Can you shoot to wound?

Can you shoot to wound?

This is a discussion on Can you shoot to wound? within the Carry & Defensive Scenarios forums, part of the Defensive Carry Discussions category; Here is my senario. I thought of it because today I had a situation where I went to condition red. I deliver medicines to assisted ...

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Thread: Can you shoot to wound?

  1. #1
    Ex Member Array HollowpointHank's Avatar
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    Aug 2005
    South Carolina

    Can you shoot to wound?

    Here is my senario. I thought of it because today I had a situation where I went to condition red. I deliver medicines to assisted care or old folks homes. As I was getting the drugs out of the car, even though they are in plastic totes that can't be seen through, I noticed a young black male walking toward me. I was in the home's driveway and he had to cut through their property to get to where I was. As he approached he got closer and closer to me so that when he finally got to within a few feet of me, he was directly behind me. I turned and faced him, and looked him straight in the eye. I was going for my Keltec380 in my front pocket when he veered off and passed me within a foot or less.
    If he had attacked me without a weapon, which I did not see, could I have used my weapon in a non leathal manner to stop the attack? Say I shot him in the foot and he stopped and dropped. Would I be able to say he wasn't dead because I didn't want to kill him? Would that be a justified use of my firearm, or would I still be charged with attempted murder?

  2. #2
    Array GBS's Avatar
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    Oct 2007
    Central California
    Basic question, were you in fear for your life?

    If you were attacked (I take it he was the size of a pro boxer) -
    Can you say with a clear conscience, I fired to stop the threat?

  3. #3
    VIP Member Array ccw9mm's Avatar
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    Your state's laws dictate what you're legally allowed to do. Some suggest that a reasonable guideline to use is: A.O.J. Ability, Opportunity, Jeopardy.

    Quote Originally Posted by HollowpointHank View Post
    Can you shoot to wound?
    If you claim an intent to wound, then some may see that as tantamount to admitting the attack wasn't worth stopping at all costs ... ie, didn't require lethal force. If that's so, then what in Hades were you doing using lethal force?

    In this sense, shooting "to wound" isn't much better than shooting "to kill." Caution.

    Preferable, IMO: seek to stop the attack, using the degree of force you can justify as necessary to stop it.

    On this point, it's probably best to speak with a competent attorney, if having questions.
    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: Why the Gun is Civilization (Marko Kloos).

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  5. #4
    pax is offline
    Senior Member Array pax's Avatar
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    May 2006
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    Two articles for you:

    Cornered Cat - Ability, Opportunity, Jeopardy
    Cornered Cat - Legal Myths

    And a cut & paste from the second article:

    ...shooting someone is using deadly force, no matter which part of his body you aim at and no matter whether you intend to kill him or not.

    Here is a legal definition of deadly force from the law books in Washington state, where I live:

    "Deadly force" means the intentional application of force through the use of firearms or any other means reasonably likely to cause death or serious physical injury.

    Shooting an attacker in self-defense is an intentional use of force. Shooting someone often causes serious physical injury, no matter where the bullet lands. Even if the shot only hits an arm or a leg, the attacker could easily die from shock or blood loss. That is why shooting someone in the arm or leg is, legally speaking, every bit as serious as if you deliberately shot them right through the heart.

    Legally, there is no such thing as shooting someone without using deadly force.
    (Please forgive linking to my own site; not really self-serving, just lazy tonight.)

    Kathy Jackson
    My website: Cornered Cat

  6. #5
    Senior Member Array dnowell's Avatar
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    Aug 2007
    There are a bunch of problems with this. Before that, I understand the difficulty of the situation. I've got a few points, but I'm very sympathetic to the situation.

    - There's no legal notion of shooting to wound. The safe term to use is shooting to stop a threat.
    - When someone attacks you, you don't know what his intent is. When someone uses violence, even without a weapon, most states recognize your right to defend yourself using lethal force. (not all - check your state's laws)
    - You probably should have applied verbal action before he got quite as close. Something along the lines of "that's close enough," "you're on private property, don't come any closer," or the like.
    - If you were at your car, putting the car between you and an adversary is a useful tactic.
    - This sort of situation is a good reason to carry pepper spray. It's legal to display pepper spray in most places, but not a firearm.
    - From the sound of it, if he did attack you, he'd be so close it would be difficult to get the gun into action. Just something to keep in mind.
    - Most self defense shootings won't give you the time to select a target that carefully. Keep in mind that shooting someone, even center of mass, is no guarantee that they'll stop attacking you. Conversely, any time you shoot someone there's decent odds they'll die from it. If you hit his leg he could bleed out pretty fast.
    - Regardless of where you aim, or where you hit, shooting someone is lethal force. You must be in reasonable fear for your life in order to shoot someone, or even to draw down on them.
    - Finally, a 380 auto round isn't that big, and a keltec doesn't have that many rounds. After you shoot the guy once, it'll be a fight for your life whether it started out that way or not. If you shoot his foot, or you miss his foot, or even if you shoot his head and it doesn't kill him right away, he's going to go for the gun and will try to kill you with it. Your first shot needs to be committed to stopping him as a threat in the most effective way possible, which probably means multiple rounds to the center of mass.

    The problem with all of this is that criminals deliberately leave it ambiguous whether they're a threat or not until the very last moment, so that they have the first move.

  7. #6
    Array atctimmy's Avatar
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    As long as you are shooting to wound COM, I say go for it.
    My name is Frogman46 and I'm tougher than you.

  8. #7
    Member Array OMEGA2669's Avatar
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    Lakewood, Colorado
    I would say it depends on where you live. Here if you fear for your life you are authorized to defend yourself, if non-lethal force doesn't stop him you are allowed to use deadly force to defend yourself. Personally... if I was sure he was going to cause me severe bodily harm (attacked me) I would shoot to kill. This avoids any troubling lawsuits that could follow from injuring an attacker. Less paperwork to end them.
    AT3 (O-Level) United States Navy - NRA Life Member
    "Molan labe! Just try... I'll show you the strength of my conviction... and I'll sleep well that night..."

  9. #8
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    Array Thumper's Avatar
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    I shoot to stop. Not scare, wound or kill. I do so in a manor that has the highest possibility of achieving the desired effect. Unfortunately that form of shooting usually results in a dead subject. WHOOPSIE!
    ALWAYS carry! - NEVER tell!

    "A superior Operator is best defined as someone who uses his superior
    judgement to keep himself out of situations that would require a display of his
    superior skills."

  10. #9
    Senior Member Array BradyM77's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by atctimmy View Post
    As long as you are shooting to wound COM, I say go for it.
    Is that what happens when you use any caliber that doesn't start with a 4 and end with a 5? lol
    "Good. Bad. I'm the one with the gun." Ash

  11. #10
    Ex Member Array PNUT's Avatar
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    I think that shooting to "wound" is a horrible idea for a ton of reasons. If you can't commit to stopping the threat with overwhelming violence, don't carry, you'll just get killed with your own weapon. Not trying to be hard on you, just a little food for thought. Staying alive is serious business. Legally there probably isn't a difference, you shot the person or you didn't. In an SD situation, a wounded person is still very much " in the game" and still trying to cause you harm or kill you. Even someone gravely injured doesn't just lay down and die.

  12. #11
    Member Array REDTAIL's Avatar
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    If they live you will have a big lawsuit on your hands remember Bernard Geotz the NY subway gunman years ago he wounded all of his attackers & went through a hell of a lawsuit by each one of them, off the record he was told that if he would of killed them he would of had any lawsuit to face.

  13. #12
    Senior Member Array Landric's Avatar
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    Legally speaking, deadly force is deadly force. Shooting someone in the pinky toe is the same, under the law, as shooting them in the face. Whether the person dies or not is not the issue. Shooting someone anywhere, or even trying to shoot someone and missing is all deadly force, the same justification is necessary no matter what the end result is.

    If you don't know that basic principle of the use of deadly force you should probably reconsider carrying a deadly weapon at all.

    "The Engine could still seemed to scare them" -Felix

  14. #13
    Senior Member Array Rotorblade's Avatar
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    I could imagine a lawyer having a field day with your "I was only trying to wound him" statement.
    He would claim that you did not really fear for your life as you had enough time and foresight to pick a potential non-lethal area of the other guys body and carefully aim and fire. He would try make it look like you wanted to teach the guy a lesson, not stop an attack.
    In a real self defense shooting I would expect to hear comments from the shooter like:
    "Geez, it happened so fast I don't remember how many shots I fired."
    " I was so focused on surviving, I don't even remember re-loading"
    "The guy pulled a weapon on me, I was sure I was about to die, and the rest is just a blur"

  15. #14
    TVJ is offline
    Senior Member Array TVJ's Avatar
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    So your spidey sense tingles and warns you

    You continue to stand their doing what you were doing?

    What prevented you from putting down whatever was in your hand and give yourself a little distance. <--- Whatever ran through your head that kept your feet planted is the real issue.

    At its core, this scenario is really simple. Spidy sense goes off, put down stuff, close it up if possible, move to side of car to give distance, heck open the car door and pretend to look for something while watching the guy pass.....

    The key here is what kept your feet planted emotionally instead of moving.

    Youre relying too much emotionally and therefore tactically on the "gun" for your feeling of safety and too little between your ears.

    If the guy wanted to assault you, it was easy for him because of your actions. Moreover, he is on top of you by the time you decide to deploy. This creates all kinds of additional risk factors for you.

    Moreover, in this scenario if you draw and he is just a person lost in his own head thinking instead of bad guy, you risk a world of hurt - legally, emotionally, civilly, etc for your actions.

    By moving, you put distance and a car between you and him by using it for cover. If he then advances on you, its a different ball game. He shows intent, you have more time, you can warn, warn with hand on gun, warn with drawn gun, move around car with gun for cover, etc.

    I suggest you physically practice/drill yourself without your gun to learn cover techniques and a different thinking modality. Then combine with gun. Your issue appears to be emotional to me. Thanks for posting. Answering this helped me.
    "No man in the wrong can stand up against a fellow that's in the right and keeps on a-comin."
    Texas Ranger Capt William Jessie McDonald

  16. #15
    VIP Member Array Paco's Avatar
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    I would shoot to stop the threat. Since I am responsible for every bullet that leaves my gun, I will make sure I aim at a large enough target so as not to miss and send bullets who knows where.
    "Don't hit a man if you can possibly avoid it; but if you do hit him, put him to sleep." - Theodore Roosevelt


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