Question: Where do you shoot a bad guy that’s doing bad stuff if you want him to STOP doing bad stuff to you?
Answer: Most people would say “Center mass” right? Aim for the chest?
(Or “upper thoracic cavity” if they want to sound smart)
After all, that’s the (arguably) easiest place to shoot and hit because it’s the biggest — it also contains some of the most important human “machinery” — the heart, aorta, lungs, etc
Second to this, most gun guys will say the head.
All great answers, but is there any even better target to aim for? Maybe.
Should You Shoot Him In The D*ck?
I recently ran into this great little video of Clint Smith from Thunder Ranch, titled, “SHOOT THEM IN THE CROTCH”:
While the concept is definitely not new to me, I picked this particular video for discussion because, for one, it’s super entertaining, and two, I believe Clint brings up some great points:
1.) SPEED TO FIRST SHOT: If you’re in an entangled gun fight at close range — where the bad guy is putting his hands on you or could possible do that — then when you draw your gun, the first thing your muzzle will cross on his/her body is the groin. So why not shoot them there first?
2.) BYPASSES BODY ARMOR: If the bad guy is wearing body armor (most bad guys these days, something you should count on) then this is an excellent way around it. Even with a pistol, because there’s no body armor there, you can shoot them in the groin/crotch and it works.
3.) A “GOOD INTRODUCTION”: Keep in mind, Clint says “it’s not a fight winning hit, but it’s a good introduction”. If the first shot is to the groin, then that’s not a bad way to start — as with most fights the guy that gets the first hit/injury typically wins.
The Origins Of The Pelvic Shot …
The first time I heard of the groin/pelvic shot was from John Mosby. He writes (emphasis his):
“The point-of-aim on a particular target will be dependent on mission, range, and situation. I’m fond of citing the platitude, “Hips and heads kids, hips and heads. All the bad guys are wearing body armor these days!” (In fact, I’m pretty sure I made that up two years ago. If anyone heard it previous to 2011, let me know where, and from whom, and I’ll gladly cite them as the source, if the speaker can verify it as original to them…). The truth is, in a world of relatively inexpensive, rifle-level ballistic plate armor, it’s not a bad ideal to shoot for (no pun intended, seriously). The pelvic girdle is rich in major blood vessels and nerve centers, and of course, the pelvis itself, is a major structural element of the skeletal system. Having it shattered by a high-velocity rifle round (even a poodle-shooting varmint round), makes walking a little uncomfortable. Unfortunately, while this MAY result in a non-ambulatory combatant (I once walked 150M with a broken hip, carrying somewhere around 100 pounds of kit, albeit not very fast…), it may not reliably take him completely out of the fight. After all, he can still hold and shoot a weapon, if somewhat distractedly. Of course, putting two or three or ten rounds into a dude’s hips (or just one if you’re a real man and shoot the magical rhino stopping .308…) makes that rapidly moving head move a lot less rapidly, subsequently making it easier to shoot…..and solid head shots generally do take a dude categorically out of the fight.”
John told me personally when I asked him about it, by the time he deployed to Afghanistan, that it was pretty much their standard SOP to shoot the hips first then follow up from there where the next shot would get the best effect as needed.
Now, this makes perfect sense with rifles because getting shot by practically any rifle round in the groin — 5.56 or 7.62×39 especially — is really going to mess someone’s day up …
But does it transfer over to the civilian paradigm where you’re conceal carrying a relatively impotent handgun caliber such as 9mm, .40 or .45 ACP?
Dave Spaulding Weighs In On The Pelvic Shot …
Dave Spaulding is someone I’ve yet to take a class from, but he’s on the short list. He weighs in (emphasis mine):
“I have been looking at the issue of handgun “stopping power” for decades now and have come to the conclusion that handguns are not impressive man stoppers regardless of caliber or bullet design. While we currently have THE BEST combative handgun ammo ever designed, all the logical person must do is hold a cartridge in their hand, consider its weight and size and compare it to the mass that is the human body and it is not hard to see why such a small, light projectile will likely have limited impact on the human organism quickly. Just hold a .45 caliber projectile in front of the human chest cavity and you will see it is pretty small. In order to get any type of rapid result, it will have to hit a pretty important part of the body. The question is, is the pelvis “important”? Should it be a primary target?
In my classes, I use a simple target that highlights the upper chest cavity and head, a 6 x 14 inch rectangle that includes the center of the skull and the vital organs of the heart, aorta, major vessels and spinal column. Few dispute this area as “vital”. The head can be considered controversial since handgun rounds have been known to not penetrate the skull but I, personally, discount this. I have been on the scene twice when humans have been hit in the skull by a handgun round that did not penetrate and on both occasions, the person was knocked off their feet much like a batter that is hit in the head with a baseball. I have received this same feedback from others. My concern with head shots is the lack of “back stop” to catch a round that is not well placed. The center chest has the remainder of the torso to help slow/catch a round that does not hit the center chest while a round that misses the head goes over the shoulder. I counsel my students to use the head shot for close distances where they know they can hit or for times they can take a low posture and shoot upwards. 25 to 50 yard head shots? Up to you, I guess. You might be able to do it on the square range, but the pandemonium of a real gunfight, where non-hostiles might be in your battle space, is an entirely different thing. Consider carefully…
I believe the high chest and head is a much better “strike zone” for combative pistolcraft than I do the pelvic girdle. I do not emphasize it in my classes, but I also do not take to task those instructors that do. In the end, the region of the body you will shoot for is that which is available to you when you fire your shots! We will all take what is offered to us, but if there is a hierarchy of shot placement, the pelvic girdle would be ranked below the chest and head…and least in my mind.”
So Dave points out that pistol terminal ballistics being what they are, the pelvic shot is not a “fight stopper”.
But, he doesn’t vehemently disagree with the notion.
And most importantly, he points out that the region of body you will shoot for is “that which is available when you fire your first shots!”
Suarez Says To Forget The Pelvic Shot …
Gabe Suarez is rarely wishy-washy in his opinions. His thoughts on the Pelvic shot are no different (emphasis mine):
“Insofar as the Pelvic Girdle Shots go, it does not take a degree in medicine to realize that the pelvic bone is not connected to the hands, nor the brain, and that a pelvic shot – even if successful – will not stop a terrorist from continuing to fire, or setting off an explosive.
… In order to break and destabilize the pelvis, it must be broken in two places. Those places are near where the two pockets would be in a man wearing Levis.
They are far smaller than the area suggested for a brain shot. So a proponent of the pelvic shot wants you to hit not one, but two targets that are smaller and harder to hit than the head shot’s highest value area…and two targets that will prevent neither return gunfire nor explosives detonation.
Stupid idea, do not take such advice.”
Gabe Suarez points out — again talking pistol ballistics here — that you have to hit the pocket areas to destabilize the pelvic girdle with a handgun and it might be harder to hit than the head/face/neck that Gabe tends to recommend.
And it’s worth noting that Dave Spaulding typically teaches his classes using his own target designs and, as you can see in the picture below, they have two black target zones in the “jean pocket” area of the body — that are used to run drills — but also represent these pelvic/ball socket shots (you can see Dave’s targets behind him where they’re taped to the target — with the paper with two little rectangles on the hip area):
And he also used to have custom targets available from LE Targets called the HCT-01 but I can’t find a direct link right now and they look(ed) like this:
Besides being able to run drills from HandgunCombatives — the black squares made good hip/pelvic targets.
So Should You Shoot Him In The D*ck Or What?
To clarify, let’s talk about why shooting bad guys in the groin/pelvic/hips/d*ck is a viable option …
1.) First you have to understand, from a civilian perspective, a pistol shot to the groin/pelvic area is NOT going to be a fight stopper.
Then again, with handgun rounds, even a shot to the face/head is NOT guaranteed to be a fight stopper.
See the story on this page where a police officer shot a man 14 times with .45-cal. ammunition – six of those hits in supposedly fatal locations.
The final three shots that the police officer fired were into the suspects head — one through each side of his mouth and one through the top of his skull into his brain.
In case you missed that, the officer shot the man 11 times with .45 and then 3 more times in the HEAD before the guy finally stopped fighting.
Autopsy later showed the guy was not on drugs, they reported “Sheer determination, it seemed, kept him going, for no evidence of drugs or alcohol was found in his system.”
Some people are just hard to kill. Period.
2.) Second, if you agree with that premise, then going back to the original video and quote from Clint Smith, “It’s a good introduction”. In other words, if the opportunity presents itself, it’s a great spot to shoot someone.
3.) Third, it is definitely an area that is NOT covered by most body armor. Which means it’s a viable option to keep in mind — along with head shots — for terrorists/active shooters/anyone that you think might be wearing body armor.
4.) Finally, in real combat, ideal target zones are typically “whatever presents itself” …
Which is what you’ve heard me say, John Mosby say, Dave Spaulding say, and I’d venture I could find a quote where Gabe Suarez said it at one point too. Most all shooting instructors I’ve trained with point out that aiming and shooting for “center of mass” means that you aim and shoot for the “center of mass” of whatever target is available to you at that time.
The Bottom Line Is This …
The pelvic shot is a viable target area, but it’s controversial — probably moreso than head/face shots — because of how some people love it and some don’t.
Probably, in reality like most things in the combative world, it’s misunderstood.
In a real fight, whether with guns or bare hands, you should probably hit whatever targets on the human body you can hit, then keep hitting them — until the bad guy stops doing the bad stuff to you that caused you to need to shoot him in the first place.
In other words, yes a shot to the pelvic girdle/groin — with a handgun — may not be the most “ideal” shot, but it may or may not give you time to followup with a fight ending shot to the brain, heart, etc
And in a fight, the guy that gets the first hit/injury usually wins (again, gun fight or hand to hand combat, it makes no difference).
My verdict? If a bad guy is doing bad stuff to you and you need to shoot him, and the groin shot presents itself?
Why NOT shoot him in the d*ck?
You can always shoot him again–bullets are cheap and that’s why they invented double-stack magazines 🙂
A dick shot is good he is now down and will never forget the oh oh he was trying to do for the rest of his miserable life. A pelvic shot will put him in a wheel chair and he will never be a threat to anyone again. Ya a dick shot is good.
it won’t leave him less dangerous – kill him after you shoot him there. anyone can still throw a bomb from a wheelchair.
My dad always said if a guy grabs you kick him in the nuts and he will drop like a rock. Well I’ve handled guns all my life and I figure if he drops from a kick there, he’s ńot gonna get up if ya hit him with a 40 cal in that area. So that’s my “center mass”
Love this. Gonna teach my daughter to shoot for the junk first to stop ANY attacker now.
what is a double stack magazine and how does it work? I have a 380. Thanks! Good article!
In a single stack nagazine, the bullets are stacked on top of each other in a straight line. In a double stack, the bullets are staggered side by side in the magazine. More will fit in a shorter clip but the magazine is thicker than a single stack. It works the same as the single stack does. I think you can only get those in larger callibers. I’m not real sure.
I have a big CZ .380 with a double stack. Made for European police, I think, back when they didn’t have Islamic terrorists with AKs and plastique to worry about…
I have always thought a groin shot was the best choice. Even if you miss his ‘junk’ your have two chances of hitting major arteries, so if he is not crippled for life, he will bleed to death slow enough to regret his wayward ways! Quick death is too good for anyone who would purposely harm another!
What was not discussed in this article is the psychological effect of shooting a man in the groin. Yes, his hands and head are still working but the vast majority of men who are shot in the “junk” are going to stop doing what they were doing and both hands will go to the effected area. Immediately a thought will enter his mind that he got his penis and testicles shot off. He will stop doing his bad deed and that is the primary reason for carrying concealed, to stop a person from hurting you.
That’s a great point.
As a general rule, I think it’s silly to make your defensive strategy based on “hope” that your attacker will “mentally quit” … but as far as psychological stops go … I can’t imagine a better place to shoot a man to get him to mentally consider his commitment to continue the fight.
yup,, then after he puts his hands up and says I give up,, then that’s when you get a good shot in to the head. Remember,, a crook only gives up for the moment.
Personally I have always thought shooting someone in the crotch is good to do depending on the situation. Just like hand to hand combat you choose the target of opportunity and depending on your attacker you shoot wherever it will do the job. Its almost like the argument about what is the best firearm and caliber to use for self defense. The best is whatever you have at the time. So there is nothing inconsistent about shooting someone in the crotch if that is your best target of opportunity at the moment. Just one person’s opinion.
Agreed, I like this in your response ” Just like hand to hand combat you choose the target of opportunity and depending on your attacker you shoot wherever it will do the job. Its almost like the argument about what is the best firearm and caliber to use for self defense. The best is whatever you have at the time. ” Love it!
Consensus seems to be put a round in him first, then when he’s screaming , put another where it will do more good. And I can’t argue with that. Ideally, a good solid round, right between the horns WOULD be the show stopper, but that’s only IF you can put it there before he puts on in YOU!
Shooting for the pelvic girdle would NOT be the quick end of discussion that you really want ,in some cases. But I warrant it would in a LOT of cases. Depends on your enemy. and how determined, trained, or hopped up he is. There is something to be said for blowing out a hip socket, which a good pistol round could do, IF you hit what you’re striving for. In this sort of a case, IF is a four letter word.
Plus, you gotta consider, in your original premise, it wasn’t the hip you were talking about. Another part of the anatomy was being mentioned, and the vast majority of guys are going to be SEVERELY distressed if you put a round through THAT particular item. It then becomes a MAJOR distraction in a LOT of cases. And a distracted gunman is a LOT easier to deal with.
You pays your money, and you takes your shot.
But MAN, THAT IS MEAN!
But MAN, THAT IS MEAN!
That’s so funny because it’s EXACTLY what I told John when he told me that was their go-to first shot in Afghanistan.
His response? I’m paraphrasing but it’s pretty close “It’s his fault, because the f*cker shouldn’t have made me have to shoot him!” … well said!
Even if a groin shot fails to put him on the ground, it is certainly liable to at least momentarily divert his attention to something other than you, thus giving the opportunity for more hits to more disabling targets. I know a shot to MY “little friend” would fully occupy my attention!
I have given Classes for years. And I do not recommend trying to shot your attacker in the crotch.
If your attacker has a hold on you or is that close and you can get to your gun. Shot under his ribs in an upward direction and towards his back. This will go up through the hart and longs and throw him off of you and them you shot for the head or the groin.
I’ve never heard anyone recommend shooting UP in an entangled fight. Usually the pistol is indexed in the “2” retention position of the draw stroke, primary hand (gun holding hand) thumb on the pectoral muscle and the other hand is clear so you’re shooting at a downward angle away from your body.
My only concern with shooting up is that your other hand could easily be in the way and shooting yourself, etc. Interesting thoughts though.
It amazes me that it is assumed that the assailant is a man; a woman can be just as dangerous. They are not the nurturing individuals we would like to imagine. There are plenty of cases where the women are the assailants. However it seems that women are less likely to be assailants. Be prepared.
If in doubt protect yourself first from anybody attacking you whether man or woman.
To quote the Trump you could just as easily shoot her “in the p*ssy” and it will work just as well. Same bones/other stuff inside there minus the reproductive organs.
Excuse me? Women have no reproductive organs between their legs? What planet do you live on, and what kind of women do you have sex with? Sounds like you hook up with aliens from Star Trek.
LOL, I meant it’s the “same” — as far as bones/muscles/structure — except the reproductive organs are not the “same”.
Does that make sense now?
Very well said, shoot her in the pussy.
If you have ever been hit in the testicles, can you imagine the pain getting shot there would cause, yikes! You would probably have to shoot him in the laranyx to shut him up.
With the low shot, it seems to me that the objective is to blow out his femoral artery–there is one on each side. You die pretty quickly if you cannot immediately control the bleeding from that. I am not any kind of an expert, but considering that there are so many thugs running around with body armor, it is a shot that everyone needs to have in their arsenal.
Most of the people who are carrying in S FL are using throw away double action revolvers that never fail and can be loaded with “special rounds” in order of appearance, if you get my drift. The first is usually a Flash Salt round to scare, the second is a BB Shot, and the rest, if needed, are hard core Hydro rounds. They have no rifling in the barrel so the rounds do not spin. This works well at close range under 20 feet. Anything over 20 feet and you are in a war zone and should run away. Playing Dirty Harry is BS!
How many people could hit the intended target if it was that small? Shotgun would be your
best weapon and you would have a better chance of hitting it then.
The whole asshole is a bigger target. Take what you can get.
I was/still can be a sniper so I’m partial to rifles. A dick shot or one that puts the guy down is okay if that’s what you are going for. Personally, I aim for the voicebox. Still no body armor and unless the guy has presence of mind to put his hand over his throat and breath through his nose, he’ll panic at all the blood and lose it. Now he’s yours.
This is just about the most moronic suggestion I’ve ever read.
It might, if an assailant is hit in the groin where the femoral vein or artery is, cause the individual to bleed out in 4-5 minutes, but you’re missing an essential truth.
First of all, keep in mind that every bullet has three attorneys attached to it: a prosecuting attorney, a defending attorney, and a judge. Any testimony, from your assailant to witnesses that your first shot was to the groin, will likely result in a conviction on charges ranging from assault with a deadly weapon to murder. All 50 states in the U.S. have a test in shootings that define whether you can and likely will be charged in a shooting: did your actions prove that you truly believed that your life would end if the attack on you was carried through? Shooting someone in the groin is proof to even the most enept police that you did not believe that your life was in imminent danger. This has been the overriding factor of conviction of most people who used a firearm in self-defense.
I took the opportunity to telephone several companies that insure concealed weapons carriers and was told — in no ambiguous terms — that a client would not be covered using a first round shot to an assailant’s groin, even if the shot was an accident.
Stop heeding moronic advice such as this. Learn to shoot proficiently; learn to hit a moving target and to engage multiple assailants with speed and accuracy — knowing when to shoot and where.
(While I’m at it, please — by all means — avoid using ammunition that is advertised as being deadly. Arm yourself with the same ammunition used by your local police departments. Federal records show that shooters who use ammunition such as “DRT” “RIP” “Zombie” and others have been readily convicted of first or second degree murder, manslaughter, and other charges; state records show that most people who use ammunition deemed to be explicitly deadly have faced and lost civil lawsuits — even if their assailant was killed. Using the same ammunition that your local police officers are issued, and using common sense tactics in responding to armed attack, are your best defense against spending most of the remainder of your life in prison.)
Thank you @Whaledriver for this most sane and valuable legal aspect of this whole d*ck shot controversy. Throughout this discussion i’ve been thinking that if the groin-shot becomes the norm then all these shooters groins will soon become the primary targets for the ‘bad guys’ also. So all you ‘good guys’ who so want to target another man’s junk will have only endangered your own, karma is still a bitch. Also, watch how fast body armor will morph to also protect the pelvis & groin areas. LMAO!
Well, I would expect that kind of response from an insurance company, but I don’t believe you spoke with any attorneys. In fact, I think you’re a lib, just spouting off your opinion. Also, convincing the police has little to do with what happens in the courtroom.
You completely missed the point, as the FIRST target ‘available’ is the groin, [assuming as was said, that you’re raising the weapon], which means you are a VERY clear headed and intelligent individual. YOU claim shooting someone in the groin (article is talking body armor), essentially means one must have extra time on their hands during this rape, or robbery, to commit an act of unjust meanness??
To a decent attorney it could mean a multitude of defenses. One being [if he didn’t have armor], you were simply nervous and shot his pecker. If he is armored, [or not] drops the weapon and goes down, and then you remove the weapon and don’t shoot again, you are doubly smart, as no KOS, so no ‘murder’ conviction, as you are so frantically quick to assume.
The main scenario here was, assailant is committing a ‘premeditated’, [hence the armor] violent act and your life IS in immediate danger. Unless you only shoot one time, NO one arriving at the scene will know what order the shots were delivered, unless the shooting victim acts unwisely.
If I’m in that scenario, grabbed, and can un-holster, on the way up it may be 1)foot, 2)knee, 3)groin, 4)base of tongue.. who knows? What I DO know, and teach, is.. ‘It’s better to be judged by 12 than carried by 6’!
[…] Smith, but rather the people who misinterpret his teachings). Clint Smith has made it apparent that a war zone is not the same thing as day to day life for your average citizen. It’s one thing for a Navy SEAL to be a finely honed weapon ready to drop into danger at a […]
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