There are some articles going around the internet lately about how many rounds you should carry that documents a case of why one cop now chooses to carry 145 rounds on his person.
The short version of his story is that this cop got into a gunfight and put multiple rounds into the lethal zones of the bad guys body with a .45 caliber handgun… and the guy didn’t go down.
It was only when the cop decided to go for a head shot that he was able to instantly shut off the bad guys ability to function.
However… it took him several magazines to think of this idea under stress.
At frontsight’s shooting school, where I received most of my training in handgun, they teach us to shoot two shots to the ‘heart & lungs’ zone… and that if that does not sufficiently stop the threat, you are supposed to head “North”.
The reason for this could be drugs… but it doesn’t have to even be that complicated.
As David Grossmans findings in his book, On Combat suggests… even on a fatal shot to the heart, if the person hit in the heart was hit during a full breath of air, they could still live for 12 more seconds.
But if you don’t practice doing this under stress, you won’t perform it during a live gunfight.
I found this out while taking a simunitions course… where we shot live ‘non lethal’ rounds called simunitions rounds at ‘actors’ in scenarios designed to prepare us to defend ourselves.
You can read more about that home defense training experience here.
In one of the scenarios, in order to replicate a more realistic scenario where the bad guys on Meth don’t go down when hit in the chest, the actor was told to only go down if hit in the head.
This was designed to test my ability to realize rounds were NOT effective, and go for the head shot while under stress.
How do you think I did?
If you guessed, “not well”… you were right.
Oh sure, the guys chest was peppered, and I’m sure he would have eventually died, but not before he stabbed me to death to in the scenario.
It made me realize that we need to think about training the process of moving to a different target zone into our training… under stress.
The Failure To Stop Drill
To try to work on my ability to quickly switch zones under stress, I am planning on using a drill that involves this target (I’ll post a video later).
The cool thing with this target is that you can change the position of the steel plate that’s behind the paper target.
For instance, you could put it lower then the picture suggests, so that it is over the heart.
That would make a good drill for continuing to fire until you hit the right zone, upon which the target actually falls over.
I really like this idea of shooting til you have visual representation that the bad guy is down, versus just a simulated ‘double-tap’ with no feedback from the target.
But the really cool part is that you can have someone change the target for you so that YOU DON”T KNOW where that steel plate is.
Then the goal is to (under stress of a shot timer) see how fast you can put this guy down with two shots to the chest… where if those shots are not effective, you move up to take a head shot to put the target down.
The target will only respond if hit in the headbox.
Of course the whole key to this working is you not knowing where that steel is, so it requires a buddy to help you out, but it makes sense to me. If we all trained to realize our shots are ineffective and move to more effective zones under stress, situations like the cop’s story I linked to above might have been a LOT shorter.
Failure To Stop Drill #2
One of the first places I heard harping about not building the habit of just shooting 2 to the chest is VikingTactics.com
And what they teach is that shots to the hips are also a good way to put someone down.
So check out this drill for building the muscle memory of moving between target zones quickly:
If I’ve learned one thing through training from world class instructors, it is that your performance goes WAY down when something goes wrong in a simulated attack. But that through training you can train yourself to instinctively adjust.
So get out there and keep working on your ability to adjust on the fly… who knows, it just might save your life.