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:
- Myth #1: A Good Shoot Is A Good Shoot
- Myth #2: Aim For Center-Mass
- Myth #3: He Who Shoots First Wins
- Myth #4: If You Can’t Do It With…
- 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…