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  • Factors in Surviving Gunfights

    It has been my observation that when those of us who are into guns start talking about the defensive uses of guns, the only thing usually discussed is the caliber of the gun. I have read statements to the effect that caliber is crucial. Some folks seem to feel like this is the main factor in who will win or lose the fight if, God forbid, one occurs.
    Hopefully, we can use this post to shed a little light on the subject. So, I am going to give you the most important rule of gun fighting right now. It is

    Avoid them!!!

    In spite of the ?castle doctrine law? that was passed the same year as Kansas? CCW law, saying in effect that we do not have a duty to retreat from anyplace that we have a lawful right to be, it is still a very good idea to retreat from the scene if you can do so without endangering either yourself or those that you have a duty to protect. The gun, which after a long and arduous process, you have finally won the legal right to carry, is there to protect your life or the life of your family in the event that the use of deadly force becomes necessary. It is not cowardly to retreat if you can; in fact, it shows prudence and good judgement on your part.
    So, we now come to the question of what determines who wins a gunfight and who loses.
    There are four main factors in surviving gunfights (always assuming that they cannot be avoided altogether). They are:

    1. The willingness to shoot, sometimes called mental preparation. The most powerful wondergun in the world won't do you a bit of good if you are not willing to use it if you have to.
    2. Sound tactics; i.e. the use of effective cover and/or concealment if there is any available. Don?t be like Dirty Harry in Sudden Impact, standing dramatically out in the open with your 44 Auto-Mag. If your foe shoots while you are doing something as stupid as this, that Auto-Mag might as well be a Jennings 22.
    3. Bullet placement. A hit with 38 special beats the hell out of a miss with a 500S&W. Likewise, a 32 bullet hitting your spine is going to do more damage than a 45 in the muscle of your leg.
    4. Caliber. This is the least important variable. About all a heavier caliber will do as opposed to a smaller one is give you little more margin for error.

    So, don?t depend on caliber as the most vital factor. It is important, yes; but other things are far more important.
    I only hope to God you never have to use this knowledge.
    Taceant colloquia. Effugiat risus. Hic locus est ubi mors gaudet succurrere vitae.
    The Pale Horse available on Amazon for your digital reader.

  • #2
    Originally posted by gerhard1 View Post
    Avoid them!!!

    .....

    I only hope to God you never have to use this knowledge.
    Well spoken. Be safe.

    Comment


    • #3
      Originally posted by gerhard1 View Post
      SNIP
      So, I am going to give you the most important rule of gun fighting right now. It is
      Avoid them!!!
      SNIP
      There are four main factors in surviving gunfights (always assuming that they cannot be avoided altogether). They are:
      1. The willingness to shoot, sometimes called mental preparation.
      2. Sound tactics;
      3. Bullet placement;
      4. Caliber.
      So, don?t depend on caliber as the most vital factor. It is important, yes; but other things are far more important.
      I only hope to God you never have to use this knowledge.
      Pardon my editing but why tie up space on the server with a copy of what should have been read before my response.
      Warning, I'm going to sound cold-hearted! I agree with gerhard1.
      By all means Avoid a gunfight if you can!
      A lot of us are doing the "What IF?" and that can be a good thing as long as we don't get so wrapped around that axle that we fail to mentally prepare for the real thing. Understand and come to grips with the idea that if you do get in a gunfight you must be prepared to take a life. If you draw your weapon, you must be prepared to use it.
      Retreating to good cover (and there is a differance between cover and concealment) won't do you any good if the BG just walks up to you and shoots you while you hesitate. It might play well in court but will mean less than nothing to your family if you are killed in the process.

      5. Get out to a range and practice, practice, practice.

      Be sure you know you can hit what you shoot at, with either hand. If you can't you are using the wrong weapon. Maybe you are going to have to change caliber to ensure you can hit with the weapon you carry. I use a .45 because I've carried one since 1973 and it is comfortable to me. That doesn't make it the right caliber for everyone.
      "Friend, not for the world would I harm a hair on thy head, but thee is standing exactly where I am about to shoot."
      The United States Constitution (c) 1791. All Rights reserved.

      Comment


      • #4
        As a matter of fact, one stage of the PI qualification course involves weak-hand only shooting. State law requires it. Everyone should practice it however, as it is an important survival skill.
        Also, I think the OP may have been better had I phrased something differently. The third factor was listed as 'bullet placement'; it should have been bullet placement and marksmanship.
        And FactFinder is very much correct: practice is very important. Thank you for the reminder.
        Taceant colloquia. Effugiat risus. Hic locus est ubi mors gaudet succurrere vitae.
        The Pale Horse available on Amazon for your digital reader.

        Comment


        • #5
          Originally posted by gerhard1 View Post
          It has been my observation that when those of us who are into guns start talking about the defensive uses of guns, the only thing usually discussed is the caliber of the gun. I have read statements to the effect that caliber is crucial. Some folks seem to feel like this is the main factor in who will win or lose the fight if, God forbid, one occurs.
          Hopefully, we can use this post to shed a little light on the subject. So, I am going to give you the most important rule of gun fighting right now. It is

          Avoid them!!!

          In spite of the ?castle doctrine law? that was passed the same year as Kansas? CCW law, saying in effect that we do not have a duty to retreat from anyplace that we have a lawful right to be, it is still a very good idea to retreat from the scene if you can do so without endangering either yourself or those that you have a duty to protect. The gun, which after a long and arduous process, you have finally won the legal right to carry, is there to protect your life or the life of your family in the event that the use of deadly force becomes necessary. It is not cowardly to retreat if you can; in fact, it shows prudence and good judgement on your part.
          So, we now come to the question of what determines who wins a gunfight and who loses.
          There are four main factors in surviving gunfights (always assuming that they cannot be avoided altogether). They are:

          1. The willingness to shoot, sometimes called mental preparation. The most powerful wondergun in the world won't do you a bit of good if you are not willing to use it if you have to.
          2. Sound tactics; i.e. the use of effective cover and/or concealment if there is any available. Don?t be like Dirty Harry in Sudden Impact, standing dramatically out in the open with your 44 Auto-Mag. If your foe shoots while you are doing something as stupid as this, that Auto-Mag might as well be a Jennings 22.
          3. Bullet placement. A hit with 38 special beats the hell out of a miss with a 500S&W. Likewise, a 32 bullet hitting your spine is going to do more damage than a 45 in the muscle of your leg.
          4. Caliber. This is the least important variable. About all a heavier caliber will do as opposed to a smaller one is give you little more margin for error.

          So, don?t depend on caliber as the most vital factor. It is important, yes; but other things are far more important.
          I only hope to God you never have to use this knowledge.
          Awareness of who and what is around you before the gunfight. Nobody should be able to approach you without your awareness.

          Think about how a pick-pocket works. They stalk their victim, maybe with the help of a partner, then they do their crime without the victim even being aware. A professional hit man does the same.

          But a robber or mas killer "active shooter" may identify themselves with some furtive action. Look for things that seem out of place so you can follow the advice to avoid the gunfight altogether.

          Make the decision about whether you will shoot when you put your gun in the holster. Then be sure to identify the conditions that will trigger that prior decision.

          A pilot flies along, watching the ground and looking for places to make the best landing possible should the engine fail, an armed citizen should always be looking for the most defensive place so the plan is in mind before the gunfight starts.
          The people think the Constitution protects their rights; But government sees it as an obstacle to be overcome.
          If your religion says suicide and murder are wrong; Aren't you doing both if you are not prepared to defend your life and the lives of others?
          I am not a lawyer, but I have personal opinions.

          Comment


          • #6
            Originally posted by Jim Macklin View Post
            Awareness of who and what is around you before the gunfight. Nobody should be able to approach you without your awareness.

            Think about how a pick-pocket works. They stalk their victim, maybe with the help of a partner, then they do their crime without the victim even being aware. A professional hit man does the same.

            But a robber or mas killer "active shooter" may identify themselves with some furtive action. Look for things that seem out of place so you can follow the advice to avoid the gunfight altogether.

            Make the decision about whether you will shoot when you put your gun in the holster. Then be sure to identify the conditions that will trigger that prior decision.

            A pilot flies along, watching the ground and looking for places to make the best landing possible should the engine fail, an armed citizen should always be looking for the most defensive place so the plan is in mind before the gunfight starts.
            More good advice; thank you for contributing.
            Taceant colloquia. Effugiat risus. Hic locus est ubi mors gaudet succurrere vitae.
            The Pale Horse available on Amazon for your digital reader.

            Comment


            • #7
              Originally posted by gerhard1 View Post
              More good advice; thank you for contributing.
              Your post was good too, I just added a bit.
              The people think the Constitution protects their rights; But government sees it as an obstacle to be overcome.
              If your religion says suicide and murder are wrong; Aren't you doing both if you are not prepared to defend your life and the lives of others?
              I am not a lawyer, but I have personal opinions.

              Comment


              • #8
                thanks for ALL the great advice.
                NRA Life Member
                There is no safety for honest men except by believing all possible evil of evil men. - Edmund Burke
                "If you create a gun-free zone, you're liable for any harm it causes."
                Gun Facts e-Book Are you a sheep or sheepdog?
                Students for Concealed Carry on Campus Handgun Laws

                Comment


                • #9
                  Here is a thread on KSCCW that was done several months ago that may help us with the all-important FIRST RULE. Mr Robert McLeod started the thread and I was able (with the help of Mr. Macklin) to make a contribution.


                  http://www.ksccw.com/site/showthread.php?t=1278

                  Please note that the last post contains a link to a very worthwhile article by Massad Ayoob on non-verbal cues.
                  Taceant colloquia. Effugiat risus. Hic locus est ubi mors gaudet succurrere vitae.
                  The Pale Horse available on Amazon for your digital reader.

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Originally posted by FactFinder View Post
                    Retreating to good cover (and there is a differance between cover and concealment) won't do you any good if the BG just walks up to you and shoots you while you hesitate. It might play well in court but will mean less than nothing to your family if you are killed in the process.
                    By way of definition, concealment is something that hides you from your foe. A sheetrock wall, for example, is concealment.
                    Cover is something that will stop bullets and actually protect you. Cover is anything the bullet cannot penetrate. 'Bullet-proof' glass, or a large boulder, perhaps the engine block of your car.
                    In short, concealment hides you while cover actually protects you. The sheetrock wall mentioned above will not stop bullets. The 'bullet-proof' glass will not hide you. Both can be very useful and should be used whenever possible. But recognize the limitations of both.
                    Taceant colloquia. Effugiat risus. Hic locus est ubi mors gaudet succurrere vitae.
                    The Pale Horse available on Amazon for your digital reader.

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Originally posted by Jim Macklin View Post

                      Make the decision about whether you will shoot when you put your gun in the holster. Then be sure to identify the conditions that will trigger that prior decision.

                      A pilot flies along, watching the ground and looking for places to make the best landing possible should the engine fail, an armed citizen should always be looking for the most defensive place so the plan is in mind before the gunfight starts.
                      I can't imagine anyone that is carrying is not seriously thinking about and committed to this. If you are not, then don't carry. If someone is intent on doing you harm and you just show him/her your gun, you've just escalated the encounter to way beyond what you are prepared for. You've got to know in your mind that when it's time to present your gun, you will have no problem taking a life.
                      "A nation can survive its fools, and even the ambitious. But it cannot survive treason from within. An enemy at the gates is less formidable, for he is known and he carries his banners openly. But the traitor moves among those within the gate freely, his sly whispers rustling through all the alleys, heard in the very halls of government itself." - Cicero, 42 B.C.

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Originally posted by baddawgy View Post
                        I can't imagine anyone that is carrying is not seriously thinking about and committed to this. If you are not, then don't carry. If someone is intent on doing you harm and you just show him/her your gun, you've just escalated the encounter to way beyond what you are prepared for. You've got to know in your mind that when it's time to present your gun, you will have no problem taking a life.
                        This goes back to what I said earlier about mental preparation, doesn't it? Basically, it amounts to not carrying unless you are fully prepared to use it if you have to.
                        What my fine fellow poster baddawgy has said, brings to mind something that I saw all too often on packing.org and was one of the reasons that I stopped frequenting that site. Now, I want to be clear: Baddawgy is not saying this, but what he said for some reason reminded me of the following.
                        On packing, I encountered a couple of posters that said that if they drew their weapons, they would fire. The question was posed to one of these folks 'What if, in simply drawing the weapon, you cause the attack to be broken off?' His response was to the effect that he was so blindingly fast that he would not have time to stop. Yeah right.
                        Another encounter that was brought to mind was the following. I used to be a dealer, and someone from work wanted to see about buying a gun. I asked him what the purpose of the gun was, and he said for home protection. He then made the statement that 'If anybody breaks into my house, they are dead.' I asked him even of they are clearly surrendering? 'It doesn't matter', he spat, 'they are in my house so they are dead!' I had to tell this young man that with that attitude, he was better off without a gun.
                        People like these are our worst nightmare. They are how our illustrous Governess, the opponents of CCW in the legislaure, and a good portion of the media see us. If you know someone like this, please discourage him from getting a CCW.
                        Again, baddawgy is not saying this. Clear?

                        Anyway, baddawgy, thanks for your response. You have a good point.
                        Taceant colloquia. Effugiat risus. Hic locus est ubi mors gaudet succurrere vitae.
                        The Pale Horse available on Amazon for your digital reader.

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Systematic shooting (taught in most Military training) will get the 'job' done by focusing on the mechanics in moments of stress; but, it is scary dealing with the fact that you reacted almost as an automaton. (skin saved or not)

                          Not shooting, and someone gets killed by the BG would seem to me to be a worse thing to deal with.
                          "It is easier to fight against a loss than to ever get it back after you lose it. " Joe Nava

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                          • #14
                            BTW; Thinking about consequences for actions or in-actions is a very big part of mental preparation.
                            "It is easier to fight against a loss than to ever get it back after you lose it. " Joe Nava

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Originally posted by kanhunter View Post
                              Systematic shooting (taught in most Military training) will get the 'job' done by focusing on the mechanics in moments of stress; but, it is scary dealing with the fact that you reacted almost as an automaton. (skin saved or not)

                              Not shooting, and someone gets killed by the BG would seem to me to be a worse thing to deal with.
                              All good points.

                              I don't know which would be worse, not shooting and someone gets killed by the BG, or shooting/killing someone only to find out that there may have been another choice.
                              Hopefully everyone that carries will spend a great deal of time training, thinking about what is being typed on this thread and trying to imagine every possible situation. The decision to use deadly force or not will most likely have to be made in a fraction of a second. You must be able to recognize the threat level to know the appropriate response.
                              "A nation can survive its fools, and even the ambitious. But it cannot survive treason from within. An enemy at the gates is less formidable, for he is known and he carries his banners openly. But the traitor moves among those within the gate freely, his sly whispers rustling through all the alleys, heard in the very halls of government itself." - Cicero, 42 B.C.

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