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Old 12-21-2009, 05:28   #1
Glockster_221
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Is aiming COM the best tactic?

Say you are engaging a bad guy head on (meaning that he isn't swaying to the left or right and you can see his torso clearly). I know the standard procedure here is to aim COM and fire, but wouldn't it make more sense to aim a bit to the right, going for the heart?

Better yet, how about shots to the "triangle" (the imaginary triangle connected by a person's chin and nipples). Of course you have a much higher chance of missing, but if you hit, you will do some serious, serious damage.

Thoughts?
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Old 12-21-2009, 07:59   #2
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Glockster_221 View Post
Say you are engaging a bad guy head on (meaning that he isn't swaying to the left or right and you can see his torso clearly). I know the standard procedure here is to aim COM and fire, but wouldn't it make more sense to aim a bit to the right, going for the heart?

Better yet, how about shots to the "triangle" (the imaginary triangle connected by a person's chin and nipples). Of course you have a much higher chance of missing, but if you hit, you will do some serious, serious damage.

Thoughts?
If you really are engaged in a violent encounter,

  • chances are, you will not have the TIME to do what you are suggesting
  • epinephrine does weird things to the body, including affecting fine motor skills
  • what if he/she is wearing a vest?
  • what if he she is also presenting a gun, or other potentially deadly weapon. Shouldn't you be moving, hopefully towards cover?
  • what if you get hit 1st, on your gun hand (it's happened) or in your COM, or shrapnel in the face, and there is blood in your eyes?
So many what ifs.

If & when you are in a situation as you outline, you do the best you can, with the resources at hand, and fight to win.

'Drew
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Old 12-21-2009, 08:22   #3
Glockster_221
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Originally Posted by NYC Drew View Post
If you really are engaged in a violent encounter,

  • chances are, you will not have the TIME to do what you are suggesting
  • epinephrine does weird things to the body, including affecting fine motor skills
  • what if he/she is wearing a vest?
  • what if he she is also presenting a gun, or other potentially deadly weapon. Shouldn't you be moving, hopefully towards cover?
  • what if you get hit 1st, on your gun hand (it's happened) or in your COM, or shrapnel in the face, and there is blood in your eyes?
So many what ifs.

If & when you are in a situation as you outline, you do the best you can, with the resources at hand, and fight to win.

'Drew
Excellent advice.

So when people shoot COM, it is mostly for increasing the chance of actually hitting the BG, am I right? Would it be illogical to say that one of the primary reasons for COM hits is trying to hit the spine?

Thanks.

ETA: I mean secondary, not primary.

Last edited by Glockster_221; 12-21-2009 at 08:35..
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Old 12-21-2009, 09:03   #4
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The State of Texas...

We shoot to STOP!

That is .COM! Center of Mass.

That is why I use the new Great .45gap!

Larger caliber = Bigger holes the bg's Bleed out faster.

FT. Hood Shooter hit 7 times with a 9mm! Still alive!

So, in my books 9mm (NDG) No Dam Good.

I tell my students 80% of people shoot with hand guns live! = No good!

So, try using the .357 sig or the .45 caliber of some type!

We need to stop the bad guys!

I only want the good guy's to walk away!
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Old 12-21-2009, 09:20   #5
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Originally Posted by mesteve2 View Post
We shoot to STOP!

That is .COM! Center of Mass.

That is why I use the new Great .45gap!

Larger caliber = Bigger holes the bg's Bleed out faster.

FT. Hood Shooter hit 7 times with a 9mm! Still alive!

So, in my books 9mm (NDG) No Dam Good.

I tell my students 80% of people shoot with hand guns live! = No good!

So, try using the .357 sig or the .45 caliber of some type!

We need to stop the bad guys!

I only want the good guy's to walk away!
I've read that the Ft. Hood Shooter was shot four times with 9mm, and supposedly that ammo was ball. NOT BAD for 9mm ball ammo!

9mm is plenty good, what are you talking about?

Wait, first you say we shoot to stop, then you say you only want good guys to walk away and that it is a bad thing 80% of people who are shot live? I don't understand your intention.
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Old 12-21-2009, 09:28   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mesteve2 View Post
We shoot to STOP!

That is .COM! Center of Mass.

That is why I use the new Great .45gap!

Larger caliber = Bigger holes the bg's Bleed out faster.

FT. Hood Shooter hit 7 times with a 9mm! Still alive!

So, in my books 9mm (NDG) No Dam Good.

I tell my students 80% of people shoot with hand guns live! = No good!

So, try using the .357 sig or the .45 caliber of some type!

We need to stop the bad guys!

I only want the good guy's to walk away!
Single anecdotal incidents are pretty silly to base statements like "No Dam (sic) Good" on. There have been one shot stops with 9mm and multiple hits with .45 that didn't stop the attacker .
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Old 12-21-2009, 09:36   #7
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If you tell people you train with dynamic targets and reduced recoil ammo in order to accomodate CNS targeting protocols, they'll accuse you of failure to be politically correct and demand you shoot at their belly button with a 10mm like everybody else.
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Old 12-21-2009, 10:14   #8
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Thoughts?
My thoughts are that you are going to have a hard enough time in a fight without weighing yourself down with minor details that probably won't matter. The most important part of getting rounds into an opponent is just that, getting rounds into an opponent. Worrying about just where those rounds are going ("gee, will this round get him in th eliver or the heart or the right lung?") seems counterproductive to me. We train CoM because that gives us the best chance of getting rounds on the target.
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Old 12-21-2009, 10:15   #9
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So, in my books 9mm (NDG) No Dam Good.
Ummm, you might want to read a few more books.
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Old 12-21-2009, 14:32   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Glockster_221 View Post
Say you are engaging a bad guy head on (meaning that he isn't swaying to the left or right and you can see his torso clearly). I know the standard procedure here is to aim COM and fire, but wouldn't it make more sense to aim a bit to the right, going for the heart?

Better yet, how about shots to the "triangle" (the imaginary triangle connected by a person's chin and nipples). Of course you have a much higher chance of missing, but if you hit, you will do some serious, serious damage.

Thoughts?
It depends on what you are shooting, what evasive action you are taking, your shooting skills and the distance. Underlying all this is the fact that only a brain or spine shot can be relied on to terminate the fight quickly and that the longer the fight goes on the more chance you have of being hit. Added to that is the controversial possibility of a significant pressure wave effect which will also produce a rapid collapse. Without that, a heart or aorta shot can take 15 to 30 seconds to produce collapse and other COM hits, other than spine will take longer.

So, (1) The closer you are and the less powerful the round you are shooting, the more you should tend to go for a head shot provided you have the skill to make it. That can include point shooting or shooting from retention - if you are six feet away you cannot afford to stick your pistol out at arm's length because it is too easy for him to grab it or strike your arm or hand. If you can point shoot from a retention position it is easy to hit him in the head with the pistol only a little in front of your chest around nipple level but if you haven't learned to do it and practiced it, it is too late to start.

If you are running in an attempt at evasive movement - something else you need to practice first - you probably need to stick to COM for at least the first few shots but if you are down to your last two or three, as with a mouse gun or snubby, it is time to shift to head shots.

COM hits will generally reduce his ability to shoot you but not prevent him shooting you for what is really a very long time relative to number of bullets that can be fired. If you are shooting and hitting COM you must expect him to be able to keep firing at you but if you keep hitting him at sufficiently short intervals you might entirely prevent him from getting off a good shot because each shot will push him off aim and cause him to try to re-aim with damaged muscles which will take him time to adapt to. Keep shooting him before he can adapt to the last damage!

If you are shooting 357SIG or 10mm with good hollow points and light end rather than heavy end bullet weights, you have a much better chance of producing rapid incapacitation with COM hits and so it is probably better to stick to them until your last two or three shots. Other people will tel you that the balistic pressure wave effect does not exist, but making repeated COM hits with 357SIG or 10mm will stop him eventually without that bonus effect.

As your groups will tend to be approximately circular you will lose little by aiming for the upper COM, which includes the thoracic triangle. If you miss the triangle, the shoulders are wider than the chest and a shot to the shoulder will greatly reduce his ability to shoot you and a miss that hits the head or neck will probably finnish the matter.

In general, as David Armstrong says, aim for the centre line, but, as I would say, any hit is better than a miss. Make sure you don't miss more than one shot in 5 when you are shooting fast. Practice shooting fast enough to know how fast you can shoot and make good hits.

English
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Old 12-21-2009, 16:41   #11
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Originally Posted by English View Post
It depends on what you are shooting, what evasive action you are taking, your shooting skills and the distance. Underlying all this is the fact that only a brain or spine shot can be relied on to terminate the fight quickly and that the longer the fight goes on the more chance you have of being hit. Added to that is the controversial possibility of a significant pressure wave effect which will also produce a rapid collapse. Without that, a heart or aorta shot can take 15 to 30 seconds to produce collapse and other COM hits, other than spine will take longer.

So, (1) The closer you are and the less powerful the round you are shooting, the more you should tend to go for a head shot provided you have the skill to make it. That can include point shooting or shooting from retention - if you are six feet away you cannot afford to stick your pistol out at arm's length because it is too easy for him to grab it or strike your arm or hand. If you can point shoot from a retention position it is easy to hit him in the head with the pistol only a little in front of your chest around nipple level but if you haven't learned to do it and practiced it, it is too late to start.

If you are running in an attempt at evasive movement - something else you need to practice first - you probably need to stick to COM for at least the first few shots but if you are down to your last two or three, as with a mouse gun or snubby, it is time to shift to head shots.

COM hits will generally reduce his ability to shoot you but not prevent him shooting you for what is really a very long time relative to number of bullets that can be fired. If you are shooting and hitting COM you must expect him to be able to keep firing at you but if you keep hitting him at sufficiently short intervals you might entirely prevent him from getting off a good shot because each shot will push him off aim and cause him to try to re-aim with damaged muscles which will take him time to adapt to. Keep shooting him before he can adapt to the last damage!

If you are shooting 357SIG or 10mm with good hollow points and light end rather than heavy end bullet weights, you have a much better chance of producing rapid incapacitation with COM hits and so it is probably better to stick to them until your last two or three shots. Other people will tel you that the balistic pressure wave effect does not exist, but making repeated COM hits with 357SIG or 10mm will stop him eventually without that bonus effect.

As your groups will tend to be approximately circular you will lose little by aiming for the upper COM, which includes the thoracic triangle. If you miss the triangle, the shoulders are wider than the chest and a shot to the shoulder will greatly reduce his ability to shoot you and a miss that hits the head or neck will probably finnish the matter.

In general, as David Armstrong says, aim for the centre line, but, as I would say, any hit is better than a miss. Make sure you don't miss more than one shot in 5 when you are shooting fast. Practice shooting fast enough to know how fast you can shoot and make good hits.

English
Thank for the thorough response. You answered my question very well.

What I need to do most is get professional training. English, which company would YOU recommend?

Thanks.
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Old 12-22-2009, 07:01   #12
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Thank for the thorough response. You answered my question very well.

What I need to do most is get professional training. English, which company would YOU recommend?

Thanks.
If you need basic handgun handling training you should be able to find somewhere locally almost anywhere in the US. For more advanced training I would recommend Suarez International. In particular I would recommend Roger Phillips' point shooting course followed by a force on force course. Before you do either you need a good concealment holster and a lot of drawing practice with snap caps so that, first and foremost, you are not a danger to yourself or others and so that you are able to take full advantage of the courses.

All Suarez courses are geared to realistic self defence. This is easier said than done and, as an example, when traditionally trained Karate practitioners entered live fights they turned out to be not very effective. Few would have suspected that prior to the demonstration of it. In any form of training for combat it is very difficult to test what are generally no more than untested ideas about how to do it when really doing it will result in serious injury or death.

The same applies to self defence with a handgun. Sorting out what works and what doesn't would be a very difficult statistical exercise with too many random variables for a single individual's experiences to be valuable on their own. There are a lot of wrong ideas around which have stood the test of time because they sound good rather than because they are good. The trouble is that we can't be sure which are which! The ongoing caliber wars are just one example but I think Suarez gets a lot more right than most because they test their ideas with extensive of force on force experiment between their instructors and are able to draw conclusions from observing many classes. The trouble with force on force is that it cannot replicate the effect of being shot but it is a lot better than just thinking something works.

English
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Old 12-22-2009, 11:11   #13
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Combative Anatomy

There are two types of weapons, edged and impact. A bullet is a just a hybrid that goes really fast. The only two ways to damage tissue is but cutting and crushing it.

When a bullet strikes tissue it has the ability to damage the following system listed in the order that the shooter will likely notice the effect and the immediacy the round would have on the ability of the attacker to continue aggression

Central Nervous System- comprised of the spinal cord and head. Since you will likely be shooting into the front of side of your attacker the head is protected only by being a small target and the spinal cord by the tissue in front of it. Comprising the CNS will look like someone turned off a light switch.

Structural System including bones, muscles, tendons, and ligaments- these targets all over the body. The most effective ones being the elbows, knees, and pelvic girdle. Any damage to the hands will likely render them useless for using a weapon, especially that to thumbs.

Circulatory System- the largest, and easiest to compromise. Even though it may be likely to result in eventual death it may seem as though the attacker has not even been struck.

Everyone is familiar with a "ball tap". You walk by a buddy and ball tap him and his head comes forward, depending on how good your ball tap is the farther he will bend over exposing the top of his head and spinal cord to the front.

Most traditional training has us bring our pistol to COM (usually high chest) before beginning to shoot. Doing this we miss have the COM by bypassing the groin to nipple line. There is no reason not to shoot in this area since the muzzle will pass it coming from our hip anyway (at least in a dynamic situation). So those low rounds hit and have the probability of causing the "ball tap" response. As you continue to fire you have a better chance of accessing the heart and lungs with rounds passing behind the clavicle. As previously described you also have a better chance of hitting the head or spinal cord because it has now become the COM.

The pelvic girdle is super vascular and required for locomotion. By default targeting in the manner described you are increasing your odds of targeting the structural system, Central Nervous System, and Circulatory System, in that order instead of the traditional concentration on the Circulatory System alone.

In other words instead of shooting for the head bring the head down to where you are shooting. Also translates well to open hand combatives, edged weapons, and impact weapons. - George
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Old 12-22-2009, 15:34   #14
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Thanks for the advice guys. Keep it coming.
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Old 12-22-2009, 18:30   #15
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Is aiming COM the best tactic?

If that's what is available to shoot at under the circumstances, yes.

But if they are wearing a vest, behind cover, on drugs, etc.. maybe not.

Generally COM is the way to go under most close range SD situations, but there are exceptions and those exceptions do count.

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Old 12-25-2009, 00:48   #16
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There's a reason they (military/LEO/etc.) teach to shoot COM. Larger target, faster aquisition and follow up shots, and more chance of hitting a vital organ. Most of the vital organs are packed right in there.

In the rare case you can't shoot COM for whatever reason, go for "the fatal T". Object is to hit the brain stem and cut off the brain signals to the rest of the body.

Thats what I have been always been taught.
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Old 12-27-2009, 09:28   #17
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There's a reason they (military/LEO/etc.) teach to shoot COM. Larger target, faster aquisition and follow up shots, and more chance of hitting a vital organ. Most of the vital organs are packed right in there.

In the rare case you can't shoot COM for whatever reason, go for "the fatal T". Object is to hit the brain stem and cut off the brain signals to the rest of the body.

Thats what I have been always been taught.
Ah, the old two to the chest and one to the head. The only problem with that is that I don't know of anyone who has done it and have never had a student or myself be able to do it during force on force. There are head shots but not the bang, bang, bang that the fairy tales are all written about.

I figure it can only happen like this-

You are being attacked and fire two to the chest and hit or don't hit and automatically fire the third round and the smallest, now moving part of the human body.

or

You fire the two rounds to the chest and hit or don't him and think real fast "hmm, those COM shots are not causing him to burst into flames, I think I will shot him in the head"

During our last class in Indy we had a local SWAT cop, he was a fine shooter. On all of our paper drills he would always fire two to the chest and one to the head. It was beautiful, he was like a typewriter. When we put up balloons he was never able to hit it on a stationary target, not even once. During force on force he said he never even tried because of the short distance and having to shoot one handed most of the time.

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Old 12-27-2009, 11:22   #18
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Ah, the old two to the chest and one to the head. The only problem with that is that I don't know of anyone who has done it and have never had a student or myself be able to do it during force on force. There are head shots but not the bang, bang, bang that the fairy tales are all written about.

I figure it can only happen like this-

You are being attacked and fire two to the chest and hit or don't hit and automatically fire the third round and the smallest, now moving part of the human body.

or

You fire the two rounds to the chest and hit or don't him and think real fast "hmm, those COM shots are not causing him to burst into flames, I think I will shot him in the head"

During our last class in Indy we had a local SWAT cop, he was a fine shooter. On all of our paper drills he would always fire two to the chest and one to the head. It was beautiful, he was like a typewriter. When we put up balloons he was never able to hit it on a stationary target, not even once. During force on force he said he never even tried because of the short distance and having to shoot one handed most of the time.

Some shooting wisdom is like a budget, looks good on paper.


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That's not, at all, what I was saying.

What I was trying to say is COM shots are "more efficient" for the reasons I stated. If, for some reason, you can't get a COM shot, shoot for the "fatal T".
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Old 12-27-2009, 12:10   #19
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Ummm, you might want to read a few more books.
Thanks for the link to the blog. I too have a J-Frame. I am going to refer a couple of "gun-newbies" to your blog.
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Old 12-29-2009, 20:36   #20
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COM increases chances of hitting your target under stress. If you study anatomy, there are lots of vital, blood filled organs in that area. For example, your liver holds close to 1/4 of your body's blood in it at any given time. If that gets hit, it's not good news.
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