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Self Defense: Always shoot to kill or no?

Discussion in 'Firearms' started by gonzo, Jun 15, 2010.



  1. gonzo

    gonzo Gold Member Gold Chaser

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    Ok this is something that everyone should discuss at some time or another.


    Is there EVER a situation where you would shoot to wound or disable rather than shoot to kill.

    Say your life is being seriously threatened by a person coming at you with a knife and you are armed with a clear shot that will put an end to him coming at you, he has no firearm just a big knife that he is clearly intent on sinking in to you.

    How would you feel about shooting him in the leg or foot or something just to disable him rather than kill him, I dont think anyone wants to live with the fact that they killed a person so is there ever a time that you would be ok with shooting to disable or wound rather than shooting to kill?

    The downside to this and it has happened many times, you shoot to wound, guy ends up losing his leg and he sues you for damages, even though he was in your house robbing you or whatever, you cost him his leg and a jury may award him damages for that, shooting to kill, you avoid such problems, obviously.

    The rule of thumb and what we were taught in the Marines was, when you pull a weapon you ALWAYS shoot to kill no matter what.

    But again, is there any situation where any of you would feel better shooting to wound or disable rather than kill a man?


    Discuss...
     
    Last edited: Jun 15, 2010
  2. C&L 1911

    C&L 1911 Seeker Seeker

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    If you only shot to wound, it could be argued that you weren't in grave danger and/or in fear for your life, but just trying to "slow down" or "discourage" your attacker. Which means you had no legal right to use deadly force in the first place. If you're ever in a situation where you are in fear for your life, you use lethal force to neutralize the thread as quickly and effectively as possible, without taking any chances. Also, like you said, having only one side of the story in the court will probably play in your favor.

    Another thing to consider is that your adrenalin will be through the roof, and it will be extremely hard to hit what you're aiming at (heck, you may not be able to aim at all, so it will most likely be "point-and-shoot" scenario), so shooting someone in the leg while they are trying to kill you will not be an easy task to accomplish. You also increase your chances of hitting an innocent by-stander if you miss that leg. I'd rather be put on trial for killing my attacker than an innocent by-stander behind him.
     
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  3. gonzo

    gonzo Gold Member Gold Chaser

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    These are good points and certainly argues in favor of shooting to kill as opposed to just shooting to disable.

    Looking forward to more comments on this...
     
  4. Cassius

    Cassius Seeker Seeker

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    You shoot to STOP the threat. That is what you do and that is what you say you did when the po-po arrive. Any other language can get you in hot water later -- the words "shoot to kill" ever come out of your mouth and they can make it look very bad for you like you were itching to kill something. "I was afraid for my life and I shot to stop the threat."

    As far as actual tactics, double- or triple-tap center mass is a good plan (and practice it!). In reality if you haven't been in a life-or-death situation you probably won't remember any such tactical plans, you shoot center mass until the target hits the ground and you're good.
     
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  5. gonzo

    gonzo Gold Member Gold Chaser

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    This is a very good point and exactly as I have been taught as far as language goes it is always, as you say, " I shot to stop the threat sir." And that is all you say.

    Well worth repeating...
     
  6. Mantokir

    Mantokir Silver Member Silver Miner

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    Something else to think about.

    I myself have never been shot, but talking to guys who have. They say it feels like you got punched, the pain comes after the firefight. How many people you know that can take a punch and keep on coming?
     
  7. gonzo

    gonzo Gold Member Gold Chaser

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    Yea thats true, you definitely need to make sure your first shot lays the threat on its ass one way or another, I think a center mass strategy makes the most sense and is what one should practice because as has been mentioned you wont be calm and cool in such a situation unless your very seasoned and unlike most people so simply getting off any shot and hitting your target would be considered fortunate.
     
  8. NOOB

    NOOB Seeker Seeker

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    When you can shoot a running man in the foot that is out to sink a butcher knife into you let me know. I think you would be aiming center mass and hoping for the best.

    If you think you can call your shots in that situation you been watching too much tv.
     
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  9. Goldies

    Goldies Banned

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    Gonzo,

    You should watch the videos of real life confrontations.

     
    Last edited by a moderator: Dec 26, 2015
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  10. Lore

    Lore Gold Member Gold Chaser

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    Your choice depends on nature of threat, your defensive capability, training, environment, time to prepare, orders you have been given, other variables.

    Example: "a big knife that he is clearly intent on sinking in to you." How is the intent clear? What have you been told and what are you assuming about the person approaching you? Are you certain it's a knife? Is the purpose just to scare you?

    With some guns and bullets it's practically impossible just to wound. Shoot for the center of mass and it's in all likelihood a kill shot. If you are trained in self-defense, why not try to disarm the guy?

    Are you thinking of a specific situation?
     
  11. Shortstack

    Shortstack Bain of the Authoritarian Follower Gold Chaser

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    when I saw that video for the first time, I initially thought "geeze, for an ex prize fighter, that is a pathetic display of striking/punching". He used no combinations, shit, I did not even see him throw a jab. When they got close, I did not see the "boxer" throw a haymaker right, or worse yet, no uppercuts or body blows. It's as if the big guy was never even a boxer. Good thing he was not a mid or light weight, combos would have been raining down on that cop from the first seconds. Oh, and you let a 140 pound ex boxer land a few combinations on you, and you are going to feel it, maybe even get knocked out.

    Anyone who has ever been in a real fight, and 12 person bar room brawls count here, knows two things. You can take alot more punisment that you think, and so can your opponent (that is, until you take the person down to the ground, and start bashing his head on the floor)

    when watching again, I started to think that perhaps the cop was very tough, and the big guy was a loosy goosey big old marshmellow, who was almost toying with the cop. Maybe the big guy was overconfident, thinking that eventually, he would beat the cop to death, so why not take his time and enjoy it? But where the hell were those combos and body blows? Anyways, to my rule of thumbs, here they are. Your offense will not cause the damage you assume it will (ask the cop who shot the "boxer" at point blank range), but your defence (and endurance) will surprise the shyte out of you. I am sure the "boxer" was surprised when, after being shot, he could still "fight" (again, a boxer would not consider the big guys actions "fighting")

    To the question at hand. If it's an animal, shoot to kill. You don't want to be trying to place shots on a rabid dog. I live three miles from the "monkey house", which was in Stamford CT, next town over. A 140 pound monkey went bezerk, ripped a lady apart, as in took the flesh right off her face and hands. The Monkey ripped her eyes out too. Cop pulls up to the house, sees a 10 foot circle on the grass of blood and flesh, with the woman lying in the middle of it. A real live horror show. The bloody and crazy mokey runs out from around the corner (from the back yard) and charges the cop. Did I mention that the animal was covered head to toe with blood? Cop was, at that point, about to get back into the car to call for medical help when he saw the monkey come around the corner of the house, from the back yard. This was a big, 2 million dollar house BTW. He got scared and got back in the car, while the animal covered the 25 feet and jumped over the roof of the car (passenger side to drivers side, not back to front) and landed right besides the (now closed) driver side door. Too bad the drivers side window was rolled down. So the animal starts to climb in. Cop shoots the animal 6 times center mass with a 9 milli. Animal "backs off", runs away, going around back somewhere. They find the dead animal later on, in his cage. The thing ran back to his cage to die, right next to his stuffed animals and toys.

    Any animal, and I empty my S&W model 27 done. A person, I would like to think I could place a shot in the leg and then see what happens. That for someone who is at a distance who is charging me with a knife or bat. Otherwise, if they keep coming, shoot to "stop" them. Your first shot is allways the most accurate, so maybe they would go down after the first shot. It would suck if you empty your pistol into someone charging you with closed fists. I don't think the jury would take into account that an unarmed man should not be running at someone with a loaded weapon. The jury will think, why shoot an unarmed man? Once the "poor" unarmed man was shot once, the unarmed man "must" have thought that he had to get to the gun and "disarm" the evil shooter... After the shooter was "disarmed", the unarmed man would only be punching, right Mr. foreman - can all 12 of us agree on this?" The boxer in the video proves otherwise. He probably thought "hey look, there is the cops gun. If he won't use it, let me use it". Good thing it was jammed. If the cop had a S&W model 27 (which was the standard issue cop gun for many years) the pistol would not have jammed after the first shot.
     
    Last edited: Jun 16, 2010
  12. Goldies

    Goldies Banned

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    A handgun is useless in 3 feet confrontations. The boxer pistol whipped him with his own gun. I wanted to know what happened to him the video stops. I'm guessing they killed him.

    In real life its hard to box up a guy that is moving backwards on the defensive. It almost turned into a UFC thing. Its lucky for him his gun jammed.

    Here is another video, this one is the same thing but this guy died. Its very graphic.



    The black guy was a dummy. I'm guessing he attacked because he got too close. Never get within 10 feet.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Dec 26, 2015
  13. argentos

    argentos Former Boat Owner Gold Chaser

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    Who was in the Plodmobile zooming and panning the videocamera and why did they not do something? Even to yell at the "prizefighter" might have disrtracted him.
     
  14. Goldies

    Goldies Banned

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    I don't know. Short stack was also wondering why the Boxer was throwing weak combos, thats probably because the cop used pepper spray on his eyes. That was a good move. But also makes someone more angrier. I'm wondering why the boxer started fighting, but we will never know. Maybe he didn't like getting frisked and having his face put on the hot hood. Could be a bad memory from jail.

    It was easy to tie up the Boxer arms. I would have pulled out billy club like TJ hooker and broke his wrists. That is better than a gun.

     
    Last edited by a moderator: Dec 26, 2015
  15. Goldies

    Goldies Banned

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    Always hit to bust bones.
    Baton is like cold steel.



    TJ hooker was good with this. I think this cop who stopped the Boxer traded it for pepper spray. Dummy!

    If the cop was trained to beat!!!! no need to kill. Just maim.

    They went overboard with Rodney.

    Here is even better Tonfa beating and subdue.




    This guy is really awesome if you want survive rifle.

    This is war stuff.

    Never get close

    What would I do in original topic? I don't know, I hope I never know.

    But I do know you do not want to get close to the criminal. Keep 15 foot distance. If he rush you, then you will have the upper hand.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Dec 26, 2015
  16. gpond

    gpond Silver Member Silver Miner

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    You always shoot to stop the threat. That is the only reason to shoot. No threat - no shoot. There is no other reason to shoot.

    With that said, a firearm is considered deadly force. Always. If you are shooting at someone it is assumed that you understand that you will very likely kill the person you are shooting at. It is understood and assumed. Do not shoot at anyone you do not wish to kill.

    While I understand the sentiment, I am VERY concerned for anyone who has a firearm who is planning to shoot to wound only. I had a female friend express this to me one time and I told her that until she got over that idea, I recommend that she not have a firearm -- because that kind of thinking will get you killed.

    If you think about it, there is only one reason to fire a firearm at someone - and that is to stop a potentially deadly threat. Someone is threatening to do you severe harm and/or kill you. That is the threat, and you shoot to stop that, and you keep shooting until that threat is stopped.

    With that in mind, there is NO situation I can think of where you would risk attempting to 'shoot to wound'. There is a maniac trying to kill you and/or your family or someone close to you. If there were not, you would not be shooting because you only shoot to stop a serious threat. You can not risk half-hearted measures to stop a SERIOUS threat. You do not shoot to wound. You shoot only to stop a serious threat.

    It is an idea that you must accept if you are to own/carry a firearm for self-defense. There is no shoot to wound. That idea will get you killed. I struggled with this personally and I think I got it right.
     
    Last edited: Jun 16, 2010
  17. MISRy

    MISRy Silver Member Silver Miner

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    KISS

    Double-tap Center of Mass

    If it's still moving, apply chest compression with your foot while dialing 911. Stop when you hear sirens or it stops bleeding.

    Give unchallenged statement to responding officers.
     
  18. coopersmith

    coopersmith for fuck sake.......... Silver Miner

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    Why not just put a third round thru the critter's heart, or a head shot?
     
  19. C&L 1911

    C&L 1911 Seeker Seeker

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    The head shot would not look very good for the grand jury...
     
  20. mtnman

    mtnman Gold Member Gold Chaser Site Supporter ++

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    Shoot to stop the threat and don't stop shooting until the threat is gone. And remember, Only one story for the Cops, yours.
     
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  21. Russkie

    Russkie Gold Member Gold Chaser

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    In a critical situation, who the hell is going to know the difference between shooting to kill and shooting to injure? You shoot center mass.

    And who is skilled enough to shoot non-vital places during a firefight?

    The original question seems to come from watching too many Hollywood movies.


    The real question is when to draw the weapon. If the situation is getting critical, there is a chance the weapon could be a deterrent.

    I've drawn a handgun before on the street, and it in fact saved the asses of me and several others I was with. But it's a dangerous game. An armed, threatening gang scattered, but they could have drawn guns as well. We had to get the hell away quick, because they were regrouping to counter-attack, this time with confidence and the knowledge that we had a firearm.

    Certainly, in your home, the racking of a shotgun is the best signal to send any would-be intruder.

    I would always give the assailant the benefit of running away before I shoot. But then again, I AM a Christian...

    So don't shoot unless the assailant gives you no other choice, of course. But don't think you can control things enough to distinguish between lethal and non-lethal shooting, unless you're descended from Annie Oakley or something.

    If the person is down and disarmed, I would never gratuitously shoot them, and I think no reasonable person would.

    I'll tell you what was scary in the above situation....

    As soon as the people saw my weapon and reacted, I was emboldened. Something inside me took over, something predatory, and I was really ready to shoot whoever came at us- or whoever simply disobeyed my command to get back. I became very agressive for about 30 seconds, then very nervous and shakey.

    It was one of those "fork in the road" moments that could have changed many people's lives forever.

    Carrying a firearm is serious business. Caution, wisdom and kindness need to come first.
     
    Last edited: Jun 16, 2010
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  22. 5150female

    5150female Drunk on Unicorn blood Gold Chaser

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    It was just my dad and I growing up. He was a Navy S.E.A.L and Marine grunt in Viet Nam. Since I was little he always told me in referance to someone threatning to hurt me "you don't shoot until you think they are dead, you shoot until they think they are dead." Come at me or mine with intent to hurt us? Smile and wait for flash.
     
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  23. Patriotme

    Patriotme New Member

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    1) Most people are not good enough marksmen to hit anything other than the trunk of the body.
    2) If someone is within 7yds of you then the odds are that they can reach you even if you shoot them in the torso. You will end up wearing their knife if you're trying to hit feet, legs, etc.
    3) Most shooters only target shoot and have no experience trying to hit a target when their heart is racing and andreniline (SP?) is pumping.
     
  24. Unclad Lad

    Unclad Lad Rhodium Imam Gold Chaser

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    Prosecutor: Mr. Lad, you shot Mr. Lowlife in the chest six times. Can you tell the court why you shot so many times?
    Lad: I was trying to shoot the butcher's knife out of his outstretched hand, but I missed it the first five times.
     
  25. Juristic Person

    Juristic Person They drew first blood Platinum Bling

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    Depends on the circustances. Who is attacking me and why?
     
  26. Meetzos

    Meetzos Gold Member Gold Chaser

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    Mr. Lad Thats all my gun held.:dance:
     
  27. southfork

    southfork Mother Lode Found Mother Lode

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    If you are shooting to wound, I would have to question the need to shoot to begin with, I gave guns to all 4 of my kids and they know that if it's necessary to draw the weapon, your life is in danger and you shoot to kill. Dead men tell no tales.
     
  28. Stormdancer

    Stormdancer New Member

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    I can imagine a couple of scenarios that might make me second guess my decision to point a weapon, I cannot imagine any in which I would fire with intent to wound.
     
  29. Quad

    Quad Seeker Seeker

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    I too was taught “shoot to stop.â€

    Never to warn, or to wound, or to kill.
     
  30. EE_

    EE_ New Member

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  31. silver solution

    silver solution Gold Member Gold Chaser

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    It is much different when heart is racing and the andreniline is pumping. I know and getting older does not help that, at least in my case.
     
  32. ONG

    ONG Seeker Seeker

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    You and several others certainly do have it right, thanks for your thoughts. Always shoot to stop COM and repeat as neccessary.
     
  33. Lt Dan

    Lt Dan Gold Pirate Gold Chaser

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    You shoot to live! Always!

    Officer/Judge, the last thing I wanted to do was shoot anyone, but I feared for my/wife's/child's life and didn't know what else to do.
     
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  34. Russkie

    Russkie Gold Member Gold Chaser

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    " I feared for my life" is the mantra.....

    Avoid phrases like " I don't know what happened"
     
  35. Rusty Shackelford

    Rusty Shackelford Midas Member Midas Member

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    Shoot to kill. However, there is a situation were I have told myself I would shoot just to wound. Screw with my kids/wife in a bad immoral way and I will hunt you down, wound your ass, then string you up in seclusion and make you wish that I blew your brains out.
     
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  36. Juristic Person

    Juristic Person They drew first blood Platinum Bling

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    Like I said, it depends on the situation.

    If I have to draw my gun and pull the trigger in self defense, my intention is to stop the threat that is coming at me and that person will likely die from their wounds.

    But when the other guy has a knife, I feel confident enough that I may be able to stop the threat without drawing my gun.

    Not to mention, you may not always be armed so you better learn how to defend yourself without one.
     
  37. gonzo

    gonzo Gold Member Gold Chaser

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    Good points and I am not really concerned about it that much, if confronted with deadly force I would not hesitate to shoot to kill, I spent 8 years in the Marines and 3 in special forces and recieved very good training in self defense and shooting to stop threats, but I just really wanted to have this conversation to see how others felt about it and so far I am really enjoying the discussion that has ensued.


    As I said before for my own conscience I would always prefer not to kill someone no matter what they are doing or plan to do to me and would rather just shoot to stop the threat and keep them alive, but as most have indicated here such thinking is nearly impossible during the split second you have to make the decision to shoot or not to shoot so, center mass is the way to go and what I was always trained to do.
    Thanks for the input, all of you.
     
  38. gonzo

    gonzo Gold Member Gold Chaser

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    I pretty much can agree with that, that is really the only situation where I would feel obligated to seek revenge, ****ing with a loved one, especially wife or child, there will be consequences for that.
     
  39. gonzo

    gonzo Gold Member Gold Chaser

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    LOL good points I appreciate your thoughts but it really has nothing to do with watching too many movies. I am a fairly well skilled shooter involved in a lot of competitive target shooting etc, I wouldnt consider myself up there with the best of them but I can pretty much place a shot within an inch of where I intend to 95% of the time depending on conditions.

    This is just a discussion that I have had with many other shooters in the past including in training classes in the USMC in my time in the military and I wanted to see what sort of responses I would get here at GIM, so far so good, very good input all around.
     
  40. GoldToHold

    GoldToHold Seeker Seeker

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    no tap rack!? even on the "second chance". thanks for the vid and food for thought.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Dec 26, 2015

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