Human Targets > Index > Reloads > Train Yourself > Rapid Fire > Other Drills

1. Bullet placement is much more important than the bullet itself. There are two critical areas of a human which contain major organs and vitals which, if shot, can stop a man in his tracks or kill him.

2. The thoracic cavity is the "center of mass" in a human. This area contains the heart, major veins and arteries, the trachea, bronchi and lungs, the esophagus, and structures of the nervous system including the paired vagus nerves. To imagine the area that this encompasses it starts above the diaphragm (just below the sternum) and makes (from a frontal view) a dome shape up to the first lateral rib. This is a pretty large target area. A shot in one area of the thoracic cavity is little different any another, unless you hit the heart.

* The problem with shots in the thoracic cavity is that a determined fighter or a man on drugs will be less than impressed with anything you throw at him in this area. Even if you destroy a person's heart they still have 20 to 30 seconds of full cognitive and physical ability with which they could severely hurt or even kill you. Additionally the heart is a very small target and completely destroying the heart with one bullet is nearly impossible, which means that they will likely have even more time before their eventual fate is achieved. For all these reasons, many have the self-defense rule: "shoot until the threat ends." But you must determine for yourself what your protocol will be.

* Body armor is also a factor. Just hitting a man in the chest (unless you hit him in the exact same place every time) is just going to deplete your magazine.

* Bullet penetration is a very key factory in bullet selection. This penetration does a few things for you. At less than optimal angles, the bullet will still reach vitals, and it will give your bullet a chance to possibly hit their spine, which (depending on where it lands) can incapacitate them completely or at least part of their body, enough so you may be able to get away.

3. The second major area is the cranial cavity. This area is much simpler; it contains the brain and upper spine.

* While the brain is an obvious target, there are still some considerations in shot placement. The front of the cranium (above the eyebrows) is one of the hardest bones in the body, it is also not a flat target (it is angled back slightly, or on the sides: angled to the side). There have been instances where bullets have ricocheted off a person's forehead.

* Luckily, just below this bone (below the eyebrows), down to the top of the upper-jaw is a very soft area with cartilage and holes which lead directly to the lower brain, the medulla oblongata, and the upper spine. The brain is the largest target, and a bullet in there will mean lights out, but flinching and minor movements have been known to occur when a brain shot is incurred. The medulla oblongata and the upper spine is how those flinching signals are sent to the body. A bullet through either one of those, and there is no way the body might accidentally pull a trigger or move in some other potentially detrimental way.

* In a situation which requires the immediate and unquestioned incapacitation of a person, a shot through an approximately 3-inch (above the upper-jaw to eyebrows) by 5-inch (the outside edges of the eyes) window in the head is essential. This 3x5-inch area is about the same no matter what angle the person is facing you at (from the rear and the sides it is about the same size and about the same level on the head).

4. For practice, replacing the circular chest target with a dome-shaped 11x7-inch target and the head with a 3x5-inch target will get you a more realistic targeting area. When scoring (to compare your improvements) or competing, a shot breaking the line of either cavity is good. The size of the grouping should matter less than getting the hits in quickly; and when shooting at the cranial cavity, only a guaranteed shot should be taken (you should always take more time for a cranial shot than a thoracic shot). But keep in mind, "remember your worst day at the range, you will be twice as bad when you are in a gun fight." So a general rule of a hand-sized grouping in the thoracic is optimal.