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Old July 2, 2012, 11:15 PM   #51
Nanuk
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I think the key is balance.

You need a reasonable amount of capacity to have a chance of making enough hits before you run dry. But having lots of ammo/capacity is only worthwhile if you have the time to shoot it all. You also need a good hit rate probability. But, again, even a tremendous hit rate probability won't help if you don't have the rounds you need to make the all the hits.

It's all in finding a happy medium. We shouldn't rely exclusively on capacity--we may not have the time or the skill to make use of those extra rounds. We shouldn't rely exclusively on our belief that our hit rate probability will be high in a gunfight. For one thing, it might not be that high, and even if it is, we still need need enough rounds available in order to be effective.

Really, that's really the story of self-defense and handguns in a nutshell. You need skill, and you need equipment and you need to find a balance between the emphasis you place on each. You can't substitute skill for equipment/capacity/caliber because if your equipment doesn't work/you don't have enough shots/you pick a caliber that can't do the job then skill can only take you so far. You can't substitute equipment/caliber/capacity for skill because the best equipment in the world won't carry you if you can't shoot well enough and run your equipment well enough to get the job done.

I did the calculations to satisfy my own curiosity. I didn't know how the results would turn out. When I saw how they turned out, I decided to share them so people could use the information to try to find their own balance of capacity and skill based on something a little more concrete than speculation.
Very well put, I guess I misunderstood your process at first.
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Old July 4, 2012, 12:05 PM   #52
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can't fault the data....

or the calculations as flawed. Given the stated assumptions, it looks pretty good to me.

However, what conclusions we draw from the data can be flawed. Or they can be accurate, and just not applicable to a specific situation we might find ourselves in.

Since a movie was mentioned, lets look at another one....
A "standoff" scene in (I believe) Delta Farce (yes, I know, a comedy but look at the point)

"You think you can shoot ALL of us?"
"No, but I can shoot YOU!"
"oh, I always forget that part....."

I think it is important to realize that the bad guys seldom expect effective armed resistance, and often the reactions of the ones not being shot are not instant attack.

And I don't see any way to figure that into any calculations. Even highly trained soldiers (about as professional as you can get) have differing reactions when the lead flies, especially for the first time. Some follow their training instantly, some don't. And few criminals are as well trained as soldiers.

The data is interesting, and worthy of thought, but any confrontation we will be in is an individual thing, as likely to fall outside the averages as within.

The Armed Citizen column in the American Rifleman (and other NRA publications) is full of situations where, when confronted, many of the bad guys flee. You can't count on it, but you shouldn't discount it, either, IMHO.
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Old July 4, 2012, 01:18 PM   #53
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I think it is important to realize that the bad guys seldom expect effective armed resistance, and often the reactions of the ones not being shot are not instant attack.

And I don't see any way to figure that into any calculations.
Actually, the calculations sort of highlight the point that it's rarely necessary to physically disable attackers--that they tend to run. The probabilities show that if it were actually necessary to shoot all attackers to the ground, the chances of success with a typical carry pistol are miserable. Given that we know that defenders succeed in multiple-attacker scenarios on a fairly regular basis, we can see that something else is happening a lot of the time and that something is attackers often choosing to stop attacking when the shooting starts. That happens a good percentage of the time.

It's not really possible to tailor the calculations for every alternative, the point was not to produce a high-fidelity gunfight simulator, the idea was to provide insight into one particular aspect of a gunfight, namely how hard it is to put multiple hits on multiple opponents with a realistic hit-rate probability and a limited number of shots. Turns out it's a lot harder than I think most people assumed it is--it's harder than I expected it to be.

Does that mean that every gunfight will require putting multiple hits on multiple attackers? No, it doesn't. Clearly some gunfights, even ones with multiple attackers are resolved in favor of the defender without anyone being hit at all, some with one attacker being hit multiple times but the other being hit only once, some with only one attacker being hit multiple times, some with only one attacker being hit once. It can play out many different ways, and the calculation only looks at one type of scenario.

Of course, while it's not uncommon for attackers to give up when the shooting starts, it's not a given that it will happen in any gunfight. It's important to understand that while they're not the norm, there are determined attackers out there who won't automatically turn and run.
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Old July 4, 2012, 02:15 PM   #54
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Missing an assailent isnt always a total fail. I'd bet that more often even a miss will cause the desired effect from the assailent. I doubt if there is much information regarding the actions of a person once they have been shot at.
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Old July 4, 2012, 02:18 PM   #55
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It's important to understand that while they're not the norm, there are determined attackers out there who won't automatically turn and run.
Are not the following likely to fall into that category?
  • The attacker who is already very close to you, who may conclude in the heat of the moment that you will shoot him if he does not stop you first
  • The desperate fugitive who has attacked you to get your car because his is known to the authorities, running poorly, or out of fuel, and he cannot escape without it
  • Users of methamphetamine or bath salts who do not act like rational persons
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Old July 5, 2012, 10:33 PM   #56
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I wish I could have participated in this thread earlier... I was on vacation for the last week...not a lot of computer time...

I have had a similar thought process as JohnKSa, and I made a similar point about a month ago regarding bear defense rifles. Given some probability of hitting a vital spot, it is always better to put more bullets on target than less.

It is analogous to an aircraft mounted gun. They don't use sniper rifles on aircraft. They use machine guns with a extremely high rate of fire. It does not take hundreds of hits with a 20mm cannon to bring down a fighter or a helo... it only takes one. But the probability of making that one hit goes way up if you can fire a burst of 100 rounds per second.
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Old July 5, 2012, 10:41 PM   #57
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Missing an assailent isnt always a total fail. I'd bet that more often even a miss will cause the desired effect from the assailent. I doubt if there is much information regarding the actions of a person once they have been shot at.
Probably very true. I heard someone say once (Massad Ayoob perhaps?) that a person could get 90% of the benefit of a concealed carry handgun by just carrying a pistol loaded with blanks. The majority of the time, just displaying the weapon ends the situation. If you do need to fire, they won't know you are shooting blanks, all they know is that they are getting shot at, and most of the time they will run. The guy who said it was not advocating carrying blanks, but his point was that the vast majority of successful armed self defense situation end without any blood being spilled.
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Old July 6, 2012, 06:38 AM   #58
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Ferfal

Along the line of this thread on capacity. I suggest that people read Ferfal's blog "Surviving in Argentina". Go back through his posting and search for the shoot out in the Radio Celebrity bedroom. Three bad guys already given all the hostages had ie cash, watches, flat screen televisions etc.etc. Still not enough as the bad guys were going to rape the women. Thinking their all dead the Radio guy feigns a heart attack and falls down. Retrieves a hidden Glock .40 and comes up shooting. The hostage son also gets a hidden a .357 and enters the fight. The end result is one bad guy shot 8 times in the chest and is dead right there. BUT IT TOOK EIGHT ROUNDS (.40 cal.), another BG wounded and flees to hospital for wounds, one runs away un-harmed.

However, the Radio guy shot is up severely, hit 4 times, leg bones protruding from wounds etc. But keeps fighting. Son shot 2-3 in the buttocks/stomach and is critical. The good guys won but both wounded, all the women unharmed. The point of my retelling this is that the good guy's fired well over 20 rounds in that bed room. They had no place to run, no cover apparently. Just "toe to toe" and shoot till you --- or them, are dead.
Capacity may not be everything in a confrontation, but it would seem to be GOOD thing to have in a lot of situations. All this is written from memory so read it for your self on Ferfal's blog. Your mileage may vary.
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Old July 6, 2012, 08:46 AM   #59
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I have read somewhere that our chances of encountering multiple attackers/assailants are about 50/50. Does anyone know how accurate that number is? I can’t remember where I read it or what it was related to i.e., robberies etc.

I find these calculations fascinating, and it leaves me curious as to what the probability is that a person will encounter multiple attackers (especially in urban environments.)
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Old July 6, 2012, 10:03 AM   #60
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The assumption of 30% seems valid in light of police statistics showing that around 30% is the "average hit rate" - which includes: people, dogs, cats, and automobiles.

What seems skewed in the analysis is that the avererage number of shots fired. I have seen a statistic giving 8 shots as the average amount fired during a shootout for the initial exchange. Shots fire after that seem to end at 13 - 15.

So, given lies, damned lies, and statistics - apparently, if you can survive the first exchange of 8 shots, you may need 5-7 additional shots. What that means is that unless you're carrying a gun with at least a 16 round capacity magazine, you're going to be reloading regardless of whether you are carrying a gun with an 8, 10, 12, or 13 round magazine.
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Old July 6, 2012, 05:24 PM   #61
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Once again, I'd like to have both enough rounds to stop the attack, and also to reload while waiting for the police. (In case the first reinforcements to arrive are NOT the good guys.)
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Old July 6, 2012, 07:36 PM   #62
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Two other factors: time and the defender's capability.

Time: you build in no assumption of the dispersal of assailants nor moving targets after the first discharge.

Capability: civillian shooters, last I saw, were seven (7) times more likely to hit their target than police. Cops are notoriously bad shooters (I can tell you this is quite true, and they are actually very dangerous) -- essentially failures at a core responsibility of their duty.

There are many examples but one famous one, especially to the Left, is that of Amadou Diallou (sp?). Four of the elite NYPD Street Crimes Unit fired 41 times (two emptying 16 rounds each) and he was hit 19 times at the top of the stairs into an apartment building from the bottom of them. 11 times in the legs. "Contagious shooting." There are others even MORE lopsided.
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Old July 6, 2012, 08:05 PM   #63
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Quote:
You noticed that too.
Yep.
Quote:
Moving up in capacity obviously improves your odds, but you can't get carried away in that direction because it's not terribly likely that you'll be able to take advantage of a huge round count in the few seconds a gunfight typically lasts.
This is where the rubber meets the road for me. In assuming worst-case scenarios, if there are two or more assailants, they are not going to stand around waiting their turn. If I am lucky enough to get off the first shot before the BG(s), there is no reason to believe I will get off an unchallenged second...let alone the first 13-15.
For that reason, more than any other, I am more focused on carrying what I shoot best, and making those first shots count.
Quote:
Improving the hit rate probability (sharpening shooting skills) clearly helps, but only if you have the capacity available to take advantage of it. For example, even a very impressive 70% hit rate only gives you a 53% chance of scoring 2 or more hits on each of 2 opponents if you're armed with a 5 shot handgun. On the other hand, if you can achieve just a 50% hit rate with a 9 shot handgun, your odds of success are 75%.
And there you go. Frequent practice with something I shoot well is far more productive and confidence-inspiring than a large capacity and a lousy trigger and a marginal caliber.

YMMV, and probably will.
With luck, this will be an intellectual exercise for most of us, for the rest of our lifetimes.
If my luck runs out, I have made my bed, and will lie in it.

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Old July 7, 2012, 12:48 AM   #64
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Good thread...lots to think about which reminded me of Wild Bill Hickcock. He practiced a lot, carried two guns, kept fresh ammo in his guns, claimed accuracy more important than speed but speed is important. Old adage, aim small, miss small. And his mindset was to get the advantage - did this by correctly assessing threat and willingness to use all the force necessary to win. Seems to me Wild Bill has a lot to offer us. Skills, mindset, and equipment.

A modern Israeli warrior, Eugene Socket, would be on the side of carrying more ammo. Ammo is good, skills are good, proper mindset is good, having the right weapon(s) with you are good. Imagine putting all this together with a little bit of luck should increase one's chance to survive.
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Old July 7, 2012, 12:56 AM   #65
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Very thought provoking thread. Thank you for the time you spent on it.

Quote:
Actually, the calculations sort of highlight the point that it's rarely necessary to physically disable attackers--that they tend to run. The probabilities show that if it were actually necessary to shoot all attackers to the ground, the chances of success with a typical carry pistol are miserable. Given that we know that defenders succeed in multiple-attacker scenarios on a fairly regular basis, we can see that something else is happening a lot of the time and that something is attackers often choosing to stop attacking when the shooting starts. That happens a good percentage of the time.
Focusing too much on the random attack may be a mistake.

Some assailants know their victim and plan an attack on a specific person days or weeks before the crime. Such assailants would be more willing to fight it out seeing how the reward for the crime is perceived to be higher than the random attack. For a random attack, the victim may or may not have anything of value on his or her person, so the assailants aren't as willing to fight it out as the reward for the crime is not guaranteed.
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Old July 7, 2012, 01:02 AM   #66
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Users of methamphetamine or bath salts who do not act like rational persons.
Perhaps not only do we need high capacity semiautos, but Zombie Max ammo to increase the probability of fending off multiple high-on-bath-salts-I-want-to-eat-your-face assailants.
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Old July 7, 2012, 03:54 PM   #67
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JohnKSa Staff

I think the key is balance.

You need a reasonable amount of capacity to have a chance of making enough hits before you run dry. But having lots of ammo/capacity is only worthwhile if you have the time to shoot it all. You also need a good hit rate probability. But, again, even a tremendous hit rate probability won't help if you don't have the rounds you need to make the all the hits.

It's all in finding a happy medium. We shouldn't rely exclusively on capacity--we may not have the time or the skill to make use of those extra rounds. We shouldn't rely exclusively on our belief that our hit rate probability will be high in a gunfight. For one thing, it might not be that high, and even if it is, we still need need enough rounds available in order to be effective.
As Jeff Cooper has said: "Diligentia, Vis, Celeritas" which means Accuracy, Power, and Speed. He came up with this to define the essential elements of combat shooting.

Here we revisit his philosophy coming at it from a different perspective. Cooper stressed in his lectures that you choose the power (his preferred choice was the .45 ACP) then if the situation arises you balance speed and accuracy.

Part of the power calculations must include the cartridge and the number of rounds which you carry.

JohnKSa, thank you for posting your original post. It is food for thought.
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Old July 7, 2012, 07:14 PM   #68
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Some people pick a high capacity pistol so they won't have to carry an extra magazine, not so much because they expect to fight multiple assailants.
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Old July 8, 2012, 10:41 AM   #69
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As Jeff Cooper has said: "Diligentia, Vis, Celeritas" which means Accuracy, Power, and Speed. He came up with this to define the essential elements of combat shooting.
Cooper was also behind the development of the 10mm if I remember correctly.
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Old July 10, 2012, 08:53 PM   #70
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More correctly I think the ill fated pistol for it the Bren Ten rather then the ammo itself....
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Old July 10, 2012, 11:41 PM   #71
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Capability: civillian shooters, last I saw, were seven (7) times more likely to hit their target than police. Cops are notoriously bad shooters (I can tell you this is quite true, and they are actually very dangerous) -- essentially failures at a core responsibility of their duty.
I would like to know where you found this nugget of information. Latest statistics are anywhere from 29% to 49% hit rate depending on which agency is involved. That is not bad considering that that cop is getting shot at, has already been shot, is diving for cover. Two examples of this are an officer with the FT Worth, Texas PD was shot in the pelvis by a 38 wadcutter, he hit his assailant 5 out of 6 shots and the BG's gun with the other shot. An off duty LA cop was ambushed getting out of her POV, shot thru the chest with a 357 magnum, she shot and killed her assailant hitting at least 4 of 5 shot fired. We can cherry pick all day to prove whichever point you want, its a whole new experience when they are shooting at you!
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Old July 10, 2012, 11:59 PM   #72
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...civillian shooters, last I saw, were seven (7) times more likely to hit their target than police.
Here's some data on civilian shootings. You can decide for yourself whether or not you wish to accept the data as credible--it's provided without any reasonable way to verify it.

http://www.thehighroad.org/showpost....99&postcount=1

Inside 7 FEET, the hit rate is about 50%.
In the 7 to 15 foot range, it falls to about 30%--similar to what LEOs achieve on average.
Beyond 15 feet the hit rate drops down into the 20%-24% range.

So at very close ranges, this data suggests that you can count on a higher hit rate. Of course there's no free lunch. The bad guy's hit rate will go up at very close range too.

Only about a quarter of the shootings involved a single bad guy. The other 75% involved 2 or more.

Pasted data from linked post is below. I do not know anything about this data or its source other than what is contained in the post. The post is written in the first person, but the "I" in the post is rwilson37643 of THR, not me.
civilian shooting stats

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

I acquired some interesting information from a friend who works for a states Attorney General’s office. They have tracked shots fired by CCW holders in the state in self defense, criminal acts, and negligence. Of course this data only includes those incidents reported to police, but it is still very interesting data. In the time this state has been issuing permits in the current manner permit holders have only fired 322 shots. Only 16 of these have been criminal in nature, some of these were in my opinion, negligence, but did result in criminal charges or were acts of suicide. 8 shots have been negligent without criminal charges, most of these occurred on a gun range or in the home. The remaining 296 shots were fired in self defense. The following table shows the range and hit or miss of these 296 shots:
Range # of hits # of Misses Total # of shootings
< 7 FEET 68 (48.9%) 71 (51.1%) 139 (47%) 52 (82.5%)
7 – 15 FEET 31 (32%) 66 (68%) 97 (32.8%) 43 (68.25%)
15 – 30 FEET 9 (24.3%) 28 (75.7%) 37 (12.5%) 12 (19%)
30 – 75 FEET 4 (20%) 16 (80%) 20 (6.76%) 6 (9.5%)
> 75 FEET 1 (33%) 2 (66%) 3 (1%) 1 (1.6%)
TOTAL 113 (38.2%) 183 (61.8%) 296
Some shootings represented in more than 1 range

• Total # of self defense shootings – 63
• Average shots fired by CCW holder – 4.7
• # of shootings with only one bad guy – 16 (25.4%)
• # of shootings with 2 bad guys – 34 (54%)
• # of shootings with 3 bad guys – 12 (19%)
• # of shootings with 4 or more bad guys – 1 (1.6%)
• # in which the bad guy was moving while being shot at – 63 (100%)
• # in which the CCW holder reported at least some movement while firing – 45 (88.9%)
• # of SD shootings occurring at the CCW holders home – 9 (14.3%)
• # of SD shootings occurring at the CCW holders place of employment – 12 (19%)
• # remaining – 42 (66.7%)
• # occurring indoors – 4 (6.4%)
• # occurring outdoors – 59 (93.6%)
• # occurring in full light – 14 (22.2%)
• # occurring in full darkness – 0
• # occurring in dim light – 49 (77.78%)
• Statisticly this states CCW holders have a .017% chance of being involved in a shooting
• # of CCW holders shot, stabbed, or otherwise in need of serious medical attention – 18 (28.5%)
• # of CCW holders killed – 2 (3.17%)
Sorry about the ambiguity and not telling which state. This data has not been made public, and my friend is afraid of repercussions if it is traced back to him. and the table didn't paste so well oops
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Old July 11, 2012, 12:49 AM   #73
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i dont know,,
when i was in afganistan there was a big difrence between just shooting at people and shooting at people cause your life was in danger,,
when your life is in danger you almost lose touch with your body its like its on autopilot and just does what it has to to win

so i think i could do better than those numbers show
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Old July 11, 2012, 05:20 AM   #74
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I think Vegas Plinker nailed it. Again... you fight with what you have... Your the weapon... the gun what ever it may be is just an extension of your skills.
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Old July 11, 2012, 05:41 AM   #75
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To respond to the comment about how poor policemen are supposedly at shooting, perhaps shooting people is not their "core responsibility." Too many seem to think the police are essentially the government's hired guns. But that doesn't mean they shouldn't be good shots just the same. Likewise, they spend a lot of time behind the wheel but they don't have to be race car drivers. I see enough of would-be race car drivers on the way to and from work, only it isn't a race; it's more like roller derby.
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