Making Hits is What Counts

By on January 22, 2014

I cry BS, partially.  Making hits is not the only thing that counts, and making “good” hits is not the only thing that counts either.  What counts in self defense? Making the other person stop what they are doing.  That is what truly matters.

In combat, I learned hits matter, but so does volume of fire.  One of the worst fights I got in was a squad-on-squad engagement where they got the jump on us.  Once they started firing, we all got pinned down.  Partially out of fear and partially because I could hear and feel the bullets zipping over my head as I lay on the ground.  Looking to my left and right, the rest of my Marines were doing the same thing.  At that moment, we had lost.  Obviously, we turned that fight because I’m still here.  But I learned much of what I’d been taught for years is bull.

If the enemy had been a little smarter, they would have easily destroyed us.  So there are more things going on in a gunfight than making hits.  And making good hits if you want to survive is BS too.  While both are super helpful, they are not the end all, be all in a fight.

So what is? The problem is there isn’t one thing that will make you win every fight you could get in.  Some self defense fights have been won with words, others with a simple push, and some with simply showing a firearm.  Then there are the other fights that police call “knock-down drag outs” where you literally have to muscle the other person into control or kill them.  Either way, you can see how difficult and how much that sucks.

So lets look at a simple gun-fighting rule I try to live by:  Don’t get hit!  Seems simple enough but how do we do that? Movement is your friend and so is cover.  Then, make the bad guy think of something else besides shooting/killing you.  What do I think the most effective way to do that is? Shoot at him! Did I say you have to make a good hit? Or even a hit at all? No, just get him thinking about his own survival instead of killing you.  Am I advocating shooting wildly into the air? No. Making fast shots may be better than making one good hit, but we are responsible good people and we don’t want to hit innocent bystanders.

The problem we face is a dedicated killer.  The bad guy that isn’t going to stop until he/she is dead or they get what they want from you (and that could include your life).  How do we know during a gunfight if the person fighting us is a dedicated killer?  Shoot at them.  If the bad guy runs away after you, shoot a couple rounds at them, then you solved your problem and it’s not a dedicated killer.  If the person continues to come at you and is taking multiple hits from you, then you have a dedicated killer.

Here’s one of the problems we face: Gunfights are over so fast that we need to be doing something all the time.  If you come to one of my courses the first thing I will teach you is how to draw, then how to move while drawing.  You will continue to work on that skill the rest of the time at my course.

I also don’t want you to stop moving.  That means you need to know how to shoot while moving.  Not IDPA style (if you don’t know what I’m talking about, don’t worry about it), but be able to move fast.  As I train and get better, I keep moving faster while shooting.

Here’s the problem with making good hits as the only thing that matters:  When someone is shot through the heart and it explodes it still takes 3-4 seconds for the oxygen in the brain to run out and render the person unconscious (true death will come in a minute or two).  No doubt that person is going to die.  But what can they do until then?  Most untrained people can still run a modern gun at 2-3 rounds per second.  A well trained/practiced person can run a modern pistol at 4-5 rounds per second.  So if you do a little math, theoretically the person that is already dead can still empty any size magazine they have at you. “Taking the other person with me” is BS also.  That is something for a dying person to think, and I’m not going down like that.  I hope you wouldn’t either.

In the end, our best chance of surviving means moving to make it harder for the bad guy to shoot us and then, shooting at them to get a reaction.  Making hits should always be the goal, but speed needs to be there.  Last point, even if you can’t hit something vital on the person, as long as you are hitting them, it makes it exceptionally hard to hit you.

Stay Safe,


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