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Old November 8, 2018, 08:01 PM   #1
Bartholomew Roberts
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Little Appreciated Aspects of Shot Placement

I came across a case today where a guy had been robbed/murdered about ten years ago. The killer shot him three times with a .40S&W as the guy sat in his car. The guy instinctively raised his left hand to shield his head and tried to turn away as best be could sitting in the seat. The three shots hit him in the left armpit in a group tight enough it could be covered with just the meat of your palm.

Even though all the shots were fired immediately after the other, each shot had an almost completely different trajectory through the victim. One shot exited straight across on the other side of the right armpit. One shot exited the left breast above the sternum and then reentered on the right breast. One shot travelled almost the length of his torso and exited the hip on the opposite side.

In a different robbery case, the victim fought back and center punched his attacker right in the -0 zone. However, do to the angle as his attacker turned away, the shot penetrated the attacker’s shirt without ever touching the attacker’s skin. The second shot did find its target though.

Shooting on 2D targets, it can be difficult to appreciate how small movements of the target can dramatically change shot trajectories even though you are hitting the surface of the target exactly where you aimed. I think this is one aspect of shooting where hunters have a better appreciation of the problem.

Just one more thing to keep in mind when training for self-defense encounters. This link has some good graphics demonstrating the problem.
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Old November 9, 2018, 06:42 PM   #2
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You’re absolutely right since our targets are really 3 dimensional and not 2D like a piece of cardboard or paper.

I learned this using my rubber dummy as a Target.

Even a “head shot” can just graze the face or forehead and not be successful.

Hitting the body in center of mass is most important. It is where the heart and blood vessels live. The thorax is where the lungs occupy the space.

Though many focus on tight groups, a shot to the left and right thorax can fill the chest cavity with blood.

We as hunters aim for the thorax above the shoulder to penetrate both lungs. Lot harder on a person who is in front of us.

As you can see from many shots, a shot to the head can graze a non vital area. It is best to shoot between the eyebrows and the upper lip to hit what drives the target.

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Old November 10, 2018, 12:25 PM   #3
Glenn E. Meyer
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Great post, Bart.

Dr. James Williams runs a class on 3d issues. I took it - very useful - Shooting with X-Ray Vision – Dr. James Williams

Here's a take on placement by Claude Werner - https://tacticalprofessor.wordpress....r/#more-173472

I've notice the tendency in reports to see folks shot in the leg. I took a class drill that mandated very quick responses against surprise multiple opponents. Using airsoft guns, we are commonly shooting folks about the navel, even though all of us had front sight drilled into us. Got a lot guys with interesting welts at our internal extra food storage belt overlap 'equipment'.
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Old November 11, 2018, 12:13 PM   #4
Tactical Jackalope
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Thank you for sharing this. Much appreciated.

I've seen bullets do some weird crap.

My brother was shot at his left hip and the 9mm or 380 FMJ went around his back and out the other side. He was out of the hospital the same night.
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Old November 13, 2018, 02:25 PM   #5
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I've said a couple of thousand times that aiming for what are believed to be lethal zones is pointless if you don't know where they are. Everyone should learn the basics of human torso anatomy, because a shot to the heart that wasn't aimed at the heart isn't going to do what you hoped it would do. Where is the heart, is it really under your right shoulder, like you learned in sixth grade science? How about the upper reaches of the lungs? Kidneys, liver? Spleen? Arteries? Do you truly know where you should shoot to incapacitate a hoodlum from loss of blood, or damage to the CNS?

If given a silhouette target very few people would be able to chart the important points. Shooting paintballs at a bare chested man, I believe that almost nobody would actually mark those few lethal targets.

Learn your targets, understand where to shoot, then aim directly for that lethal zone, not center of mass. Center mass below the sternum is mostly guts. If you aim about seven to ten inches below the chin you stand a really good chance of a truly disabling shot from either blood loss, lung or heart destruction, spinal damage, or even severe damage to the joints and bones of arm or shoulder.

I know that 3D deer targets have been a common thing for years, many people spend the time to learn where a bullet will go when a shot isn't directly to the side of the body. We often assume that we are going to be presented with either a perfect side shot on a game animal, or a perfect frontal shot on an attacker. Bad assumptions. There is a video from youtube that shows some basics.

I don't believe that shooting for the hip is a remotely good idea, unless the guy is in a speedo the hip joint or bones will be disguised in clothing. A person should aim for the prostate, and hope to break either spine or pelvis.
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Old November 13, 2018, 07:26 PM   #6
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I'm your guy

My profession is dental X-ray. I know the layout of our noggin pretty darn well. A lifetime of medical tech training all the way back to my AF days helps a lot with the rest.
Had a patient years ago who attempted suicide with a 12 gauge in her mouth. She missed. Pretty much a massive hole in her cheek, and a very few pellets in her Mandible and Maxilla. Looked like a bird shot load from the pellet size.

Investigators surmised that she tried to bend over and pull the trigger with her finger. The length of the weapon saved her life as she bent down the barrel was not pointed the same direction.

Sure made a mess of my X-ray machine. Never saw her again. We did not have a good Psych department and refereed her to a larger base.
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Old November 13, 2018, 07:46 PM   #7
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If she had not slept through science class she would have known where her brain was, and your equipment wouldn't have gotten messy.
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Old November 13, 2018, 10:52 PM   #8
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As a hunter using enough gun and proper bullet allows one a measure compensation of last second twitch or movement.

whether this translates to SD with a handgun is a personal decision.

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