Tiger McKee

Shootrite Firearms Academy

Anatomy And Center Mass

Normally at the range we shoot two-dimensional targets, while in real life we fight against three-dimensional threats. On the range the targets are squared up and facing us. A moving threat will present you with an angular view of their body. To stop the threat we shoot for center mass of the chest, pelvis, or head – from whatever angle we are viewing from – in order for the bullet to penetrate into the area that will inflict the damage needed. To be able to place accurate hits you have to know a little about anatomy and where the vital areas are located.

The center of the chest cavity contains the heart and major veins and arteries. This is the largest part of the body that provides a good possibility of inflicting the damage needed for stopping the threat. When this doesn’t work because the threat is wearing body armor – this is becoming more common – they are mentally unstable, the body’s chemistry has been altered – drugs – or they may just don’t care their heart isn’t pumping any longer, we go to plan “B,” the pelvic area.

The pelvic area is an excellent zone to place shots. It’s a large target area. The major veins/arteries run through the center of the pelvic area before branching out the legs, so you can create rapid blood lose. In the front of the pelvic girdle is the pubic symphysis, the center where the two halves of the pelvic bones join together, which can be split apart by bullets. When this occurs the bigger they are the harder they fall.

The third target zone is the head. This can cause instant incapacitation, but it’s also the hardest zone to hit due size and the shape and design of the skull. Without proper bullet placement, which is difficult when both you and the threat are moving, the round can be deflected and never penetrate into the cavity of the skull. And penetration doesn’t always guarantee results. If I have something larger to engage, which I can shoot quicker, that would be my first choice, but if hits to the chest and pelvis don’t work, or if the threat is behind cover or holding a hostage, the head may be your only option. Regardless of why you’re engaging the head, it has to be a good hit. Close probably won’t work out well.

So, how do you figure out where to place your shots? Study anatomy. The three dimensional model above I bought at a bookstore for $14.95. For range work there are several companies that sell plastic 3-D targets that are an excellent tool for practicing for the realities of personal combat.

By looking at how the body is put together we get a much better idea of how to defeat it. In real life we fight three-dimensional threats, so practice and train accordingly. When it comes time to shoot, we have to shoot accurately, properly placing of our rounds where they will stop the threat efficiently.


October 10, 2010 - Posted by | General Training

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