An interesting conversation on pistol-forum.com over the past few days raised the specter of “too accurate” as it is being taught at some fairly high places including some programs at the Federal Law Enforcement Training Center.
The theory, in a nutshell, is as follows: Rather than put multiple rounds into a small concentrated area, it’s better to shoot wide open and hit someone in lots of different places all over his body because he’ll bleed from more places and become incapacitated faster.
Presumably, this is taught in the same class explaining that the Moon is made of green cheese, socialism is sustainable, and similar ridiculous myths. Now admittedly, I am not a doctor, don’t play one on television, and didn’t sleep at Holiday Inn Express last night. But when the guys who study this stuff professionally — like Dr. Gary “DocGKR” Roberts and retired FBI Ballistics Research chief Buford Boone — all scoff at this death by a thousand cuts approach, well, it’s hard to argue with stuff like “science” and “fact.”
When it comes to lethal confrontations and typical handgun caliber rounds, I like to group anatomical target areas as follows:
Group A: places where bullets are likely to cause substantial immediate trauma to critical life-sustaining organs
Group B: places where bullets aren’t doing a damn thing
So why does this lots of fast hits anywhere on the target theory keep coming back into vogue? Lazy instructors. It’s easy to teach people to launch unaimed bullets out of a pistol really, really fast and still hit a 30″ high, 18″ wide target at 3yd. It’s particularly fascinating to a certain subset of law enforcement instructors who’ve been told their entire career that firing six shots in 30 seconds at 25yd was fast enough and taught officers everything they needed to know about combat.
I still remember attending a ridiculously bad class put on for some military & law enforcement folks about a decade ago. The instructor literally had us stand less than a yard from a giant B27 target and the “challenge” was to hit the target five times in one second (measured from first shot to last, so 0.25 splits). The SWAT cops from one local department were so impressed and inspired that they were almost brought to tears… because he taught them to shoot blind quarter-second splits while keeping everything within — literally — 2,200 MOA.
When a few of us offered that we could probably do the same thing from ten times farther away while keeping our hits in a much, much smaller area we, too, got the old “make ‘em bleed from as many places as you can!” story. It was wrong then, and it’s wrong now.
Speed is good. Speed is important. But speed only matters if the thing you’re doing speedily is hitting vital structures in a way that will promote rapid incapacitation. Slicing up a bunch of distal arteries and capillaries might make for a gruesome appearance and could eventually cause someone to bleed to death, but not before he’s had enough time to kill you, bury your corpse, and drive himself to the local hospital.
Hit what matters.
Train hard & stay safe! ToddG