How to survive a real gunfight!

Ammunition, target, training: What to consider to survive!

How to avoid 5 deadly mistakes that will cost your life in a real gunfight!

Years of Hollywood movies have taught the average person many firearm and gunfight myths.

Many rules of gunfighting and weapon handling were also useful at an earlier time, but the world evolves and so must the way we use our firearms and the way we confront armed opponents.

Myth No.1 – Always shoot at the largest visible mass

Soldiers and police and many other para military forces across the globe are taught to always shoot at the largest visible mass or taught a variation on this theme.

The idea behind it being that if you shoot at the largest visible mass you will more likely hit your target – and that is correct, you have a better chance of hitting your target.

The problem is that unless your target is naked you do not know what he is wearing under his clothing.

Not only do you have a better chance at killing somebody when you hit them in the head, but in these modern times where terrorists wear suicide vests packed with a few pounds of who knows what type of explosive, you do not want to set off that bomb and wipe out half a block of wives doing shopping and kids on skateboards.

The explosives type, the initiator used, the type of ammunition utilised by the shooter and the place the round hits all play a part in the explosives going off or not.

In modern times with more stable explosives and the terrorist’s body absorbing a lot of shock the chances of the vest going off might be less, but it is not worth the risk.

It would be better to hit the man in the head, because that would incapacitate him and kill him.

Another argument for avoiding the concealed torso is that your opponent may be wearing a bullet-proof vest.

Let’s face it, bullet proof vests are only getting more effective and the last thing you want when facing an opponent who is trying to do damage to you or others is to give him another chance.

(c) US Department of Defense

Myth No.2 – Guns make you safe

Saying guns or firearms will keep you safe in whatever situation you utilise them in is a fallacy for various reasons.

Firstly, if you do not have the initiative in any situation or if you cannot regain the initiative quickly enough, you will be badly injured or killed or at the very least suffer the loss of equipment or money.

For example, a convoy rides into a Wadi, they are tired and concentration is not what it must be.

The front vehicle crosses the Wadi and is stopped by armed men around a bend and out of sight of the other vehicles.

The second vehicle closes up on the lead vehicle because the armed men have moved out of sight with their rifles trained on the commander who cannot warn the second vehicle by means of radio.

So the other vehicles closes up and before they know it they are all in the killing zone.

They lost the initiative the moment the second vehicle closed up with the front vehicle.

By the time they realised they were in trouble they were surrounded by armed rebels.

Their weapons were confiscated.

So their weapons did not keep them safe and the aim of the ambush was to take their weapons in the first place.

Which brings me to my next point.

In many countries across the world criminals who break and enter do so looking for a couple of things, including firearms.

It is actually your firearms that leads them to you.

To maintain the initiative, you have to be well-trained and you have to be able to see the crap coming your way.
If you do not, your weapon will probably not help you.

Your weapon only makes you safer when you have the initiative and that is what so few people understand.

(c) US Department of Defense

Myth No.3 – Spending money on your firearm will make you a better shot

Accessories on firearms or changes to your firearm (like changing the tension in the trigger) are generally unnecessary and will not make you a better shot.

When you start accessorising your firearm you are saying the company that made the weapon could have done a better job. Kind of.

Those firearm companies actually make money from their accessories, but they had to bring those original firearms out as perfectly fine working models in the first place.

Changing the weapon by, for example, adding an extended magazine catch does not make the pistol better.

The reason the original magazine catch is not easy to reach is partly to prevent people accidentally ejecting the magazine while shooting, which does happen.

Changing the tension in your trigger could count against you in court and makes an accidental discharge easier, especially if you are not using a good quality holster.

The way to spend money is on yourself instead of your firearm.

If you want a better weapon, wear it out by means of constant shooting so that you get used to it and spend time on your own training.

What you want is to know the weapon and to get so used to it that any additions to it would make it feel like a stranger to you.

(c) US Department of Defense

Myth No.4 – Certain rounds of ammunition can knock a man down

No ammunition can knock a man down, but ammunition can have stopping power.

I have heard people telling me that .44, .45 or .50 calibre rounds can knock people down and they probably read that in a book or saw it in a movie.

Actually, the myth would have you believe that a 9mm cannot knock a man down, but something which is ever so slightly larger, like a .44 can.

That does not make sense in the first place.

The difference in kinetic energy between the two would be so small as to make almost no difference.

Also take note that according to Newton’s Third Law of Motion When one body exerts a force on a second body, the second body simultaneously exerts a force equal in magnitude and opposite in direction on the first body.

By that law, if you fired a round that could knock a man down, the weapon from which you fired that round would have approximately the same amount of blunt force on your wrists as its projectile would have on your target.

Ammunition can be given stopping power though by using the correct types of ammunition in terms of hollow-points.

Even a 9mm will stop a man if you have loaded it with quality hollow-point ammunition.

It must be said though that if you shoot anybody in the heart or brain with a normal ball 9mm round that person will also immediately stop, which takes me back to the third myth again.

Rather spend time with your handgun so that you can hit the right parts of the body.

(c) US Department of Defense

Myth No.5 – A lethal wound will stop an assailant

Lethal wounds on your assailant’s person will not necessarily stop him from shooting you or attacking you in some other manner.

A lethal would is a wound which will eventually make you die if you receive no medical attention.

You could nick a man’s arteries and he will bleed out, but not before he has emptied a magazine of whatever ammunition on you.

You want to incapacitate your target at the very least so that he cannot do anything until he dies.

During the 1986 Miami shootout in the Miami-Dade County between FBI agents, police officers and two gunmen, one of the two opponents, either Platt or Matix was hit in his Aorta by a silver-tipped 9mm round and still wounded agents until he died.

He received a lethal wound, but it did not incapacitate him.

After this incident police were issued larger calibre handguns.

Now, you may say that this is an indication that you would rather want to use larger calibre handguns to avoid assailants not being incapacitated, but they only needed to change the ammunition and adapt their training in reality.

As far as I am concerned the larger calibre handguns were a waste of money.

(c) US Department of Defense

In Conclusion: How to survive a potentially lethal situation

There are many “ifs” in the world of gunfighting, but certain principles would make you a more effective agent or officer or even private citizen and I have touched on them here.

Training, ammunition type, knowing where to shoot an assailant and understanding the importance of initiative all contribute towards you being able to defuse a potentially lethal situation.

Reality though is very different.

It is very rare for a private citizen or authorities to arrive on a scene of a mass shooting in time with the right information to make a real difference. That’s just a fact.

Most of the time firearms are effective when you surprise your enemy as part of a planned operation, where you have the initiative.

Everything else is mostly reacting to the actions of the baddies, so to speak.

– by Maj W.G. Klokow, SAIC

 

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