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Old July 14, 2010, 11:58 PM   #1
Jeremiah/Az
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Pelvic shot?

I have read on several forums that a pelvic shot will disable or shatter the pelvis knocking the BG down, unable to stand. Will a handgun shatter the pelvis or just put a hole in it ? Would a hole in it disable a determined attacker ?
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Old July 15, 2010, 12:18 AM   #2
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There is no saying for sure what a bullet will do. It may shatter it or go through. I say there is a great chance of it stopping an attacker. I practice shooting to the pelvis.
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Old July 15, 2010, 12:19 AM   #3
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A shattered pelvis would take somebody down faster than just about anything, but I think a bullet is more likely to just punch a little hole thru it -- that won't do much of anything unless you also happen to hit the femoral artery or a big (sciatic?) nerve.
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Old July 15, 2010, 12:26 AM   #4
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I would guess that if you shot me in the pelvis and it "just" put a hole in it that would take the fight out of me. Have someone punch you hard in the pelvis and see how you feel!
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Old July 15, 2010, 03:36 AM   #5
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What ever happened to shooting to center of mass......

I've seen some threads about shooting perps in various places and if you have time to aim at anything other than center mass i would guess you have time to
retreat (which is what one should do if the situation arises) as apposed to shooting.
Anyways,why is there so much interest in shooting anything other than center mass which by the way is the biggest part of the body and a tried an true practice that works?
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Old July 15, 2010, 06:45 AM   #6
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The discusssions I have heard say it it a good percentage shot, but only if the COM and head either are unavailable, . . . OR, . . . weren't effective when they were used, . . . as in he is wearing effective upper body armor, . . . or behind effective cover, . . . or is in a hostage type situation.

Looking at the configuration of the human body, . . . given the conditions above, . . . I'd certainly consider a pelvic shot, . . . especially if it were a quartering or fully sidewise shot. It looks like that would be a good percentage shot.

A couple of years back, a gunshop owner duked it out with an AK armed bg who had shot up a court house out West. The bg had a flak jacket and body armor, . . . Mr. Wilson's rounds didn't phase him, . . . and maybe in that case had he gone to the pelvic shot,....................

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Old July 15, 2010, 08:34 AM   #7
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This is what we call a "Situation Tactic". Shooting the pelvis has been proven a very effective tactic. If the round is large or fast enough to shatter the pelvis or break its structural integrity, then the person can physically not stand or walk/run. If it doesn't shatter it, and simply punctures it or ricochets off of it thus transversing the pelvic region, the wound has probable chance to be painful enough to prevent standing or movement.

That being said, you should NOT "Always Shoot Center Mass". The correct idiom is "Your first instict should be to shoot center mass." If center of mass shots are not working, are blocked, or are not the ideal target due to situational factors, then other targets become increasingly prioritized. Head shots are for quick disabling by shutting down the CNS. Hip shots are for quick disabling by shutting down mobility of the subject. Think of this in terms of stopping a vehicular assault/chase. Would it be best to shoot the driver? Or shoot a tire? It would depend on the situation. We invented stop-sticks for the purpose of blowing tires to stop a chase, but Bonnie and Clyde were not so lucky.

Hip shots are used by marksmen more to "disable and apprehend" than to "disable and toe-tag". They are also used, as was said, in the event of body armor. As a civilian, the only time I could anticipate using a hip shot would be if I had drawn my weapon and was attempting a retreat while an assailant was walking (not running) after me with a weapon other than a knife or gun. If I had given warnings to "Stay where you are" or "Don't come any closer", then aiming a close range pelvic shot may be an option depending on the range. It really is not much different than aiming COM, plus the downward angle of the shot propels it toward the ground in the event of a miss or a "through and through", helping your liability of stray shots. Plus you get the added bonus of being less likely to kill the guy, giving him more time to writhe and think about what just happened.

Like I said, quite a situational tactic, but not useless. It is really just a good "weak point" to aim at if you find yourself in such a position. You shouldn't go into the situation thinking that's what you're going to aim for, just trust your insticts and training, and if you find the shot, take it.

Hope this helps,
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Old July 15, 2010, 08:54 AM   #8
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Quote:
What ever happened to shooting to center of mass......
Pelvic and head are back up aiming spots for failure to stop drills. It's kind of based on the notion that an attacker may have upper body armor on.
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Old July 15, 2010, 09:17 AM   #9
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In addition to the excellent comments above, remember that a pelvis shot does nothing to disable the arms and hands. It is not at all impossible to be fired on by your opponent after you have made a completely successful pelvis shot.
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Old July 15, 2010, 09:23 AM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by demigod
Pelvic and head are back up aiming spots for failure to stop drills. It's kind of based on the notion that an attacker may have upper body armor on.

It has also been suggested as a good place to start firing as you raise your gun, particularly if you are "behind the curve" or in almost direct contact.


Quote:
Originally Posted by LordTio3
Plus you get the added bonus of being less likely to kill the guy, giving him more time to writhe and think about what just happened.
Given the blood flow through that region, I don't think you can assume that there is any less potential for death. People die just breaking their hips in a fall. A bullet through there is going to be bad, bad news.
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Old July 15, 2010, 09:31 AM   #11
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I was in an industrial accident that broke my pelvis in 3 places (open-book fracture). There were also other internal injuries and broken bones. I didn't lose conciousness, was able to direct my rescue and was able to lower myself from a height without assistance just using my upper body. Based on my experience, a damaged pelvis would limit my mobility somewhat yet leave me capable of operating a firearm and inflicting damage on my opponent.

A pelvic shot would not be my first choice if I were attacked and needed to defend myself with a firearm. In my opinion, a pelvic shot is a "shoot to wound" option not much different than trying to shoot an assailant in the leg or shoulder. I'm going to shoot to stop.
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Old July 15, 2010, 10:37 AM   #12
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A note on it would be that the pelvic shot is far more likely to leave a criminal alive to face trial. The pelvic area doesn't contain any vital organs, and the vascular system has only a few major parts down there.

As has been said, it's not a guaranteed fight stopper, either, as a person's upper body is left functional. Whether or not the target is out of combat is another issue entirely. Rounds to COM disable the entire body, brains and hands included not just the legs that carry it around.

I can see a pelvic shot being an important tactic, for many reasons. I believe that no matter what, I'm going to follow up a pelvic shot with anything necessary to make that other guy completely incapable of combat. If that means several COM or even head shots as he lies there still posing a threat with his gun still in his hand, that is what is called for in the situation.

A pelvic shot should not be thought of as something that ends aggression. It is, in my thoughts, more liable to just slow and delay them as the subject is dropped to the ground, and regains control of himself after a wound that isn't anywhere near as traumatizing as it needs to be. It needs to be followed up on.
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Old July 15, 2010, 11:30 AM   #13
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Just some philosophy of violence...

In martial arts, we refer to this philosophy as "Breaking Down the Machine." In Hapkido, we train convenient nerve and structural strikes while armed or empty handed. The philosophy is that if you can break the structural integrity of the person's weapon (body) then they are unable to use it effectively regardless of how angry or motivated they are (angry meth-head syndrome). An angry person can take a lot of pain/punishment and still keep coming, but not if you break down his machine. Many of these targets are the soft joints: wrist, ankles, knees; and some are key points of utility: axillary nerve(armpit), back of the hand, inside of the elbow, humerus between bi-tricep. If you overload the nerves in, or do enough damage to any of these areas, regardless of how motivated a person is, they can't use them effectively. By striking the axillary and the back of the hand sharply, one physically cannot hold a firm fist or fully extend the arm with force. Any punch that was thrown is for show at best because it has no structural power behind it.

The metaphor our instructor gives is a person trying make a getaway in an SUV. That SUV can ram just about anything and keep on going. Small impacts really don't matter or do more than slightly redirect it on it's path. It hurts, but it doesn't stop. But go ahead and break one of the gears in the transmission and see how far it goes. Doesn't matter how angry the driver is, or how high the RPMs rev, that car isn't going anywhere with any power.

Much to this effect, the "hip shot" is a way of breaking down the machine. Some crackhead coming at you isn't going to be coming very quickly with a bullet and some pulp sitting where his hip used to be. If he's still got a gun, don't let that be your only shot... but if he's armed with a club or a stun gun, etc... you've effectively just ended the encounter and should probably back away and wait for police.

Just some philosophy,
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Old July 15, 2010, 01:40 PM   #14
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I read in a Massad Ayoob article where he said to hold in the pelvic area so that you had a clear view of the BG's hands. That is probably more for LEO's than most of us.

Last edited by Jeremiah/Az; July 15, 2010 at 05:31 PM.
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Old July 15, 2010, 02:24 PM   #15
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I read in a Massad Ayoob artical where he said to hold in the pelvic area so that you had a clear view of the BG's hands. That is probably more for LEO's than most of us.
Again, that is situationally dependent. There are an infinite number of scenarios wherein you might be pointing a gun at a bad guy, which means that things have gotten bad enough that you are or were justified in firing, but something has changed. Maybe he saw your gun and stopped, maybe he got to 20 feet out and stood there with his knife.... I don't know, something that made it worth pointing but changed before shooting. If that happened, the groin would be where I held.
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Old July 15, 2010, 05:04 PM   #16
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Just read a little Powerpoint on a shooting where the suspect was shot 16 times by officers with .40 S&W and .223, including about six through and through wounds in the pelvis/hip/butt area (and several more in the legs) based on the photos. The suspect had to be wrestled to be put in handcuffs even after that, even though not on drugs.

Personally, I'm kind of skeptical of the idea that the pelvis is a good alternate aiming point, especially for a handgun that is going to be unlikely to do the kind of damage needed to break the pelvis.
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Old July 15, 2010, 05:20 PM   #17
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I figure you shoot the biggest target that presents itself to you and hope for the best. Usually that will be COM.
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Old July 15, 2010, 05:39 PM   #18
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If I'm ever in a situation that forces me to use my weapon, I will target whatever I can get my sights on, starting with COM and then to whatever presents the best oportunity.
God knows, I hope I never have to find out how good my muscle memory really is!
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Old July 15, 2010, 08:01 PM   #19
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Oh geez, not the pelvic shot idea again. Even if you were able to place a well aimed pelvic shot and put the attacker to the ground is he still in the fight? In my mind yes. No vital organs have been hit and he still has the capability of returning fire. Disrupting the vital organ systems of the body is the only sure way of stopping an attacker. There are way too many variables in a gun fight to know whether or not a pelvic shot will work; I will stick with center mass where the large majority of the body's organ systems are located. Everyone is open to their opinions and tactics, but I just dont see the prudence in it.
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Old July 15, 2010, 08:28 PM   #20
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Aside from the fact that handgun rounds do not typically shatter a pelvis, that the largest part of the pelvis is the iliac blade and breaking off a chunk of it will not "break down the machine" (won't cause locomotor breakdown because the blade is not locomotor load bearing), and that few people have a clue as to where to shoot a clothed person in order to produce the necessary breakage/shattering to make locomotion not possible, shooting the pelvis is something of last ditch best wish shooting.

If you know where to shoot on a clothed person to actually break the pelvis and cause a structural collapse and are opting to shoot there because COM in unavailable, I would be willing to guess that you would be a good enough shot to shoot out the kneecaps.

With a rifle, it is a whole other matter, though hitting the iliac blade is still problematic.

Many people shot in the pelvic region go down - no doubt about it. Many people shot in the belly go down - no doubt about it. A goodly number of people shot in the leg with a non-bone involved shot go down. Some people go down when shot in the arm.

The PP presentation Bartholomew Roberts mentions shows at least a couple .40 slugs still in the pelvis region that managed to not break any bones. The pelvis was shattered, but by a .223 round.

Quote:
Much to this effect, the "hip shot" is a way of breaking down the machine. Some crackhead coming at you isn't going to be coming very quickly with a bullet and some pulp sitting where his hip used to be.
Ah, now the hip word has been introduced. The "hip bone" is something of an unscientific descriptor used to describe the iliac blade or the lateral aspect of the proximal end of the femur. It is a term that may refer to the whole innominate as well, the innominate being comprised of 1/2 of the pelvis (ilium, ischium, and pubis).

So unless you are talking about RPGs for the whole innominate or .50 BMGs for the iliac blade or proximal lateral aspect of the femur, there won't be pulp where the "hip used to be" because bullets don't make all that bone disappear into oblivian and intimated.

Just like shooting COM doesn't mean the heart will always be hit, shooting the pelvic area doesn't always mean the pelvis will be hit and the pelvis is a whole lot larger, but if hit, it doesn't mean the structural integrity will be damaged in such a way to cause it to "shatter" or to "collapse," not with a handgun round.

Philosophy is nice, but biology and physics are a lot more relevant.
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Old July 16, 2010, 01:25 PM   #21
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The "hip bone" is something of an unscientific descriptor used to describe the iliac blade or the lateral aspect of the proximal end of the femur.
"Hip", as I used it was meant to refer to a general anatomical region, not a particular skeletal structure. No such thing as a "hip bone" as you pointed out.

Quote:
If the round is large or fast enough to shatter the pelvis or break its structural integrity, then the person can physically not stand or walk/run. If it doesn't shatter it, and simply punctures it or ricochets off of it thus transversing the pelvic region, the wound has probable chance to be painful enough to prevent standing or movement.
This was the key phrase that I've been operating under. Considering ballistics here, there are quite a few rounds with the energy to accomplish this task when you include rifles, pistols, and rocket-propelled grenades. When speaking on handgun rounds; this being a handgun forum and all, you could be speaking of a .22lr or a .44mag: which is where understanding and arguing the philosophy, or metaphysics (physics and biology are implied), of the situation really comes to the forefront. You don't want to attempt a structurally or functionally disabling shot with a round that doesn't have the capacity to accomplish the intended task: Obviously.

But speaking from experience of an avulsion fracture on my left pelvis during my teen years, even when not structurally disabling, a pelvic wound can still be functionally incapacitory, as I noted above. The majority of your bodily weight resides above your waistline. Any other limb wound isn't nearly as debilitating. Even a leg wound can be helped by "taking your weight off of it". Not a solution, but an assisted state no less. If you're left hip has been fractured, even with all of your weight on your right leg, your upper body is still bearing down on your pelvis, exacerbated by the pelvic rotation required to shift weight to one leg and move. It is incredibly painful. Even if one could move, they won't be moving quickly. And they truly won't get very far.

So, in conclusion, you are still better off shooting COM and will almost certainly end most any encounter more effectively with that tactic. This is really nothing more than a situational tactic, though an effective one if employed efficiently. Unless you're a marksman with a .308 rifle, I'd tend to leave it alone. The training required to be able to employ it effectively and the likelihood of you having to use those skills rate quite low on the Scale of Cost-Benefit Ratio.

~LT
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Old July 16, 2010, 03:38 PM   #22
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The pelvic shot is usually considered to be part of a failure to stop drill. If and only if COM shots are ineffective should a pelvic shot be attempted. Some prefer pelvic shots to headshots because the pelvis represents a somewhat larger and easier to hit target than the head does. A pelvic shot should not be counted on to incapacitate an attacker. It is mainly useful to slow the attacker enough to give the defender more time to either retreat or take a more carefully aimed shot.
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Old July 16, 2010, 04:16 PM   #23
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OK, let's look at this scenario. We have fired shots to COM and they were not effective. What are the reasons these shots might not have been effective?

1. Despite our best intentions, the shots missed the target entirely.
2. The shots hit COM; but failed to strike vital organs.
3. The shots hit COM and struck non-CNS organs; but the target has not yet suffered enough blood loss to cease threatening activities.
4. The target is wearing body armor and shots did not penetrate that armor.

So in which of these scenarios is switching to the pelvis the best option?

My own analysis goes like this:

1. If you are missing COM shots, then shifting to the head or pelvis is likely going to be an even less successful strategy.

2. The upper thoracic cavity has the spine, heart, lungs, major arteries and veins, etc. The head has the brain and spine; but it is well-armored, more mobile and the part that is actually vital is relatively small in proportion to the thoracic cavity. The pelvis has fewer vital areas; and they are less vital than those in the upper thoracic. There is also almost no chance of hitting the CNS.

3. It seems in this situation the best strategy is to retreat or take cover and wait (assuming you know you made this kind of hit). A pelvic shot that performs as described may limit the target's mobility so you can do this; but it is unlikely to speed up the process significantly. So if immediately stopping the attack is necessary, you've got to hit the CNS.

4. OK, the upper thoracic is armored. So our choices are now:
A) Shoot until the armor is breached
B) Switch to the head (better chances of stopping fight; but hardest target to hit)
C) Switch to pelvis, not much here that will cause an immediate physiological stop; but less mobile than the head.

If the pelvic shot only works with rounds that are "large or fast enough to shatter the pelvis or break its structural integrity", it seems to me that either option A is viable or that the presence of body armor is fairly obvious even before the shooting starts.

Anybody else have a different take on 1-4?
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Old July 16, 2010, 04:27 PM   #24
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What ever happened to shooting to center of mass......
Nothing.

It's not pelvis vs. center mass, or vs. central nervous system. It's pelvis as an option than may have to be used under some circumstances.

The pelvis area has a large concentration of major blood vessels, lower spine, and so forth.

Kind of interesting that we have so many medically qualified people who can elaborate on whether a bullet will "shatter" or just "punch a hole".

Maybe someone should elaborate on the likelyhood of bone or bullet fragments rupturing a major blood vessel.

Just my thoughts on the matter.
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Old July 16, 2010, 05:32 PM   #25
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With such a round as a 30/30 or a 12 gauge, yea the pelvic shot should work.

.38? 9mm? .22? I dunno. It would be a gamble.

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