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  1. #1
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    Default Failure To Stop...or hit

    FAILURE TO STOP – THE SOLUTIONS

    From somewhere in your throat a voice, you hardly recognize as yours, echoes down the alley. “Don’t Move!” The pistol has already snapped into your hand automatically. Perhaps it was the look in your eyes, or the way you avoided covering him with the muzzle of the pistol in your hands, but the three-strike loser, a veteran member of a violent street gang, was not convinced.

    You see his hands dart to his oversized waistband, 5 sizes too big. The prison tattoos on his muscular arms seem to move by themselves as his hands start to raise the stolen revolver. Quickly, you visually pick up a marginal flash sight picture on his chest, and press off a quick pair – “POW – POW”!

    Again, automatically – you lower the pistol briskly to the low ready position, 45 degrees below horizontal, and prepare to “assess” the results. Fully expecting to see the criminal on the deck with two neat reddening holes in his chest, your elation melts into horror as you see the muzzle of his Smith & Wesson pointing at you!

    Popular writer’s comments to the contrary, pistols are all ballistically deficient. It matters not at all what you load them with, as they are not very good at terminating human hostilities. This simple fact alone is widely known and recognized in the tactical community, as well as by defensive minded citizens. This deficiency, again, is one of the primary reasons for the concept of “two quick shots” to the thoracic cavity. (Suarez international advocates "at least two, but not more than four"). The utility of the pistol comes from its ease of carry, concealment, and handiness in close quarters. If you know that trouble is on the evening’s entertainment list, with few exceptions, you are better served with a rifle or shotgun. Sometimes, however, a pistol is all we have…or all we are allowed.

    Anytime that you deploy a pistol against a determined and aggressive human being, you must be prepared for the occurrence of a failure to stop that adversary with the usual response of two or three shots. While this article is not a thesis on terminal ballistics, suffice it to say that the statistical outcomes and effects of gunfire against humans are quite variable and we must expect the worst.

    An untrained response to the “I Hit Him But He Didn’t Go Down” syndrome often is to simply panic fire the remainder of the magazine toward the adversary in the hopes that he will fall. Such a course of action is rarely effective if the other man is bent on taking the fight to you. Consider how long it takes to fire 10 to 15 rounds into a target (and hit, of course). A man who has already received a good degree of ballistic insult, and is intent on firing his weapon at you, or slicing your melon in two with his machete will easily do so before you can stop him with more body shots!

    After the human body experiences the initial trauma created by the first few shots, it tends to disregard any further ballistic insult. In essence, the part of the nervous system that says “Fall Down Stupid, You’ve Been Shot” is no longer operational. Sure, the guy will probably die from the wounds, but he won’t stop what he’s doing right now. Even if the heart was completely destroyed, it would still take up to one full minute before, as my partners say, “all the oil drains out of the motor”, and the adversary dies from suffocation due to blood loss. More shots are not the answer.

    Another very widely accepted solution is that if the first shots are not successful in terminating the discussion, a subsequent shot to the Pelvic Region will save the day. Popular belief has it that the adversary will fall down with a broken pelvis. While I agree that a man with a shattered pelvis with have a hard time in a building assault, the hip bone is absolutely not connected to the trigger finger bone! A downed man may not be able to run up to you and tag you “IT”, but he can still press his trigger…and kill you lickety split!

    I am not a medical professional, or a ballistician. My interests lie on the more pointy end of things. Wanting to know the “Why Not” of pelvic shots, however, I contacted an Orthopedic surgeon (who is also a graduate of several shooting schools) for his “expert” opinions. He told me that the pelvis is a ring structure, and it would have to be fractured in two separate places for it to be unstable. Additionally, he said that the pelvis was a very substantial bone, and wonders if any a small caliber centerfire rifle cartridge, let alone any handgun bullet, would be able to break it. He believes that in order to fracture this bone, it would have to be hit right on the points of the hips. Not much of a big deal, until you stop to consider the actual size of the target area. The point of a hip is much smaller than the area on the human face where a shot should be placed for best effect. Hmmm! Strike Two.

    The third solution to the problem is the Mozambique Drill. In our times of touchy-feelieness, the alternate titles of Drug and Body Armor Drill, or simply Failure to Stop Drill are sometimes used. None of this can hide the fact that this technique was born in the turbulent years in the small nation of Mozambique, Africa.
    Gabriel Suarez

    Turning Lambs into Lions Since 1995

    Suarez International USA Headquarters

  2. #2
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    Part 2 -

    Jeff Cooper tells me that one of his students – John Rousseau, was on his way to the airport to catch the “last plane out”, when he was set upon on the street by an AK-47 armed guerrilla, complete with fixed bayonet! The insurgent charged at Rousseau, apparently intent on sticking him en brochette.

    Rousseau, an accomplished pistolero in his own right, hauled out his Browning P-35 and masterfully hammered the attacker twice amidships. Pleased with his marksmanship and quick reflexes, he brought his Browning down to admire his handiwork. We can well imagine his astonishment when he realized that his adversary was not nearly as impressed, and was still charging at Rousseau! Hmm…whoops!

    Thinking quickly, Rousseau brought his pistol back into a firing position with the intent of shooting him in the brain. According to Cooper, Rousseau was a fine shot, but even the best of us would be somewhat rattled in similar circumstances. Rousseau was no exception. His last shot was fired in the nick of time, but instead of placing it in the command-control center, it was a little low. It entered between the clavicles and broke the spine. A severed spine is pretty conclusive, and the antagonist crashed to the deck. Rousseau was quite relieved that it worked and wrote his friend Jeff Cooper about it. The Mozambique Drill was born.

    In the Classic Mozambique Drill, after two shots have been placed in the adversary’s chest area, the operator lowers his pistol to the Low Ready Position in order to view the results over the sights. If the adversary is down, the problem is solved and all is well. But if there is a failure to stop, evident by the adversary still standing, or in training environments – by the instructor’s call for “Head Shot”, the pistol is raised on target and a single surgical shot is fired into the brain-housing group.

    But even this classic solution is not without its skeptics. It is one thing to pull this off by accident on the streets of an embattled Third World country, or on demand against benign paper targets on the training range. To execute this technique against a similarly armed opponent who will kill you if he himself is not dropped, is quite another.

    The main problem with the standard Mozambique, Drug and Armor (or whatever your preference is) Drill is a matter of reaction time. The first point to consider is that no matter how fast you are - Action Beats Reaction Every Time. The second point is that knowing the ballistic deficiencies of handguns, and the likelihood of a failure to stop, in conjunction with the dire consequences to you if you fail, shooting twice and stopping to evaluate anything suddenly seems foolish!

    Think of it in terms of a street fight. Would you hit a determined opponent a couple of times in the ribs and then back off to see if it worked? I hardly think so. More likely, you will hit him until one of two things happen – either he falls down unconscious, or you get too tired to hit him anymore! Gunfighting is no different. The same basic dynamics apply, accentuated only by the fact that you cannot afford for him to land any hits at all on you. The need to turn him off, to shoot him to the ground, is paramount. We can’t do that with gratuitous body shots. We can, however, do so with a pre-planned head shot.

    After you place the first shots in the thoracic cavity (chest), automatically stage the pistol for the head shot. If you see the sights super-imposed on a face, you have a failure to stop. The answer is not dependent on evaluating anything, or trying to react faster. If you see his face in front of your sights, shoot – if not, then lower the pistol as your initial shots probably worked. The difference in speed over the standard Mozambique drill is dramatic. Try it.

    If you do indeed have a failure to stop, the adversary will not be standing there like a cardboard target waiting for your coup de grace. A real adversary will be attacking or shooting. He will be in his “action phase”. If you rely on the standard Mozambique/failure drill, you will be in the “decision phase”. This is reactive instead of active, and places you up to one full second behind the speed/power curve. You generally can’t react fast enough to make a difference. If you’ve staged your pistol for the head shot, you are bypassing a large portion of the reactive phase without relinquishing the initiative.

    There are other solutions to the problem, that tend in the more aggressive direction. Some requiring instant incapacitation of the terrorist they deal with, eschew any preliminary chest shots and advocate the cranial shot as plan “A”.

    Don’t dismiss the use of the deliberate head shot for certain situations. It is a wise choice if you have prior knowledge of body armor, drugs, or if you believe that the adversary is in a heightened emotional state. The standard response of two to the body may be ineffective against such people as committed terrorists, religious zealots, or advanced criminals as they may not exhibit a psychological reaction to being shot.

    A case to remember is the infamous Miami shooting between two dedicated bank robbers and the FBI agents intent on arresting them. One of the criminals absorbed enough lead to sink a ship, but refused to fall down.

    Some decry the head shot as a magnet for lawsuits. What a loss of perspective! Yes, you may have more explaining to do here, but living to explain is better than lying on the deck as a bloody gurgling mess and being liability-free. Lawsuits are bad, certainly, but so are funerals…specially if you are the star of the show! Primary and above all else…Win the Fight!!

    Its quite simple - If you see the head in your peripheral vision around the sights, then he didn't go down and you have a failure to stop. If the head is there, take it. For those who don't think this can be done real-time, I'd be happy to prove it with Simmunituions, Airsoft, water pistols or anything else.

    With our method, the deficiency of the pistol is taken into consideration, as well as the reality of action being faster than reaction. It solves the problem without any of the inherent drawbacks of the other proposed solutions. The fear that such methods will bring litigious attention is not as much an issue as some would have us believe. The head shot is widely accepted in law enforcement and military shooting disciplines as the standard response to the failure of previous shots, or to solve special situations. Explanations for your tactics may have to provided later by you (or your attorney), but they are certainly justified.

    In summation, you shoot at least twice (although more is certainly acceptable and advised):

    A) In case you miss with one, and

    B) To Maximize the effects of a ballistically deficient weapon.

    Having a solution to the Failure to Stop event is imperative because due to many outside influences, such as drugs, body armor, or heightened emotional states, adversaries do not always stop the fight and fall down when they are shot.

    One instructor mentions that he does not teach head shot follow ups because they are either too difficult, or because you may have missed with body shots. here is my reply -

    Ok, so first of all, is missing THAT likely? I don't think so. If you miss with shot #1, I can understand that ( I've missed with shot #1). Follow up with shot #2, and #3. If you've still missed, there are other problems greater than your inability to make a head shot. Perhaps a basics refresher is in order??

    Hit 'em hard in the biggest target available a bunch of times and then follow up for a head shot, If the shot is still there, standard or non-standard, take it. Sounds pretty simple to me.

    In the real world, you may miss with A shot, but ALSO, your enemy may be on dope or armored, or so commited to his cause that simple shooting him more in the same place won't keep him from shooting you in the second place. This is where shutting him down by blowing his brains out is better than hoping for the best with more body shots.

    Is the head shot hard, a little, but not that much. In force on force, we do head shots on live adversaries on a regular basis. So can anyone who listens.
    Gabriel Suarez

    Turning Lambs into Lions Since 1995

    Suarez International USA Headquarters

  3. #3
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    I stumbled across the FBI UCR site the other day (might have been a link from a post on this site?), and have read a couple of years' worth of officer fatalities. Face to face, only a few shootings to the chest seem to result in immediate effects (obviously vests change things a bit, but not all of the officers are wearing them, and there are descriptions of bad guys without vests included as well). Since head shots happen fairly regularly in these shootings, I am starting to doubt that they are as magically difficult as they are purported to be. I'd say with the input of this reading that the minumum response should be two to the chest and three to the head. Then evaluate. I'd even consider skipping the chest shots, but I'm still trying to digest what I'm reading. The point seems to be that there are a lot of cops shot with .380's to .45's, and shots are seldom definitive unless they're to the head.

    If you have the time, it makes for an interesting read - even if you won't sleep well for a few nights.

    http://www.fbi.gov/ucr/ucr.htm

  4. #4
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    I believe failure to stop with one or two shots brings up another point to consider. The other point I had in mind is recoil recovery time. For example I believe the 40 cal is at least slight more effective than a 9mm, but the recoil recovery time from a 9mm at least in standard velocity is a lot faster for me than with a 40. So which is the better choice. Same question could be raised re +P and +P+ 9mm ammo vs standard velocity 9mm ammo.

  5. #5
    Bill’s post on recoil and recovery sparks a question. Has a study been done on the effect and “type” of recoil been done? Allow me please, same type of weapon, Sig 229, one in 9mm the other in .40, barrel length the same and weight almost identical. My recovery time is longer with the 9mm vs. the .40. The effect of recoil should be the same but it isn’t, at least in my case. The .40 “pushes” rearward and up slightly, the 9mm “snaps rearward with more travel up and right, making recovery slower. At first, like anyone else, I thought poor weapons handling skills, but after many rounds fired through both weapons, the result is the same, so I’ve ruled that out. I’d also like to add that I shoot and carry a full-sized .45 1911, so the amount of recoil doesn’t seem to effect recovery….more so, the type. Opinions?

    Thanks,

    Michael

  6. #6
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    That high bore axis of the Sig is making itself known.

    Reducing recovery (dwell) time between shots is very important. But, like with most things, it's a balance. We each have to decide where the arbitrary "just noticable difference" lies, and use what we are comfortable with.

    All else being equal, I find .45 easiest to control (push), then 9mm (flip), then .40 (push and flip). But, I'm transitioning from a 9mm Browning to a .40 Glock, so I think the difference is minimal. We aren't talking about a .22 vs. a .44mag.

    If you want fast recovery, the HK P7M8 was the absolute best I've found, followed closely by a full sized, steel framed 1911.

    I'm curious to see how ammolab's study on .38 2" snubbies turns out with that safestop ammo. In a lightweight J-frame, bumping upto +P rounds really reduces recovery time, and I'm not sure the extra velocity is worth it in that application.

  7. #7
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    Comment: "I'd even consider skipping the chest shots, but I'm still trying to digest what I'm reading. The point seems to be that there are a lot of cops shot with .380's to .45's, and shots are seldom definitive unless they're to the head."

    You know I agree. I think there are guys who eschew head shots because they don't have the marksmanship abilities to make them stick on a range in front of students. Some schools get really academic about it and push the head shot out to 25 yards. That's a really cool thing to be able to do but not as relevant as training to shoot 'em to the ground up close.

    In reality, taking a head shot in the real world is not hard at all. This is particularly because we are talking about close distances.

    I remember one call I went to involving gang and dope stuff. We were searching a back yard area at night. Flashlight in hand. I opened a door of a detached garage to check inside and a Pitbull dog charged out to chew on us. This dog had been trained to chew up cops as was common in L.A. some years ago.

    I remember moving and bringing the pistol up to a modified Harries ( a Glock 17 with Golden Sabre 124gr JHP). I saw the dot on the tritium front sight on the dog's face and pressed. Results - one clean head shot on the move at 3 yards. They can't be that hard to pull off.

    Another time more recently during a Force on Force class, we had one student who set up an almost unwinnable scenario. Nobody wanted to go in after him. After explaining the better ways to handle the problem (call 911 and go get a burger), I did a dynamic entry into the room and charged the "adversary" behind a hail of head shots. Results: He decided to cover up instead of shoot back. Lots of impacts on his Protective Mask BTW.

    Finally, guys think that all you will fire is one shot. This comes from the schools that get fixated on scoring targets and they want to see if your shot was placed within the lines of the paper. In reality if you smack a man in the mouth with a 9mm round, and then a quarter second later another round smacks into his cheek, and a third into his eye, the head shots will put him down...or at least make him lose his marksmanship ability.

    Guys who don't practice head shots are not getting full value from training.
    Gabriel Suarez

    Turning Lambs into Lions Since 1995

    Suarez International USA Headquarters

  8. #8
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    I percieve, whether it is accurate or not, that I can shoot a .45 about as quick as anything, all else being equal. That said, I currently carry a .40 for the added round capacity for us lowly civilians. I favor the .45, but like 10 rounds in my XD40 vs. 7 in the mag of the P220 I prefer. I carryed the Glock 21 for a while, but the grip was just too big for my hand. The differences in recovery time are in the hundreths of a second, which can be a lifetime, but if I've done my part of being aware, I shouldn't be behind the OODA loop.

    Excellent post, Gabe. Another good reason to "shoot them to the ground". I agree that we shouldn't take time to assess the situation. If they are still in your line of fire, keep shooting!!
    **Mike Ronin on FaceBook**

    **Spero optimus instruo pro pessimus**

    **Out of destruction rises opportunity. We are only defeated when we give up. Never, ever give up. (Phil 4:13)**

  9. #9
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    This is a good thread !
    I've mentioned on this Forum that certain British military HRTs ONLY practise head shots at the closer ranges.
    I'm talking to WT members here, who obviously have much more dedication and interest than your average Joe. You are already spending your hard earned money, buying firearms, ammo, training etc.
    As a CCW holder, who feels I have an obligation to society to NOT miss and hit some innocent passer-by ( more anti-gun propaganda at the very least,) I practise regularly with my carry gun. For along time now, I have at the closer ranges ( 2/3 metres ) practised, head shots on presentation. If you can present your weapon at these ranges and 'double tap' into the chest of your target achieving a sub-2" group, why not practise the same, - but to the head. At these ranges, you cannot afford to not stop the agressor !
    I mentioned on another thread ( do you carry at home I think,) an incident that happened to me last year. A neighbour ( a drunken bully,) invaded my apt. I drew at about 2 metres and locked up centering on his face. He backed up quickly, and left my apt. I wonder if he would have done the same if I'd centered on his chest ?
    A good freind ( police ) recently grappled with a BG on a bus here in Rio. Holding the BGs gun hand ( which discharged into the roof of the bus,) he fired 6 .380s into the BGs chest. ( All +Ps, at my advice he loaded HPs/FMJ alternatly.) NO EFFECT what-so-ever ! His 7th round went into the BGs face. Dropping him instantly.
    Head Shots please ! ( At least at close ranges.)
    Regards,
    Anthony.
    If you have to fight, do not fear death.
    We will all die one day, so fight skillfully and bravely!
    And if it is to be that you die, then at least go to God proudly.
    Meet him as the proud warrior that you once were, and not as a sniveling coward.
    Nobody lives forever.

  10. #10
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    To date I've taken tactical pistol classes from Gabe and Chuck Taylor. Both classes were valuable but among the several tactics that were different between these two trainers none was more apparent than their approaches to the "failure to stop drill".

    Chuck's approach was two to the body, lower to ready and assess. Having learned differently in the class I had taken previously with Gabe, I asked for clarification for this tactic. Specifically I wanted to know the rational for dropping to low ready rather than looking for the head shot immediately. The reason I was given is that if your hands and gun are raised up for the head shot they will block your view of the assailant.

    Getting different instructions from different respected instructors forces one to internalize the conflicting messages and determine what is the best approach for them. For me, the choice is clear to look for the headshot. The reasons Gabe has given above support this tactic well in my mind and personally, as much as I respect Chuck Taylor, I didn't find his answer about not being able to see your opponent to hold true for me. If my hands and gun are raised for a head shot and I can still quite clearly see enough around them to determine if the BG is still up or if he is down.

    As far as the subsequent legal ramifications of adhering to this tactic, I'll cross that bridge when I get to it and I'll be thankful that I'm alive to cross it. I've prepared myself for legal defense just in case the need should arive. I feel that it is a wise thing to do for anyone who carries a gun but it doesn't change my primary goal and that is to return home safely.

    Great post Gabe!
    Last edited by Brass Balls; 11-22-2003 at 01:53 PM.

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