Thursday, December 11, 2014

"Shoot to Wound?"

Many people wonder why officers don't "shoot to wound."  I've never seen or heard of police being trained onthis strategy.  In a stressful, fast-moving situation, it is argued, and perhaps rightly so, that it is not really feasible and may put the officer's life in danger.  It takes an extremely serious gunshot wound to immediately incapacitate a suspect.  Even a shot in the heart will not immediately incapacitate.  See this article on the topic.


  1. Having a license for concealed carry, it's my view that you "shoot to stop" a physical threat. To do this effectively often means inflicting lethal injury to an assailant. The problem I have with "shoot to kill" is what action to take when a threat is no longer viable. For example. bad guy drops his weapon and puts his hands up after being shot. He hasn't been killed, so do you keep shooting at him to finish the job? I'd keep my firearm at the ready while attempting to get emergency services on scene to help the perpetrator.

  2. Jeff Cooper's writings on the subject said much the same as in the linked article, in fewer words. You shoot to stop, as said above. I'll add that if you shoot and miss but the perp does indeed stop being a threat, you're done with shooting.

    Further, you shoot as long as the threat remains a threat.

    The idea of "shoot to wound" comes from westerns on TV or in the movies. When the adrenalin is pumping--and in a shooting situation it truly will--the only viable target is the center of mass.

    Stipulating equal skill, whoever begins the action wins. This has been proven over and over. "Second place" cannot overcome the two-tenths of a second human time lag between seeing and doing.


  3. A good and insightful man. I've always liked the title of Jeff Cooper's book "To ride, shoot straight, and speak the truth". He wrote that this was an old Persian saying for the nobility that "Luxury and authority are not good for a young man, and if he enjoys such things in his adolescence he is most unlikely to develop into a man of character.".