View Full Version : Don't shoot for Center of Mass with a .45?

May 3, 2002, 07:48 AM
I have a friend who suggested that when you're shooting for the thorax with a .45 ACP, that you aim off center, then knocking someone off balance when you hit them. Is this right?

May 3, 2002, 08:40 AM
To me that your "friend" is clueless! Ask him to provide some empirical evidence of this "theory".....:confused: :eek:

May 3, 2002, 09:15 AM

Similar to the school of thought that believes that if you shoot someone in an outstretched hand, it will spin them so violently that their head can't keep up and it screws off.

Only happens with .45ACP tho.


May 3, 2002, 09:29 AM
Your friend has seen too many movies.

Unless of course, he really meant a really hot 45-70 handload and not 45ACP :)

CZ Gunner
May 3, 2002, 11:29 AM
Movies ... or, more likely, CARTOONS!

May 3, 2002, 11:36 AM
I am going to shoot to hit C.O.M., with all calibres from .22LR all the way up to 40MM Bofors "deck gun"

May 3, 2002, 11:41 AM
:rolleyes: :rolleyes: :rolleyes: :rolleyes: :rolleyes:

although I read in the latest issue of Combat Handguns an ex-SAS guy who runs a tactics school, educates his students to aim a bit higher than COM for CVT (Cardiovascular Triangle). I'll stick to COM....

May 3, 2002, 11:53 AM
Center of Mass is the center of the threat presented. May be a leg, an arm, a side view, an ear. Shoot what's available until something else is available. It will be dark, you will be moving, there will be yelling, the threat may be moving (likely), you may be bleeding.

As far as knocking someone off their fee with a puny little pistol round, please remember that Mr. Newton's Law apply in the gunshop as well as everywhere else!:D

May 3, 2002, 01:19 PM
Looks like the above posts about cover it.

Besides, planning to aim somewhere other than the COM being a complete waste of mental effort, remember you'll likely fall back to your level of traiing in a life or death stress situation. If you trianed to shoot other than the COM, that's likely where you'll shoot. Not hitting COM is a miss. Missing is NOT good tactics...

May 3, 2002, 01:25 PM
There are lots of "Centres of Mass" to choose from.

A physicist attempting to transfix the BG at COM with a skewer would poke him through the belly somewhere near the navel. A shot there would perforate the guts, be very painful but not necessarily fatal or even stopping - although it may damage the spleen or a kidney.

A shooter trained with silhouette targets will shoot into the "COM" box, most likely perforating the stomach. Painful, but again, not necessarily a stopper.

A surgeon would attempt to hit the centre of the triangle formed by the nipples and the supraclavicular notch (the little indentation where the collarbones nearly meet at the front) and may require the shootee to be undressed.

Shooters trained with anatomically correct targets would shoot at the intersection of an imaginary line connecting the armpits and the centreline of the body. The third or preferably the second shirt button (allowing for a little stress induced error in trigger control) should work fine; aim small - miss small.

All of this of course if the upper body is not behind cover or a no shoot (hostage). You can shoot through concealment if the appropriate rule is not violated...

May 3, 2002, 04:55 PM
Your friend is a visionary....get him some help!

Was it Wyatt Earp that said in a gunfight he aimed for the bad guys left eye....

He said "it breaks his concentration"

Double Naught Spy
May 3, 2002, 05:12 PM
Gunter is right about the center of mass (COM) not being where most people actually tell you to shoot which is center of chest, high center of chest, or roughly in the triangle he described. A true COM shot will be blow the rib cage. The rib cage, like the cranium, protects the most vital organs. That an adaptive feature of vertebrates.

As far as shooting somebody off center with a .45 acp, did your friend mention where you should shoot with other calibers? Maybe he has one of those sawed off pistol grip shotguns that will blow people backwards through doors when they get hit by the buckshot?

The laws of physics come into play. Given that every action has an opposite and equal reaction, there is little chance a .45 would knock somebody off balance if the shooter were not also knocked off balance by firing the shot. Same for the shotguns. If the shootee gets blown through a door by a shotgun, then the shooter will experience the same force on his end and will also be blown through walls.

The real benefit of firearms and the control of physics is that the shooter always has a larger area covered by the gun, such as the grip on a .45 or the butt of a shotgun so that the force is spread out over a larger area. The bullet or shot will impact a much smaller area and transfer that amount of energy to a smaller area and that is largely why it is bullets penetrate the shootee but the guns used for firing don't penetrate the shooter even though the force is the approximate same on both ends.

May 4, 2002, 06:22 AM
I have a very good friend with SAS.So I took this question to him. He was working at the time so I didn't get to find out all the answers, but here is the gist.

For a 45acp or 45LC try to shoot off side and to your right.
For the 9mm try for a dead center hit.
For a 32 caliber or smaller aim for your left of center.

The 40S&W, and 357SiG aim between the 45 POA and the 9mm POA. You can split the difference for a 380 or 9mm MAK between the POA for a 9mm and the POA for the 32.

I was just about to ask about the under 32 calibers and the large calibers like the 41 or 44 when his customer told him she wanted to see what the shoe would look like in Blue.

I did get a nice pair or walkers though while I was there. Check into SAS shoes. They are really comfortable.:p :rolleyes:

May 4, 2002, 09:37 AM

May 4, 2002, 10:19 AM
Heart shot not a good stopper, they usually stop but takes time.

Center jof mass......middle of what is stickin out....in view. If all you see is face and glock.....nose is center of mass.

In an ideal world (yea right) good guy penetrates spine upper third and bad gun collapses like a broken blivet.

There is good reason that folks these days rarely carry a single shot defensive weapon.

Classic couple a couple years ago in my neighborhood. Two gents having a heated discussion. Gent 1 shoots Gent 2 in shoulder slightly inboard with .25 auto. Gent 2 takes exception to the personal affront and draws n shoots Gent 1 between the eyes with a .45 ACP. Both died. Gent 1 died on the way to the ground and Gent 2 died later.

When practicin defensive actions. Think about what makes the bad guy tick.


D.W. Drang
May 4, 2002, 12:33 PM
Guy I know keeps bringing up Masaad Ayoob's observation that a "Pelvis-breaking shot" will stop an advancing inturder immeditaely.
Never seems to consider how to guarantee a "PBS."

May 4, 2002, 02:01 PM
Drang, pelvis? That's easy! You can use my 106mm reckless rifle.

Oh, sure my housemates and the neighbors are a bit twitchy, but a cop told me to do this so I know it's O.K.

Double Naught Spy
May 4, 2002, 06:38 PM
As far as I can discern, pelvis shots with handguns are pretty much not all that significant. Just exactly what is it you are going to break to cause the person to drop? The concept behind the pelvis shot is that the pelvis is the major skeletal support between the legs and torso and it is critical for locomotion (walking, running, etc.). About the only place you could hit with a pistol that would almost definitely produce such as result would be to hit the actual socket where the femoral head articulates or hit (and break) the femoral neck that is between the ball (which is in the socket) and the upright portion of the thigh bone. All in all, that gives you about a shot window of 1x3" for each side.

Do you think you can hit that?

If you shoot the iliac blade (the part you feel as your hip, you are not going to damage locomotion. That portion of the pelvis serves to support the organs above it and is not a locomotor support. You could hit the front and shoot the pubis bones and that might slow the person down, but what most guys don't realize is that the pubis bones actually separate from one another in women who give birth. Women can walk around after giving birth even though structurally they have a broken pelvis where the left and right pubic bones have separated. The other bone in the pelvis is the ischium and that is what you sit on and you are not likely to get really good penetration to his the ischium and even if you do, most of the energy of the round will have been spent.

What most folks don't know about pelves is how they actually function in the body in terms of biomechanics, so you get people saying that you should shoot the pelvis to break it. A handgun is a puny weapon with which to do that. Rifle rounds will create some horrendous damage and may even pass through the front and rear. Such damage may bring a person down. I have seen skeletal material (part of my job) where the pelvis showed wounds to iliac blade portion and the bullet passed through with enough velocity to create a nice puncture, but not structural failing. The lack of structural failing was due to the fact that the blade does not get a lot of locomotor stress that might cause such damage to result in a structural failing.

Something else most people do not realize is that most old folks who "fall and break their hip" don't fall and break their hip. Usually due to a condition such as osteoporosis (bone mineral loss), the hip breaks and the folks fall. What breaks will usually be the femoral neck which suffers a lot of biomechanical stress, but sometimes it is the socket that gives wayand the ball and neck blow through the socket and then you hear about hip socket replacement. Generally speaking though, the pelvis itself is not broken when somebody falls and breaks their hip or if it is broken, it is broken when the ball punches through. A lot of broken hips are actually broken legs, not hips, the femoral neck snapping.

In sum, if you are good enough to determine where to femoral neck and ball joint are to hit with your handgun on a moving target, then by golly go for it. But understand that each knee offers a much larger target area (and no, I don't suggest trying to hit a knee) and the head is a much larger target area.

People talk a lot about shooting the hip and I got that as well in a couple of handgun defense classes, but the people talking about shooting folks in the hip are not those associated with the medical community. If you do try to shoot somebody in the hip and they do go down, it probably is not because you have caused a failure of the hip anymore than a round to the gut often causes people to go down. The going down portion is often more of a reaction of the shootee then actual biomechanical failure.

May 4, 2002, 09:23 PM
00Spy.......good presentation. Thank you.


May 5, 2002, 12:05 AM
2x0, excellent. Small window to hit and the target will be moving and grooving.

If I did have to shoot for the pelvis: 1. must be body armour, 2. it's what I have, 3. it's not going to work, shoot like chest--cause blood loss or, if male, lots of pain [may not work either].

May 7, 2002, 05:45 PM
Just because you aim for COM doesn't mean that's exactly where you'll hit, especially when the bad guy is moving. Aiming dead center gives you a better hit probability if you are off to either side. I'd rather hit anywhere than miss going for an extra-vital target.

May 7, 2002, 06:25 PM
Wingnut has got it tightend down.

Shoot for the big targets. They are a lot easier to hit on a moving target.

Course If you want to be sure you should use incidiary rounds then you get safety and cool visual effects:eek:
Yep that one got him!

May 10, 2002, 09:17 AM
If you shoot ar Mass. he will shoot back! Center or not
(sorry could'nt resist) :D

Roger C
May 10, 2002, 01:33 PM
Absolutely correct. And if you are faced with someone that is armed with a Beretta, you should reach over and flip the dissasembly latch and take off the slide to protect yourself. And a basic move against a revolver is to reach over the top and grab the cylinder so that it can't turn and fire at you. Now that I think of it, instead of trying to shoot the opponent off balance with your .45, you should just shoot his gun out of his hand, that'll show 'em who's the man...