The Facts And Fiction Of Gunfights

First, for those who have learned about guns and gunfights from TV and the movies a couple of things right off the bat:

People hit by bullets from firearms, especially handguns, will not be knocked off their feet and fly across the room, though walls or even windows.

Just because someone is shot in the hand, arm, shoulder or even heart does not mean that they will stop doing whatever they are trying to do (good or bad). They might, but the only way to ensure that they stop is to stop the nerve impulses from getting to the parts of the body (central nervous system) or to drop the blood pressure low enough that they pass out (major blood bearing organs such as the heart, arteries, lungs, etc.)

Gunshots to the extremities may or may not make you stop what you are doing but can still be fatal. Clip the femoral artery, for example, and the bad guy may not stop trying to hurt you but if they don’t get medical care they will be dead in a matter of minutes.

No round commonly chambered in defensive handguns has the power to reliably provide a physical “one shot stop.” In fact a 12 gauge shotgun loaded with buckshot is the closest we can get to such a magic goal.

Now, I am no expert gunfighter. I haven’t shot a human being in self-defense. I have used a firearm to make someone decide to go do harm somewhere else. I have also used other means when I could. Massad Ayoob, on the other hand is somewhat of an expert on such things. So much so that he had made careers as an expert witness, a self-defense firearms trainer and author. When I decided I might need a firearm to defend my life and the lives of others around me it was his books that set me on the right path.

So what does he say on this topic?

Glad you asked.

Just this month he posted an article on this very subject over at The Daily Caller (link) and here are some of his observations on Gun Fight Facts vs. Fiction:

  1. Myth #1: A Good Shoot Is A Good Shoot
  2. Myth #2: Aim For Center-Mass
  3. Myth #3: He Who Shoots First Wins
  4. Myth #4: If You Can’t Do It With…
  5. Myth #5: Your Choice of Gun & Ammo Doesn’t Matter

I encourage everyone to go and read them in detail. Especially, myth numbers three and four…

God Bless


10 thoughts on “The Facts And Fiction Of Gunfights

  1. Reblogged this on and commented:
    Ayoob, is one of the best trainers. But here is where he is lengths ahead of everyone, the Post Shooting Testimony in court. When you pull the trigger, then the real headaches begin. Litigations.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I am looking to get into the AR-15 arena. I know basically nothing about them. Can some of you guys help school me in what to look for? This will be my first rifle so I am thinking a basic model without all the bells and whistles. Definitely less than $1000.


    Liked by 1 person

      1. There are folks out there who would say that if it will be for home defense (if you are betting your life on it) you should go with a tier 1 manufacturer like Colt or HK. I get that, but I don’t need the same level of reliability as an operator in the middle of the Iraqi desert. I won’t be generating that high a round count or operating under those condition so I am comfortable with lower tier manufacturers or building my own.

        I have had pretty good luck with parts and guns from Radical Firearms and they sell for around $650 or less when they are on sale. Palmetto State Armory is another source for less expensive ARs and from what I hear they use HK barrels but I don’t have any direct experice with them. A more mainstream option would be the Smith & Wesson Sport 15 II which is also a decent choice and around the same price if you catch a decent deal.

        A few things to keep in mind:
        -ARs are grown up tinker toys. If you don’t like something you can change it pretty quickly and easily…without having to be a gunsmith. That’s a good way to learn the gun too.
        -Many of the cheaper and mass produced ARs will come with a 1:9 twist rate which is fine as long as you don’t want to shoot bullet weights over 55 grains. If you ever want to run some of the newer, heavier bullets (most are more oriented towards hunting or competition) you’ll need a twist rate of 1:8 or 1:7. Starting with this twist rate will save headaches later if your use case changes (ask me how I know).
        -Make sure to get one chambered in 5.56 or .223 Wylde (more expensive). You can safely run 5.56 or .223 in these chambers but it may not be safe to use 5.56 in a .223 chamber.
        -Free floated barrels are pretty common in ARs now and from an accuracy perspective it isn’t a bad thing to look for and can be had in that price range.

        Hope this helps, let me know if you have more specific questions.

        God bless


    1. I have generally found his writing to be very informative although he does tend to see things from a law enforcement perspective. My risk profile is a lot different than a patrol officer, for example.
      With that said, I am always looking to re-evaluate those I see as subject matter experts. Do you have any specific examples of erroneous information that he is sharing?
      I’m not arguing just asking for more info.
      God bless.


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