Center mass of the chest is where all the “good stuff” is located, the heart and major blood vessels. The problem is that none of these goodies are large, and they are protected by natural body armor. There are numerous shootings where the threat received a “terminal” hit in the heart but kept fighting for a few minutes.
Given the opportunity, the pelvic girdle is the first place to engage. Just about everyone who is shot in the pelvis ends up on the ground. Take away their mobility and it’s easier for you to escape. The pelvis is a large target and you can fire at a lower angle, which is an advantage in crowded and urban areas. Plus, there are a lot of goodies located in the pelvis like blood vessels, joints and nerve bundles. And, if the threat is wearing body armor -- which is showing up more on the street, most of it doesn’t protect the pelvic girdle.
Once forced to fire, you don’t stop until achieving the desired results. Again, your mission is to break contact and move to a location that’s safe -- or at least easier to defend if things escalate. During self-defense shootings the number of rounds most often fired is three to four. One shot stops with pistols are rare. After two or three shots, if you’re not seeing the desired results shift and engage one of the other areas of the body. Also, remember the threat will be standing at an angle, and most likely moving. Apply the term “center of mass” to whatever part of the body you’re engaging. With this in mind, your practice should include working with three-dimensional targets, instead of the flat 2-D targets normally used on the range. Practice regularly, and always carry modern, defense ammunition.
Shooting another human is a difficult thing. But, when all other options have been exhausted, using the firearm is the most efficient way to stop the attack. Make sure when the time comes you’re well prepared, which will ensure efficiency.
Tiger McKee is director of Shootrite Firearms Academy. He is the author of The Book of Two Guns, AR-15 Skills and Drills, has a regular column in American Handgunner and makes some cool knives and custom revolvers. www.shootrite.org or visit Shootrite’s Facebook page for other details.