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Should You Shoot to Wound or Shoot to Kill?

August 03, 20214 min read

What's Up Sheepdogs? Ryan here with Tampa Carry.

I'm sure you've heard the age-old question: Should you shoot to kill or shoot to wound? I love hearing the crazy responses I get when I ask this question during a class. 

Some people say, "I would shoot to kill so the other guy can't testify." Others say, "If the person only has a knife, I would shoot to wound." 

Your Goal...

Our goal is to make the bad guy stop doing whatever they're doing. If they die during this process, it's not my problem. I believe the attacker chooses death when they decide to rape a woman, kidnap a child, or become a school shooter.

On the flip side, if I shoot an attacker and he or she lives, that's great. Maybe he or she will turn their life around. 

Most People Will Miss...

If you're ever in a situation where you are forced to use your firearm, you're going to be very close to the attacker, usually within 9 to 15 feet. Most people will miss 80% of the shots they take in a self-defense situation.

That sounds like a really high number, doesn’t it? 

Most people can hit a target 100% of the time while at the range.

The Effects of Stress on the Human Body...

However, during a self-defense situation, two hormones are released into your brain: adrenaline and cortisol. When these two hormones are released, your body begins to function in a different way.

First, you lose dexterity in your hands and feet. This means it will be harder to grip and operate your firearm.

Next, you get extreme tunnel vision. Imagine looking out your window while looking through a toilet paper roll. This is tunnel vision.

The third effect these hormones have on your body is loss of hearing. If you've ever fired a gun without hearing protection, your ears were probably ringing for hours.

However, why don't your ears ring when you go hunting? I never really understood this phenomenon. I mean, I'm sitting in a tree without hearing protection and all of a sudden a massive buck steps into the field. Your heart rate increases and your brain is filled with adrenaline and cortisol, and bang, you take the shot. The reason your ears don't ring is because of a loss of hearing caused by these hormones. 

The final effect adrenaline and cortisol have on the human body is probably the biggest. Cortisol turns off the portion of your brain that controls critical thinking. This is why I laugh when I hear students say things like, "I would have noticed the attacker was trying to put his hands up," or "I would have made a better decision." It's very easy for us to analyze a self-defense shooting after the fact when our critical thinking abilities are working. 

The Application of Skill

During a high-stress situation, the portion of your brain that takes over is the primitive brain. This is the portion of the brain responsible for your fight or flight response, and this portion of your brain must be programmed.

The way you program this portion of your brain is to train and prepare yourself for the unthinkable moments in life before they happen. This is why the concept of application of skill is so important.

Only with consistent and deliberate training can you develop your skills to the point that you can overcome these natural reactions in the body. Failing to develop your skills will leave you at a massive disadvantage during a violent attack, and that disadvantage could cost you your life.

You Must Train Like Your Life Depends On It...

You have to practice with your firearm until it becomes a part of your body. You must memorize the critical points of the Florida Concealed Carry Masterclass, The Beginners Guide to Firearms and the Sheepdog Masterclass, so that if and when a situation arises, you don't have to think; you can just act.

In my opinion, shooting to wound is wrong.

During a self-defense situation, you will be overwhelmed with thoughts, hormones, and emotions. The last thing I want to do is make my target smaller by aiming at the attacker's hand, arm, or leg. This is why I aim for the high center of the chest.

The chest is the largest target I have; therefore, I have the most significant opportunity for my shot to hit the attacker. The high center chest is the area right between the nipples, below the collar bone, and above the rib cage.

This box contains some of the body’s most critical organs such as the heart, lungs, central nervous system, and major arteries. I train to put three to five shots into the attacker’s high center chest. If they die, they die. If they live, maybe they will go to prison and find Jesus.

That's all I have for today. So until next time keep training and stay safe...

Ryan G. Thomas

P.S. You’re one step away from getting your Florida concealed carry permit….FAST & EASY…

And for a limited time you can watch the concealed carry course online for free... Click here to get started...

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Ryan G. Thomas

Ryan believes a trained and aware citizen is the best way to minimize crime, victims and senseless acts of violence. Ryan is a veteran of the United States Air Force and a father of three beautiful children. Ryan and his wife Tiffany met while doing inner city ministry for Operation Explosion in Tampa 12 years ago. He is passionate about God, his family, and his community. Ryan has a passion for the 2nd amendment and believes all Americans should have the right and ability to protect themselves and their families.

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