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Thread: tactics: primary target

  1. #1
    TRX
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    Default tactics: primary target

    Tactical behavior in the movies drives me nuts.

    Scenario 1: a bad guy is holding your wife hostage, with one arm around her throat and a gun to her head. You're fifteen feet away, pumped with adrenaline, and have about a 2" wide target window to the BG's head. He tells you to put down your gun. Of course, he'll then kill you both. In the movies, they *always* put down the gun, and wait for a plot complication to rescue them.

    TAKE THE SHOT! You might miss and kill your wife. Or the BG's trigger finger might spasm when he dies and kill her. The point is, she's going to die anyway. You're trading certain death for both for maybe-death for one. My wife understands this; every time she sees the situation in a movie, she's bouncing in her seat and shouting "SHOOT! SHOOT! YOU STUPID #*@&*@$!"


    Scenario 2: you have the BG covered. The situation is very tense. Then, from behind you, one of the BG's cohorts tells you to drop the gun. Or you hear a sudden noise. Or something else happens.

    If the situation turns to shit, don't turn around to look. TAKE OUT THE PRIMARY TARGET! It only takes a fraction of a second to pull the trigger. *THEN* turn around and find out what's going on. Your number might be up, but at least you accomplished the main job. You should hear my wife shouting "TAKE OUT THE PRIMARY TARGET!" I think she got that from me...


    I think I read way too many Donald Hamilton books when I was a kid, and some of the preaching stuck...

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    GuncoHolic kernelkrink's Avatar
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    Scenario # 2.5 or #3, you have the bad guy dead to rights and are going to shoot him, instead you blather on about how or why you're shooting him and something happens to let him get away. Monologing is the downfall of villain and hero alike, any kid who's read a comic book can tell you that!

    Scenario # 4, you are approaching the bad guy's home to question or arrest him and spot him on the street walking toward you. He shows no sign of recognizing you as a cop and will walk right past you if you do nothing. Instead of letting him do so and grabbing him, you immediately call out his name, identify yourself as a cop, tell him not to move, then are forced to chase him down as he runs away with a half block head start.

    Scenario #5, the bad guy merely starts to point a gun at the cop, who immediately puts several rounds through his heart and one through the forehead insuring his immediate death, which results in the loss of vital info like the location of the buried kidnap victim with 30 minutes of air left. He is never so quick to fire before or after and when he does shoot another bad guy, he often misses vital areas and the guy is only wounded or he has several minutes to question him before death.

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    Cranky Curmudgeon zoom6zoom's Avatar
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    This is why shooting IDPA is so much fun. They come up with some great scenarios. If you can say, "hey, it could happen", someone has probably designed a stage around it.

    If you've only ever shot from a stationary position on a range, you're likely not ready for a self defense situation in real life. You've probably got an IDPA group near you that shoots regularly. Every one that I have interacted with was very supportive of newbies, so don't let that stop you from checking them out. You use your everyday carry gear, so not expensive to get started.

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    Well-armed Grayback Bigdog's Avatar
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    I once tried the old "Shoot the BG holding the hostage" drill with a paper target, when some guys (worked for the local SO but were office comm guys) were at the range doing it - I drew my Ruger .357 revolver and aimed & shot - put five of six rounds into the poor victim.....

    "DOH!"

    I knew then, I needed a LOT more practice!
    Vote OUT obama in 2012. Mombasa, Kenya needs it's Village Idiot back.

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    TRX
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bigdog View Post
    put five of six rounds into the poor victim...
    Probably the most likely scenario, but since the victim is already dead meat, at least there's a chance. You do the best you can.

    Part of the problem is that most training still stresses "shoot to center of mass", by which they mean the middle of the chest. (the real center of mass is about a foot lower) The problem is that in a hostage situation that target area is probably not going to be available.

    The whole idea of training is to make your response automatic, since stress reduces your IQ to somewhere between "root vegetable" and "Democrat." But the aims of police or security training aren't necessarily best for an individual. Current big-city police thinking is for the beat officer to stand back, maintain the situation, and wait for SWAT backup if possible. There's only so much training time and funding to be had, and the department and the city don't want any "police incidents", so they train one group of officers one way, one another. The SWAT guys stand off, set up at (relative) leisure, and take an unhurried shot; their chance of an accurate shot to a partially-exposed head is much better than some poor badge staring down the barrel of a gun and stoked on adrenaline, who might not have pulled his gun since he re-qualified with it a year ago.

    Anyway, just because the target has the bullseye over the heart doesn't mean you have to restrict your practice to that spot.

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    GuncoHolic BBill's Avatar
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    Well-when I come after you guys you can bet I'll have my special pistola that doesn't run out of ammo!!!

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    GuncoHolic kernelkrink's Avatar
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    Just remembered scenario #6: "Unarmed", the (usually) female victim picks up a handy blunt instrument like a cast iron skillet and whacks the killer over the head, apparently knocking him out. Instead of doing the tactically sound thing of continuing to whack him until his head is no longer holding his brains in, she immediately drops the blunt instrument and runs away, only to be caught seconds later as he quickly recovers.

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    TRX
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    That, or ignores the perfectly functional gun laying beside the bad guy, leaving it for him to pick it back up when he resumes pursuit.

    I knew a girl who went to one of those "self defense" courses. The instructor told her to hose down an attacker with pepper spray and then run.

    ASSUMING the thing works at all, and ASSUMING you get them in the face before they get a hand up, and ASSUMING they're actually somewhat incapacitated instead of thrown into a flaming rage, I figured it would be an opportune time to work the guy over with the proverbial blunt instrument, or tapdance on his crotch with spike heels, or at least kick him really hard a few times. But no, they're supposed to run. Screeching and waving their arms, I assume.

    I guess it's a guy thing. If you take down your attacker it's not time to flee, it's time for revenge...

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    GuncoHolic kernelkrink's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by TRX View Post
    That, or ignores the perfectly functional gun laying beside the bad guy, leaving it for him to pick it back up when he resumes pursuit.
    Yeah, MacGuyver was really bad about that.

    Some writers do get it though, I remember an old Indiana Jones Comic from back in the day, Indy is in the woods when he comes across a bunch of guys getting ready to hang a guy. He intervenes and holds them at gunpoint as he and the intended victim back away and then turn to walk away. Indy is talking to himself: "I know I'm forgetting something..." when bullets start flying past them. "Oh yeah, I forgot to take their guns! RUN!!!"

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    Gunco Member Blackhawk2001's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by TRX View Post
    Tactical behavior in the movies drives me nuts.


    (snipped)

    I think I read way too many Donald Hamilton books when I was a kid, and some of the preaching stuck...
    Me too. Matt Helm was an ornery SOB. Some of his opponents were just as bad. IIRC, he demonstrated the "shoot the primary target" on an old lover in one of his adventures. Surprisingly, she survived...
    When in danger or in doubt, run in circles, scream and shout... R.A. Heinlein

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