Pelvic Shot - Is it worth considering?

Pelvic Shot - Is it worth considering?

This is a discussion on Pelvic Shot - Is it worth considering? within the Defensive Carry & Tactical Training forums, part of the Defensive Carry Discussions category; While waiting for my CCW permit to be issued, I have been studying up on changes in tactics since I last carried many years ago. ...

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Thread: Pelvic Shot - Is it worth considering?

  1. #1
    Member Array 1911packer's Avatar
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    Pelvic Shot - Is it worth considering?

    While waiting for my CCW permit to be issued, I have been studying up on changes in tactics since I last carried many years ago.

    One thing I ran across is the pelvic shot endorsed by Massad Ayoob.

    As I understand it, three thing are accomplished by this tactic: 1. By aiming at the pelvis, a good view of the BG's hands can be maintained. 2. Aiming at the crotch has a psychological effect on the bad guy. 3. A hit to the pelvic area by a powerful enough round can drop the BG by breaking bones.

    Does anyone practice this tactic and why?

    Has anyone ever aimed at a BG's crotch, and did this change his attitude?

    Does anyone know of an example where the pelvic shot was effective?


  2. #2
    Member Array Whyveear's Avatar
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    Martin Fackler had this to say in the Wound Ballistics Review. 4(1):13; 1999.

    "Shots to the Pelvic Area ".

    “I welcome the chance to refute the belief that the pelvic area is a reasonable target during a gunfight. I can find no evidence or valid rationale for intentionally targeting the pelvic area in a gunfight. The reasons against, however, are many. They include:

    From the belt line to the top of the head, the areas most likely to rapidly incapacitate the person hit are concentrated in or near the midline. In the pelvis, however, the blood vessels are located to each side, having diverged from the midline, as the aorta and inferior vena cava divide at about the level of the navel. Additionally, the target that, when struck, is the most likely to cause rapid and reliable incapacitation, the spinal cord located in the midline of the abdomen, thorax and neck), ends well above the navel and 18 not a target in the pelvis.

    The pelvic branches of the aorta and inferior vena cava are more difficult to hit than their parent vessels -- they are smaller targets, and they diverge laterally from the midline (getting farther from it as they descend). Even if hit, each carry far less blood than the larger vessels from which they originated. Thus, even if one of these branches in the pelvis is hit, incapacitation from blood loss must necessarily be slower than from a major vessel hit higher up in the torso.

    Other than soft tissue structures not essential to continuing the gunfight (1oops of bowel, bladder) the most likely thing to be struck by shots to the pelvis would be bone. The ilium is a large flat bone that forms most of the back wall of the pelvis. The problem is that handgun bullets that hit it would not break the bone but only make a small hole in passing through it: this would do nothing to destroy bony support of the pelvic girdle. The pelvic girdle is essentially a circle: to disrupt its structure significantly would require breaking it in two places. Only a shot that disrupted the neck or upper portion of the shaft of the femur would be likely to disrupt bony support enough to cause the person hit to fall. This is a small and highly unlikely target: the aim point to hit it would be a mystery to those without medical training — and to most of those with medical training.

    The “theory” stated in the question postulates that “certain autonomic responses the body undergoes during periods of stress” causes officers to shoot low, and that apparently this is good in a gunfight because such shots cause “severe disability.” I hope that the points presented above debunk the second part of the theory. As for the “autonomic responses” that cause officers to shoot low, I am unaware of anything in the anatomy or physiology of the autonomic nervous system that would even suggest such an occurrence. Most laymen do not understand the function of the autonomic nervous system. It is simply a system whose main function is to fine tune the glands and smooth muscles (those in the walls of organs and blood vessels) of the body. During times of stress such as perceived impending danger, the autonomic nervous system diverts blood from the intestines and digestive organs to the skeletal muscles — in the so-called “fight or flight” response. The effects of this response are constantly exaggerated by laymen who lack an adequate understanding of it — most notably by gun writ-ers eager to impress their readers. Interestingly, the human body can get along quite well without major parts of the autonomic nervous system. During my professional life as a surgeon, myself and colleagues removed parts of thousands of vagus nerves (mostly in treating peptic ulcer disease) -- thus depriving the patient of the major part of the parasympathetic half of the autonomic nervous system. We also removed many ganglia from the sympathetic half of the auto-nomic nervous system, in treating such things as profusely excess sweating and various problems caused by spasm of the arteries. I am unaware of any evidence that these operations produced any significant effect on the future capacity of these patients to react appropriately in times of impending danger.

    Unfortunately, the pelvis shot fallacy is common. This fallacy, along with other misinformation, is promoted constantly by at least one gun writer who is widely published in the popular gun press. Because of this, I regularly debunk this fallacy by including some of the above rationale in my presentations to law enforcement firearm instructor groups.”

  3. #3
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    The above post pretty much sums it up!

    For immediate engagement of a deadly threat, always go Center Mass of your opponent. For one thing, the target is much bigger! For another thing, all the reasons mentioned by Dr. Fackler. (Dr. Martin Fackler, M.D. was the head of the Wound Ballistics Labratory for the Army).

    Another reason is that under stress during what is called "Body Alarm" mode, when you truly fear for your life and are experiencing a surge of adrenaline coursing through your body as your heart pumps it out at well over 120 beats a minute your body is going to go through some rather profound and instantaneous changes to include, but not limited to, loss of fine motor skills and function as well as tunnel vision.

    Your best chance of hitting your target before being killed in the next 2 or 3 seconds is to aim Center of Mass at the largest part of your target. It just so happens that anatomically, it is your best chance of getting a rapid, and hopefully instant incapacitation of your opponent.

    Selecting other targets such as the head or pelvis should most often be reserved for an opponent who fails to stop his aggression with several Center of Mass hits.

    Of course like everything, there are exceptions of which I won't get into here.

    As far as aiming at a BG's crotch or pelvic area for some sort of psychological effect when the BG see's your gun pointed in that direction. Forget it! Watching too many hollywood movies can and does get people killed if they view what they learned there as something that will help them carry the day.

    Gunfights are over in a matter of seconds and fractions of seconds and then someone lies dead or dying... maybe that person will be you.

    As law abiding citizens who carry a gun to defend ourselves against crime, our gunfights are gonna be fast and most likely from a disadvantage. We don't engage in gangster type encounters where one will just stand their in a faceoff with an opponent taking the time to look at whether your opponent is pointing his piece at your crotch or not.
    -Bark'n
    Semper Fi


    "The gun is the great equalizer... For it is the gun, that allows the meek to repel the monsters; Whom are bigger, stronger and without conscience, prey on those who without one, would surely perish."

  4. #4
    Senior Member Array Joshua M. Smith's Avatar
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    Only if you don't practice like you should (surely that doesn't include anyone here).

    People tend to shoot high in gunfights. This is one reason, I think, that COM is stressed: If you were really hitting that area, it would be less effective than if you were shooting higher than that area (ie, the heart).

    Personally, I practice on targets which have an upside down triangle drawn, using the collar bones and points to connect the triangle.

    Josh <><

  5. #5
    Member Array Zigmun's Avatar
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    I remember reading about this, but I don't recall a lot of the details. My impression wasn't so much that he was advocating a pelvic shot. I came away thinking that this was a way to flush out whatever someone might be holding in a gunpoint situation. It would cause a natural flinch and expose the persons hands, as they instinctively covered. Again, my read on it was that this was a potential tactic, prior to shooting.
    I might have missed the other stuff.

  6. #6
    Senior Member Array jdsumner's Avatar
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    In a 'fight-for-your-life' shooting, you shoot center of mass of whatever is available at the time, till you can shoot center of mass of a better area. If knees are all you get a shot at, take it untill a better target presents itself.
    Toos in a toolbox, not dogmas, will best prepare one for a life or death encounter.

    Dan

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    In a SHTF adrenaline pumped scenario all hits are better than no hits and hopefully we'll keep on hitting until the deadly threat is neutralized. A pelvic shot would not be my personal #1 choice for a quick and most effective end to the deadly threat.
    Liberty Over Tyranny Μολὼν λαβέ

  8. #8
    Senior Member Array jdsumner's Avatar
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    "all hits are better than no hits"--QKShooter
    Best sd advice all day.


    "A pelvic shot would not be my personal #1 choice for a quick end to the deadly threat."--QKShooter

    But, it may be your #1 opportune target at the time. Work that untill the better, higher probability target(s) presents itself.

    I'd just hate for newer shooters to get the idea that the only shot is a com chest shot. Waiting for that shot may be just as 'low probability' for survival as pelvic shots. You may just have to 'take what you can get, till better is available.'
    And, lets be realistic, some people are subject to phsycological (sp?) one shot stops. The fact that they've been shot MAY end the attack. Dont count on it. But, if its my life on the line, I'll put hits wherever I can, as often as I can untill I achieve a stop, whether its cns damage, skeletal muscular, hydraulic, or psychological.

    Dan

  9. #9
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    jdsumner...no argument from me on that.
    Liberty Over Tyranny Μολὼν λαβέ

  10. #10
    Member Array citizen510's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by jdsumner View Post
    "all hits are better than no hits"--QKShooter
    Best sd advice all day.


    "A pelvic shot would not be my personal #1 choice for a quick end to the deadly threat."--QKShooter

    But, it may be your #1 opportune target at the time. Work that untill the better, higher probability target(s) presents itself.

    I'd just hate for newer shooters to get the idea that the only shot is a com chest shot. Waiting for that shot may be just as 'low probability' for survival as pelvic shots. You may just have to 'take what you can get, till better is available.'
    And, lets be realistic, some people are subject to phsycological (sp?) one shot stops. The fact that they've been shot MAY end the attack. Dont count on it. But, if its my life on the line, I'll put hits wherever I can, as often as I can untill I achieve a stop, whether its cns damage, skeletal muscular, hydraulic, or psychological.

    Dan
    A very balanced approach indeed: Take the shot you have until you get the shot you want if you need it. Thank you, Dan.
    It is not the Bill of Privileges. It is not the Bill of Permits. It is the Bill of Rights.

    People should not be afraid of the government; the government should be afraid of the people.

  11. #11
    VIP Member Array MitchellCT's Avatar
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    I'll take what I can get, when I can get it, but if I have a choice I'd go for the thoracic triangle located in the area of "nipple-nipple-neck" or the face.

  12. #12
    Member Array ChrisFry's Avatar
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    We currently teach as one of our shooting responses a "Non-Standard Response" which is 2 rounds center mass followed by 4 rounds to the pelvis.

    The rational behind this is as follows- it is good to have a plan of response/action. Plan A is the SDR- Standard Defensive Response - 2 rnds center mass. If this does not do the job and or cease forward locomotion (which at close ranges should be a primary goal) Plan B is the NSDR- Non-Standard Defensive Response.

    These shots to the pelvis are not intended as killing wounds as much as a means to cease forward movement. A simple test of this is to have someone stand in front of you and walk slowly forward, then taking your hand or foot strike them in the hip flexor. This will cause the hips/butt to push rearward and the upper torso to shoot forward (careful they don't head butt you in the face). Very difficult to continue rapid forward movement when in this position with any efficacy.

    Just a different perspective.
    WE ARE EDUCATED IN PAIN

    Chris Fry
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  13. #13
    Ex Member Array Creature's Avatar
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    I can tell you from experience that perforating the intestines and the ensuing peritonitis will require a seriously long time in the hospital for recovery. The recovery itself is extremely painful.

    I cant speak to a cracked or broken hip though.

  14. #14
    VIP Member Array edr9x23super's Avatar
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    Personally, I train to "Mozambique" any BG

    For those that are not familiar, that means two shots to center mass, 1 shot to the head. I typically practice this technique at distances from 7 to 20 yards. I have read about the pelvic shot as a viable way to win a gun battle, but don't aspire to it. As other posters have said, hitting a vital area down there is just not as likely. I try to stitch my rounds slightly left of center when I shoot for center mass, to try and hit either the heart, or a major artery. If not, the round definitely hits a lung, and the BG starts drowning in his own blood. If the round hits the heart or an artery, the fight is over in seconds; If he happens to wear body armor, the head shot will cut him off like a switch. The reason I practice the head shots all the time is due to a court house shooting I read about here in Texas a couple of years back (somebody here might remember the details). Apparently, an ex-husband was losing a custody battle or something in court and went berserk, pulling out an AK and shooting up the place. Outside the courthouse a CHL holder engaged the BG, scoring several center mass hits, but since the guy was wearing body armor, they had little effect. The CHL holder was killed because he did not immediately follow up with a head shot.

    So remember, when engaging the BG, two shots to center mass, one to the head. End of problem.
    "Guard with jealous attention the public liberty. Suspect everyone who approaches that jewel. Unfortunately, nothing will preserve it but downright force. Whenever you give up that force, you are inevitably ruined". - Patrick Henry

  15. #15
    Senior Member Array jdsumner's Avatar
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    "to try and hit either the heart, or a major artery. If not, the round definitely hits a lung, and the BG starts drowning in his own blood. If the round hits the heart or an artery, the fight is over in seconds"--edr9x23super.
    It can take a human up to 35sec or more to reach hydraulic failure. The attacker can still inflict terrible damage in that time. Shooting com is intended to sever or damage the cns. Severing or damaging the cns is the only way to guarantee an immediate cessation of hostilities. All other shooting (pelvis, legs, whatever) is intended to gain us a shot of the cns (spine, brain).


    "So remember, when engaging the BG, two shots to center mass, one to the head. End of problem."--edr9x23super. Sometimes easier said than done under the stress of being attacked. Not saying it cant be done, but the head is a relatively small target compared to the pelvic region. A few quick hits there (pelvis) may buy you more time and distance to put that shot in the head with geater accuracy.

    Dan

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