Hitting the Medulla Oblongata.

This is a discussion on Hitting the Medulla Oblongata. within the Defensive Carry & Tactical Training forums, part of the Defensive Carry Discussions category; Much has been said in favor of quick incapacitation via a shot to the brain stem, or medulla oblongata. I understand how this works, you ...

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Thread: Hitting the Medulla Oblongata.

  1. #1
    Ex Member Array Pete's Avatar
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    Hitting the Medulla Oblongata.

    Much has been said in favor of quick incapacitation via a shot to the brain stem, or medulla oblongata. I understand how this works, you close the CNS down and deprive the brain of oxygenated blood as rapidly as possible.

    What I am asking here is has anyone ever heard of training where the shot was directed at the throat?

    I am aware of the triangle between the nose and above the mouth that is considered optimal, but wouldn't a close quarter throat shot achieve the same result with less chance of deflection on the skull and less mass to pass through?

    Even if you hit the spine one or two vertebrae below the brain stem it would still achieve the same trauma wouldn't it?

    Just curious, I have never heard of throat shots and was wondering what the science was on this.

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    VIP Member Array sass20485's Avatar
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    I'm curious too. Your logic seems very reasonable.

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    While the medulla is the absolute ''shut down'' area ... certainly any severe damage at high cervical level enough to sever the cord would produce instant quadraplegia - the BG would fall like a sack of potatoes, even if still mentally functioning at the time.

    He would therefore have no motor skills below that level - end of confrontation!

    As for specific shots to head area - I think even with high training levels would not guarantee success, but higher torso hits progressing up could well succeed in a multiple shot situation.

    A Medulla hit will not in itself shut down the blood supply if heart still functioning but it will be like pulling the main fuze ..... apart from which there would be probably rapid blood loss too - secondarily. Shut down the autonomic system and all main functions get switched off.
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    Distinguished Member Array randytulsa2's Avatar
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    I've never heard of training directed specifically to that area. A lot trainers and doctrine, however, will teach you to aim, at some point, at the head.

    The medulla oblongata seems to me to be a very small area to target, though...
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    Ex Member Array Pete's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by randytulsa2 View Post
    The medulla oblongata seems to me to be a very small area to target, though...
    Agreed, but if the round penetrates from the front and expands by the time it passes through the MO it has a better chance of removing it even if the shot was initially slightly off.

    I was thinking about this today and assumed it was a tactic of some for some reason and wanted to hear the thinking behind it.

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    VIP Member Array Blackeagle's Avatar
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    The throat's a pretty good target from both the CNS and blood loss perspectives. A shot that makes it back to the spinal cord at this height would incapacitate instantly. Lots of big arteries and veins for blood loss. However, the target area isn't much bigger than the area for a headshot, and it's considerably smaller than the area for a chest hit. I'd say a throat shot certainly isn't bad, but I don't see any reason to specifically aim for it rather than the head or chest in most circumstances. However, if the throat is the only available target for some reason, fire away!

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    Ex Member Array Pete's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Blackeagle View Post
    However, if the throat is the only available target for some reason, fire away!
    Could be a scenario due to body armor and helmet with just a small gap in CQB.

    Also if you were prone with the BG stood over you I would take this shot.

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    I wish info like this was in our training for a ccw permit. This kind of info was not in my advance course. I was basically trained to start at the crouch and work your way up to the head and do not stop shooting untill your weapon is unloaded. It would of been nice if training was more detailed.

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    Chris covered it pretty well. I'll add that while severing the spinal cord at the neck will put the BG out just as surely as spaghettifying the Medulla Oblongotta, the target is narrower. On the other hand, there are no teeth or Maxilla in the way, and if you miss up or down it matters little. The MO will be much easier to take from the side profile or the rear.

    As for neck shots or head shots...unless he has a gun or something to a hostage that I dearly care about, I'm aiming for cewnter of head with a 9mm or up(If upper torso shots are unacceptable for whatever reason). .22 or .25 or .32, I'm EMPTYING that thing at the neck, trying to find that spine. (with small caliber handguns, this is true even if a body shot is available, as these calibers are unreliable at penetrating the sternum). .380, I'm on the fence. I'd have to know more about the round.

    When the grey matter goes flying the fight will be over. The only reason for the MO shot is if the BGs involuntary twitch from being shot is likely to take out a good guy. Were talking about the difference between 0.1 seconds of life and 0.0 seconds of life left for the MO shot.

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    Senior Member Array blueyedevil's Avatar
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    I have never heard of specifically training for a "throat shot", here's my thoughts on why. We don't train for a "heart shot", we train for COM. Why? If you're off a bit in any direction it's still a good hit. We train to aim at the center of vital areas so that we maximize our margin for error. Same goes for the head shot, we train for the center of that vital area which happens to be that triangle between the nose and mouth (which incidentally would be a medulla shot in a frontal presentation). If you miss and hit em' in the eye or the throat they're still likely to drop.

  12. #11
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    Shall we change it to 2 CM and 1 MO? (Catch, kinda' sounds like 2 CM and one more...)

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    Distinguished Member Array SixBravo's Avatar
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    A few reasons off the top of my head...

    The first being overpenetration. Not a lot of solid meat there to stop the round. We should always be aware of our background, but regardless... Sometimes there is no choice, right?

    It's a smaller target to hit than the rest of the head.

    Not always 100% reliable, but in general a shot to the brain while put most people down and it's a much larger target than a neck shot. As well, a CNS shot can still be made through the face. Most of us have seen those targets that have the upside-down triangles over the head. If you haven't, here's one of mine:

    We shoot these targets for whats commonly referred to as a "Failure Drill." Why? Because if your COM shots fail to stop the assailant.. The CNS shot will for sure. This triangle, when placed on a face and matched to the other side of their head is a guide to the Cerebellum and brain stem. A shot here is a guarunteed instant knock-down.

    These are just my thoughts on the matter... Feel free to critique it or tear it apart. I'm not an expert.
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    Ex Member Array Pete's Avatar
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    SixBravo, you got the target square in the throat with one shot, I'm willing to bet that it was that one and that one alone that put him down...

    Seriously though, I think throat shots have their place and will spend some more time thinking about scenarios.

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    Distinguished Member Array SixBravo's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by 0.02 View Post
    SixBravo, you got the target square in the throat with one shot, I'm willing to bet that it was that one and that one alone that put him down...
    HAHHAA!!! Nailed it. The damned paper just kept advancing! He wouldn't drop the gun... so I did what I felt prudent: I gave him a box (or two).
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    The MO is about the size of an acorn, and that "small" area is the instant turnoff switch for counter-sniper work.

    We'd be hard pressed to make the pistol shot into that "acorn" intentionally. If you think it is easy, ask any trained counter-sniper with a rifle [ I hold certification for that with HK since 94 btw ].

    Long gun training to intentionally hit that MO acorn from various angles is arduous and takes some practice to understand where to place the shot from the front, obliuques and sides so it exits through the acorn.

    Miss that acorn by 1/4" with a pistol round, the perp can still get shots off [ probably unlikely, but not beyond the realm of possibilities here ].

    The acorn is located 1/2" below the earlobe at the center of the base of the skull. Thats quite a bit lower than what people are talking about here in some posts. The throat shots would be lower than where the sweet spot acorn is located.

    Even when taking that acorn out, the instructors could not guarantee an instant stop 100% of the time. Close but in their words " there are no absolutes" so they may still pull the trigger when hit there.

    It's such a small area that will shut them down instantly, that unless you are being offensive with the pistol and have the time needed to make that "perfect" precision shot [ and have trained to know angles of entry so the rd gets through the acorn, how that round performs in gelatin/tissue, etc, I'd suggest not looking to make that shot in a reactive self defense scenario.

    It's a precision shot, no other way around it. As such, if you take the time to make the shot under stress and being reactive instead of where that shot is really meant to be used proactively with time on your side, you will likely take more potential incoming than otherwise would be necessary to just put rds on them as near COM as possible and don't let up till they have ceased agression.

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