Selco On Stopping Power: ‘I Have Seen and Been in Lots of Gunfights in Real Life’

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The following article has been contributed by Selco at SHTF School. As a survivor of the Balkan War and subsequent collapse of life in the region during the 1990′s Selco experienced the worst that humanity has to offer. He’s seen it and lived it with his own eyes and he has graciously agreed to share his experiences with our audience. We urge you to check out Selco’s One Year In Hell Survival Course and visit his community forum where you can ask questions and discuss survival and preparedness topics with others.

stopping power

Another great and favourite topic in survival community is matter of best caliber and weapon for SHTF, and ammo with most stopping power. Stopping power means how quickly and with few bullets you can make threat unable to attack you or anyone else.

I tell you now, even for urban survival and the situation I have been through and speak about in my course, it is more important to discuss water filtering in urban SHTF scenarios than talking about stopping power.

Do not get me wrong, I am perfectly aware that burst from the machine gun in the man standing in front of you will do much more damage (and probably will stop him forever) than shooting at him with a pistol.

I have seen and been in lots of gunfights and in real life, shootings are not so simple that guy with bigger gun wins.

It is about you

Guy who was standing next to me pulls pistol (TT 7.62 mm like in the picture above) at attacker who was starting to run away from us. I did not want to shoot at the guy because he was running away from us, and I thought he did not need to be shot, but my friend thought different.

Anyway, he raises the pistol, and fired 6 bullets at the guy. Guy was some 6-7 meters from him. And he missed him, all six bullets missed the guy, who run away.

Guy who was running away was moving away from us, but not in straight line, he was moving diagonally so I guess that adds little bit to why all bullets missed.

But man who was shooting from the pistol did next:

  1. He held the pistol with one hand
  2. Fired 6 shots in very fast manner (recoil did its job so he did not spend to reacquire target)
  3. Screamed very loud while shooting

I had (and still have) lot of confidence in TT pistol, it is reliable and scary thing in good hands, and can do lot of damage.
But point is that you are the man who makes the shot (and kills). So first you need to work on your skills. A .22 bullet to the head is worth more than .45 to the shoulder. Common sense.

Weapon is something that in my opinion needs to be good and correct for you and your hand. There is no point in having some weapon just because it is good for someone else, maybe it is completely wrong for you.

Recoil, trigger pull and general feel are just few of many factors that determine what makes sense. Get gun that enables you to hit your target even if people on shooting range shoot bigger caliber. We train for survival and not to show off.

About gunshot wounds

Gunshot wounds are kinda strange stuff, because you never know what you can expect from it. When bullets enter the body it can make quite interesting stuff, so I have seen people being hit from high caliber weapon and they even did not know they are hit, OK adrenaline works there too, but it is simply important the vital organs are damaged.

Bullets can have very weird path once they enter the body, so even if entrance wound looks not so dangerous it still can shred organs in body.

You never know what it will be, because there are many factors involved like weapon caliber, distance, angle… Bullets ricocheting from wall or ceiling above you still can kill you, actually small pieces of wall exploded from bullet hits can kill you if they hit right spot.

Generally speaking exit wound (if there is any) should look more “nasty” than entrance wound, but still there were cases when in middle of the fight some folks did not know they had any wound at all, until later they were carefully examined and entrance and exit wound were found.

I treated man once who had gunshot wound in forearm, some 10 minutes after the battle people pointed at him and at the blood coming all along his arm and fingers. He had entrance and exit wound, no bone damaged, and still no pain. Adrenaline.

Stopping power, penetration etc.

Remember the guy from the beginning of the post, maybe if he had knife or alternative weapon in that moment he would stop that man with more success.

And yes, I would always choose to have good and reliable pistol over a spear, but you get my point. I have seen guys who “stop” other guys with bullets from .22 CZ rifle in some very very cool (and scary) way, and on quite some distance. They simply were good with that rifle.

Shots in the head and chest have more chances to “stop” a man. Man can be also stopped with few shots in legs, but remember that he still can shoot you.

Still do not expect that man will be “blown away” with one shot in the chest, like i movies. Even if you hit the man in heart, he still have chance to shoot you.

So in short, yes, bullets in chest and head are good, but BULLETS not A BULLET. Just be sure. Keep shooting until the threat is gone. Nothing worse than stopping too early.

Bullets in the stomach are bad things, but I have seen people firing back at their attacker with rifle with their intestines hanging out.

Also important to consider is the meaning of the word “cover”. Remember that some things just cannot give you enough cover. There is not much better than big pile of compact dirt or concrete wall between you and man who shoots at you.

Use common sense with taking cover, objects like wooden door, bush, glass and similar are not cover, they are concealment. They can maybe HIDE you, but you still can be killed with bullets through it.

Many times I mentioned it that in SHTF you need lots of ammo, people shoot at whatever is suspicious. If you are hiding behind wooden door, attacker can shoot burst just through the door, to be sure. You are not covered.

Will to kill

When I wrote those 3 points about what the guy with TT gun did and why he did not shoot the other man, there needs probably (but I never know for sure) to be number 4 and that is “he did not want to kill the man”.

Yes, even in life threatening situations lots of people simply would choose not to kill, even if that means death for them. I believe it is something that some people simply can not do. They are not capable of that, to take some other mans life.

Maybe it looks that this is not connected with this topic about stopping power, but it is. So while choosing what weapon is good for you, you need to ask yourself “am I capable of taking other mans life?”. Any hesitation can kill you when it matters, whatever caliber you have.

Lesson here is, instead of researching “tacticool” stuff online, learning about survival and going down to shooting range and finding gun with common round in the area that one shoots well with is what makes sense. The gun you know how to use best has biggest stopping power.

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