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Taking a head shot in self defense

Discussion in 'Carry Issues' started by 3000fps, Mar 10, 2012.

  1. Here is my original thread that I asked Mr. Ayoob in GATE: Self Defense

    If anyone could give me any input that would be greatly appreciated.

    I really didn't want to throw the "what if" type situation out there, but in the particular circumstance I was referring to in my original question, you would be within arms length of the individual, making it easier to hit the smaller target with such a small gun and crude sights.

    Also, provided the same circumstance if you were carrying a BUG or just a small gun in general and were presented with a lethal threat of a firearm, would you put rounds center mass hoping it would be enough to drop him, or try to take out his CNS?

    I would also like to thank Mr. Ayoob again if he is reading this. I really appreciate this website, and all the information and expertise you all provide.

    I have decided not to leave home without my G23 anymore, I don't get worried when I carry that out the door :)
  2. techiej


    Jan 11, 2012
    IMHO if it's self-defense and you are certain of making the headshot I would take it...more likely to stop the attack with 1 shot vs not being able to get off multiple shots at that distance.

  3. xmanhockey7


    Dec 6, 2010
    Food for though:
    My CPL instructor was a LEO. He was involved in a shootout in Texas in the mid 90's. A gist of what happened was he and his partner pulled a car over. Once the guy pulled over he jumped out of his car and being firing at them with a Glock 17. Him and his partner return fire with the 9mm Sigs. My instructors first shot (he believes his first) hits the guy in the forehead skims up across the guys skull and keeps going. So basically the bullet never even penetrated the guys skull.
    Not saying that will always happen just food for thought.
  4. ponders


    Jun 16, 2011
    Minot ND

    ive heard of that b4 as well... kinda hard to believe tho.. not saying anyone involved is lying, but still hard to believe ymmv
  5. Misty02


    Aug 25, 2008
    The smaller the target, the greater risk of missing, more so if that target is moving. What is behind/near your target in those cases?

    Based on what you posted in the GATE; however, I believe the conditions at that very moment were as favorable as you can get to attempt a head shot. The way I understood it, and please correct me if I’m wrong, you were in a sitting position (not the most favorable, but at times we have to work with what we have), the other person was standing close by (not exactly moving around). Had the situation presented itself at that moment, your angle (shooting up) would have yielded the lowest risk of injuring innocent people. If you’re standing, drop a knee low enough to change the angle, if you can.

    I also share Mass’ opinion about the LCP. I can count in one hand the number of times I’ve carried mine in two years, those have been the times when I would have had to go completely unarmed if I didn’t own one. It has its purpose and I’m glad I own it; conversely, I’m not about to extend its use when I need to make a quick trip somewhere and I can just as easily take my G19.

    Don’t take shortcuts! Most vehicle accidents occur while we’re close to our home. It stands also to reason that since we spend more time in areas close to our home, if we were to become the target of a criminal odds are high it will take place in areas we frequent. I’m glad you’re opting for your more efficient pistol for those short/frequent trips.

  6. It is all in the angle of impact. You can skip a stone off of water with ease, at the right angle.
  7. Misty02


    Aug 25, 2008
    Thank you! I was trying to respond to ponders’ comment but was unable to come up with the right analogy. I can’t think of a better one than the one you used! :)

  8. cowboy1964


    Sep 4, 2009
    Considering that the majority of shots fired in self-defense miss unless you're talking 2-3 feet, trying to take an even harder shot is a bad choice, generally.

    If one really feels "outgunned" perhaps one should reexamine their carry choice.
  9. Bolded, exactly!

    Secondly Misty, I started carrying FMJ in my .380 a few weeks ago :whistling: :)
  10. Misty02


    Aug 25, 2008

    :supergrin: Good! Buffalo Bore (flat nose) is also very good. From I’ve been told by those that know a lot more than I, an even better option. FMJ is not a bad choice though, now I have both.

  11. Double tap, 45ACP JHP, center mass, end of story? I don't know for sure and hope never to find out, but, that is where I'm going if TSHTF!
  12. harrygunner


    Sep 4, 2010
    Sometimes we may be attending events that requires more discrete carry. But, generally, we don't have the information beforehand to logically decide to take the smaller gun as we leave the house. In other words, how can we know that a particular quick run to the store is more or less likely to include a need to defend ourselves?

    The solution is to always carry the best gun you can handle.

    Humans can be bad at statistics. We spend a lot of time in our local area and nothing has happened so far, so we decide it's safe. Yet statistically, our local area could have crime rates comparable to areas that show up in the newspaper.

    And crime rates "go out the window" when you are the one having to defend against a deadly threat.

    So, I personally always carry the most powerful round I can handle.

    About head shots, as a non-LEO, I've had the opportunity to train with a LEO department for several years. This department is very strong on officer training. I use my imagination to stress myself as I draw. At ten yards, I can keep all rounds in a four or five inch circle over a two hour session. That includes moving, shooting quickly at stationary targets.

    Can I hit a possibly moving head under stress? Perhaps, but I like the idea of shooting to the body, then to the head if body shots failed to stop.
  13. steveksux

    steveksux Massive Member

    Jul 12, 2007
    Shoot COM and if you miss, you're still likely to be making some hits, ought to slow him down a bit. Aim for head and miss, you're likely to not hit anything at all, and that will have even less effect than hits to non-vital parts of the body near COM.

    I'm assuming people are going to be moving around, consider most folks are lucky to get 25% hits going for COM in very close encounters. So head shot is something I'll save for later. I'd consider hits to the body and transitioning to the head if they don't stop him. I don't think the idea of starting with a head shot is a good strategy.

    Just my opinion, I'm a nobody, never been there, never done that, so don't take my advice.

    I figure in a real situation I'll be lucky to have half the success I do at the range of doing a quick head shot, considering lack of stress and lack of movement at the range.

    Last edited: Mar 10, 2012
  14. Let's hypothetically say he is within arms reach of you. You can practically extend your arm out and be within 1-2 inches of the back of his head, and he has just fired a round into the ceiling demanding money or he's gonna kill the clerk.
  15. Misty02


    Aug 25, 2008
    How easy is it for your barber to mess up if you move your head by leaning forward to scratch your nose? Think of how much information your body is sending him if he is touching you, he can likely even feel/see you tense up right before the movement takes place.

    All your senses are likely to be on overload. Personally, I may still look for an angle where if the situation quickly changes between the decision to pull the trigger and the impact, the possibility to harm others is substantially reduced.

  16. DaneA


    Mar 7, 2011
    After reading your OP in GATE I would suggest you sell your LCP. Or spend a lot of time on the range to build your confidence in that little gun. You obviously have no faith in it doing you any good should the SHTF.

    That said, I wouldn't hesitate to put a round or two into the head of a BG. I practice shots like that at the range regularly. I know range practice and real life are completely different. My typical practice includes rapid fire of 2 COM and 1 to the head @ 21 ft. At just over arms length I would take it in a heart beat. Take out the connection from the brain to the body and the BG ceases activity, it is just that simple.
  17. NEOH212

    NEOH212 Diesel Girl

    Mar 25, 2008
    North East Ohio
    Head shots should be something that are practiced for regularly when at the range.

    It may be the only shot you have, it may be the only shot that will stop the fight. The Perp may be wearing body armor.

    Failsafe drill: Two to the body and one to the head. Repeat as necessary.
    Last edited: Mar 11, 2012
  18. I would feel fine if I hit the center of mass. The head shots would be for special situations that I cannot predict. They are a lot easier is the bad guy stands still, like those paper targets.

    Before I start thinking of a head target, I will go with something with more punch.
  19. AA#5


    Nov 26, 2008
    Certainly possible with just the right angle (as in an officer firing from a crouch position). Skulls are pretty hard & also round. Isn't that how a military helmet works?
  20. xmanhockey7


    Dec 6, 2010
    Oh I'm sure he was certain about the round hitting the guy in the forehead then going up and across the guys skull. I just wonder how he would know it was his round that did it or that it was his first round that did that.