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Thread: Why we shoot to stop the threat?

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    Regular Member Tanner's Avatar
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    Why we shoot to stop the threat?

    "Discussion about why we shoot to stop the threat, as opposed to shooting to kill or shooting to wound, or shooting warning shots - my opinion is that such discussion appears to be needed."


    This is a quote from skidmark. It brought up a good point about something that I thought was pretty cut and dry. If a situation is bad enough to draw your weapon its bad enough to fire. My thought is I wouldent shoot in a manner as to wound or warn....espically warn, but rather shoot to kill. Isent this exactly how police are trained?

    This should go without saying but ill say it just to make sure. I in no way ever want to take a persons life or even hurt someone els for that matter. EVERY option must be explored and attempted to avoid even drawing your weapon much less useing it. Lethal force is and should be the absolute last option and not taken lightly.

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    Shooting to kill could be misconstrued by a determined lawyer as a way of saying you were looking for someone to kill.

    We say "shooting to stop the threat" because once the threat is over, deadly force is no longer warranted. If the threat does not stop until dead, then you have stopped the threat. Death was just the "side effect", if you will.

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    I totally agree with you that *in most, but not all, circumstances,* one should only draw his weapon when he is also justified in pulling the trigger. In any event, you had better be damn ready to pull the trigger, because once you produce a weapon, the other guy is not going to hesitate to use his if he has one.

    As for the question in the thread title, let's just say this. We shoot to stop the threat, because the threat is what endangers our personal safety. It just so happens that shooting the areas of the body most likely to incapacitate the threat, are also those areas most likely to produce a fatal wound. This is an unfortunate, but irrelevant, coincidence.
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    Quote Originally Posted by PistolPackingMomma View Post
    Shooting to kill could be misconstrued by a determined lawyer as a way of saying you were looking for someone to kill.

    We say "shooting to stop the threat" because once the threat is over, deadly force is no longer warranted. If the threat does not stop until dead, then you have stopped the threat. Death was just the "side effect", if you will.
    From what I understand User is a determined lawyer. I wonder what his thouts on this would be..................I SAID I WINDER WHAT HIS THOUGHTS ON THIS WOULD BE <------Joke

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    Regular Member Lincoln7's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by PistolPackingMomma View Post
    Shooting to kill could be misconstrued by a determined lawyer as a way of saying you were looking for someone to kill.

    We say "shooting to stop the threat" because once the threat is over, deadly force is no longer warranted. If the threat does not stop until dead, then you have stopped the threat. Death was just the "side effect", if you will.
    I completely agree with this statement.

    Further, if presenting the firearm stops the threat then the threat is over and the situation should move on. I know the naysayers will yell "brandishing" but if the threat is stopped...

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    Campaign Veteran skidmark's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Tanner View Post
    From what I understand User is a determined lawyer. I wonder what his thouts on this would be..................I SAID I WINDER WHAT HIS THOUGHTS ON THIS WOULD BE <------Joke
    If you take the time to peruse the thread on the Culpeper shooting you will come across User quoting his seminar on deadly force. He addresses the issue of what and how the law looks at producing your firearm when there is no imminent threat of death or serious bodily injury. He also discusses the type of client and shooting situation that he considers would make the "ideal" client to defend in a shooting situation.

    Stop wondering. It's only (at this time) 58 pages to wade through. You can learn how to use the Advanced Search feature, too.

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    With all due respect,

    Quote Originally Posted by Tanner View Post
    "Discussion about why we shoot to stop the threat, as opposed to shooting to kill or shooting to wound, or shooting warning shots - my opinion is that such discussion appears to be needed."


    This is a quote from skidmark. It brought up a good point about something that I thought was pretty cut and dry. If a situation is bad enough to draw your weapon its bad enough to fire. My thought is I wouldent shoot in a manner as to wound or warn....espically warn, but rather shoot to kill. Isent this exactly how police are trained?

    This should go without saying but ill say it just to make sure. I in no way ever want to take a persons life or even hurt someone els for that matter. EVERY option must be explored and attempted to avoid even drawing your weapon much less useing it. Lethal force is and should be the absolute last option and not taken lightly.
    I must disagree Tanner. Police are NOT taught to shoot to kill and that term has not been used for decades. All firearms training IS taught as "shoot to stop". I instructed at the DC police academy way back when (Probably before you were born) in a number of fields including as a range instructor and never did I hear the word kill used.

    Standard marksmanship is taught to shoot at "center mass" as that is the best chance of stopping the threat. Advanced training is taught as 2 to "center mass" and one to the head. SWAT Sniper training is a whole different ball of wax that I will not comment on.

    Yes, if the situation is bad enough to draw your gun, you better be ready to use it. But to stop the aggressor from causing you or another grievous bodily harm.

    A lawyer would eat you alive if you uttered those words in public or when testifying.

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    Accomplished Advocate peter nap's Avatar
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    I can tell you why we shoot to stop rather than kill and it has nothing to do with legal or moral values.

    The idea in shooting something that's big and mean enough to kill you if it can, is to keep him/it from getting to you (Or in the case of an armed man, using his weapon).

    Depending on what shot presents itself, the only guaranteed instant kill shot is a center brain hit, not off to the side, you can blow the frontal lobes out and only irritate some people or creatures.

    A heart or lung shot will only kill after the O2 runs out in the bloodstream.

    Breaking them down is a certain way to stop something. Breaking major bones that almost always send fragments into the rest of the internal organs and stopping them usually results in death anyway. A center shot with an adequate caliber should break the sternum or rib, take out the heart and one lung and hopefully cause enough trauma to the spine to bring him down.....hopefully!

    There's too little hydrostatic shock value in a handgun to depend on that being a factor.

    The other advantage of hitting bone is to expand bullets from handguns and I know I'll hear all about the Green Dragon Zombie bullets everyone uses that will expand in a sheet of Charmin. The tooth Fairy carries them too.

    The old saying "shoot them where they're biggest" comes about because you want to have the greatest probably of a stopping hit, under stress.

    Now suppose the other fellow is wearing body armor. Where do you shoot. Most people say the head but most people in a gun fight couldn't hit someone in the head with a shotgun. That's the same reason you don't shoot to wound.

    That leaves major bone structures and the biggest one is the pelvic region. Break those bones and they're going down and killing them is an easy task from there on....or just walking away.

    So Tanner....you want to STOP the threat from hurting you. If it happens to die in the process, so be it!
    Last edited by peter nap; 06-13-2012 at 07:12 PM.

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    Regular Member Marco's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by peter nap View Post
    STOP the threat from hurting you. If it happens to die in the process, so be it!
    1+

    just to muddy the waters

    Only hits count... shoot what you can hit and hope you get a better target if needed.
    Last edited by Marco; 06-14-2012 at 09:08 AM.
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    Quote Originally Posted by va_tazdad View Post
    I must disagree Tanner. Police are NOT taught to shoot to kill and that term has not been used for decades. All firearms training IS taught as "shoot to stop". I instructed at the DC police academy way back when (Probably before you were born) in a number of fields including as a range instructor and never did I hear the word kill used.

    Standard marksmanship is taught to shoot at "center mass" as that is the best chance of stopping the threat. Advanced training is taught as 2 to "center mass" and one to the head. SWAT Sniper training is a whole different ball of wax that I will not comment on.

    Yes, if the situation is bad enough to draw your gun, you better be ready to use it. But to stop the aggressor from causing you or another grievous bodily harm.

    A lawyer would eat you alive if you uttered those words in public or when testifying.
    Quote Originally Posted by peter nap View Post
    I can tell you why we shoot to stop rather than kill and it has nothing to do with legal or moral values.

    The idea in shooting something that's big and mean enough to kill you if it can, is to keep him/it from getting to you (Or in the case of an armed man, using his weapon).

    Depending on what shot presents itself, the only guaranteed instant kill shot is a center brain hit, not off to the side, you can blow the frontal lobes out and only irritate some people or creatures.

    A heart or lung shot will only kill after the O2 runs out in the bloodstream.

    Breaking them down is a certain way to stop something. Breaking major bones that almost always send fragments into the rest of the internal organs and stopping them usually results in death anyway. A center shot with an adequate caliber should break the sternum or rib, take out the heart and one lung and hopefully cause enough trauma to the spine to bring him down.....hopefully!

    There's too little hydrostatic shock value in a handgun to depend on that being a factor.

    The other advantage of hitting bone is to expand bullets from handguns and I know I'll hear all about the Green Dragon Zombie bullets everyone uses that will expand in a sheet of Charmin. The tooth Fairy carries them too.

    The old saying "shoot them where they're biggest" comes about because you want to have the greatest probably of a stopping hit, under stress.

    Now suppose the other fellow is wearing body armor. Where do you shoot. Most people say the head but most people in a gun fight couldn't hit someone in the head with a shotgun. That's the same reason you don't shoot to wound.

    That leaves major bone structures and the biggest one is the pelvic reason. Break those bones and they're going down and killing them is an easy task from there on.

    So Tanner....you want to STOP the threat from hurting you. If it happens to die in the process, so be it!
    VA Tazdad. I wouldent consider it disagreing with me. I asked or ment to ask if they were trained to kill. Since you actually have first hand experience with training of the sort I would consider my question answered. Thank you.

    Peter since I know a thing or two about my self I have considerd getting lazer grips for my 1911 because like you said in a nut shell "stress is a
    B-Word!" I am a ok shot but if you added the stress of a live situation I coud screw it up

    And to Skidmark. Or Biscuit as I may start calling him. I have seen the Culpeper thread. Please dont make me read it!!!!! When we first met you said there was no treasure chest of knowledge any one could bestow upon me. I disagree the chest even has a website check it out!

    opencarry.org

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    Since you are shooting to stop a threat; then I would say you are shooting to affect a citizens arrest .. so you use reasonable force to accomplish this (and that can include killing someone, even if running away from you in certain circumstances-I recall a murderer running away from a guy performing a citizen's arrest & he shot the guy in the back, killing him -- court said that's OK -- so its very fact & situational dependent).

    Of course this varies by state. Of course if you do shoot someone or discharge or show your gun ... shut the heck up when questioned...wait for your lawyer.
    Last edited by davidmcbeth; 06-13-2012 at 07:31 PM.

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    Regular Member ocholsteroc's Avatar
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    I heard from LEO, and class teachers (LEO) twice center mass. Stop threat.
    How come a DUI you can get your driver licence back, which it is a privilege. But if commiting a felon, even something non violent like stealing, you are denied your constitutional rights for the rest of your life?
    If you don't support the Second Amendment to the Constitution, what other parts of the Constitution do you reject?
    More restrictions on guns? how about restrictions on chainsaws and knives?

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    Quote Originally Posted by Tanner View Post
    From what I understand User is a determined lawyer. I wonder what his thouts on this would be..................I SAID I WINDER WHAT HIS THOUGHTS ON THIS WOULD BE <------Joke
    User is not the only determined lawyer out there. Hope you never end up on the wrong side of a courtroom with a lawyer looking to make a career out of your name.

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    I assume that that would always be the fear.

    "Hey this guy saved himself but because of a technicality I can put him away for the rest of his life. YAY ME"

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    Moderator / Administrator Grapeshot's Avatar
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    Even if you win the "luck of the draw" and effectively "stop" your opponent in a completely "excusable or justified" manner, the expense may be ill afforded. Still it beats the heck out of the alternative.

    Back when I was instructing for a large state agency our early mandate was to shoot to wound. I'd point at my forehead and ask, "What are you if I shoot you here?" Invariably someone would call out "dead."

    Excuse me? Is there an entry wound? Well, yes, but... Then you, sir, are wounded - fatally perhaps, but wounded. Department eventually changed their mandate to shoot to stop. I continued to teach the same way - to live and go home at night.
    Last edited by Grapeshot; 06-13-2012 at 08:06 PM.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Grapeshot View Post
    Even if you win the "luck of the draw" and effectively "stop" your opponent in a completely "excusable or justified" manner, the expense may be ill afforded. Still it beats the heck out of the alternative.

    Back when I was instructing for a large state agency our early mandate was to shoot to wound. I'd point at my forehead and ask, "What are you if I shoot you here?" Invariably someone would call out "dead."

    Excuse me? Is there an entry wound? Well, yes, but... Then you, sir, are wounded - fatally perhaps, but wounded. Department eventually changed their mandate to shoot to stop. I continued to teach the same way - to live and go home at night.
    This is why they pay him the big bucks! Explained perfectly so a dumbie like me can understand it! Thanks grapeshot.

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    When I was working in the tx prison system (TDCJ) we were told to shoot to stop not shoot to kill, why? Because it looked better if you said shoot to stop in court as opposed to shoot to kill


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    Quote Originally Posted by Grapeshot View Post
    Even if you win the "luck of the draw" and effectively "stop" your opponent in a completely "excusable or justified" manner, the expense may be ill afforded. Still it beats the heck out of the alternative.

    Back when I was instructing for a large state agency our early mandate was to shoot to wound. I'd point at my forehead and ask, "What are you if I shoot you here?" Invariably someone would call out "dead."

    Excuse me? Is there an entry wound? Well, yes, but... Then you, sir, are wounded - fatally perhaps, but wounded. Department eventually changed their mandate to shoot to stop. I continued to teach the same way - to live and go home at night.
    Sort of sounds like the method Uncle Sam taught me.
    Present sidearm
    acquire sight-picture center mass
    squeeze evenly until discharge
    Repeat til threat neutralized or slide-lock.
    If slide lock occurs
    drop
    insert
    rotate hand up to slide
    pull
    Go back to step 1 .

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    I don't recognize the term, "shoot to kill" and therefore never use it other than when discussing it. I do, however, recognize the term, "shoot to wound" for wholly different reasons. Like others here, I much prefer the term, "shoot to stop [the threat]". I tend to view the term "shoot to kill" as Hollywood hype or better, Hollywood ignorance. We've all seen this in TV and movies where someone uses this term for whatever reason and it comes across with a measure of onerousness, finality, or extreme... in the sense of drama.

    I much prefer PistolPackingMomma's post of;

    "Shooting to kill could be misconstrued by a determined lawyer as a way of saying you were looking for someone to kill.

    We say "shooting to stop the threat" because once the threat is over, deadly force is no longer warranted. If the threat does not stop until dead, then you have stopped the threat. Death was just the "side effect", if you will."

    But I still don't like the term "shoot to kill". Has nothing to do with sensitivity (Lord knows I am not one to be accused of that), but rather an invented term of something I just don't tend to recognize.
    In the final seconds of your life, just before your killer is about to dispatch you to that great eternal darkness, what would you rather have in your hand? A cell phone or a gun?

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    Moderator / Administrator Grapeshot's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by SouthernBoy View Post
    I don't recognize the term, "shoot to kill" and therefore never use it other than when discussing it. I do, however, recognize the term, "shoot to wound" for wholly different reasons. Like others here, I much prefer the term, "shoot to stop [the threat]". I tend to view the term "shoot to kill" as Hollywood hype or better, Hollywood ignorance. We've all seen this in TV and movies where someone uses this term for whatever reason and it comes across with a measure of onerousness, finality, or extreme... in the sense of drama.

    I much prefer PistolPackingMomma's post of;

    "Shooting to kill could be misconstrued by a determined lawyer as a way of saying you were looking for someone to kill.

    We say "shooting to stop the threat" because once the threat is over, deadly force is no longer warranted. If the threat does not stop until dead, then you have stopped the threat. Death was just the "side effect", if you will."

    But I still don't like the term "shoot to kill". Has nothing to do with sensitivity (Lord knows I am not one to be accused of that), but rather an invented term of something I just don't tend to recognize.
    If wounding kills and killing wounds, and both stop the event, what is the difference? Why perception - how such is viewed/interpreted by others. Be your own best advocate - chose your words carefully.
    You will not rise to the occasion; you will fall back on your level of training. Archilochus, 650 BC

    Old and treacherous will beat young and skilled every time. Yata hey.

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    Regular Member sawah's Avatar
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    In addition, it's prudent to never refer to your firearm as a 'weapon'. It's a tool, a firearm, a handgun.
    A firearm is a tool of convenience, not effectiveness - Clint Smith, Thunder Ranch

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    Personal opinion: people prefer not to think of themselves as having a motivation to take the life of another human being - that's a horrible concept to have to realize, to "make real in the mind". We don't like to think about horrible things, and we don't like to think of ourselves as the sort of folks who do horrible things. But each of us is really capable of anything anyone else has done, given the right motivation and circumstances. But our instinct for self preservation protects us from ideas that do violence to our sense of self, so we like to think we would not have participated in the attempted mass extinction of Jews in Europe in the late 'thirties and 'forties. None of us would equate himself to Vlad the Impaler or Stalin. Well, we may not be psychopathic, but like my Grandmother used to say, "You ain' no better'n me, and if you think y'are, I'll KNOCK YA DOWN!!!" And she was right, I'm no better than anyone else. I think we're all pretty much capable of anything. I've seen a lot of people I'd have otherwise thought were pretty decent folks who raped their children, robbed banks, kidnapped people, etc. - a characteristic of the occupation.

    And, as J.B.Books, played by John Wayne, said in "The Shootist", "It isn't always being fast, or even accurate that counts; it's being willing. I found out early that most men, regardless of cause or need, aren't willing; they blink an eye or draw a breath before they pull the trigger...I won't."

    My notion is that unless you are willing and have a need to kill, you shouldn't even think about the gun, much less make any reference to it or touch it. If you have need to kill, then face that fact squarely, and do your best. If you shoot with a willingness to kill, you will probably be successful in stopping the threat. And if there's no necessity, just calm down and walk away.
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    By the way, nothing I say on this website as "user" should be taken as either advertising for attorney services or legal advice, merely personal opinion. Everyone having a question regarding the application of law to the facts of their situation should seek the advice of an attorney competent in the subject matter of the issues presented and licensed to practice in the relevant state.

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    Regular Member SouthernBoy's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Grapeshot View Post
    If wounding kills and killing wounds, and both stop the event, what is the difference? Why perception - how such is viewed/interpreted by others. Be your own best advocate - chose your words carefully.
    This is something I endeavor to do but like most, am not always successful at it. And in today's world, more is made of verbal "slights" than one might guess.

    My point was simple and I thought well expressed. Hopefully, my intent was understood. If not.... well, what can I say? In the final analysis, what matters is unto one's self.
    In the final seconds of your life, just before your killer is about to dispatch you to that great eternal darkness, what would you rather have in your hand? A cell phone or a gun?

    Si vis pacem, para bellum.

    America First!

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    Moderator / Administrator Grapeshot's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by SouthernBoy View Post
    This is something I endeavor to do but like most, am not always successful at it. And in today's world, more is made of verbal "slights" than one might guess.

    My point was simple and I thought well expressed. Hopefully, my intent was understood. If not.... well, what can I say? In the final analysis, what matters is unto one's self.
    Was not being critical - am in agreement with you.

    Words do matter and yes be true unto one's own self.........at least as far as we can afford to be.
    You will not rise to the occasion; you will fall back on your level of training. Archilochus, 650 BC

    Old and treacherous will beat young and skilled every time. Yata hey.

  25. #25
    Regular Member sawah's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by user View Post
    My notion is that unless you are willing and have a need to kill, you shouldn't even think about the gun, much less make any reference to it or touch it. If you have need to kill, then face that fact squarely, and do your best. If you shoot with a willingness to kill, you will probably be successful in stopping the threat. And if there's no necessity, just calm down and walk away.
    Many, many instances of potential violence and mayhem have been stopped (self-defense) by the potential victim having had a firearm. They did not shoot anyone. The way I look at it is that I have a firearm because I do not want to be killed by a violent predator, nor do I want to be unable to protect my loved ones from the same fate. Is actually firing the gun necessary? Many times it does not, but if there was no gun available there could/would have been a victim. I'm willing to stop a threat. I'm less willing, nor am I convinced that there always needs to be someone killed.
    A firearm is a tool of convenience, not effectiveness - Clint Smith, Thunder Ranch

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