The tactics of self defense are something I have thought a lot about.

It is tough to write about it though because:

  1. I am not a gun fight veteran, so all of this is theoretical.
  2. I am not a lawyer and so what may be tactically sound might get you legal hot water.

But with this latest in Synagogue shootings, I thought I would post something I had been thinking about.

At first, this was not related to places of worship but parking lots.  Namely, what to do if you are in a parking lot shoot out.

I have posted this video before, but I want to post it again and focus on a different part of Clint’s statement.

Starting about 1:40, Clint explains why you don’t stick your head above something.  You’ll get shot it in.  Stay down, take cover.

So now let us evaluate the parking lot shoot out from the show Breaking Bad, where the two Mexican hit men are trying to kill Hank.

Hank is wounded and goes out the far side of this Jeep for cover.

That’s good, but then he gets stalked.

Notice how many cuts of the of the hit men’s boots.

Particularly this image:


Think about what a JHP will do to a foot or ankle.

No it’s not lethal, but I can’t imagine a bad guy staying on his feet after a hit like that.

Once the bad guy falls and hits the ground, you now have a clean shot at the rest of him.

Precision shooting is not easy, but we are taking about the distance of the width of a parking space…


The width of a couple of pews.

Once again, I’m going to turn to Clint.

If your instincts are like mine and you are standing in the pews when the shooting starts, you are probably going to drop and take cover before you get your weapon out.

Don’t stick you head up and get shot in the face.

Feet, ankles, shins, and knees are sensitive and delicate and taking an active shooter down to the ground by shooting under or around the end of your cover so you can finish him off without exposing yourself seems like a very reasonable tactic.

I have no idea how what I said would play out with the cops or in a court of law, but if it gets that far it means you survived the active shooter.


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By J. Kb

11 thoughts on “Notes on shooting bad guys in churches and parking lots”
  1. It probably wouldn’t have worked if the loose round hadn’t been an evil Black Talon. Sicarios have to start using friendlier ammunition.

  2. I’m reminded of the North Hollywood bank shootout.

    One of the robbers/killers was taken down by shooting him in the shins and feet: the only portion of his body not covered in level 2 or 3 body armor.

  3. You shoot him in the foot to immobilize him. He can’t hurt anyone if they all run away.
    You literally shot him to stop him. You may be in trouble if your next action is walk over and do a magazine dump into his face however.

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  5. Shoot em in the foot or leg will immobilize them, BUT it might not take them out of the fight so you may have to shoot again. And it works both ways so you need to stay behind cover. Stuff to think about.

  6. There’s nothing ‘fair’ in gun fighting.

    You shoot the bad guy in the ‘center of mass’ of the first thing that’s in your vision.
    If that’s an ankle, knee, elbow, or whatever, “Just Do It”.

    Then, when a bigger, or better, part of the rest of him appears, you get hot on the trigger repeat the process as necessary.

    And if, after all of that, the bad guy still has a gun in his hands, you keep shooting him until he either doesn’t or you know to a metaphysical certainty (like his brains are blown out of his head) that he’s out of the fight.

    Because if you don’t, he’s likely to regain what composure he can muster and at an inopportune moment, shoot you right back.

  7. Wow! I had not seen a Black Talon in years! Plenty of “Ranger” around though. That Lube-a-lox coating sure scared the idiots.

  8. I’ve seen and heard advice that you don’t shoot at knees or ankles because they are small, fast-moving targets.

    I beg to differ. Especially ankles.

    Sure, they’re small, and when they’re moving they move fast. HOWEVER, while they’re on the ground, they don’t move at all.

    It’s why in many forms of martial arts, a common defense against a thrown kick is to parry or dodge and sweep out the supporting leg; it’s not moving (in fact, being “rooted” to the ground, it can’t move), and it’s critical to your opponent’s balance.

    It’s the same with a person walking/stalking. Absent some kind of hop-skipping gait (and who does that?), the foot on the ground can’t move until the other foot falls. During that second or two, it’s a still target, and it’s supporting all of the bad guy’s weight. From “parking space” or “two pews” distance (10 feet, tops), it’s not a difficult shot to make.

    Plus, most body armor doesn’t cover the ankles, for mobility reasons. Even armor that does, doesn’t put heavy ballistic plates there. Even if it stops the bullet, he’s still going to feel it in the form of bone bruising, fractures, and/or dislocations. In any case, painful and disabling.

    Most likely, the bad guy will go down and present a bigger target. If he doesn’t, he will catch himself on his good leg. And guess what that does? It puts the OTHER foot on the ground, and renders THAT ankle immobile and easily-targeted from the same distance. Rinse and repeat, and you have a mostly-immobilized bad guy. Not out of the fight, necessarily, but incapable of chasing or hunting down more victims.

    Is that “unfair”? Sure it is, but a hate-filled terrorist attack on (presumably) unarmed church- or temple-goers doesn’t exactly start off following Marquis of Queensbury rules, does it?

    Just my $0.02.

Only one rule: Don't be a dick.

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