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Top ten reasons why cops dont shoot people in the legs :-)

Discussion in 'Education & Training' started by IronMonster, Mar 1, 2015.

  1. IronMonster

    IronMonster Washington Opinionated Member Diamond Supporter

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    With all the law enforcement lethal confrontations and use of force incidents that have been in the news over the last few months, I’ve had a lot of people asking me, “why police officers don’t aim for the legs.”

    So, by popular demand, here are my top 10 reasons why police don’t “shoot people in the legs,” counting down from number ten:

    10. Because this is real life, not Hollywood. Cops can’t shoot guns out of hands or quickly recover by the next TV episode after they’ve been shot themselves.

    9. Shooting a person in the leg doesn’t mean they’ll stop being a threat. If the guy or girl has a gun, he or she can still shoot with a bullet in the leg, or in the arm or in the shoulder for that matter. Heck, a person can even still shoot if he or she has been shot in the chest or the face!

    8. It’s extremely hard to shoot accurately under stress. Police are reacting to a threat. Fear, stress and adrenaline all combined with defensive shooting (vice offensive shooting) can make even the best target shooter a terrible shot. Deliberately trying to shoot a person in the leg would be more difficult than shooting a threatening person center mass, so…

    7. Shooting center mass means the officer has a better chance to hit his or her target. Let’s face it, the torso is the biggest target on the body and aiming at an appendage, like an arm or a leg, doesn’t make much sense when there’s a bigger target, right?

    6. Most gunfights are mobile. Trying to hit a moving target—particularly the legs, which move more than any other body part when mobile—has less potential for positive hits in a gunfight.

    5. Shooting someone in the leg may still kill that person. Severing a femoral artery can cause a person to bleed out within seconds and, despite what many people may think, shooting someone center mass doesn’t always kill them.

    4. Because shooting a “warning shot” is stupid and against the policy of every police department in America.

    3. Shooting someone center mass is the most likely way to immediately stop a threat. Police aren’t trained to kill or to injure; they’re trained to stop the threat.

    2. Because police are trained to shoot center mass—that’s why.

    And the number one reason why police don’t aim for the legs…

    1. Because shooting a person in the head every time may be considered excessive force. It would also shock the conscience of the public. Besides, it would be really difficult to do.

    In repetition, police don’t shoot to kill; they shoot to stop the threat, and that means shooting center mass until the threat stops. Under rare circumstances, officers may shoot to the body and then transition to the head, but even then, remember, shooting someone doesn’t mean they’ll die.

    The views and opinions expressed in this post are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the position of Guns.com.
    eighthnerve, Riot, BradC and 2 others like this.
  2. SHPD_Retired

    SHPD_Retired Saint Helens Well-Known Member

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    And people often wonder why a person gets shot multiple times. The reason for that is that one shot often does not stop the threat. You are taught to shoot until the threat has stopped being a threat. Until you believe the person is no longer a threat you continue to shoot. The above article is right on.
    Riot, BradC, hker71 and 1 other person like this.
  3. Twodogs

    Twodogs portland Or Active Member

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    I saw McGarrett shoot a guy in the leg on Hawaii 50 last week so I know it can be done.
  4. Kimber Custom

    Kimber Custom Vancouver, WA Bronze Vendor Bronze Vendor

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    Blackcobra likes this.
  5. jbett98

    jbett98 NW Oregon Bronze Supporter Bronze Supporter

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    Who needs cops when you can shoot your own self in the leg.

    Warning, inappropriate language.

    Last edited: Mar 1, 2015
  6. CoastRange57

    CoastRange57 Western Oregon Bronze Supporter Bronze Supporter

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    And he did it with one of those old S & W Detective Specials .38 with the two inch barrel at 20 yards..so there !!
    Slobray and Brutus57 like this.
  7. CoastRange57

    CoastRange57 Western Oregon Bronze Supporter Bronze Supporter

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    I would say the language is completely appropriate for the situation. Although before he dropped the SOB in there, he need to preface it with " I am a dumb...SOB".

    Complete drill fail. The perp probably would have plugged him too, so he was double screwed.
    jbett98 likes this.
  8. Caveman Jim

    Caveman Jim West of Oly Springer Slayer 2016 Volunteer

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    I wholeheartedly agree with:

    4. Because shooting a “warning shot” is stupid and against the policy of every police department in America.:cool:
    Slobray and U201491 like this.
  9. mrblond

    mrblond Salem OR Well-Known Member

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    Hell John Wayne could kill 20 Indians with a colt peacemaker without reloading. Now that's good shooting.
    Slobray, Caveman Jim and blackadder like this.
  10. oknow

    oknow amboy wa. Well-Known Member

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    The reason is because the cops are not use to hitting their target the first time. :p
  11. CoastRange57

    CoastRange57 Western Oregon Bronze Supporter Bronze Supporter

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    In the situations they have to shoot in, I don't think any of us could put that first round on target very well.

    My first few rounds are seldom accurate shooting in a completely controlled relaxed situation with nobody trying to kill me.
  12. oknow

    oknow amboy wa. Well-Known Member

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    Yea those ladies delivering newspapers were scary. One among many examples.
  13. Medic!

    Medic! What just happened? Has eagle eyes. But cant remember what he saw. Bronze Supporter

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    I would think a body shot would also do the best job of preventing over penetration.

    You don't want to shoot through the bad guy. And hit a little girl, boy, or lady.
    Caveman Jim likes this.
  14. Gunguy45

    Gunguy45 Well-Known Member

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    The recent shooting in Pasco had me answering some questions by a PRO2A guy who was a witness, who couldn't get the 16+ rounds fired.

    "Sympathetic shooting" was my answer. Plus, police are trained (wrongly IMO) to take 5 shots+ and "shoot the target to the ground."

    My only objection to the 5+ shots and "shooting him to the ground" is lack of accuracy. It's pretty damned difficult for most shooters,even if they practice a LOT, to maintain control on more than 3 shots fired rapidly.

    While some folks can do it, MOST cannot. Add in to that the disgusting lack of training time and ammo that most police agencies offer and you're getting AT BEST 2-3 shots on target, 2-3 misses.

    Shooting someone in the legs? PLEASE. Anyone who even MAKES that suggestion just told you he has not the slightest idea of how shooting a pistol actually works, much less combat shooting.

    Besides, if you don't NEED to use a gun, you should ALREADY be using other methods like tasers, pepper spray and the baton.

    The fact that you're shooting for a "wound" rather than stopping the threat as quickly as possible indicates that it wasn't a situation where an officer NEEDED to be using deadly force in the first place.
  15. Deebow

    Deebow Portland Well-Known Member

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    When I train folks, I train them to shoot the bad guy "to the ground" because it is one of the few ways to be as close to 100 percent sure that the bad guy no longer presents a threat. Everyone in a gunfight misses because no one just stands there and gets shot. It has been my experience that "feets don't fail me now!" becomes SOP when the lead starts flying.

    Good hits on target are key, but I have seen one of my comrades overseas die from a shot through the armpit, and a bad guy terrorist still awake and alive after backstopping a 10 round burst from a machinegun that struck him in multiple places.

    And on the topic of over penetration, this is what the FBI found:

    "An issue that must be addressed is the fear of over-penetration widely expressed on the part of law enforcement. The concern that a bullet would pass through the body of a subject and injure an innocent bystander is clearly exaggerated. Any review of law enforcement shootings will reveal that the great majority of shot fired by officers do not hit any subjects at all. It should be obvious that the relatively few shots that do hit a subject are not somehow more dangerous to bystanders than the shots that miss the subject entirely"

    Fact is, everyone misses, and the torso is the biggest spot to aim at, so shoot there.
    whiskeybill likes this.
  16. krivey

    krivey mcminnville oregon Active Member

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    But, the people in walking dead make off hand head shots at 10 yards while running and holding a baby.
  17. rick benjamin

    rick benjamin USA, Or, Damascus Secure the drama Silver Supporter 2016 Volunteer

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    Then there's SWI, shot while intoxicated.
    No matter that his heart is hamburger, his brain hasn't run out of oxygen, yet.
  18. coop44

    coop44 Tacoma ,WA Well-Known Member

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    possibly the biggest reason cops don't shoot anybody in the head is because, frankly, they are not that good. As stated earlier most shots don't even come close to hitting the target when aiming at the torso, an obviously bigger target. " The police fired over 45 times and hit the (fill in felony of your choice) was hit twice". Happens all the time, everywhere, and most the time the felon was unarmed (or poorly armed). I usually aim just above the browline center of the forehead, the proverbial "off switch". not much chance of anyone shaking that off and shooting back. If I do miss I'm doing no worse than the leo who misses 14 out of 15 shots.

    (Audie Murphy and John Wayne shot guns out of bad guys hands all the time:))