What little we know about using a gun in self-defense, during a personal attack
Posted by John S. Farnam on 3:07 AM in 2013, Gunshot Wounds, Tactics | 0 comments
1 Dec 13
What little we know about using a gun in self-defense, during a personal
Many shooting statistics, commonly bandied-about, are dubious and
agenda-driven. We need to view them all with a jaundiced eye. One example,
routinely used by blindly-devoted gun-phobes, is that you’re more likely to be
shot by a family member than by a violent criminal.
When you really think a member of your family, with whom you live, is going
to shoot you, you probably need to immediately move out of that household!
And, if you seriously believe you’re going to shoot yourself,
intentionally or unintentionally, you probably shouldn’t have any kind of gun!
When you fall into either of those categories, you need to pass on
gun-ownership. In fact, you can stop reading now, as you’ll likely find what
follows boring and incomprehensible!
There are many other examples, but here are a few statistics my experience
indicates we can take with more than a grain of salt:
1) The majority of GSWs arriving in hospital emergency rooms involve limbs,
and are accidental and self-inflicted!
Like chainsaws and lawn-mowers, guns are dangerous! As with any item of
dangerous equipment, you need to thoroughly learn how to handle, operate,
keep, and carry guns correctly. However, unlike chainsaws and lawn-mowers,
serious guns represent a piece of emergency/safety equipment, like
fire-extinguishers, so they often must be kept continuously in a high state of
readiness in order to be truly useful. You need to know and understand how to
do that properly.
When you’re able to operate an automobile, you can surly be trained to
operate any modern pistol I know of. But, as with automobiles, you need to
take it upon yourself to expose yourself to competent training. If not, don’
t even start, because you will likely join the statistics mentioned above!
2) Upwards of 90% of domestic gunfights occur at a range of seven meters or
less. Half occur within three meters! Many of those occur at contact
range! Long-range shots are still an integral part of competent training,
but most training needs to take place at most likely engagement ranges.
On the other side of the coin, reliable statistics indicate that shots
launched by violent felons at you will be effective less than 7% of the time,
when engagement range is in excess of ten meters. Accordingly, part of
your training needs to involve aggressive disengagement and retreat from
threat(s) to past ten meters in range (in addition to effectively using
available cover) in order to enhance your advantage.
3) The longer this gunfight goes on, the more shot you’re going to get!
The vast majority of the time, the one who scores the first fatal hit
(body-midline, naval to neck) will ultimately prevail. Personal control and
precision are the keys. When you panic and forget what you’re doing, you’re
going to lose. A pointless fusillade of unaimed bullets, launched in the ”
general direction” of the threat, will probably not be effective, but will
endanger innocent bystanders. When your bullet(s) don’t hit what you wanted
them to hit, then, by definition, they will hit something you didn’t want
hit. No one cares how fast you can miss!
Stay in control. Use your sights. Get your hits. End the fight quickly!
4) Moving laterally during your draw will decrease the likelihood of your
being hit by upwards of 70%. Lateral movement is thus an integral part of
your presentation routine!
5) You will be facing more than one armed attacker in excess of 50% of the
time. This suggests the advantage of routinely carrying a high-capacity
auto-pistol, in a serious caliber, routinely carrying high-performance,
tactical ammunition, and practicing the swift and effective dispatching of
multiple threats. This statistic also recommends habitually carrying a back-up
6) Hit-percentages achieved by working patrol officers in actual gunfights
is sometimes as poor as 12%. However, among well-trained and practiced
SWAT officers, it often exceeds 95%! Obviously, you must train to be
proficient. Don’t wait around for someone to “provide” you with training. Go
out on your own, and get the competent training you need from accomplished
7) Your next gunfight will occur in low light upwards of 80% of the time.
No training regimen is thus complete, without practice in low-light
8) During your next gunfight, it is likely you’ll be shooting your pistol
one-handed, not by preference, but due to necessity. Your “other” hand may
be occupied with sweeping family-members out of the way, or it may be
already injured. To be fully prepared, you must dedicate some practice to
effectively shooting your pistol one-handed, with both strong-side and
9) We dare not forget what is sometimes called:
“The dead man’s five seconds!”
Violent felons who have been fatally hit, and are in the process of dying,
who will be found by responding police a short time later, dead at the
scene (DRT), whose ventricles have been shredded by your bullets, whose
blood-pressure is thus rapidly dropping to zero- can still, and likely will,
continue to represent a lethal threat to you for at least five seconds, maybe at
long as fifteen seconds! “Instant” de-animation is unlikely with any
pistol ammunition made, short of a difficult “brain-stem shot.”
So, don’t relax too soon! Give your bullets time to complete their deadly
work, lest you be killed by a “dead man!” Don’t approach wounded
suspects! Stay at distance, behind cover, prepared to continue shooting when
10) It works both ways! The “fatality percentage” of domestic GSWs (all
gun types) is only 3%. 97% of GSWs are not ultimately fatal! Accordingly,
even when hit, you have to continue to fight effectively. When hit, your
best immediate strategy is to get fatal hits on your attacker as quickly as
possible, so he can’t hit you again!
When you are conscious enough to realize you’ve been hit, you’re conscious
enough to finish the fight. Don’t delay an instant!
“You’re either in the Navy, or you’re not!” “Dabblers” in our Art are
kidding themselves! Non-serious “recreational” and “competition”
shooters, who vainly imagine themselves as gun-fighters, are also kidding
Your life is in your hands. Get a good grip on it!
“Lambs lie down only with well-fed lions, and plowshares, formed from the
beaten swords of warriors, are wielded only by slaves.”