First Take:  You confront a suspect who you've
been told is armed with a gun.  You stop him in a
residential park area where he's standing with his
back to a hillside.  The first thing you should notice
is that if you have to fire your weapon, any shots
fired by you will either hit the suspect or impact
harmlessly into the hillside.

As you hold the suspect at gunpoint, you order him
to first drop the gym bag he is carrying.  Here's
where he starts something that you're going to see
often.  He doesn't follow your commands.  In this
instance, he unzips the gym bag; even though,
you're shouting at him to immediately drop the
bag.  Next he reaches into the bag with his right
hand.  Here's where you're going to have to make
your decision whether or not to employ deadly
force.  Does he point the bag toward you?  Does he
draw a gun from the bag?  Does he finally drop the
bag without removing any contents?
He finally drops the bag, but as the bag falls, you
clearly make out the sawed-off handle, he's holding
in his hand, of the sawed-off shotgun he was
concealing in the gym bag.

You're pointing your pistol at the suspect.  What do
you do now?  Do you order him to drop the gun?  
Do you wait for the suspect to raise the gun so
that it's pointing at you?  I don't think so.  This
suspect had ample opportunity to drop the bag
while it contained the gun.  This suspect has made
his intention very clear, and you are now in a deadly
force situation.

Now, this suspect has a single barrel, single shot 12
gauge shotgun.  You have a 9mm pistol containing
17 bullets.  You know your going to apply deadly
force.  How many shots are you going to fire?  Your
training has taught you to fire two shots in quick
succession.  Remember, your intention is not to kill
this suspect, your intention is only to incapacitate
him.  You know to fire at center mass only because
the torso presents the larger target.  You're not
that far apart, so the critics will say you should
shoot the gun out of his hand.  Yea, right...screw
those idiots...your life is in real danger here.

You fire two shots from your pistol.  One bullet hits
the suspect in the chest, and the other strikes the
suspect in the right shoulder.  The suspect
immediately drops the shotgun as he stumbles
backward and collapses.  Your use of deadly force is
over.  The suspect has been incapacitated, and he
no longer presents a threat to you since he is no
longer in possession of the shotgun.
Here's your shooting scenario
in two takes:
"If you are ever unfortunate enough to have
to shoot a person, you are shooting only to
incapacitate that person." ~ Barry M. Baker
Second Take:  You fire the first two shots into the
suspect's chest and shoulder.  The suspect
stumbles backward, but he is still in possession of
the shotgun. Even though he's been seriously
wounded, he attempts to raise the shotgun.  You
fire two more shots.  Remember, you're under a lot
of stress.  The suspect turns slightly as you fire,
and one bullet misses, and the other grazes his left
arm.  These two shots do nothing to incapacitate,
and the suspect continues to raise the gun.  You
fire two more shots.  One is a miss, and the other
strikes the suspect in his right inner thigh.  At this
point, you have no way of knowing, but you've just
inflicted a fatal wound to the suspect with your
sixth shot.  On the hit to his right leg, the bullet
has pierced the femoral artery, and the suspect is
bleeding to death.  The hit to the leg does make the
suspect fall to the ground, but he continues to
grasp the shotgun.  As he lies on the ground, he
attempts to bring the shotgun to bear on you.  You
fire two more shots.  One passes harmlessly
between his arm and torso and into the ground
while the second shot strikes his right forearm.  
After all those shots fired, your eighth and final
shot to the forearm finally incapacitates the suspect
when he drops the shotgun from his right hand.

Obviously, if you'd only had six shots, you'd be in
trouble since it was the eighth shot that
incapacitated this suspect.  The reason you fired at
two shot intervals was to aid you in staying on
target.  The more shots you fire in rapid
succession, the farther you'll be drawn off target by
the recoil of your pistol.  Realistically...in this
incident, as described, with such a tenacious
opponent, you'd have probably fired more than
eight shots and more successive shots.  While your
training is critical, the factors of stress and
adrenalin are going to affect your response simply
because you're fighting for your life.  The critics will
never be able to wrap their brains around the
realities of a life and death struggle.  

Now... look at this very same confrontation with
only one difference... there are three police officers
present, and each officer observes the same actions
by the suspect.  Can you imagine how many shots
will be fired in the few seconds of the gunfight.  Can
you speculate how many hits and misses might be
involved.  In this instance, the critics will be quick to
allege excessive force based only on the number of
shots fired while ignoring that all three officers were
placed in jeopardy by the suspect's aggressive
From the critics' viewpoints, it's easy to criticize
multiple shots fired since any moron can
understand that more bullets fired increases the
odds for more hits; thus, the use of deadly force
may actually turn out to be deadly.  But, even that
circumstance is not a certain factor.  You could fire
ten shots at a suspect.  The first shot is a fatal
wound while the additional six hits from the nine
additional shots are not fatal wounds.  What's the
difference?  Well, who knows.  Perhaps one of the
other six hits prevented the suspect from returning
fire inflicting a fatal wound to you, before he
succumbs to the first fatal wound inflicted by you.
Copyright © 2019  Barry M. Baker  
You have to get an understanding of the worst
critics and those who actually listen to them.  First,
the critics believe that deadly force should never be
used.  Secondly, they don't understand the
meaning of deadly.  These are the same people who
believe that police officers should be trained to
shoot to wound people, because they simply can't
understand that the difference between wounding
and killing a person with a bullet is totally beyond
your control.

These advocates of shooting to wound are so
confused.  They are the same people who believe
that police officers are trained to shoot to kill.  If
you are ever unfortunate enough to have to shoot
a person, you are shooting only to incapacitate that
person.  In other words, you are shooting at that
person to neutralize the threat.  For example, you
fire a shot at a suspect who is armed with a gun.  
Your bullet misses, but the suspect is so frightened
that he drops the gun.  As long as the suspect
poses no further threat, your missed shot has
incapacitated the suspect.