As a concealed carrier one of the concepts you need to be aware of is shot placement. Rather than debating on what caliber will do the most damage consider shot placement. Shot placement is king regardless of bullet size.

Timers – A timer is started as soon as a bullet impacts the human body. Depending on where the bullet impacts and the number of impacts will determine the speed of the timer. Once the timer expires so does the threat. So where on the human body will start the said timer? The most common is the high chest area (high A zone). By engaging the threat in the high chest area you are in effect hitting the lungs and possibly the heart. Another area to aim in order to start a timer are shots to the abdomen and pelvic area.

Shot Placement | Timers, Triggers and Human Targeting
High A Zone Hits.

Kill Switches – A kill switch is a specific area of the human body when impacted by a bullet, will dispatch the threat immediately. There are two primary areas of the human body that are considered a kill switch. Those two areas are the head and the spine. In a recent course I attended, this is why the instructor focused on accuracy at 25 yards. We’ve seen active shooter events in the past where the shooter was wearing body armor. In this scenario, the only option of immediately disabling the threat is a headshot.

Human Targeting – Once you have a basic understanding of timers and switches, you can now work on where to aim in order to stop or dispatch the threat. Depending on the clothing worn you can identify a prominent point to aim at, whether that is a logo, a word, a letter, or a button. You need to know where to target a human in order to effect the most rapid incapacitation and where on the body to aim in order to do that. Take a look at the following video where former Delta Operator John McPhee discusses the finer points of human targeting.

Now, what if the threat is not static presenting to you a perfect square target? Chances are you may have to take a shot from another angle. When you do that you need to know where to aim from those other angles in order to start a timer or flip a switch to off. What if you’re standing at a 90-degree angle to the active shooter? Where would you aim for the kill switch? For me, I’m going for the ear. By aiming at the ear, the bullet will impact the brain/head, thus hitting the kill switch to stop the threat where they stand. Lights out.

Next time you go to the range to practice, have a game plan. Don’t just go through the motions of sending rounds downrange. Practice high A-zone hits and headshots. Start at 7 yards, go slow, and focus on all the fundamentals. Once you are confident at hitting those specific areas at 7 yards, then move your target out to 10 yards and repeat the process. Eventually, work your way out to 25 yards until your confidence is high that you can make that shot.

Shot Placement and Effectiveness

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*Featured image courtesy of DVIDS