Why Don’t Police Aim For The Legs?
The answer, of course is that this is not the fastest, most effective way to stop the threat.
So why am I about to tell you that this exact thing should be part of your training?
That answer takes a little more thought.
When I started carrying my main concern and my focus on training was the common street punk. A lone mugger or a crazed ex out to punish the world for his failed relationship. I trained like most for fast accurate shots center mass to stop the threat. If the threat did not stop quickly then most of us trained for a head shot. The “two to the chest, one to the head” is a very old drill. This is still a main stay in my training. However as I have talked about in several articles, the world has changed. I now carry, and train, not only for that situation, but for things more dangerous. I think if you are carrying today you must realize that common street punks now work in groups. Crazed ex’s now actually try for suicide by cop, and terrorist are a real possibility at our local mall. The kicker is, there is a very real possibility that any of these people may be wearing very effective body armor.
Yes body armor changes everything. Well that is why I train for that “one to the head” you say. Well I will just tell you that paper heads are easy targets. Yes against a single street punk with a Glock and a vest that is still the option I would go for. What if it is three street punks with vest? What if you are in that mall and hear the gunfire. Yes I know that I am not a cop and I have no “duty” to act. I am a human though. I am a husband, and I feel a “moral” obligation to help. I am also not Jason Bourne, and I am not a fool. I am not excited taking my Sig 9mm into a fight with three or four fanatics with AK47’s. I want the best chances I can make for myself. I am going to sneak, hide, use cover, ambush, whatever gives me the slightest edge.
This is where leg shots come into play. Think it through. Yes a head shot in most instances is an ultimate end to the threat but in a fight where you are at a definite disadvantage a head shot could be very difficult. It is the smallest target on the body. Legs are pretty much the same size as the core of the body. Yes the legs might be slightly harder to hit because they are moving and there are some gaps but honestly the head may move more, and faster, than the legs in a dynamic situation.
So let’s look at the positives of leg shots. First about the same area to hit as the body. Legs also can be lethal shots. The first person I ever saw die from a gunshot was shot in the leg with a 38 and made it to the hospital still conscious but did not survive. Leg wounds hurt. Unlike the movies every person I ever went on a call for with a leg wound was within five feet of where they were shot. If I shoot any of the above bad guys in the knee I may not have ended the threat but I have most likely isolated it to that spot.
Three street punks. I put two in one vest one in another and take out the legs of one as I duck between a row of cars. One is out of the fight if I keep moving and the other two have to decide if they are going to help him or come after me.
Active shooter in the mall. I put one or two in the back of his leg from behind a corner. Now the mall can clear without him being able to chase anyone’s wife or kids and I can leave him for the cops to deal with. If he is there as part of a group, now they have to decide if they help him or continue their attack.
I hope this shows that while not always an ultimate end to a situation there are times that leg shots should be your go to target and therefore included in your “what if” mental gymnastics and your training if possible. The time to work this out is now not when you are in the situation.