Statistics About Civilian Deadly Force Encounters

Interesting Analysis From Active Self Protection

I’ve watched about 5,000 gunfights at this point, and the patterns that emerge are pretty clear. Some thoughts you might want to consider that I don’t think that the training community really wants to hear:

1. Most gunfights aren’t entangled gunfights. Empty-handed skills are important, but very rare once the gun comes out. They’re necessary for LE more than CCW, by a long shot. For CCW, empty-handed skills are critical for the 80% of assaults that don’t rise to the level of deadly force response. So go to your martial arts training.

2. Reloads are almost vanishingly insignificant factors in gunfights. I have seen precisely 2 reloads in a real gunfight that weren’t on-duty LEO. And neither of those affected the outcome of the fight. I have seen about 7 or 8 where a higher capacity firearm or the presence of a reload might have affected the outcome. So 0.2% of what I have witnessed. Don’t spend much valuable class time teaching emergency and retention reloads…at least until your highest level classes where all the fundamentals are flawless. I like Tom Givens‘ focus on the PROACTIVE reload once the fight is over. That has value in my opinion.

3. He who puts the first shot into meaty bits on the other guy, wins. Not 100%, but darn near, at least partially because of the FIBS Factor. Therefore, training a fast and reliable draw and first shot in the meaty bits is most important, in my opinion. It is THE critical skill to winning the gunfight. The best cover is fire superiority.

4. Follow-up shots are necessary. Seldom do gunfights END with that first shot, so keep at him until he decides he is done fighting. This is where multiple target acquisition is important, because it simulates a moving target to hit. (unless you have a fancy moving target that can move erratically, in which case you are high speed!)

5. People have a crazy tendency to use the gun one-handed, mostly because they have stuff in their support hand. Training people to drop what’s in their hands and get two hands on the gun is a necessary skill for #3 and 4.

6. You simply WILL NOT stand still while someone wants to kill you. Unless you’re counter-ambushing, when the gun comes out you will move. So training students to move with purpose while #3 and 4 are going on is also a critical skill. They’re going to do it, so teach them to use it.

7. Chasing deadly threats is another bad habit that I see all the time. Teach your students to shoot and scoot. Move AWAY from the threat.

8. Concealment ain’t cover, but it works identically in 99.9% of cases. People won’t shoot what they can’t see, so teach your students to get to concealment, and to shoot through it if their threat is behind it.

9. People love cover so much they give it a hug. Reliably. Like all the time. Teaching distance from cover/concealment is an important skill and one that is necessary.

10. Malfunctions happen. They just do. But unless you’re carrying a crap gun, they’re rare. In all my videos I have never seen someone clear a malfunction that needed a tap to the baseplate to get the gun back working again or whose mag fell out when the gun went click…rack and reassess is necessary though. In a couple of instances, a strip, rack, reload would have helped.

Just some random thoughts…I hope we have met your jimmy rustling needs for today.

Posted in Concealed Carry, Video Analysis
15 comments on “Statistics About Civilian Deadly Force Encounters
  1. Brittius says:

    Reblogged this on .

    Liked by 1 person

  2. […] Source: Statistics About Civilian Deadly Force Encounters […]

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Brittius says:

    What I have found in my experiences, is that headshots are stoppers. Once I shot center mass twice and it was momentary to drop the suspect. Two others were arterial hits and they ran. The street looked like someone took a can of red paint and threw it all over the place, until they fell. One was a liver hit who escaped the scene and made it to a hospital, but refused to have the bullet removed (only when the bullet is from a cop’s gun, will they do that to deny evidence placing them at the time and place of occurrence), and died that night.
    If you hit the perpetrator, expect them to continue fighting for at least two or three minutes until blood loss and shock set in. Multiple hits increases your odds. A pathologist at the morgue told me that to violate thoracic vacuum, hot air out, cold air in, that produces shock, of an adult, 40/100ths of an inch is required. Think of that when selecting calibers and thinking of shot placement and multiple hits. I like to make an imaginary triangle from the armpits to the throat, and that is the sweet spot, because of the arterial network in that region. The headshots I made, were due to, it was the only clearly visible target in the lighting and, my vision reduced for some reason. The first headshot, I had T-boned a robbery suspect’s car and the patrol car doors were jammed. Only opened a little bit. The guy was shooting at me. I fired, once. Second and third headshots, I walked into a robbery in progress, while in uniform, and did not know it was going down. The suspect shot just above my hat, and I returned fire one round, then the second suspect popped up and fired from an aisle and there too, only the face was clearly visible. A lot of factors go into shootings, and all are in a perpetual state of flux. The more you train, the better you increase your odds of survival. That includes stacking the deck in your favor by going to schools on your own time, to improve and hone proficiency with your weapon. Carry more than one weapon or switch off weapons, then each weapon, you will need to develop motor skills until you do them without having to think of what you are doing. I also like to put myself under stress while practicing. Military fighting is one field and different from the streets.

    Liked by 1 person

    • JCscuba says:

      Most CCW holders rarely will use their weapon. This makes a head shot not idea. Sure you can drill them at a static target at the range, but when a target is moving, a couple of 45’s to the chest is much easier to accomplish. Thanks J.C.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Brittius says:

        I agree. The Job, would not allow me to select and carry the toys I wanted. I had to follow the Patrol Guide for authorized service weapon and authorized ammunition. If I had a 1911, I would have loved it.
        Most people “plink” and think they are practicing. Not so. I told that to a friend and he almost swallowed his tongue when I took the pistol and showed him how it’s done. Then I took his wife’s J-frame and they were stunned watching me shoot and reload. To this day, neither followed my advice.
        There is no “one size fits all”. Yes, cops shoot different, because we train, different. I also went to many different schools off duty, and loved every minute. I belonged to three gun ranges and had a fourth range that I also went to at times. I shot 400 rounds a day, seven days a week. Mistakes, kill innocent people. Always disassembling and cleaning the weapons. Always had weapons checked by a gunsmith, monthly, then by department range personnel. I had a fear of missing and an unintentional hit of an innocent person, and still have that fear. So I trained, and trained. Discipline. Proficiency. Six months after I retired, I was still in cop mode. Not quite human. Now I learned to relax. Only jumped in and helped on-duty cops here make arrests where they were being assaulted. But they always know I was a cop, after talking to me for about three seconds.
        Two armored car companies wanted me to work for them but I said that I do not fight for money, not mine, or anybody else’s. They just wanted a triggerman. Why? Because complacency, kills. Before any advice is applied, or practiced, the brain must be turned with the switch in the On position. I had other things I did and pointed out to other cops who never thought of it. Where did I learn that, they ask. At the School of Hard Knocks, Our Lady of the Streets. The Hard Way.

        Liked by 2 people

      • RealDefense says:

        Structure and Goals are critical for going beyond “plinking”.

        Liked by 1 person

      • Brittius says:



  4. JCscuba says:

    As an active NRA instructor, I too, emphasise, shoot and scoot.

    Also, cover, if you aren’t shooting you must be moving, and if not doing the the first two reloading can’t hurt one bit. Thaks very informative. J.C.


  5. Janice says:

    Reblogged this on Women and Guns and commented:
    Excellent article!! I couldn’t agree more with every point. Remember, we are average citizens, not law enforcement.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Reblogged this on disturbeddeputy and commented:
    No bull serious evaluation.


  7. […] via Statistics About Civilian Deadly Force Encounters — RealDefense […]


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