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Shoot to stop vs. Shoot to kill

Discussion in 'General Firearm Discussion' started by PlayboyPenguin, Nov 6, 2009.

  1. PlayboyPenguin

    PlayboyPenguin Pacific Northwest Well-Known Member 2016 Volunteer

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    Most of my threads have a certain amount of a "tongue-in-cheek" intent to them, but this is completely serious. This thread has the potential to go very wrong but it also has the potential to be quite thought provoking. I am hoping it is a frank discussion that we can all be adult and honest about. I feel being able to understand and discuss this subject is a very big part of being competent to carry a deadly weapon. It has been discussed before but it is a topic that needs repeating from time to time.

    This topic was brought up in another thread today on another forum and I thought it deserved it's own thread.

    When it comes to shooting an attacker, our intent should always be "shoot to stop" and not "shoot to kill." You want to stop the action which is presenting a clear and present danger to yourself, to loved ones, or to innocent parties. You never want to make it personal enough to be intending to kill the assailant. Once you cross that line you seriously undermine your own position and competence. You become a bad guy yourself to some degree.

    That being said, I can be adult enough to admit there would be times when "shoot to kill" would probably be my intent alongside stopping the threat. I could very easily see myself crossing that line if someone was intentionally trying to seriously injure or kill a loved one or a child. I would like to think I could keep emotion out of the situation and only be intending to stop the present threat, but I am afraid I am only human and could easily allow myself to be overtaken by anger and fear in such a situation.

    I do not think that makes me, or anyone else like me, unfit to carry a gun. I just think it makes us human. I do not think someone needs to be perfect to be armed. I think they just have to be aware of the reality of being armed with a deadly weapon and the weight/responsibility that comes with it.

  2. Cougfan2

    Cougfan2 Hillsboro, OR Well-Known Member

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    If it's me, I would shoot until the threat is no longer present whether that means the attacker lives or not. I agree with you that if it's my family I would probably make sure they didn't survive the encounter, but I would stop short of shooting someone who is trying to run away.

    If someone is lying on the ground helpless after you shoot them and you walk up and put a last one in their head it's likely you will end up in jail.

    If you want to ponder the actual consequences of what will happen to you legally and mentally if you ever have to shoot someone, read Massad Ayoob's "In the Gravest Extreme". It will really make you think.
  3. 56kninja

    56kninja Portland Member

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    My thoughts are that.. If you have to shoot someone, their well being should be the last thing in your mind.

    But there are cases where you should "Shoot to stop" And this is only when they have a weapon like a bat, or a knife. A melee weapon, and their charging at you. If this is the case, you should shoot them once. If it causes them to hit the ground, then stop shooting.

    If they have a gun? Shoot to kill. Don't second guess, keep pulling that trigger. Empty the clip into them.

    tldr: Unless they have a gun, stop shooting once they are on the ground, or they have decided they don't want to be shot anymore and either put their hands up or turn tail and run.
  4. ORBrit

    ORBrit Eugene Member

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    No one knows how they'll react or act when the need arises. All you can do is train and mentally prepare yourself for the worst possible scenario.
    Hopefully that planning will keep you alive, and you can worry about the consequences of your actions the rest of your life.
  5. phil a

    phil a Eugene Member

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    As you guys have already touched on, shoot until threat is neutralized. At that point, cease-fire - if you have killed them (and that is what was "necessary"), then so be it - your force was simply reactionary to their offensive.
  6. Ding

    Ding Lighter Side of Oz Active Member

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    If you have to pull a weapon it's shoot to kill in my book.Their intent would be the same but for different reasons.If you restrain yourself,you could cost you your life or your loved ones.So many things can be hashed on this.The criminal can and probably will sue you if he lives,he or his friends can come back at a later date and kill you or your family.Many things involved.I would just shoot to kill.In all likely hood the reason you pulled your weapon is to defend your life.Nothing will interfere with my right to live or my families period.
  7. .45's and .38's

    .45's and .38's Happy Valley OR Well-Known Member

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    Just like the corned cat.......If cornered, I wouldnt want to shoot to kill, But I will do all I can to get away, whether its shoving the person out of your way or a headshot it doesnt matter. You do what you have to, to save yourself. I still say shoot to kill. "dead men tell no talez".
  8. Teufel_Hunden

    Teufel_Hunden Albany, Oregon Active Member

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    I've made my thoughts clear on this before. Making the decision use deadly force is a one way trip. Thats why they call it deadly force!

    I will never shoot to wound. All shots should be intended to be lethal. If the situation that you are in does not warrant deadly force you are not justified for the shoot.

    Get a stun gun or some pepper spray if thats your intent!
  9. thelendog

    thelendog Milwaukie Member

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    There's a reason why it's called "lethal force".
  10. SavageGerbil

    SavageGerbil Salem, OR Active Member

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    The way I see it, its kind of a moot point once someones forced your hand, most of the effective stopping shots are more often than not fatal, do what you have to, end the situation, and call paramedics as soon as you're out of danger. Do what you have to, but do what you can to preserve life after, I doubt anything will tell you more clearly that its time to clean up your act than a long surgery to pull a couple slugs out of your chest.

    I remember one time I got pulled over and asked the officer if he was a non-smoker so I'd know if I needed to douse it, he said I didn't put him there, he did. Guess its kind of the same with a defensive situation
  11. candyman

    candyman Scappoose, OR Active Member

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    dead people dont SUE YOU
  12. hm1ing

    hm1ing 97051 Member

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    Well said! Not to mention the most true to the law.
  13. AndyH

    AndyH Keizer, Oregon Well-Known Member

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    True, but there family well...gaurenteed. Most likely looking for some out of court $$ settlement. Its total crap but its the way world turns.

    My personal view is shoot to stop the threat regardless of the outcome.
  14. GabbyHaze

    GabbyHaze Milton, Wa New Member

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    Always, Always, Always aim center mass.
  15. candyman

    candyman Scappoose, OR Active Member

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    i was just poking the bear
  16. TOVO

    TOVO SW WA. Active Member

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    Don't forget the 5 shoot rule at the bear. Leave the 6th one for you.:laugh:
  17. MarkAd

    MarkAd Port Orchard Well-Known Member

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    To my, it is simple I shot with the intent to permantly remove the threat.
    if i stop the threat be merely displaying my weapon I am happy.
    if shot pouts the agressor out of comssion I am happy.
    If I kill the target. I m happy

    bottom line - When i pull my weapon and that alone does not defuse the situation I am firing for CENTER MASS. i will then consider options when the threat has been subdued if that is possible.
  18. bolen05

    bolen05 Vancouver, WA Member

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    if i am at the point where i am going to shoot someone there will only be one version of the story
  19. Just Jim

    Just Jim Well-Known Member

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    Common sense tells us that you have to shoot a person in a place that kills them to reliably stop them. The question answers itself.

  20. clearconscience

    clearconscience Vancouver, WA Well-Known Member

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    My dad always told me never pull a gun on someone you don't want to kill.
    As far as I'm concerned you shoot until your gun is empty. The last thing you want is a witness.