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Author Topic: The Head Shot - Notes by Avery  (Read 1226 times)


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The Head Shot - Notes by Avery
« on: November 23, 2008, 09:26:23 AM »

The Head Shot - Notes by Ron Avery, Special Featured Author and Renowned Gun Expert

By Ron Avery, police and shooting vet and President, Director of Training of . Ron says-

"In any discussion of lethal force shooting, the subject of head shots is one that needs to be addressed thoroughly. I would like to offer some concepts and drills to share with officers and other personnel that are interested in this important topic.
We know that hits to the central nervous system (CNS) result in more or less instant incapacitation of subjects. The problem with a head shot is that it can be a fleeting, frustrating target There is a high probability of a miss when doing it under real world conditions. This problem is compounded by officers who only train head shots from static positions or moving slowly. This problem gets bigger with lenient scoring procedures or too big a target area. Then there is the matter of what to do if you keep missing the head and have to account for the rounds fired.
Other problems are not training to take the shot with the first double action pull for autos that are set up that way. This raises the question of whether we should be training folks to rapidly thumb cock the hammer if the need for a fast, precise head shot at distance is to be taken. Heavy trigger pulls and precision shots at speed do not go together well. This would be a good case for lightening the trigger pulls to allow proper isolation of the finger at speed.
Lastly, there is usually no time pressure when the shot has to be taken. I am glad to see that some individuals are shooting head shots in 1.5 seconds at 7 and 10 yards in training. My only question is: What is the start position for the drill? Weapon on target or a ready position?
First let's examine the situations that the officer will most likely have to take a head shot.
- Close quarter assaults - within 5-7 yards, perhaps as far as 10 yards. These may or may not be preceded by body shots.
- The only target available is the subject's head ; i.e.; he is shooting from some form of cover or is in a crowd situation.
- Where a rapid incapacitation is called for : i.e. hostage type situations or suicide bombers.
Now let's look at some dynamics in these situations.
- Lighting conditions - Great, Good, lower light? Twilight? Need for artificial illumination?
- Is the subject moving or still?
- How far away are they?
- How well do you have your gun sighted in?
- How fat is your front sight? Does it pretty much cover the head at 15 yards?
- What kind of position are you shooting from? Standing, Kneeling? Prone? Barricade? Awkward position leaning around a vehicle?
- What kind of time pressure is there to fire? Is the target going to disappear or does he only present a fleeting target as they are moving in and through cover or crowds?
- What kind of backstop is there in the event that you miss?
- Are you moving or stationary when you are taking the shot?
- There are other questions to be asked but these will suffice for now. The main point is, do you really train head shots under realistic conditions or just do "rubber stamp" training to satisfy the brass?
Understand, I am not picking on anyone here. Not ever. I want to help people make better choices by being well informed of the dynamics of lethal force situations that involve high speed, precision shooting so that the training can be realistic and meaningful and they can be prepared when their time comes."
For more on this subject and his great list of related, training drills, and just more on Ron Avery in general, please do check out:

Nick Hughes

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Re: The Head Shot - Notes by Avery
« Reply #1 on: November 23, 2008, 12:24:26 PM »

some individuals are shooting head shots in 1.5 seconds at 7 and 10 yards in training. My only question is: What is the start position for the drill? Weapon on target or a ready position?

On Southnarc's most excellent ECQ course I was the fastest shooter on the timed drill...2 shots to the chest from a holstered position while being screamed, yelled and jostled until someone blew the whistle to go.  I got my two in just under 1.5 seconds and I hadn't been shooting for years.  (strong side IWB carry)

I have absolutely no doubt people are pulling off 1 head shot from 7 - 10 yards from other than weapon on target or ready position i.e. I bet they're doing it from holstered.  I can't believe the author hasn't seen it done.

(Nothing to do with the rest of his article by the way...just an observation that I'm surprised he thinks they'd have to be doing that either on target or ready position)

Hard pressed on my right. My center is yielding. Impossible to maneuver. Situation excellent. I am attacking.
--Ferdinand Foch-- at the Battle of the Marne


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Re: The Head Shot - Notes by Avery
« Reply #2 on: November 24, 2008, 07:11:27 AM »

Start:  ready position.

You should be able to put lead on the head in 1.5 and have plenty of "to be sure" time.
  'Advanced' is being able to do the basics, despite what else is happening. 

Our Country won't go on forever, if we stay soft as we are now. There won't be any AMERICA because some foreign soldiery will invade us and take our women and breed a hardier race!"  --- Chesty Puller, USMC