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Old April 15, 2008, 05:54 AM   #26
xsquidgator
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You should fire as needed to stop the threat. You should NOT fire a fixed number of shots simply because you were forced to engage. If merely drawing the gun causes the assailant to run then you don't fire. If the first shot ends the threat, shooting two more is not legal. If the second shot stops the attack, following up with a head shot is certainly not warranted or legal.
Has anyone here been in a defensive shooting situation and had to deal with this? Seriously, not being smart-aleck, I'd like to know. (I have not. I had a little bit of security type training in the Navy, and I've thought about it a lot since getting a CWP). I think most here would agree "shoot until the threat is stopped" whether that's one or all of the rounds in your piece.

What I wonder about is how quickly or how slowly one of these scenes would play out. To an outside and objective observer I think a typical self-defensive shooting is over and done with inside a few seconds. To the person defending him/herself I suspect it feels like ages. Given the surge of intense fear, excitement, and fight/flight chemicals the body will be experiencing, in my mind's eye I see things unfolding as I'd shoot, wouldn't be sure of the bad guy's response, in fact I might not be able to tell if or where I hit him, so shoot again, etc etc. Given the intensity of the moment, to an outside observer it might look like "bang bang bang bang" when to me it would be "shoot, observe, still hasn't stopped him so shoot again".

Thus I could see myself shooting once and waiting way too long after to ascertain whether or not I'd gotten him to stop, or at the other end of the spectrum being so in fear for my life that it'd be bang-bang-bang until the gun was empty. Anyone have any thoughts on this? I guess what I'm trying to say is I'd intend to do what most people agree is right, shoot only until the threat stops, but while actually fighting off an attack I wonder how well I'd be able to accurately tell what's going on.
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Old April 15, 2008, 10:04 AM   #27
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Squid, I've had a shotgun pointed at me from 25' away, and let me tell you, it really starts the adrenalin going!!! At that point, I pulled my duty weapon (I was a security officer at the time) and it ended up being a standoff until he dropped the weapon. I've also been in one situation when I had to pull my CCW piece, but didn't have to use it as the potential assailant stopped in his tracks and went away. That got the heart rate up, too. I had all the slack on the triggers taken up in both cases. We've all seen video of trained cops having to shoot, firing 5 rounds, and missing with all 5 due to adrenalin and the perp moving. I think my first shot would come slowly (assessing the threat), but the next would be in rapid succession if the threat was still there. The first slow shot would allow me to assess, get a good shooting grip/stance, and aim carefully unless the situation developed too rapidly for that. Our CWP instructor told us we might end up just pulling our piece and shooting like Reed and McCoy on Adam-12, from the low-grip stance. One-handed, even, or cross body; and he suggested we also practice these methods until we were comfortable with them.

All any of us can hope for is we calm down and stop shaking long enough to negate the threat effectively.

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Old April 15, 2008, 11:16 AM   #28
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I think most here would agree "shoot until the threat is stopped" whether that's one or all of the rounds in your piece.
Which would be exactly the correct thing to do.

Here's the point I was trying to make with my earlier post. Booby traps are illegal because they apply deadly force without a human making the decision. The law requires that there be a reasonable human making reasonable decisions operating a deady force tool.

If we program ourselves to always respond exactly the same way to a threat (e.g. draw then fire X shots automatically) then once the engagement begins we become nothing more than a booby trap until our "programmed" shot sequence is over. Certainly we make the decision to draw, but at that point, it's all simply a matter of programming. I don't think that's wise.

Statistics show that over 80% of all self-defense gun uses are successfully resolved by merely showing the gun. What that says to me is if a person programs himself that when he presents his gun he automatically fires, over 80% of the time he will be firing at a person who would have given up without a single shot being fired.

Likewise, another 10% or so of successful self-defense gun uses end after a single shot has been fired whether or not a serious injury has been dealt. If a person automatically fires 2 or 3 shots then clearly at least some of the time they're doing so when they don't need to and therefore shouldn't have.

It's good to practice, it's good to have a plan, but we can't oversimplify to the point that our responses become so automatic that we're not assessing the threat as the situation progresses.

MORE to the point, it's probably not the best idea to publicly announce that if you're forced to use a gun you're automatically going to draw and shoot X shots aimed here and then X shots aimed there, etc. In the unlikely event that you ever do get involved in a deadly force scenario, a statement like that will not back up your assertions that you only used the minimum amount of deadly force required to insure your safety as the law typically requires...
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Old April 15, 2008, 02:55 PM   #29
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Fire until the threat is negate
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Old April 15, 2008, 03:10 PM   #30
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If the first shot ends the threat, shooting two more is not legal. If the second shot stops the attack, following up with a head shot is certainly not warranted or legal.
All this is contingent on your being aware that the threat has been negated. Reaction time, lack of response by the threat to vital hits, tunnel vision, etc. all come into play so that even after the threat ends, you may keep shooting because you either 1) don't know the threat ended or 2) are unable to stop firing off an additional round.
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Old April 15, 2008, 03:50 PM   #31
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act the way you want to be able to report it

I fired because I knew my life was in danger. I stopped when I knew my life was not in danger. I would like to say more but I am not sure what my rights are under the law till I speak with my attorney.

I believe this is appropriate conduct. I hope it never happens.
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Old April 15, 2008, 05:30 PM   #32
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Do you mean shots or magazines?
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Old April 15, 2008, 09:38 PM   #33
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Semantics

In our military unit, our orders were "shoot to kill." Not wound, not maim, not "to stop the threat," but to kill.

In our federal law enforcement agency, we were taught and trained to "shoot to neutralize the threat." That sounds much nicer in a courtroom and more pleasing to the folks who are typically afraid of their own shadow.

Either way, military or civilian, the result of your shooting someone is typically the same.

Having smelled way more gunsmoke than I ever would've cared to, I'll NEVER advocate having a "pre-planned" number of shots you'll fire, shot placement, etc.

Every situation is different. I speak from firsthand experience. In some situations, your gun is not the first one out and firing and you're damn lucky to hit the bad guy ANYWHERE with ANY NUMBER of rounds. Other times, you may be in complete control, but the person(s) facing you down decide to become suicidal idiots--obviously shot placement is factor number one.

And then there are the situations of is it one bad guy or four bad guys who are trying to do you harm? If you've trained to mozambique every time you see a human silouhette and you're carrying a six-gun when four guys attack, you have a bit of a dilemma on your hands.

Don't laugh. I've seen it happen with some cops and agencies that train one way and one way only.

My advice, in a civilian situation, would not be to "fire until the threat is no longer a threat." My advice would be to fire until you can safely haul ass to a safe location.

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Old April 16, 2008, 12:01 AM   #34
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Time to add a spare mag or two to my carry routine then. Excellent advice, TSR. Somehow I don't think 8 is going to cut it for me anymore.
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Old April 16, 2008, 12:10 AM   #35
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All this is contingent on your being aware that the threat has been negated.
Correct. If the threat has been negated but you reasonably believe it has not then you would not be penalized for continuing to fire.
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In our military unit, our orders were "shoot to kill." Not wound, not maim, not "to stop the threat," but to kill.

In our federal law enforcement agency, we were taught and trained to "shoot to neutralize the threat." That sounds much nicer in a courtroom and more pleasing to the folks who are typically afraid of their own shadow.
With all due respect, I submit that there is more difference than just how it sounds.

The military's job is to kill enemies and break enemy materiel. Plain and simple, there it is. Law Enforcement's job is to protect and serve. Sometimes people get killed by LE, but it is incidental to the main goal of keeping the law-abiding safe.

Self-defense has similar goals to the LE job. The point isn't that you're reducing the number of enemy combatants, it's that you're protecting the good guys.
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My advice, in a civilian situation, would not be to "fire until the threat is no longer a threat." My advice would be to fire until you can safely haul ass to a safe location.
Excellent point. Sometimes we forget that evacuation can be a very effective means of preserving life.

If I could plagiarize you somewhat I'd say that the proper tactic would be to fire until the threat is no longer a threat OR until you can safely haul ass to a safe location.
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Old April 16, 2008, 04:05 PM   #36
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Center mass

Minimum two center mass. If that doesnt stop, one to the head, also the pelvic area, the small triangle that runs from your crotch to your hips. Taking a direct hit there releases a large amount of water from your body and causes most people to go into shock. Center mass is always a good starting point though. I would not use all your ammo though, if you miss or minimally wound him he might get angry and you may have to make another controlled shot. Less likely he'll charge if you still have a couple of rounds, plus he may have a buddy nearby.
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Old April 16, 2008, 04:23 PM   #37
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It is one thing to give the right answer in a forum, but are we training that way?
Great point.

You have to train to shoot until the threat stops. Just about every pistol match I've been to, you put two shots into the "A zone" of each cardboard target and then move to the next target. You'll put only one into a metal reactionary target. A lot of range training is just two to the chest and one to the head and the pistol comes down to the ready, scan and holster (real easy to do with a non moving six foot tall target facing directly towards you at 7 yards and not firing back).

Change it up and shoot different strings of shots and run failure to stop drills. Two to the chest might get the job done but I wouldn't bet on it. You will do exactly what you've trained to do in a confrontation and you don't want your pistol dropping to the ready position or to the holster when deadly fire is still desperately needed to stop the threat.
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Old April 16, 2008, 10:17 PM   #38
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I've seen this type of training done with a setup as elaborate as a remote control moving target that stops when the controller deems you've shot it enough in the proper zone. You could do it more simply with an assistant who pulls the target stand over with a rope (or otherwise signals you) when you've scored enough COM hits.
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Old April 16, 2008, 10:53 PM   #39
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I have seen this training done a few ways. Of course you have the timed targets that face and then turn away. And you have the military pop up targets. But the most practical way I have seen for the average person is to use a balloon and a T shirt. You cut a hole in the back of the shirt, blow up the balloon and stick it in the shirt. Then slip the end of the balloon through the hole and nail it to a tree, wall or something else at human hight. It is not enough to shoot the shirt, you have to hit the chest area to pop the balloon and get the shirt to drop. If you want to ad to it then have two balloons with one sticking out the top for the head. Any other good ideas?
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Old April 17, 2008, 12:33 AM   #40
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I've used the balloon and t-shirt method on several occasions and it's not bad. However, I believe that balloons in the torso could also create a false sense of when to stop shooting. If you put the round right where it needs to go, the balloon pops and you stop shooting. If you put a handgun round into an attacker's heart, that is no guarantee that you have stopped him. He may have many seconds left in which to "stop" you (Miami FBI shootout). His head also may not be a target of opportunity at the moment you need it.

I really like the idea mentioned about using a partner to drop the target when enough good hits have been placed. I think that is an excellent idea and could be done with some imagination and minimal effort. This would allow for the constant changing up of the number of rounds and shot placement so that no one drill is overly imprinted (to the exclusion of others) into the mid-brain.
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Old April 17, 2008, 09:29 AM   #41
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What is the difference between shooting to kill and shooting until the threat is eliminated?

My opinion is that the "threat eliminated" argument was created by defense lawyers to defend police in these shooting incidents?

If I shoot my pistol at someone until the threat is eliminated, I believe that person would probably be dead.
Am I thinking correctly that this terminology was just created by administrators and defense attornies to help out their police comrades when their gun gets a little too wild?
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Old April 17, 2008, 11:17 AM   #42
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What is the difference between shooting to kill and shooting until the threat is eliminated?
One difference is intent and if you believe that intent doesn't matter to the law you need to do more research. The other difference is that a threat can be eliminated without death being the result. In fact, in more than 80% of the cases where a gun is used in self-defense the attacker isn't even injured. In the majority of the remaining cases the attacker survives.
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My opinion is that the "threat eliminated" argument was created by defense lawyers to defend police in these shooting incidents?
Your opinion is incorrect, although you're welcome to it.
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If I shoot my pistol at someone until the threat is eliminated, I believe that person would probably be dead.
Demonstrably false. 80% of those shot with a handgun survive. Furthermore the majority of gun self-defense cases don't require that the attacker be shot at all.
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Am I thinking correctly that this terminology was just created by administrators and defense attornies to help out their police comrades when their gun gets a little too wild?
No.
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Old April 17, 2008, 11:32 AM   #43
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My opinion is that the "threat eliminated" argument was created by defense lawyers to defend police in these shooting incidents?
The argument was derived from the laws on the subject, which provide that you may use the necessary force to deal with the threat. If the aggressor dies as a result, you have an affirmative defense against a charge of homicide.
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Old April 17, 2008, 11:50 AM   #44
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What is the difference between shooting to kill and shooting until the threat is eliminated?
Dead is dead, obviously.

But you can shoot someone, wound them, and have them subsequently flee or surrender.

At either point, the threat is eliminated.

Jeff
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Old April 17, 2008, 12:35 PM   #45
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Excellent phrasing TSR. "Eliminating the threat" can mean you or the attacker are no longer in the area.

"Eliminating the threat" does not only mean elimination of the attackers life.
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Old April 17, 2008, 01:50 PM   #46
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If I shoot my pistol at someone until the threat is eliminated, I believe that person would probably be dead.
From a completely non-legal standpoint, your physical well being demands that the attacker be "stopped" right now. At the point he is a threat, you should never be concerned with whether he lives or dies. A guy who is dead but still doesn't know it has time to put you down. Shots to the torso may cause an immediate stop but not death, conversly, they may cause the death but not the immediate stop. Shots to the cranial vault are much better in stopping but are not always attainable in a gunfight.

It sounds good legally but even better from a physcial survival standpoint if you ask me.
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Old April 17, 2008, 04:37 PM   #47
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I dont know guys. Government administrators tend to love saying the same things in different ways as to sound kinder and gentler. I guess saying to eliminate the threat makes for a kinder and gentler police force rather then shoot to kill. Quite honestly, as many news articles and youtube videos suggest, officers usually shoot to kill. Thank god for sources like google and youtube that save such bits of evidence so all can see.
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Old April 17, 2008, 04:51 PM   #48
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I dont know guys.
Correct.
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Government administrators tend to love saying the same things in different ways as to sound kinder and gentler. I guess saying to eliminate the threat makes for a kinder and gentler police force rather then shoot to kill.
They DO love saying things that sound nice. However, in this particular case that's not why they say it.
Quote:
Quite honestly, as many news articles and youtube videos suggest, officers usually shoot to kill.
This demonstrates a complete, yet classic, misunderstanding of the situation. One can not tell by LOOKING what the intent of the officer is. The fact is that the point of aim for shooting to stop is almost always the same as the point of aim for shooting to kill when handguns are involved. Both the military (whose job is explicitly to kill) and LE (whose job is to protect and serve) are trained to shoot at the center-of-mass when they use a pistol in an engagement because that is what experts believe is most effective in either case.
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Thank god for sources like google and youtube that save such bits of evidence so all can see.
What one sees means little if one does not understand what he is seeing.
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Old April 17, 2008, 05:53 PM   #49
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In every class I've attended, the lesson is clear: Shoot until the threat is neutralized. If one shot puts the threat on the ground, unable to continue the fight, so be it. If it takes two shots ... or three ... or four, that's how many it takes. One thing we discussed in one class was sitting in court while the prosecution asks, "Why did you shoot Mr. Jones nine times with your .357 Magnum?" Good question, and you might need a good answer.
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Old April 17, 2008, 06:59 PM   #50
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Answer: To stop the threat.

The "to stop the threat" assertion works in three ways: On one hand it removes intent to kill from the equation, and on the other it serves to explain the round count, and it "frees up" tactical responses from a given box. The supporting arguments and evidence must add up, of course.

Why'd you shoot him once in the head? To stop the threat.
Why'd you shoot him three times in the chest? To stop the threat?
Why'd you, the four of you, shoot at him fifty times? To stop the threat.
And so on... Again, so long as the supporting arguments and evidence add up.

I agree, though, that the expected result of most shooting is death; expected as it what the shooter invisions as opposed to the likelihood of actual death.

No? Be honest with yourself.

That said, the statistics are handy in case someone tries to paint you as a death merchant.

Oh, I plan on shooting to stop the threat, be it one or how ever many rounds in whatever combination, from whatever guns are necessary.

If my I'd rather not shoot at all plan fails, of course.
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