Thoracic Triangle: Raising Your Sights During SD Range Practice

This is a discussion on Thoracic Triangle: Raising Your Sights During SD Range Practice within the Defensive Carry & Tactical Training forums, part of the Defensive Carry Discussions category; When you go to the range and put that human silhouette out there for target practice, are you aiming for the upper Thoracic Triangle area ...

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Thread: Thoracic Triangle: Raising Your Sights During SD Range Practice

  1. #1
    Member Array 147 Grain's Avatar
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    Lightbulb Thoracic Triangle: Raising Your Sights During SD Range Practice

    When you go to the range and put that human silhouette out there for target practice, are you aiming for the upper Thoracic Triangle area or just center mass where the stomach is?

    FYI:

    The upper Thoracic Triangle is the area you should aim for because it has a greater concentration of arteries and major organs (heart & lungs) than any other part of the body. This area is generally located between the armpits (nipples) and the bottom of the neck.

    Draw a line horizontally between both armpits and then (from each side) draw two more lines inwards at 45* angles towards the base of the throat. This is the vulnerable Thoracic Triangle area, where blood pressure usually drops the quickest and results in unconsciousness faster than lower center mass hits will.

    (Some range targets still have the center 10-ring about 3" lower than ideal, so adjust accordingly. Others have raised the small CENTER RING up a bit over the years, but still not quite high enough - about 1 1/2" to 2" too low.)

    Besides a spine or Central Nervous System (CNS) shot, this Thoracic Triangle region is the most advantageous area for multiple hits in order to immediately stop a threat. Well-placed multiple shots from any caliber into the central upper Thoracic Triangle Area is more likely to incapacitate the BG than elsewhere.

    Self defense shots typically have to penetrate deeper than we typically imagine. About 2/3'rds of the time, projectiles have to travel at odd angles and it is also common for a bullet to go through a hand, arm, leg, shoulder, ribs, bones, and etc... before reaching the chest cavity that houses the vitals. Because of these factors, selecting a bullet that comes close to meeting or exceeding the FBI protocol of 12" minimum penetration is preferred in order to ensure full penetration. If your favorite handgun load typically struggles to reach 10" - 12" of penetration into Gel, 4-Ply Denim, or Heavy Cloth, consider upgrading to a bonded HP, hardcast wadcutter, or use FMJ.

    All handguns are somewhat underpowered in immediately stopping threats. Unfortunately, the human body is tough / well-built and an attacker can still function / cause harm for up to 45 +/- seconds with a hit into the UPPER chest region (not shoulder); so multiple well-placed hits into the upper Thoracic Triangle area are likely needed in order to stop the threat more quickly!

    Raising your sights (when practicing at the range) for self-defense situations is more apt to save your life than lower center mass shots into the upper stomach (where the 10-ring is on many human silhouette targets). Getting into the habit of aiming higher than normal during range time will put more odds in your corner should the need arise during preservation of life situations!
    Aim for the Thoracic Triangle Area between the armpits and the base of throat.

    1. Shot Placement: Center Mass Between the Armpits & Base of Throat
    2. Heavy for Caliber Bullet Weight / Construction
    3. Choice of Caliber

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  3. #2
    Member Array Cruel Hand Luke's Avatar
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    We teach them if possible to shoot for the area in the upper chest at about the arm pit level.
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    VIP Member Array chiefjason's Avatar
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    Somewhere between the nipples. That's what I have taught my wife. Conveniently there is a nice spot on the target we use to aim there. As someone once told me, pick something in that area to aim at. Button, crease, zipper, pocket, something. I've always wondered why the bullseye was away from most of the vitals on a target.
    I prefer to live dangerously free than safely caged!

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    VIP Member Array Guantes's Avatar
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    Zipper.
    "I do what I do." Cpl 'coach' Bowden, "Southern Comfort".

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    VIP Member Array 10thmtn's Avatar
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    I tell folks to aim even with the armpits, as the nipples are not usually visible.
    The more good folks carry guns, the fewer shots the crazies can get off.
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    Member Array ncsteveh's Avatar
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    Plus nipples have the possibility of being a distraction and on some people the nips hang pretty low. Armpits are more likely to be in the correct place but zippering them up has some real advantages, namely a quicker first shot.

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    VIP Member Array glockman10mm's Avatar
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    This is the first time I have seen a conversation focus this much on this part of the anatomy, and suggest shooting them.

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    VIP Member Array tkruf's Avatar
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    Very interesting read. Thanks for the post.
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    VIP Member Array hogdaddy's Avatar
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    124gr Makes more sense J/K ; )
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    Ex Member Array Ram Rod's Avatar
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    I agree. Good post. COM is COM, and many times a paper target bull's eye don't coincide.

    All handguns are somewhat underpowered in immediately stopping threats.
    I stepped out on a limb and made my opinion known on this a few threads back.

    Raising your sights (when practicing at the range) for self-defense situations is more apt to save your life than lower center mass shots into the upper stomach (where the 10-ring is on many human silhouette targets). Getting into the habit of aiming higher than normal during range time will put more odds in your corner should the need arise during preservation of life situations!
    Agreed. A more solid mass is what you'd want to hit for more initial shock. "lower center mass hits around the upper stomach" means more liquid than mass to penetrate......think of your high priced hollow points and their penetration into water. Now what percent of the human body is water class? 60+%. Where is it more centrally located? Guess. Now....your hollow point bullets and hydraulics= resistance. Ballistic gel, water, and displacement. Human anatomy, mechanics, and physics. It all makes perfect sense to me. Every once in a while I get this sort of twinge in the back of my mind.....deep down where I don't like to go alone sometimes and I usually leave the door to the basement closed. The only answer I've given to the darkness behind the closed door is that I only think of the best ways to kill another human being when my own survival depends upon it. It's not an art nor a science........it's born out of necessity for continued existence (life underground sucks). How you go about doing your best to kill is up to you, but once you have, you may not be so proud of what you've learned. At least you will have survived, and that's what tops the list. Do your best, and don't let your mind kick your assets. Death is never pretty no matter how well defined.
    Last edited by Ram Rod; December 7th, 2010 at 12:51 AM.

  12. #11
    3D
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    Quote Originally Posted by Guantes View Post
    Zipper.
    Please pardon my ignorance, but I would like to learn so I'll ask.
    Are you saying "aim for the zipper"; or make a pattern of shots that look like a zipper going up thoracic area; or something else?
    "It is easier to resist at the beginning than at the end"____Leonardo da Vinci 1452-1519

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    Member Array 147 Grain's Avatar
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    I'll let Guantes answer your specific question, but the zipper can serve as a central guide for left to right alignment purposes and the top of it is often in the center of the Thoracic / Sniper's Triangle area.

    Speaking of Shot Placement, the general order of priority of where to aim to IMMEDIATELY stop an aggressor is:

    1. Center mass into the upper chest region (Thoracic or Sniper's Triangle).

    2. Facial shots at or just below the tip of the nose.

    Some people in the industry like to add pelvic shots that break the bone as a 3rd option, but most experts agree that continued multiple shots into the upper chest or face improve your odds over breaking the pelvic bone and etc...

    While shots into the pelvic area can be somewhat effective, click on this link for more details:

    Shots to the Pelvis - M4Carbine.net Forums
    Aim for the Thoracic Triangle Area between the armpits and the base of throat.

    1. Shot Placement: Center Mass Between the Armpits & Base of Throat
    2. Heavy for Caliber Bullet Weight / Construction
    3. Choice of Caliber

  14. #13
    3D
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    Thanks 147Grain Until seeing this thread, I've been mostly practicing double shots to the 'sternal notch' area (those 2 prominent chest bones at the base of the neck).
    "It is easier to resist at the beginning than at the end"____Leonardo da Vinci 1452-1519

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    VIP Member Array Guantes's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by 3D View Post
    Please pardon my ignorance, but I would like to learn so I'll ask.
    Are you saying "aim for the zipper"; or make a pattern of shots that look like a zipper going up thoracic area; or something else?
    The "Zipper" refers to a series of shots beginning in the abdominal/stomach area and rising as high as the head. There are several advantages that many see in the zipper. As the muzzle of the gun rotates up from the draw, the first possible target of substantial value will be the abdominal area. While possibly of less value than the upper chest area, it provides a slightly earlier impact on the opponent and there is some recognition that a shot in the abdominal/stomach area will cause the recipient to drop whatever they are holding. Additional shots rise up the body following the spinal line rising up through the upper chest to the neck and head. These shots in addition to having the possiblity of hitting vital organs or blood sources, at various points have a good possibility of impacting the spine, or close enough to cause paralysis. In addition, it takes advantage of recoil impulses, rather than fighting them.

    It is generally employed as a close range one handed tactic, begining from the draw and continuing through extension of the shooting arm.
    7677 is a expert in this technique and could undoubtedly add to my explaination.
    "I do what I do." Cpl 'coach' Bowden, "Southern Comfort".

  16. #15
    Distinguished Member Array bladenbullet's Avatar
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    onboard with the zipper...it also reduces the possibility of the number of shots being placed on arms and hands of a gun wielding aggressor...as guantes mentioned an abdominal shot has a high probability of causing the aggressor to drop what they are holding and the initial shots are made faster as the first shot is from the draw at half hip...multiple holes at different levels affect multiple organs and can disable an aggressor faster...

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