Start Practicing More Head Shots Because Terrorists Love Bombs


If you are reading this, then you are probably the type of person who would be willing to fight back against a terrorist attack using your guns.

The fact is that more and more terrorist attacks are going to be occurring on American soil because the “Global War on Terror” includes the USA now.

That means, if you have a gun and you carry it (as you should), you ought to put some thought into how you would fight back against a possibly suicidal team of terrorists who is intent on racking up the biggest body count possible.


Here’s a fact: terrorists love bombs.

Terrorists Love Explosives Because They’re Very Effective

Explosives can kill a LOT of people all at once. Especially in a crowded area. That’s why terrorists like them.

In Greg Ellifritz’s excellent article “Armed Citizen Response To Terrorist Bomber” he points out how deadly bombs are (emphasis mine):

“Time, distance, and shielding are the only defense. Realize that a 20lb suicide bomb vest loaded with shrapnel is dangerous within 400 meters. That’s a long distance! Recent research has determined that 15 meters (about 50 feet) is the distance that means the difference between life and death in most suicide bombing incidents. If you are within 15 meters of the bomber when he detonates, you will likely die. If you are beyond 15 meters, you will likely live, but may be seriously injured. Ultimately, whether you live or die depends on the terrain, the type of bomb and shrapnel and how far away from the bomb you are. The farther away you can get, the better off you will be. Ideally, distance combined with some type of cover that will stop shrapnel and projectiles is best. “

So terrorists today like to use a combination of guns and explosives.

How can you be more prepared?

If You Are Going To Fight Back, You Need To “Shoot Them In The Face”

Watch this (graphic) video below to see a hero cop that responded to one of the terrorists in the recent Istanbul Airport Attack. The cop shoots him, the terrorist drops and his rifle falls away and the it appears the officer then realized the terrorist had a bomb of some sort and the policeman tries to run away. As I understand it the officer was still killed.

What’s the only solution to successfully fight back against a terrorist? As Gabe Suarez says, “shoot them in the face”:

Solution? Simple – shoot them in the face. If you shoot most creatures on earth in the face, they will tend to stand down from the fight. I am even aware of a case where a man brought down a bear with a magazine full of .40 S&W. Imagine that. Surely a human will require less.

Like any target discussion, we have a tiered system for desirable placement. In the best case, shoot them in the eyes. A skilled marksman, with an accurate and modern weapon can make eyeball shots at room distances of ten to fifteen feet. The way to a terrorist’s brain is right through the eyes. If you are an overachiever, go for the tear duct.

Next best placement area is bordered thus: eyebrows to moustache and inside the outer corners of the eyes. This is the “face” proper and an easy area to penetrate through into the brain. It is also much larger than the internal-affairs-approved pelvic shot.

The objective of the shot is flaccid paralysis. This is a common result when the bullet enters the “best target zone” in a terrorist’s face. When the bullet enters thus, it tends to strike the medulla oblongata causing flaccid paralysis. The subject is incapacitated instantaneously preventing involuntary muscle contraction that may pull the trigger or detonate an explosive device.

Expanding from there is the head proper. Some will eschew anything outside the last targeted zone, and truly that will yield the greatest return on investment. However, let’s consider the following.

It is easy to knock someone into unconsciousness by hitting them on the forehead with a baton or a heavy metal flashlight. A boxer or MMA fighter can knock someone out with a punch to the jaw or mouth. Are we to assume that a punch to the mouth will have a solid effect, but that the 9mm or 40 round will simply be ignored? As well, anyone who has ever been punched in the throat will verify that a throat punch is not anything to be scoffed at.

So the extended target area extends from the eyebrows, down to the base of the throat, or the suprasternal notch. So we are looking at a roughly 8” X 4” box we can throw lead into. To give a better idea take a standard 8.5×11 piece of paper and fold it in half. That is about it. This is much easier to hit than the lawyer-fearing pundits would think, and easier to turn someone off most Riki-tik.”

It’s Important To Understand That Shooting a Terrorist With a Bomb Will Most Likely Get You Killed Too …

If you have no other option and the terrorist has brought the killing to you, then of course, fight back. So if you must fight back, and you must shoot, shoot them in the face.

But this is also real life …

Greg Ellifritz again introduces us to reality:

” … The problem is that even if you immediately incapacitate the terrorist with headshots, there’s no guarantee that you will be safe. The bomb could be on a timer. The bomb could be remotely controlled by a handler. You just don’t know. That’s what I mean. Taking the shot may save the day. It may also get you killed.

For a hand carried or worn bomb vest, one must be between 200 and 400 meters away from the blast to be safe from the shrapnel. None of us are going to make a pistol shot through a crowded airport at 200 meters. If you are close enough to take the shot, you are within range of being killed by the bomb.

Luckily, this cop’s shots to center mass didn’t detonate the explosive vest. That wasn’t the case in Paris, where one of the cops hit a bomb vest and blew up the bomber. The unstable homemade explosives in the bomb vest may detonate when hit by a bullet. That means headshots should be the rule. How far away can you reliably make a headshot under stress? Most of you won’t be able to do it beyond 50 feet. Some of you may have to be much closer.

The bad news is that in all suicide bombing attacks studied, victims within five meters of the bomb suffered 100% fatalities. At the 15 meter range (around 50 feet), the victims were slightly more likely to live than die after the blast. Anyone inside of 50 feet is more likely to die than live. How far away can you guarantee a headshot again? If you are close enough to make the shot, you will have at best a 50% chance of survival if the bomb blows.

These are sobering statistics, but they are critical to understand. If you choose to play the hero and engage the bomber like this heroic cop, you will likely suffer his same fate.”

Here’s How To Practice Face/Head Shots …

This is a super cheap — and effective — way to practice your accuracy:

*** Cut up every cardboard box that is going in the trash

*** Staple a 3×5 index card to it. That’s your target!

*** Put 6 aimed shots into the 3×5 card at 3 yards, 5 yards, and then 7 yards.

*** At 3 yards, the goal is to have all six bullet holes touching. After that, all shots need to hit the card. If all six shots hit the card, increase to the next distance (if you’re advanced keep moving back to 10 yards, 15, etc. Try one handed, etc).

I would consider someone a “good” combat marksman if they can put all 6 shots in the 3×5 card from the 7 yard line at will.

Meaning, you can walk onto the range “cold” and draw your concealed carry pistol — and every time — you can put all 6 shots into that 3×5 card without fail.

Consistency is key … that’s because you don’t do “better” in a life-or-death situation — you simply default down to the highest level of training you have mastered.

Why The 3×5 Index Card?

Well first off, it’s super cheap. No need to waste money on expensive targets (or even printing them out). You can order like a 1,000 of these things for little more than $10 bucks.


3x5cardSecond, and most importantly, the 3×5 index card is almost the perfect size to mimic the “cranio-ocular cavity” target – the area on the head between the eyebrow line and the moustache line (Right between the eyes).



When you put a bullet there, you will shut down an attacker’s central nervous system like Suarez was discussing. It’s what they call a “no reflex” kill zone.

Keep Practicing Head Shots, But Be Aware That Distance Is The Best Defense …

It’s good to practice face/head shots if you intend to fight back against killer terrorists …

But it’s also important that you understand the reality of explosive threats. I have not yet taken a good explosives class, but you should at the very least read Greg’s excellent articles on the matter:

– Armed Citizen Response to the Terrorist Bomber

– The Secondary Device

Those will get you started. Keep preparing and keep training.

If you do the 3×5 index card drill, post how far you made it in the comments.



  1. This is a good article. Here’s another target suggestion and it’s what I use. I acquire a lot of unusable 8 1/2 X 11″ scraps of paper from computer use and for $2.49 I buy a thousand of those 3/4″ stick-um’ dots from an office supply store and put them in the middle of the papers. Any hits within a 5″ circle around the dot at 25 feet are my kill hits. You want to be good at that distance to reduce the chance of missing and accidentally hitting an innocent person behind a murderer, a crowd behind him is unavoidable because it’s how these cowards operate. Constantly practicing with your firearm is not the act of a gun nut, however, carrying a gun without practice is. Learn slow so you can become fast as you need to be instinctive with deadly force because when the tunnel vision and stress reduce you to “brake pedal” reaction time…only your training can keep you from freezing so you may save yourself and others.

  2. Headshots. I’ve maintained for Decades that a Headshot is the only form of proper gun control.

  3. This is a good article. Most times when I go to the range I usually got the long range first, 500 yards where I hit 6″ to 12″ steel targets 3 or 4 out of 5. Then I go the pistol ranges and put up my targets, walk back to the canopy and with the pistol that is on my hip I turn, draw and walk back towards the targets and depending on the mag capacity, begin firing on the move usually placing 90 % of my shots in the head or 9 ring. I then go back to the bench, reload and shoot I mag at 3 yards, then 7 yards, then 15 yards, all head shots with all rounds inside a 2″ ring at 3 and 7 yards and 95% inside that same area at 15 yards. That, in my opinion, is why I go to the long range first is to get me in a real small area of contact. When I qualified for both my CHL and private security licenses at least 47 of 50 rounds were inside the 10 ring or really close to it and all inside the 9. The 3 that weren’t were touching the 8/9 border from 15 yards. I’ll post more later.

  4. I guess the biggest thing that bothers me are dead man switches. Once there thumb lets pressure off the button it goes off. On the other hand they risk it going off before getting to there target and may not use one. Oh what the hell take the head shot, the odds are they probably wont have one.

    • Like I mentioned in the article, and quoted Greg on, if you engage a bomb-wielding terrorist — you have a 50/50 chance of living even if you take him out.

  5. I am not as proficient as your other readers, My hope is that I can hit someone at 10 feet with my Lady Smith 38. I will see if the range will let me bring my own cardboard targets. In CT, it’s the only place where you can shoot.

    • Deb,

      You can go there and buy their targets, bring your 3×5 cards, and just staple them to the targets (if the designs are distracting then you can turn their targets around and staple to the back).

    • NOT to belittle you in any form, for I too am a head shooter, but I had to giggle a little – when I was a young Squirrel Hunter (55 Years ago) my Grandfather would be more than cross with me for shooting them in the head – he wanted to eat the brains! Hit them in the Neck, Boy!

      Setting Squirrels aside – this is sage advice. Shoot them in the face, repeat, then get the HELL out of there!

  6. What do you do when a terrorist walks into the room; drops a bio grenade which fills the room with fatal gas? Everyone one is dead in the room within several minutes. I know this doesn’t speak to this topic per se but it is another thing to consider and worry about. Terrorists love bombs but they will be loving Bio grenades even more as they discover how easy it is to deploy one and leave the area themselves without injury. Just saying……

  7. Because my carry gun is a mouse gun except the rare times I carry my Bersa 380, I know I have to do a head shot, a heavy mackinaw jacket will stop my bullets! All my practice, even dry fire is for head shots…I know to put front sight only on target, and hit high within a few inches of my aiming point!

  8. Suggested targets.: Wether shooting hand guns or rifles my range target is a 9″ white paper plate. I do draw a center circle using a silver dollar size token with a black magic marker for focus. If you can hit the plate from 21-100- 300 yards you should have an adequate kill shot. I practice with this target using my daily carry Glock 43 to my Remington 700 to my AR 15.
    Cheap target and keeps focus very narrow and tight. Staple up targets up down, left right and different locations.
    Practice, Practice and more Practice.

  9. I have always preached, practice, practice, practice, until you can keep a 5 inch group at the extreme range of your weapon. They can’t armor their faces.

  10. Caleb: How many rounds did the .40 S&W hold that took the bear down.
    I was told many years ago that a .22 LR is an excellent caliber for head shots.

  11. Shots on the head would be the right solution. However if he wired a deadman detonater it won’t make a difference either way

  12. I have been doing the 3×5 cards with an orange dot for years. It helps you to focus on a target. One card at chest level for two rounds (45 cal) and the last at eye level. At the NRA range in Fairfax they have moving programmable targets so I would send it out to the max and shoot a magazine as the target moves toward you. Lots of fun and it teaches you to adjust your sight picture as the target comes to you. The ranges where I shoot now do not have programmable targets. Good article. Thanks

  13. Newbie here, I am 68, 5’3″, & I wear glasses. What do you guys think of a Ruger 25 magnum revolver? Is it suitable for concealed carry? I just passed my concealed carry course, & need a gun. Presently shooting a Daisy BB gun that was a BD present this past April, and can hit within a 5″ ring just about every time at 40′. I am hitting the target also with the small self cocking(that’s what they call it) crossbow. None of this is impressive, but all I can handle with arthritic hands. I do practice every day for about an hour. Both should help with siting with a pistol? I used a borrowed 9mm S&W for the course, but it had more kick than I like. I just got a blow gun, but not had a chance to try it out yet. Any other items I need to try?

      • Hello Caleb, such a nice name. I had seen this before, and reviewed it again. While full of info, I am looking for an opinion of the 25 magnum revolver, mainly because I can leave a chamber empty, for safety, while hopefully having a quick access, and response time. It is light weight, and fits my hand very well. The article also reminded me to ask for the best/most suitable type of holster, for this gun, the 25 magnum revolver, please. I really do not like the 9mm pistol, it had no safety, and it was too powerful for my needs. And, I would like a revolver. Any reason a revolver is not suitable for a CCW? Any help here would be greatly appreciated.

  14. I agree with the head shot idea. If I ever find myself in that situation, I hope I can find the courage to walk in firing until the terrorist drops. I’m 69 years old, and live hero or dead hero sounds a lot better than maimed vegetable hero at this point. I still have some years left, but I’d prefer to LIVE them!

  15. I agree, my wife and I both shoot. We went to the craft store and bought two Styrofoam mannequin heads. We put a pantyhose leg over one to identify the bad guy then attach the two together. Put them on a stick for height. Pretend the hostage is your loved one. Makes you concentrate cause if you miss your wife is dead.

  16. I like this approach. I normally try to shoot the “10” zone center of mass shot on a silhouette target at the range (I work with Sheriff’s deputies and that’s what they’re taught), but the 3×5 card head-shot idea is much better when you’re dealing with a mass shooter/potential suicide bomber scenario. Definitely going to practice that.

  17. I have always wondered and assume that if you can take a crouching or kneeling position before firing, that in case of a miss in a crowded area, the upward angle of the bullet will have a much less likely chance of hitting an innocent bystander.
    I am not an expert or CCW, just my thoughts.

    • Yes Bob, that is a great application of “know your target and what is beyond, around, above it, etc”

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