERY low when reacting to a real threat. Additionally, after discussion many either don't remember pulling that trigger more than once or don't remember it at all. A laser isn't going to help much when your brain is screaming PULL THE TRIGGER!!!. These are all things that training can overcome - but someone already said it:

I have yet to come across ANY training format that will accurately simulate what's going to happen to you when it really goes down.

Ok - just my .02

Odd Job
June 15, 2006, 12:40 PM
@ pickpocket

+1

ATW525
June 15, 2006, 01:58 PM
I would think aiming with a game controller and aiming with a pistol are two different skill sets. Can't make assumptions about one from the other.

+1

There's just not enough similiarity between using a game controller to move a crosshair around a screen and using a firearm. The latter is a much more natural movement, analogous to pointing your finger.

tshadow6
June 15, 2006, 01:59 PM
Put down the video game and go to the range for some real practice. True story- Hillsborough County deputy shoots bad guy twice in the chest with a .45. Bad guy drops knife, is taken to hospital, and makes full recovery to end up in jail. Tampa firefighter shoots carjacker once in the chest with a .380, bad guy is Dead On Arrival. Shoot what you're comfortable with, shot placement IS important.

pickpocket
June 15, 2006, 04:39 PM
Shot placement is also sometimes just luck, no matter what you're shooting (think Trooper Mark Coates). And I refuse to believe that the cop who put 2 .45 slugs into a guy's chest intended for his rounds to go somewhere different than the firefighter with the single .380 shot. It just doesn't stand to reason.

To use a sports analogy: Any given Sunday.

Model520Fan
June 15, 2006, 08:15 PM
And I refuse to believe that the cop who put 2 .45 slugs into a guy's chest intended for his rounds to go somewhere different than the firefighter with the single .380 shot. It just doesn't stand to reason.


I don't refuse to believe it or choose to believe it. I don't know. If I asked both of them what they intended, then I might have a start (at knowing).

I'm not sure what you're getting at, but it seems fairly clear that a .380 in the right place in the chest can kill a guy, and two .45's someplace else in the chest may not kill a guy. I understand that it is in fashion these days to shoot unarmored perps in the chest (some folks call that "center of mass," although it probably isn't). I'm not sure, but I think that most doctors would tell yiou that the odds are a lot better of stopping a guy with a heart shot of some sort or another than some unspecified chest shot. Spine shots are probably even better. The real question is whether you can do it under the conditions which will probably exist. This may have been what you were telling us - that it is a crap shoot, and that neither guy knew where in the chest he was going to hit. If neither knew, then I guess it was just luck. If some people quietly achieve effective defensive marksmanship without broadcasting it, that might be something to strive for.

In the end, I choose the largest-caliber cartridge with sufficient penetration that I can handle and carry. Depending on the circumstances, that might be .36, .43 or .45.

YMMV.

520

contender6030
June 15, 2006, 10:52 PM
Don't remember where or when I was told this but I was told to start at the crotch and zip his zipper all the way to the neck. Not sure if this is the best defense shooting method but it has always stuck in my mind.

pickpocket
June 16, 2006, 09:15 AM
I'm not sure what you're getting at

Sorry - that wasn't a jab at you at all. And you're spot on with what I was trying to say. To some extent, it IS a crap shoot. Yes, round type and shot placement have much to do with shot effectiveness, but I've seen enough to know that the dumbest luck has just as much effect on the outcome in many cases.

I'm not advocating anything or arguing against anything, just stating that shot placement isn't the ONLY thing to remember. An accidentally well-placed .22 will still kill you just as dead as a surely placed .45 head-shot. Then again, maybe the guy walks away from two .45 slugs in the chest. You just never know.

Half-Price Assassin
June 16, 2006, 09:21 PM
i know this thread may have seemed silly at first, but the point of it was to let people know that "shot placement", is not something you can fully count on. i think it is crazy to assume that when your in a life and death situation, your going to be able to put your shots in certain places on your targets body. i was using this certain video game as an example. true, video game controlers are easier to aim with then a real 2.5lbs gun (or heavier with rifles). but to those that have played them, they can understand, where i am coming from. very few computer game nuts (people that play double digit hours a day), can sucessfully get headshots all the time when playing online, or against the computer. now in the game there is no real threat, if you die you just respawn (or come back to life), so the "fear factor", shouldnt be there. but to automatically assume you can get a "headshot" (bad term, i mean make your bullets go EXACTLY where you want them to), in a REAL life or death situation is crazy. people are not machines they will crap their (fill in the blank), in one way or another. its just human nature.

i guess what made me think of this was that i use to be one of those "shotplacement" guys. but after thinking about it, and realizing that if i cant do it 100% of the time in a video game, on my 24" t.v. (where the controller has no recoil, loud blast, or 8lbs trigger pull), then what makes me think i can do it in real life? so i started to think maybe i need to change what i carry to something larger then 9mm. i know that .40 is not a huge improvement but if the situation arises and all i can get on my target is a gut shot, arm shot, or non-vital area, i want to make sure it hurts alittle more so nothing happens to me or my loved ones.

i guess thats really the point i was trying to make.

thanks for all your replies (and keep them coming)!

Skyguy
June 17, 2006, 09:31 AM
i know this thread may have seemed silly at first, but the point of it was to let people know that "shot placement", is not something you can fully count on.
i think it is crazy to assume that when your in a life and death situation, your going to be able to put your shots in certain places on your targets body.
That's why I get such a kick out of the guys who...in a shootout...think they will hit com, hit a threat while on a full run, hit a threat in the dark, run a zipper, shoot upside down, blah, blah, blah.......

Here's a small dose of reality for the over-confident and the uninitiated:

"Tactical Realities:

Shot placement is an important, and often cited, consideration regarding the suitability of weapons and ammunition. However, considerations of caliber are equally important and cannot be ignored. For example, a bullet through the central nervous system with any caliber of ammunition is likely to be immediately incapacitating.
Even a .22 rimfire penetrating the brain will cause immediate incapacitation in most cases. Obviously, this does not mean the law enforcement agency should issue .22 rimfires and train for head shots as the primary target. The realities of shooting incidents prohibit such a solution.
Few, if any, shooting incidents will present the officer with an opportunity to take a careful, precisely aimed shot at the subject’s head.

Rather, shootings are characterized by their sudden, unexpected occurrence; by rapid and unpredictable movement of both officer and adversary; by limited and partial target opportunities; by poor light and unforeseen obstacles; and by the life or death stress of sudden, close, personal violence.

Training is quite properly oriented towards "center of mass" shooting. That is to say, the officer is trained to shoot at the center of whatever is presented for a target. Proper shot placement is a hit in the center of that part of the adversary which is presented, regardless of anatomy or angle."

Reference: http://www.firearmstactical.com/hwfe.ht

Read it. Nothing's changed over time......except some folks' unrealistic confidence levels. :)
.

threegun
June 17, 2006, 07:39 PM
Skyguy,

They are extremely accurate! Just place the dot and you'll hit that spot.

You speak as though lasers are the save all end all. Yes lasers are accurate and will hit that "spot" IF THE DOT IS STILL ON THE "SPOT" AFTER YOU DROP THE HAMMER BY PULLING THE TRIGGER only the single most difficult aspect of shooting accurately. To suggest that by simply putting a laser on your gun will make you hit is wrong. You still must learn trigger control. If you practice at all on your trigger control.....point shooting is easy to learn. It won't give the badguy a place to aim either.

Rainbow Six
June 17, 2006, 08:54 PM
i know that .40 is not a huge improvement but if the situation arises and all i can get on my target is a gut shot, arm shot, or non-vital area, i want to make sure it hurts alittle more so nothing happens to me or my loved ones.

You honestly think the human body and tissue can distinguish between a 9mm and a .40 cal projectile? That's laughable. There is no way in heck that you will convince me that a .40 hit "hurts more", either pain wise or by damaging a significant* amount more tissue, than an identically placed 9mm hit. No way...

*= Significant meaning enough difference to make a better stop.

ddelange
June 18, 2006, 03:12 AM
Rainbow Six,
You may want to read Erik's sticky about silly/inappropriate posts before posting again in TandT. Just an FYI in case you haven't read it yet.

That said: shot placement and caliber selection are always going to be debated because the truth is the differences in wounding ability between the main handgun fighting calibers (9mm to .45 ACP) are minimal. If premium JHP ammo is used, a 9mm (I have stats for Rem GS 124gr +P) will penetrate 13" and expand to .61" The best .45 ammo (this is all according to the FBI ballistics test results) will expand to .70" and penetrate up to 18" So, the difference is .09" more expansion and 5" extra penetration for the .45. That small difference in expansion might allow the bigger bullet to nick an artery and cause massive blood loss that a 9mm might miss. Likewise, the extra penetration might allow the .45 to enter and exit an arm, enter the torso, penetrate a rib and damage a vital organ that will begin to cause massive blood loss. It might. . .

So, I'm a proud .45 owner? Unfortunately no. I can't shoot it accurately at paper targets, let alone moving targets in low light under stressfull situations. So, years ago I bought a Glock .40. Why? Because my naive self thought that if the FBI issues it, it must be the best for me too. Again, wrong answer. With the amount of time I could devote to range time, private marksmanship training, and tactical handgun courses, I couldn't overcome the flinch I had developed because of the recoil. I finally gave in and shot my trainers Glock 17. Oh my gosh; after a little practice I was one holing paper targets at 15 feet, and later hitting moving targets COM consistently. I first thought: I can't carry the wimpy nine minimeter; everyone says it doesn't have enough "stopping power" or "knock down" power.

Well, after some serious research in terminal ballistics I discovered that the relatively small advantage that the .45 has was not worth it if I couldn't hit the target COM. If you can do it, more power for you. I can also hit the target and fire a follow up shot much quicker and accurately than with the larger calibers.

Final note: these are only my experiences and observations. Delta Boys carry highly customized 1911's. Do they know something I don't? No, but they sure shoot and train infinitely more than I do. So, I choose based on my shot placement and speed with 9mm, knowing that if necessary I would be accurately sending a bullet (toward a BG) that has been doing the job worldwide for years.

Skyguy
June 18, 2006, 09:35 AM
ddelange,
Delta Boys carry highly customized 1911's. Do they know something I don't? No, but they sure shoot and train infinitely more than I do.


Actually, many people including the Delta Boys have the strength to handle a .45 and they have eliminated the flinch factor which makes a .45 as easy to handle as a 9mm.
If you can do that, shot placement and speedy followups become relatively easy.

Most trainers recommend that one carry the largest caliber handgun that one can handle effectively.

In a shootout........Bigger 'is' better!
.

Rainbow Six
June 18, 2006, 01:14 PM
Rainbow Six,
You may want to read Erik's sticky about silly/inappropriate posts before posting again in TandT. Just an FYI in case you haven't read it yet.

Sticky reviewed. I hadn't seen it before so thanks. Even so, I really don't think my post was out of line. I edited it in the interest of avoiding putting the Staff off unnecessarily, but I really don't think I violated the rules set forth in that thread. I respect the Staff and the rules though, so I'll restrict myself a bit more to avoid crossing the line they have drawn. I'm not one to push the rules when I know what they are. ;)

pickpocket
June 18, 2006, 02:58 PM
everyone says it doesn't have enough "stopping power" or "knock down" power.


Both of these concepts have been debunked...there are no such things as "stopping" or "knock-down" power. Hopefully your research uncovered that as well.

There has been significant research in this area, and the old ways of thinking have been challenged - especially in terms of "transfer of energy" and the temporary cavity misconceptions.

stratus
June 18, 2006, 03:58 PM
Halfprice - sounds like an awesome game. Metal Gear Solid 2 and 3, as well as the remake of the original, have similar systems regarding shot placement, though it is perhaps less in-depth.

ddelange
June 18, 2006, 07:38 PM
Both of these concepts have been debunked...there are no such things as "stopping" or "knock-down" power. Hopefully your research uncovered that as well.


Absolutely, that's why I feel comfortable with a 9mm handgun that I can hit targets COM in a variety of situations: moving, low light, simulated stress, etc. The decrease in accuracy and speed, FOR ME, is not worth carrying a bigger caliber. And, while I know that most documented gunfights involve 2 or less shots fired, I still feel better with 17 +1 in My G17; it might not be rational, but if my mind feels more at ease with more bullets in my handgun it can only help my marksmanship and performance if ever forced to fire in self defense.

U.S.SFC_RET
June 18, 2006, 08:01 PM
A pistol is a pistol and a rifle is a rifle. Pistols are not as effective and are second rate to a rifle. You should master the pistol you use then you should master a few more pistols. IMHO it takes a hell of a longer time to master a pistol than a rifle, too many variables to consider. One thing is right on the money, shot placement has gotta be 95% of pistol shooting. Too much of the shooting public have a false confidence that a pistol is going to pull them out of a bind for home defence when they should use a lever action or a shotgun.

Skyguy
June 19, 2006, 11:00 AM
A central nervous system shot; a shot to the brain or upper spinal cord region will drop someone in their tracks. Hard to hit, but it works.

The most significant killing/wounding asset of a bullet is 'penetration'.

"Kinetic energy does not wound. Temporary cavity does not wound. The much discussed "shock" of bullet impact is a fable and "knock down" power is a myth.

The critical element is penetration. The bullet must pass through the large, blood bearing organs and be of sufficient diameter to promote rapid bleeding. Penetration less than 12 inches is too little, and, in the words of two of the participants in the 1987 Wound Ballistics Workshop, "too little penetration will get you killed."

Given desirable and reliable penetration, the only way to increase bullet effectiveness is to increase the severity of the wound by increasing the size of hole made by the bullet. Any bullet which will not penetrate through vital organs from less than optimal angles is not acceptable. Of those that will penetrate, the edge is always with the bigger bullet."

Source: http://www.firearmstactical.com/hwfe.htm
.

Jack Malloy
June 20, 2006, 10:56 AM
Yes, shot placement is vital.
But in the real world, when you are shooting at somebody and he is shooting back at you, your body is full of adrenalyne and it is not at all like what you experience on the range (Trust me on this).
Your heart races, your hand shakes, you are full of disbelief and anger at the same time.
Becuase of this, the idea that you are going to do precise, surgical shooting is bunkum.
Which is why I generally prefer a magnum or a big bore over a clip full of hornets. If my shot placement is off, I want to do as much physical damage to the other guy as possible to cease hostilities. :o

Teufelhunden
June 21, 2006, 09:33 AM
One of the things NOT reflected in a video game is the art of shooting, as opposed to the science. The mechanics of shooting such as shot placement and supposed commensurate damage can be replicated in a game, but human variables such as reverting to a motion learned by thousands of repetitions can not.

For example, my department has a driving simulator that is composed of the dash area of a Crown Victoria down the details such as the A/C even blowing. You have to turn the ignition to start the scenario, put it in gear and so forth. Feedback is given by three screens; one directly in front of the driver, and two offset to the sides to simulate peripheral vision. Everything would appear to be in place as it is in the real world. Even given all of these conditions, it's not unusual for deputies to fail to even be able to negotiate simple driving tasks (much less pursuits) because there is no physical feedback other than that which your eyes perceive. The speedometer might say 75mph, but failing to feel those forces on your body, deputies merrily attempt to take corners at such speed that would be difficult to negotiate at 35mph, with predictable results.

The same applies to shooting. Your body reacts the way it has been trained without conscious thought when you go into fight/flight mode. When in a position such as that of law enforcement where we have to suppress any flight reaction that might arise and force a fight response, if you are properly trained, things such as sight alignment, sight picture and a deliberate steady squeeze of the trigger to the rear will take care of themselves. If you suffer tunnel vision (which you likely will), you will probably recall seing a perfectly clear front sight superimposed on the target's center of mass.

These reactions depend on properly training yourself, and repeating the tasks of drawing, sighting and squeezing enough to ingrain them into muscle memory so that your body can draw on them when your baser instincts take control.

It's funny how the human body works sometimes.

-Teuf

Samurai
June 21, 2006, 10:19 AM
But, but, but!!! Some video game controllers have triggers on them!:p

Seriously, though. I'm a Nintendo 64 Goldeneye master, but on the range with my 1911, I can't seem to hit water if I fall out of a boat! I think playing video games teaches you how to sit in a chair and push buttons on a little remote control.

One thing about First-Person-Shooters that I would apply to real life though: When in a high-intensity anger-management counseling session with an armed assailant, shoot until they drop their weapon (or themselves). After that, you're just wasting ammo and causing yourself grief at the end of the game...

Jack Malloy
June 21, 2006, 02:38 PM
In our region there is a law enforcement simulator that goes around in the back of an 18 wheeler that has full size screens and multiple shoot, don'/t shoot scenarios. The machine is hooked up to a Glock 17 and a special device works the slide and resets the trigger through compressed air. If you hit the guy on the screen, the screen freezes up.
You will be amazed at how realistic it is, and how badly your shooting is, and how your pulse goes up.

The idea that video games have anything to do with a real shooting or for that matter even a real simulator is rediculous.

ddelange
June 21, 2006, 09:53 PM
The idea that video games have anything to do with a real shooting or for that matter even a real simulator is rediculous.

I agree about video games, but as to professional simulators, they can be quite effective in teaching officers/students complex shoot/don't shoot situations. I spend time every few months on a Rangemaster simulator at my Shooting Range, and I find it of tremendous benefit to train my brain in those important situations where split second decision making is required. After I'm done with the simulator, I spend an hour at the range to work on my marksmanship.

Rainbow Six
June 21, 2006, 10:04 PM
As "real" as the sims are, they're still nothing like a real life armed encounter. Not even close. They have some value for practicing judgement but do nothing for shooting skills or simulating the physical or mental aspects of a real shooting. Still just a "game" for all intents and purposes.