Tiger McKee

Shootrite Firearms Academy

The Head Shot

When I did my first Gunsite class the standard firing response was two shots to the chest and one to the head. As my training/learning progressed I started adding pelvis shots to the response, and eventually got to the point where the head-shot was an occasional added hit. Three to four hits to the body, two to four into the pelvis, and then maybe adding a round to the head.

Don’t get me wrong, head-shots, when applied correctly, are about the only guarantee for stopping a threat instantly. Apply the bullet in the correct location and you disconnect the computer that creates all the thoughts from the body that performs the physical actions. This is why snipers, in critical situations involving bystanders or hostages, go for the head. It’s literally like flipping the switch. One second the threat is standing, the next instant they are on the ground.

The problem in a defensive situation, using a pistol or carbine within fairly close distance, is that in most situations you’re in a reactive state, initially anyway, facing someone who is seriously trying to put the hurt on you. You’re moving to cover, creating distance or just to be a moving target to the threat. Most likely the threat will be moving, especially if you display a weapon and look like you know how to use it; they ain’t just gonna’ stand there and let you shoot them. So they are creating distance, going to cover, escaping or possibly even advancing rapidly towards you. Under these conditions placing the bullet in the proper location, just the right area to create the damage necessary to stop the threat, is extremely difficult to do. If you don’t agree try it on the range against a 3-D target that’s moving erratically. Work on it while lying on your back or side with the threat elevated, or with the target positioned at the bottom of the stairs. Then imagine it being ten times more difficult under actual combative conditions, which, unlike the range are usually less than perfect. Oh yeah, and lives depend on your performance.

Under these conditions how long will it take you to get one good head shot, on a three dimensional target that doesn’t want to be shot? How many body or pelvic shots can you get during the time it takes to make one good hit to the head? And, being realistic, at what distance, under these conditions, can you actually achieve this type accuracy?

These are some the questions you need to investigate and discover for yourself. What you read in a column, see on an internet forum, or hear about from your buddy doesn’t help you understand what you can do. It will be your fight, so find out what you can and can’t do in advance.

Then, when it comes time to dish out defeat, you know what to do and how to do it properly.


February 13, 2011 - Posted by | AR-15, Auto Pistol

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