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Thread: Liability of the head shot

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    Regular Member Nevada carrier's Avatar
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    Liability of the head shot

    What are the potential repercussions of a head shot on the first round fired in self defense (other than a dead bad guy)? I'm not in any way advocating this, but sometimes in high pressure situations, **** happens. You draw and fire quickly and your first round hits your attacker in the head killing him. Would you be more likely to face prosecution than you otherwise would in a self defense shooting?

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    Regular Member VetteFreakC5's Avatar
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    if it happens it happens. personally i never aim for a headshot- the chest is a far bigger target and has a greater margin of error.

    with the changes your body goes thru in a situation like a home invasion, aiming for a headshot will most likely lead to nothing but a hole in your wall
    "American parachutists -- devils in baggy pants, are less than 100m from my outpost line. I can't sleep at night; they pop up from nowhere and we never know when, or how, they will strike next. Seems like the black hearted devils are everywhere...." Found in the diary of a German Officer who opposed the 504 PIR on the Anzio beachhead in WWII

  3. #3
    McX
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    i go with; 2 to the chest, evaluate for effect, then one to the head.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jmKR6evZRQQ
    Last edited by McX; 02-13-2011 at 08:42 AM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by VetteFreakC5 View Post
    if it happens it happens. personally i never aim for a headshot- the chest is a far bigger target and has a greater margin of error.

    with the changes your body goes thru in a situation like a home invasion, aiming for a headshot will most likely lead to nothing but a hole in your wall
    I don't think the OP is talking about aimed fire at the head, rather than aimed fire at the person, resulting in a headshot.

    I personally don't think it would matter in court, unless there was some evidence it was execution style and the BG had surrendered. Obviously, at that point you become the BG.

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    Regular Member Nevada carrier's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by epilogue View Post
    I don't think the OP is talking about aimed fire at the head.

    exactly right. it's impossible to train under real life and death conditions so when truly in a life and death situation, you act under a whole different set of circumstances. Also almost as certain is that the scenario you actually encounter will be unlike anything you ever predicted. So lets say I draw and fire and my first shot errantly hit the person in the head; is it likely that a prosecutor or civil attorney will attempt to claim that my use of force was excessive, on the grounds that I did not first attempt to inflict a potentially survivable wound as a first course of action?

    One scenario I can envision is that in the time you make the conscious decision to fire, the perpetrator my suddenly duck causing a shot aimed at center mass to land in the head. remember real life is not like the range where you mostly stand still and shoot at stationary targets. people are moving, your running for cover, adrenalin is dumping into your blood streem. things happen that you never thought could happen.
    Last edited by Nevada carrier; 02-13-2011 at 09:08 AM.

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    Regular Member SouthernBoy's Avatar
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    I can't speak for other states but in my state (Virginia), the issue is not going to be where you hit the BG, what type of ammunition or gun you used, or what trigger modifications you made on the gun. The issue is going to be whether or not your actions were excusable under the instant circumstances at hand; i.e., was it a good shoot? Did you perceive yourself to be in imminent danger of serious bodily harm?
    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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    Regular Member Uber_Olafsun's Avatar
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    They are liable to go down if you hit and you are more liable to miss the smaller target.

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    "it's impossible to train under real life and death conditions so when truly in a life and death situation, you act under a whole different set of circumstances"

    usually,wrong. you fight like you train-if you train at all. and if you train for the kill-shots-be it center-mass and/or headshots,when the time comes, you are going to attempt to do so. most of the time.


    That said, I think it will depend on many factors of the overall incident-if it even comes up as an issue at all. Also, dont count on a headshot always equalling a dead bad-guy.
    As often as not, headshots dont penetrate the skull,or the brain behind it. A lot of damage is often done, but death is not always guaranteed. You could still end up with a living bad-guy,but one with any number of permanent injuries.

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    State Researcher dng's Avatar
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    The simple answer is don't pull your gun unless you're prepared to use it. Shoot to stop the threat, and if the bad guy dies, then maybe people should make better career choices. It doesn't matter where you shoot someone in a defensive situation. You're not going to be able to trick shoot a weapon out of the bad guys hand. I train with 2 in the chest 1 to the head.
    Last edited by dng; 02-13-2011 at 08:01 PM.

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    I was taught that when forced to defend myself or someone in my presence against an attacker (with appearant lethal intent by the BG) to shoot "center of PRESENTED mass" to stop the attack.
    Now, IF I can make a strong reasonable argument that the center of presented mass presented to me was the head then that is the shot I will take--- not to kill, but to stop the attack.
    Last edited by JoeSparky; 02-13-2011 at 11:19 PM.

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    Regular Member Deanimator's Avatar
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    In Ohio, if it's a good shoot, it doesn't matter WHERE you shoot him.

    Just don't fall into the "I shot him in the leg and didn't want to kill him" trap. You shoot to STOP, and if the person isn't dangerous enough to shoot center of mass (or in the head), they aren't dangerous enough to shoot AT ALL.

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    There is a reason it is called deadly force and not "slightly wounding" or "maiming force".

    In Oklahoma if you feel you the need to draw your firearm for defensive purposes, any shot to stop the threat is a good one. Also taught to shoot until the threat is neutralized. Not shoot once and see how they feel, repeat.

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    also remember that there are many documented cases of LEO's in shootings thinking that they only fired 2-5 rounds in the heat of battle when actually they fired their weapons to slide lock and didn't even remember firing that many shots.

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    Regular Member Gunslinger's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Nevada carrier View Post
    What are the potential repercussions of a head shot on the first round fired in self defense (other than a dead bad guy)? I'm not in any way advocating this, but sometimes in high pressure situations, **** happens. You draw and fire quickly and your first round hits your attacker in the head killing him. Would you be more likely to face prosecution than you otherwise would in a self defense shooting?
    Why? You have no legal duty to shoot a certain part of the body when you are in imminent fear of death or grievous bodily injury. Two to the body and one to the head will stop the threat. So one to the head is actually less than commonly accepted self defense practice dictates.

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    Quote Originally Posted by hrdware View Post
    There is a reason it is called deadly force and not "slightly wounding" or "maiming force".

    In Oklahoma if you feel you the need to draw your firearm for defensive purposes, any shot to stop the threat is a good one. Also taught to shoot until the threat is neutralized. Not shoot once and see how they feel, repeat.
    What about "grazing force"? Do ya think it will stop the BG and scare him away?

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    Quote Originally Posted by Nevada carrier View Post
    What are the potential repercussions of a head shot on the first round fired in self defense (other than a dead bad guy)? I'm not in any way advocating this, but sometimes in high pressure situations, **** happens. You draw and fire quickly and your first round hits your attacker in the head killing him. Would you be more likely to face prosecution than you otherwise would in a self defense shooting?
    I have always been trained to fire 2-4 rounds into the chest cavity and an immediate follow up shot to the head of the attacker.The Mozambique Drill, also known as the Failure to Stop Drill, or Failure Drill, is a close-quarter shooting technique in which the shooter fires two or more into the torso of a target momentarily assesses the hits, then follows them up with a swiftly, carefully aimed shot to the head of the target. The third shot should be aimed to destroy the brain or brain stem, killing the target and preventing the target from retaliating. It is used by law enforcement as a backup drill just in case their first shots have little to no effect. Now as for the failure drill you can aim for the pelvis or the head. If you hit them in the pelvis they WILL drop to the ground no matter what drug they are on or how hardcore they think they are. Yet I have been trained to do this as part of my first set of shots to immediately remove that person from the equation. The thing that has to be understood is that handgun ammunition has insufficient ballistics, even with many large calibers, to cause instant incapacitation unless your shots inflict damage to the nervous system of the target. A shot to the heart, for instance, still allows 10-15 seconds of consciousness, which is plenty of time for the target to retaliate against you until he falls dead.

    The Mozambique Drill was devised specifically for this reason.


    If you practice it can be quite quick and is VERY EFFECTIVE.
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZuQKr2AkKDU&NR=1
    Last edited by zack991; 02-15-2011 at 04:15 PM.
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    Regular Member VetteFreakC5's Avatar
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    If my first 2 do not do the job, the next round IS going to the pelvis. Shatter the pelvis and they WILL go down and not get back up.
    "American parachutists -- devils in baggy pants, are less than 100m from my outpost line. I can't sleep at night; they pop up from nowhere and we never know when, or how, they will strike next. Seems like the black hearted devils are everywhere...." Found in the diary of a German Officer who opposed the 504 PIR on the Anzio beachhead in WWII

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    Missed a step in the Mozambique Drill

    Zack991...

    Assess the threat. If worthy 2 rounds to the center mass (chest). Reassess. IF needed, one round to the head. Reassess.

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    Quote Originally Posted by p.publius View Post
    Zack991...

    Assess the threat. If worthy 2 rounds to the center mass (chest). Reassess. IF needed, one round to the head. Reassess.
    I know, I personally treat all threats the same with out the pause. I aim for with 2-4 rounds to the chest and then immediately put one in the head or pelvis without the reassess. MY goal is to put you down in the first few seconds and not chance it that you may or may not stay down. I have always been trained to shoot to immediately incapacitate the target in the first few seconds because it may be the only upper hand you may get in a firefight. Every split second counts, it only takes one to get you killed.
    Last edited by zack991; 02-15-2011 at 04:17 PM.
    -I come in peace, I didn't bring artillery. But I am pleading with you with tears in my eyes: If you screw with me, I'll kill you all.
    -Be polite, be professional, but have a plan to kill everybody you meet.
    Marine General James Mattis,

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    Campaign Veteran marshaul's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by zack991 View Post
    I know, I personally treat all threats the same with out the pause. I aim for with 2-4 rounds to the chest and then immediately put one in the head or pelvis without the reassess. MY goal is to put you down in the first few seconds and not chance it that you may or may not stay down. I have always been trained to shoot to immediately incapacitate the target in the first few seconds because it may be the only upper hand you may get in a firefight. Every split second counts, it only takes one to get you killed.
    "Reassess" isn't designed to to be a multi-second process, and you should do it, because one should be constantly reassessing any rapidly occurring situation.

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    When you use a firearm, it is deadly force whether you aim for center mass, the head, or the left pinky. If deadly force can be justified, take aim for whatever body part you believe will be the most effective at stopping the perp when shot at. I don't recommend selecting the left pinky.

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    Regular Member OldCurlyWolf's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by eye95 View Post
    When you use a firearm, it is deadly force whether you aim for center mass, the head, or the left pinky. If deadly force can be justified, take aim for whatever body part you believe will be the most effective at stopping the perp when shot at. I don't recommend selecting the left pinky.
    I won't be wronged, I won't be insulted, and I won't be laid a hand on. I don't do those things to other people and I require the same of them.

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