When playing cops and robbers or cowboys and Indians as kids, it typically only took one shot to kill the bad guy. With one pull of the trigger and snap of the red cap paper, you heard the bang and then grabbed your chest as you fell to your knees. Now that I think about, I’m pretty sure about 99% of imaginary shots fired by kids always seem to find their way right into the heart. I’ll blame Bon Jovi because I’m an 80’s kid. As childish as that notion is, I have always been fascinated how the same sentiment persists among grown adults with little to no experience with guns. Unfortunately, this always seems to come about when our brothers in blue have to take out a suspect and the public starts to criticize why they needed to fire 10 shots each into one guy. Or perhaps the suspect is merely wielding a knife and the novice asks why the cop didn’t just shoot him in the leg or something. To which I reply to the novice, “Do you want to get stabbed in the face, because shooting a knife wielding suspect in the leg is how you get stabbed in the face.”
Pulling the Trigger
I have often written about it before that before I went to Iraq, I would often dream of war. However, when it came time for this Marine to pull the trigger something would always go wrong. My finger would magically be too fat to fit in the trigger well or perhaps the trigger just moved like molasses. However, after having actually pulled the trigger in Iraq when I now dream of war I pull the trigger every time all the time.
I’ll let one of you psychology types figure that one out, but the truth is that 99% of Americans will never have to pull the trigger with someone else on the other end and thank goodness for that. But as a result, it’s hard to truly convey the emotion and adrenaline that goes into the action in a manner that resonates. Why does one shot turn into 5 and 5 into 10 during a gun fight? Aren’t the pros supposed to be all about “one shot, one kill?” Either the pros are trigger happy maniacal men or perhaps the pros know something to which much of the world seems oblivious. Namely, that one shot one kill is a myth.
One Shot One Kill
In some of my other writings, I regularly get the opportunity to research and write about Medal of Honor recipients along with the British equivalent, the Victoria Cross. One of the more astonishing aspects of that work is realizing just how many wounds some of these men received and yet they continued fighting. I’m talking double digit bullet wounds and they still charge into the bunker to kill the enemy. One guy had his right arm blown off while he was holding a grenade and as his mangled harm hung by a tendon, he prided the grenade out of the hand with his good arm, picked up a rifle and kept fighting.
History is littered with the accounts of severely wounded men going on to kill the man who wounded him so why would we expect it to be any different today. If anyone would just take 10 minutes, they could find a plethora of videos on YouTube from police body cameras that testify to this same sentiment. Just recently, a knife wielding attack rush a police officer and the office continued to fire until the threat was neutralized. Do you want to know how many bullets that took? It wasn’t one.
Truthfully, should you ever find yourself in an encounter where you have to pull the trigger for the first time the pucker factor is going to take care any “one shot one kill” notions you might have. You will fire more than one time, I’m pretty sure. But here at Legally Concealed, we are pretty big on training if you can’t tell and there is certainly a benefit to training like you fight. Do you have it in your head that the bad guy is going down on the first shot and if so, are you going to panic when he keeps coming? A professional athlete can cover 40 yards in less than 5 seconds. How can quickly can that averagely athletic man with a knife cover 15 yards to reach you? Does any part of your training reflect the need to keep rounds on target for a series of multiple shots or are you planning to ask the bad guy to stop so you can record the shot in your range book?
Look, I’m not writing this to encourage you to act out malice or a sense of overkill. If the threat is down, stop firing and remain vigilant. It is not a call to start blasting away with zero awareness as to what is behind your target? But I am here to tell you that one shot one kill is a fun thing to say that our military and law enforcement don’t seem to really believe themselves when it matters most. One shot one kill is a call to excellent marksmanship, not a battle plan. There is a time and place for the prototypical “sniper”, but I don’t think anyone is going to be providing overwatch for you when you stop at the gas station late at night to buy a bag of hot Cheetos. Maintain your situational awareness and guard it from prevailing myths that might plague you when you need it most. Oh, and give LEO a break next time they fire 30 rounds to take out a meth fueled 300 lb man, because one day such a man might want your Hot Cheetos for himself and we will see what you do then.