Intent to Kill

This is a discussion on Intent to Kill within the Carry & Defensive Scenarios forums, part of the Defensive Carry Discussions category; I've been training with my CCW and have been reading different training exercises to try. Many of them involve the "two to the chest, one ...

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  1. #1
    Member Array CPT_Rich's Avatar
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    Intent to Kill

    I've been training with my CCW and have been reading different training exercises to try. Many of them involve the "two to the chest, one to the head" pattern. This raises questions to me about legality and technicality.

    I'm aware that using lethal force is indeed a lethal act. I am also aware that if you choose to defend yourself with lethal force, you must be prepared to kill. I take that a step further and think that if you leave the house with a gun, you must be prepared to defend yourself with lethal force. I say this to quell the rush of comments to the effect, "a gun is a lethal weapon and any use is an intent to kill." Roger, I've got that. But the reason to use a firearm in defense is to stop and neutralize a threat, not necessarily kill the assailant. Death may be the result, but it shouldn't be the intent.

    My question: can an intentional headshot after you've put two into the chest of an attacker be interpreted by police and attorneys as an intent to kill? Can you find yourself in legal hot water by practicing and then executing a controlled pair to the chest and a shot to head? It's hard to argue that an attacker with two .45 caliber entrance wounds and 2" exit wounds was still a threat if the right laser is asking the questions.

    What is to consensus here, is the benefit worth the risk? Am I worrying about something that is not an issue?

    Thanks for any input, and I'd really like some replies from a legal mind on the subject.

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    You have to balance training with the threat you're dealing with. Just because you're training with 2 to the chest and 1 to the head doesn't mean that's what you have to do. Could very well be the threat quits as soon as they see your gun. No shots fired. Maybe they fall on the first shot, you're saying you're going to continue to fire because that's your training? I don't think so. You have to use the least amount of force needed to stop the threat and be able to recognize when the threat has been stopped. I hope I never have to make that decision...and I hope that for you too. good luck

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    Senior Member Array ntkb's Avatar
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    Shoot to stop the threat, if two to the chest do not stop him, then he may be wearing a ballistic resistant vest, one to the head is a good option.
    mano3, MasterGadgets and RoadKill like this.
    1911 when a follow up shot just isn't an option

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    Shoot to stop the threat. If it takes one, two, or twenty. If the display of a firearm stops the threat, that's enough too.
    I shoot with a pistol and a Canon. We must all hang together amigos, or we will all hang separately. NRA life member.

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    VIP Member Array Snub44's Avatar
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    ...I've always trained and taught to shoot twice...at a minimum...because you may miss the first shot, and mistake his flinch for a hit...and not stop him till he's gotten a few shots off back at you...neither I nor anyone I've taught has been in a shootout to provide feedback...

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    Distinguished Member Array shadowwalker's Avatar
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    Only you will know when the time comes what action you must take and live with your action and no one can give you a perfect answer as there is none. Train to stop the threat and don't overthink react

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    VIP Member Array Taurahe's Avatar
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    I have no intent to kill anyone, but I have every intent to end a threat quickly and with minimal damage to myself. If they die suddenly in the process, thats their problem, not mine.
    ”God grants Liberty only to those who love it, and are always ready to guard and defend it.”
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    VIP Member Array ccw9mm's Avatar
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    In all of my training ...

    ... it has been shoot to stop the threat. So long as the threat still exists and is active and capable of inflicting harm, then the gloves are off. The instant that threat evaporates, cease firing.

    As well, there are only so many spots on a determined, aggressive assailant that'll put him down and cease the threat. Central nervous system disruption; brain / lights out; structural disruption, so he can't continue standing and approaching; and COM (the heart and major organs). No guarantees on which shot'll work, nor how many. So, one can only continue the fight until the upstanding are safe from immediate harm. If that ends up including one or more to the head region, so be it.

    Finally, I've had several instructors note the Deadly Force Triangle, and the concept of Ability, Opportunity, Jeopardy. (See my signature line.) Ayoob through LFI and MAG is a strong pronponent of this as a basic guideline to threat level and justifiability of continuing to defend.

    Would an enterprising and capable attorney seek to use "a shot to the head" as a proxy for a coup de grace? Sure, some might well do just that. Same could be said of a shot to COM/heart. Deadly force is deadly force, none more deadly than the other (beyond placement). But them's the risks we all undertake with this responsibility.

    In one phrase, essentially, per the tentets of AOJ, the justified use of lethal force requires that the innocent be in immediate and otherwise unavoidable danger of death or grave bodily harm.

    But once that threat has ceased or been so reduced it's manageable via other means, adjust accordingly.
    JDE101 and airslot like this.
    Your best weapon is your brain. Don't leave home without it.
    Thoughts: Justifiable self defense (A.O.J.).
    Explain: How does disarming victims reduce the number of victims?
    Reason over Force: The Gun is Civilization (Marko Kloos).
    NRA, GOA, OFF, ACLDN.

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    Member Array BMan's Avatar
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    Here is the Wikipedia definition of the Mosambique: The Mozambique Drill, also known as the Failure to Stop Drill, or Failure Drill, is a close-quarter shooting technique in which the shooter fires twice into the torso of a target (known as a double tap to the center of mass), momentarily assesses the hits, then follows them up with a carefully aimed shot to the head of the target. The third shot should be aimed to destroy the brain or brain stem, killing the target and preventing the target from retaliating.

    And here is the history behind the technique:Rhodesian Mike Rousseau was serving as a mercenary in the Mozambican War of Independence. While engaged in fighting at the airport of Lourenço Marques (modern-day Maputo), Rousseau was armed with only a Browning HP35 pistol. As he turned a corner, he bumped into a FRELIMO guerrilla armed with an AK-47. Rousseau immediately performed a "double tap" maneuver, a controlled shooting technique in which the shooter makes two quick shots at the target's torso. Rousseau hit the target on either side of the sternum, usually enough to incapacitate or kill a target outright. Seeing that the guerrilla was still advancing, Rousseau made an attempt at a head shot that hit the guerrilla through the base of his neck, severing the spinal cord.

    Rousseau later related the story to an acquaintance, shootist Jeff Cooper. Cooper later incorporated the "triple tap" maneuver (two quick shots to the torso and one quick-aimed shot to the head) into his practical shooting technique. Rousseau was later killed in action in the Rhodesian War.


    So Stra8upguy is right, it doesn't mean you have to if the threat is stopped anytime before the third shot.
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    Member Array Ducmonster's Avatar
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    Interesting post. I agree the reason we use a weapon is to stop a threat. I think that practicing the two to the chest one to the head pattern is good practice. In a real defensive scenario
    I am not sure that would be the best tactic it certainly would depend on the specific scenario. I can imagine more situations where a mag dump center mass would be a more likely response.

    I suspect that some police and some persecutors may interpret that pattern as you choosing to kill the bad guy rather than just defending yourself. Others may not. My non legal mind advice
    would be to stop the threat any way you can then get a lawyer before talking to police.

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    VIP Member Array Secret Spuk's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Str8upguy View Post
    You have to balance training with the threat you're dealing with. Just because you're training with 2 to the chest and 1 to the head doesn't mean that's what you have to do. Could very well be the threat quits as soon as they see your gun. No shots fired. Maybe they fall on the first shot, you're saying you're going to continue to fire because that's your training? I don't think so. You have to use the least amount of force needed to stop the threat and be able to recognize when the threat has been stopped. I hope I never have to make that decision...and I hope that for you too. good luck
    This is real real good advice

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    VIP Member Array Snub44's Avatar
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    ...I wish we could know how many bullet resistant vests there are out there...I bought the first Second Chance in my dept. years ago...now, a lot of BG have them...and wear them...who's to guess which ones...a fear/shock reaction from a solid torso shot might be mistakenly assessed as having stopped the threat...I can see the shot above the vest area...

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    Member Array hwarang54's Avatar
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    This topic seems to have been adequately covered here. Shoot to stop means shoot to stop. Sometimes this means your assailant dies. You do what it takes to survive, pending you have made the decision to do all that is necessary.

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    I am not an attorney, and I didn't stay at a Holiday Inn Express last night, but every law I have ever read on the topic is written pretty vague. The legislatures do that for a reason - they want to give a jury the opportunity to determine if the action is reasonable. If 6 witnesses watch you walk up to a prone assailant that you just shot twice COM and pop him in the head, you might have a problem. However, if those same 6 witnesses saw the assailant reaching into his pocket and pulling out a weapon after taking 2 to the chest, you are very justified in taking the head shot.

    Every situation is different and in the end, the interpretation of your actions by a panel of your peers will be what decides your fate. Act accordingly.

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    VIP Member Array ccw9mm's Avatar
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    ^ That's another crucial aspect of the statutes: the reasonable man standard.

    Study it, know it, live by it. There's no telling how a given DA/jury is going to consider the reasonableness of one's actions. About all we can do as upstanding citizens is to operate to a higher standard.

    Ayoob's got a good phrase to consider, as part of it all: CYA ... Can You Articulate. As in, so long as your standard is high within the use-of-force statutes that apply to you, and so long as you can clearly articulate the reasonableness of your actions in view of the threat as you saw/heard/experienced it at the time, then you should be okay. It's about as good as we can do, other than one thing: train, train, train, with as many different competent instructors as you can afford; then, train again.
    Snub44 and stevem174 like this.
    Your best weapon is your brain. Don't leave home without it.
    Thoughts: Justifiable self defense (A.O.J.).
    Explain: How does disarming victims reduce the number of victims?
    Reason over Force: The Gun is Civilization (Marko Kloos).
    NRA, GOA, OFF, ACLDN.

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