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Old January 31, 2006, 03:18 PM   #1
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Shooting someone from behind with .38 (or similar) caliber gun.

Okay, this is a little more realistic senario than my earlier snubby vs. ar15 thread which turned comedy .

Suppose someone with a superior weapon (say a shotgun or a semi auto rifle) walks into a restraunt and starts shooting up the place. You are seated in an area of the restraunt that puts you at his back (say 10-15 yards away). You pull your .38 (snub or full service) or 9mm handgun....or heck, just say any caliber handgun from .32-45. You may have only one shot...maybe two before he can recover, pinpoint where he was shot from and turn at you in which case, depending on his condition, gives him the upper hand with him with a superior weapon. WHERE DO YOU SHOOT FIRST?

My first thought would be to do a JFK and take a chunk of the back of his head off. But then, the head is a smaller target and it moves. So that leaves the center mass of his back or maybe one of his side ribcages depending on his stance.

Now, here is the validity here: This happened to then officer Ray Martinez of the Austin city police back in 1966 when he worked his way up the tower with an armed civilian (As a side note: he spoke VERY highly of citizens with guns, the way they handled themselves and gave some of the most important support in ending and minimizing the sniper threat all over that chapter of his book ) and took out the sniper. According to his book, his first shot was with his police issue .38 special (looked like a S&W M10 from the photo of him, but hard to tell as it was holstered) to the guys back left side. Said the first bullet hit the sniper somewhere in the left side, the guy sprung up and turned, Martinez, the citizen and (I think) another officer finished him off unloading his .38 special and a shotgun shell before the guy finally started to go down. (think the guy had a brain tumor or was a schitzo or something that altered his perception of reality...evidently also the reality of dying)

Where to place a bullet to have the most damage and most shocking effect to stop the villian? First shot most important? Where do you shoot him? What vital organ are you aiming for?
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Old January 31, 2006, 03:35 PM   #2
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With a snub, I'd go for the headshot just because I am not able to pull off rapid groups with a revolver and I don't feel as confident with a .38 as I do with a 9mm <.

Now if I had my Sig 357 or .40, all hell would break lose
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Old January 31, 2006, 03:40 PM   #3
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Why only one shot...I'd keep shooting until he drops...ohhh but I'll play along...One shot close range, back of the head. Not too close, Shoot him in the back mid back below the shoulder blades (which will seriously screw up penetration if you hit those thick bones) , because it would be an easier shot and you might hit something important, like his spine or his vitals, sort of like a backward COM shot.

P.S. Doug I read the other closed thread and you made me laugh. I was going thru some old boxes I had and found 3 chinese stars, from my teenage years. I think I'm selling my handgun....I got something better now...
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Old January 31, 2006, 04:00 PM   #4
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base of skull

shooting for medullary area of brain.

but i'd have to be a really good shot, because i don't think it has a cross section bigger than the business end of a teaspoon.

this is my best guess, figuring that if i hit it he's neurologically out of business.

second choice would be an inch to his left of center and about six inches below the neck. that would be aiming for the heart, a bigger target. i'm not sure how much operating time he'd have left, though, with that shot.

unluckily, i think the aorta is just in front of the spine along the spine's entire length, so you don't have that as a target like you do from the front.

on rethinking...maybe the back of a knee, particularly with a bigger round.
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Old January 31, 2006, 04:27 PM   #5
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O.K. Ill play...
This might sound totally crazy, keep in mind Im no seal or ninja Im just thinkin out loud, maybe given the element of suprise we have in your senario, it would be worth consideration to close with the BG and put two in his head from contact distance. This way you dont give away your position until too late for the BG. Also from hugging distance he has to get the muzzel into you to shoot, maybe you could stop that swing if he started while you were moving.

Now in the "real" probably just crap my pants and try to get the hell behing something solid and pray

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Old January 31, 2006, 04:41 PM   #6
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My two cents

Seeing as how you'd probably be on the ground or behind good cover or concealment,I'd pick the back of the leg,hamstring area.This would tear or pop the muscle striations causig him to drop in great pain.This would give me time and ability to advance to him for the old reliable,two to the chest-one to the skull CQB.
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Old January 31, 2006, 04:47 PM   #7
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Shooting somebody in the head and calling it a JFK probably sounds cool and all, but the nomenclature goes with the person performing the action, not the victim. So it would be Badge Man, Grassy Knoll Man, Storm Drain Man, or Oswald, not JFK.

Doug, do you have xray glasses while doing this? Otherwise, how do you "aim for" that which you can't see? All you can do is to aim at a location on the exterior, ideally by a definitive landmark, and hope your round continues with the same trejectory on entering the body and if you are fortunate, it will hit the intended internal structure, but that is haphazard.

invention_45, you are shooting at the medullary portion of the brain because a bullet in any other part of the brain isn't going to do enough damage or what? Given that skull shots don't always penetrate, you may be fortunate to just hit the brain in general if the round penetrates properly

The aorta does not run the entire length of the spine. In fact, you won't find it in the cervical vertebrae, sacral, or caudal.
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Old January 31, 2006, 04:52 PM   #8
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I'll play too.

1. The guy doesn't see you.
2. You need to get rounds into him.
3. Best way to do that is COM. Many folks teach that you put the first rounds into the center of the biggest thing you see.
4. Thus, I put two in the center of his back.
5. Then I shoot two at his head.
6. I still have 12 more rounds. I just keep firing into him.

If he is going to turn, he will be turned under constant fire. The Tower story makes no sense. Your time between shots is much less than the time for evaluation of being shot and turning. It might be an example of reconstructive memory.

In an FOF, I was charged by a guy with a bat, with my J frame - I fired 3 shots as he charged. Two hand hits and one great COM. Whoopee for me. Then I was shot in the back by his girlfriend (which Mr. Idiot here ignored as she was a girl - sigh). I whirled and shot her. However, she said and I believe she could have shot me five times before I turned. She didn't as two made the training point and I'm a funny guy. I clearly felt the two shots before I started to turn. I easily could have felt 5 before completing the turn.

The two Sims rounds at contact distance sting even through a sweat shirt.

There is no substitute for quality FOF for the civilian who is serious. It is expensive and thanks that I got department funding for the endeavour. However, it blows away a good deal of the internet scenario chatter. Things happen fast, you have to move and shoot.
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Old January 31, 2006, 04:53 PM   #9
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Base of the neck in between the shoulder blades. Then i would hand the gun to my buddy i'm with so if the shooter turns around to see who shot him i could point to my buddy.
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Old January 31, 2006, 05:47 PM   #10
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Triple tap to the posterior.
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Old January 31, 2006, 06:00 PM   #11
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my 4 half pennies

Crouch and shoot upwards into the back of neck where the shoulders meet the neck. 2 reasons upwards angle gives you a exit wound around the base of the jaw or throat, possibly brain stem (medulla area). The exiting round will also be on a trajectory that isnt horizontal, thus less chance of hitting a innocent on the far side of the target.
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Old January 31, 2006, 06:03 PM   #12
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good question for fun. well if he is like the guys who robbed the bank in L.A. in the early 90's, then your screwed unless you get ahead shot, but if its some guy with light armor, or no armor, and i had my GLOCK 26 with 12 round mags, i would just aim for the upper area of his back, and empty the clip, or keep firing till he drops. and then grap his ar15, open the top and steal the full auto sear!!!!!!!
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Old January 31, 2006, 06:07 PM   #13
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If you are behind the gunman within 20-50 feet, I would believe you are at a great advantage. Two shots at COM will continue that advantage if you hit him. Even a snubbie will knock the wind out of him for a moment or two. 3 or 4 more available with a snubbie or 38 more with what I carry (Sig 229 with 2 reloads).

Given the choice, I would always like to start out a gunfight with these odds (being behind the BG and within lethal range). Make the first rounds count and the fight will be over sooner than the BG expected. Forget headshots. COM until down. If you happen to miss COM and get a CNS instead, then the luck was on your side. You get to go home at the end of the day. CNS shots are too low percentage, unless you have a scoped rifle, and the BG may draw the lucky card that day.
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Old January 31, 2006, 06:14 PM   #14
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Glenn got it right; shoot for the center of the biggest piece of meat available. Try the following:

Make a fist. You now have an object smaller (but just slightly) than the human brain. Stretch out your arm and move the fist up and down, side to side. The sad truth is that most people can't hit that small of a moving target any closer than execution distance. Mix in the chemical cocktail the body produces in the real world, away from a keyboard, and it becomes much harder. While "head shots" do stop fights, actually hitting it is much harder than many folks seem to realize.

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Old January 31, 2006, 06:28 PM   #15
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Old January 31, 2006, 07:07 PM   #16
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I don't have the confidence to go for a head shot on a moving target. I'd go for center of mass, try to keep it low and go for a gut shot so I don't have ribs and shoulder blades to deal with, and hope for a spinal shot in the process.
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Old January 31, 2006, 07:46 PM   #17
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it would be worth consideration to close with the BG and put two in his head from contact distance.
This is what I though when I read the thread as well. Close quickly and put the first shot in the head, after that or if anything goes wrong empty your weapon center mass. He might turn and get you anyhow, but at least he most likely will not get anyone else.
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Old January 31, 2006, 09:15 PM   #18
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Engage the torches if you all want to, . . . but I gotta believe if you spent more time on the range and less time on the keyboard or the couch, . . . you would not be afraid to take that head shot.

Just for the record, . . . the human heart is just a bit bigger than a fist, . . . but the brain is substantially bigger, . . . especially when you take into account that any shot that registers center line between the brain and body, . . . will effectively end the fight right then and right there.

Eyes, . . . throat, . . . and of course brain, . . . any of these that takes a full 230 grain FMJ out of a .45, it will hurt, bleed, impair action and eventually take down the assailant. The key is popping that melon in the center if at all possible. Make believe the head is a small punkin, . . . and pop it dead center, . . . repeat, repeat, repeat, etc.

He's going down, . . . or you are one super poor shot and missed em all.

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Old January 31, 2006, 10:00 PM   #19
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This scenario requires more information.

Does it appear he is wearing body armour? Is there an escape route? Is cover available? For me, it may also depend on the day. I carry different weapons depending on how I must dress. On a normal workday I am carrying a 5-shot .38 snubbie, one reload in a strip. Other days I have a .45 commander and an extra mag. Even with an advantage like you describe, I may decide that if there wasn't a loved one in the line of fire, and there was an escape route, I would probably just take it and get on the horn to 911.
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Old January 31, 2006, 11:21 PM   #20
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I guess it depends - on my perception at the time. I had trained and trained for center mass as an armed civilian and as a cop. Of course I had practiced a few head shots too over the years. One day I was taking part in a tactical pistol class where we were walked backwards to the line where different silouette targets had been hung, and told to engage only the ones with camo when we turned around. Well the camo guys were holding hostages, and in that instant for some reason their heads just seemed huge. One shot each right in the middle just seemed the way to go. Instructors were surprised at why I took the head shots, but wouldn't argue with the results.

Obviously MUCH more stress in this scenario, so who knows, but I think it will depend on where my attention gets focused at that instant. If he is back to me, carrying an AR - i will probably be locked more into that...just don't know - (which may be the worst answer!)...i DO know he will get more then one shot, where ever it is. Hmmm....
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Old January 31, 2006, 11:25 PM   #21
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Maybe I'm wrong, but...

OK, I'm no tactician, and I do think I'd go for center mass, and if real close maybe the head, but I have a question for those more knowledgeable than me. I used to pop squirrels running up trees and across branches etc with a BB gun offhand as a kid. Distance? I don't know, maybe thirty feet tops. Shouldn't I be able to hit a guy in the head even if he's moving? I see posts all the time about how hard it is to hit the head, and I believe it. But is it really that hard?
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Old January 31, 2006, 11:32 PM   #22
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Front rear or side shot, center mass is the preferred target

Like you said you may have only one shot.
It would be better to hit the easier target than to miss the smaller target
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Old February 1, 2006, 12:29 AM   #23
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Haven't BTDT but it seems to me the guy with a long gun has to make a one eighty and find you somewhat concealed before lighting you up.

In that time ( at the range anyway) should be time for 3 DAO COM -- head shot if you feel strong.

But that dadburn Murphy guy is around somewhere or you would not be in the scrape to begin with.
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Old February 1, 2006, 12:47 AM   #24
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I see posts all the time about how hard it is to hit the head, and I believe it. But is it really that hard?
Don't get me wrong; hitting a squirrel on the run at 30 feet is still some pretty fancy shootin', but a squirrel's path is fairly predictable, and you can anticipate and lead it. You have to luxury of time and your pulse isn't 120+.

If you find yourself in the position that a head shot is necessary, the situation has gone from grim to desperate.

Say you've done a double tap to COM and you hear the unmistakable "thwap thwap" of bullets hitting a vest, you have very little time to switch tactics, line up for a head shot, and fire.

The head can bob in different directions, and if you combine that with body movement, plus adrenalin flow and the need for speed, you end up with one very difficult target.
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Old February 1, 2006, 01:31 AM   #25
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here's my issue...he's in a many people around? If nobody, then take the shot. If its crowded, you better think before you try anything. Thats just me though.
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