No Warning or Wounding Shots

One of my readers recently told me about a case where a women fired a “warning shot” at a would be attacker who may have had a knife and is now being threatened with arrest by the police. Apparently, the would be attacker was scared away by the warning shot. Although the warning shot tactic seems to have worked in this instance, warning shots in general are a very bad idea. Let’s examine why.

If pointing a gun at a would be attacker isn’t enough of a deterrent to prevent them from attacking you, there’s a good chance that firing a warning shot won’t deter them either. In fact, it may enrage them to the point that it causes them to attack you further.

If you attempt to fire a warning shot and your firearm malfunctions, you just gave away your position of advantage and created a huge opening for your attacker to attack you. This would put you even deeper into an already life threatening situation.

You are ultimately responsible for all of the rounds that exit your firearm. Projectiles don’t just go into some type of void after you shoot them out of your gun. Eventually they HIT something. You don’t want that something to be another person!

Firing a “wounding shot” is equally strategically and tactically unsound. The chances of you pulling off a wounding shot that  will dissuade your attacker from continuing his attack is very slim. It’s very hard even for well trained professional firearms experts to do that under the duress of an adrenaline dump.

What you should do instead, if you fear for your life, is to shoot your attacker “center of mass” (in the heart) to deanimate him by causing an extreme and immediate drop in blood pressure, which will cause him to go unconscious, thereby preventing him from continuing to attack you.

Don’t mess around with warning or wounding shots, doing so could cost you your life.



  1. Planodude says:

    Truer words were never spoken. When one realizes that a gun must be drawn in defense of one’s property, self , friends or family, be certain the first round is chambered; cocked (if necessary); safety off. Swiftly shoot the assailant, with torso or head centered. Be mentally prepared to quickly fire several times, as necessary. The closer to your target, the better. If you’re effective, it’s instantly bloody… do’t let that throw you.

  2. Grumpy says:

    I agree with your article in theory but KEEP IT SIMPLE for the new guys. Under stress and duress the brain regresses and functions at a very basic level, operating on instinct, and oldest , and most practiced, and most uncomplicated skills first.

    Once again this split second issue is being way way over-​​thought, and stop already with the Orwellian Double Speak! “Deanimate” ???? Just say what it is , it’s “Killing”!!!! start early to get them used to that fact. YOU ARE KILLING ANOTHER HUMAN BEING.

    Rule One when you draw your weapon be psychologically prepared to Kill another person, INSTANTLY! or don’t even bother.

    Rule two Since you already have justification to take the persons life, the reason you drew your weapon in the first place, only delay pulling the trigger if you have a sound tactical advantage over your opponent . Most Heros are DEAD.

    Rule three shoot your opponent “CENTER BODY MASS” repeatedly, EVEN WHEN HE IS ON THE GROUND, until he stops moving and the threat appears ended. Then since you are not a doctor cautiously restrain and disarm the subject no matter how dead he looks. If the tactical situation does not permit this, put two in his noggin, then disarm him and move on. You would be astounded at just how many “GOOD GUYS” end up being killed by “DEAD GUYS”.

    PS Have a nice day

  3. Ferris says:

    I have had the misfortune of holding my sidearm on another person before and I can say that it took 5–10 seconds for his drug induced brain to realize that I had a weapon pointed at him. So I can definitely corroborate the above story and understand the implications of force escalation.
    Thankfully he “moved along” instead of getting any closer.

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