Apparently there is some mall-ninja bad-ass-wannabe out there in cyberland, tapping away at  his keyboard in his Mommy's basement, making claims that snipers should deliberately target the kidneys of their targets. I've run across references to this claim here and there, but this morning I was blown away by the following email:

Dr. Williams:

I am a nursing student  and one of my assignments is to explain why a sniper would want to shoot the kidneys (keeping the focus on the short term). My research has revealed that hemorrhage and pain are the major reasons to target the kidneys directly, with cavitation of the abdominal cavity as a secondary effect. If you have any input on the matter it would be greatly appreciated.


Yep. That's a real email. Somebody actually sent that to me. I won't print the writer's name, in case he isn't just some internet whack-job, but is actually a real nursing student who is honestly seeking knowledge. But I will print my reply to this young seeker of knowledge:


I have no idea who would advise making the kidneys a target for snipers. It makes no physiological or tactical sense whatsoever, and as such I suspect it's a fiction made up by poseurs who have little or no tactical training and almost certainly no actual killing experience, either animal or human. 

Military snipers train to incapacitate their targets with a single shot. Incapacitation on the battlefield is highly congruent with rapid death of the target. Centerfire rifle bullets are designed to produce incapacitating injury as quickly as possible. Incapacitation by GSW entails putting the bullet into the primary or secondary target anatomy. The primary target is the CNS, and the secondary target is the cardiovascular system that supports the CNS. The kidneys are part of neither. The kidneys are small, deep in the body, and in anatomic locations that medically-untrained snipers would have significant difficulty visualizing in the 3D human body. As such, deliberately targeting the kidneys is so far from practicable I actually laughed out loud in disbelief when I first read your email. 

Let me be perfectly clear: shooting an enemy combatant anywhere other than the CNS/CV bundle target zones would be, first, a failure to fulfill the tactical mission (incapacitate your target asap), and second, wanton cruelty. This is at best comic-book mall-ninja material, and should be rejected out of hand. 

I strongly urge you to tell whoever gave you this "assignment" that it is nonsense and should be rejected as complete and utter bovine excrement.

Sincerely, etc. 

Now, I do not believe that J.A. is actually a nursing student, nor that s/he was given this assignment by an instructor. I expect that in most non-violent gun-free-zone universities in the USA today, giving such an assignment would get an instructor shit-canned by the Dean of Faculty in record time.

But since there are untrained wannabes running around the internet advocating "the kidney shot" as a legitimate tool for the tactical toolbox, let me underscore my letter, above, once again:  THIS IS UTTER BULLSHIT.

J.A., tell your pals to buy a copy of my book and read it. If you have any questions when you've done that, I strongly urge you to go down to your nearest U.S.M.C. recruiting office and enlist. Complete a 4-year tour of duty, and when you get back home if you have any further questions feel free to come to one of my classes and ask me face to face. Until then, stop propagating bullshit.   


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Over the past 17-18 years or so I have been a member of more than a few internet gun forums. As an active recreational shooter, hunter, and part-time police officer, I quickly learned that the majority of the people who post on these forums have little or no practical experience in shooting, hunting, or police work. Apparently I was not alone. Within a few years better internet sites popped up that either had a highly critical membership that verbally beat the shit out of the stupid folks, or restricted membership to folks with some real-world credibility that could be verified by other real-world folks. 

But a lot of these high-end end-user sites didn't last. I was really, really disappointed when Hilton Yam's 10-8forums.com closed up shop, as the most prominent example. It was obvious why these closures occurred: the high-quality end users are mostly too busy doing real life shooting, hunting, and policing to be online several hours every day.

The reason some gun boards--like AR15.com, AccurateReloading.com, and 24Hourccampfire.com--thriving is equally obvious: a lot of people are using them. Not just to exchange information. No, no: contrary to the intent of the people who invented it, the internet is not about exchanging information. It's about posting pictures of guns and cats, and getting into pissing matches over things that may or may not be important in the Real World. 

You see, what keeps internet gun forums going is "hits"... users open pages, write posts in response to other posts, piss on other posters' posts, and so on. Every hit is recorded, and this translates into what, in ancient times when information was printed on paper and sold on the streets in newspapers, used to be called "circulation". Circulation drives advertising revenue, and advertising revenue is what keeps websites up and thriving.

Capitalism at work, my friends. 

Which brings me to the point of this blog entry. 

In the past year or so I joined what was supposed to be a fairly stout forum for people who do real-world tactical stuff. I have to admit that I stopped going there after a few weeks, because it was getting little use. But I "liked" their Facebook page, and I get several updates from this site every day. And most of these updates aren't worth the pixels used to post them, I'm sad to say. 

I don't think the main Forum would have survived, except that the Facebook side of it generates lots and lots of pissing matches. They're polite pissing matches, which is refreshing, but they're still pissing matches. 

Case in point: I got sucked into replying to a thread on the Facebook side started by a guy who's having problems with his red dot sight because he's developed astigmatism, a problem many of us deal with. He was asking if there were other sights out there that had "better" red dots than his Aimpoint T1. I saw a lot of posts supporting the Aimpoint T2, but also a couple other RD sights like Vortex, and so on. In other words, the focus was on kit, not training/experience.

Now, I've wrestled with astigmatism my whole life, so I get this guy's problem, big time. And I decided out of the goodness of my heart I would share my experience of late. I said he might want to look at a RD sight that could be switched off to allow use of a non-illuminated reticle at the touch of a finger. I used the example that had worked for me, a Burris Fullfield 1-4X scope with an easy on/off RD feature. I shared my experience in using this sight in 3-Gun competition, using it on my daily-driver M4 (the same gun I carried on SWAT ops for several years, with an Aimpoint Comp3 + LaRue magnifier). 

The reply I received was: "Not a game gun."

Well, slap my ass and call me Sally. I done got told, didn't I? 

I guess there's no way to politelly tell the guy that my M4, with one or the other of these 2 sighting systems, has been through roughly 15,000 rounds of practice, range training, and actual tactical shooting, and that these astigmatic eyes of mine have overcome the problems of astigmatism for more decades than he's been alive. I guess it's more important to chew the fat over what latest piece of kit is the best "new" option for the switched-on tactical gunner. And there's no way I am ever going to convince 95% of the "tactical" guys out there that competition is essential training. (I'll address this concept in a later blog entry.)

So I decided to delete my hastily-written retort and moved on.

But there's a lesson here that may be of some use to the folks who follow my Tactical Anatomy blog. And I'm not talking about the lesson that it's pointless trying to talk about real-world tactical shooting with Equipment Junkies on the internet, as it's equivalent to trying to teach a pig to sing.

No, the lesson is simply this: you need to shoot your Real Life guns. You need to shoot them a lot. You need to shoot them with all the sights, accessories, and other kit you think will be cool to have on your guns. And you need to shoot them under high-stress non-optimal training conditions to find out if they will work when you're in a non-optimal shooting environment.  

My primary "tactical" M4 isn't a sexy uber-cool rifle. It's an out-of-the-box Smith & Wesson M&P M4 that I acquired 7 or 8 years ago, which has had some minor gunsmith tuning done to its action, but is otherwise box-stock. I actually have a new, sexy, uber-cool carbine in my safe, but it hasn't been through the grinder that my primary rifle has been through, so I don't reach for it when I want my most reliable fighting rifle.

I reach for my M&P because it's got something like 15,000 rounds through it under conditions ranging from great to goatfuck ugly, and it always works. ALWAYS. It's gone through a half-dozen HRC (high round count) carbine classes of 2-4 days duration without puking on me once. The sight systems on it (AimPoint Comp3 in LaRue QD mount, LaRue magnifier in LaRue tip-off QD mount, and Burris Fullfield in LaRue QD mount, plus the Troy Industries BUIS) have survived those same classes without puking even  once. In the past 4 years, I've used the Burris scope for 3-gun training and shooting when I'm shooting matches that require more shots out past 50 yards,  and on the shorter courses I switch back to the Aimpoint. Sometimes. The non-illuminated black reticle on the Burris is much easier on my astigmatic eyes for nailing steel plates at 300+ yards, and for precision head shots on deer at 100-150 yards, but the point  is, I've shot my primary rifle with both systems THOUSANDS OF TIMES under stressful training and competition conditions,  and I know that they will absolutely always work.

Real-life trigger time counts, kids. One of the deadliest tactical riflemen I've ever shot with was an old fart from Indiana who brought an iron-sighted Marlin .30-30 lever rifle to a tactical carbine class. Yes, he was a cop. Yes, he carried that levergun in his squad on duty. Yes, he had shot real people with it. And yes, he not only kept up with the rest of us in that tactical rifle class, he waxed most of our tails. 

It ain't what rifle you pick, kids. It's how good you are with it that counts. 


And the only way you'll get that good is by shooting it. With real ammo, in real conditions. In the rain. In the mud. In the wind and the dust. Thousands and thousand of rounds.

 Yet I am constantly confronted by people who have kindergarten-level shooting experience, on the internet and at matches, too, who will pooh-pooh my experience, or that of other men who've BTDT so much that we've forgotten most of it. These derps are infinitely more obsessed with having the latest kit than they are on practical experience. And I sincerely hope that these guys' derpitude doesn't get themselves or some other good guy killed when that latest bit of untested tacticool kit pukes on them in a really-o and truly-o SHTF gunfight. 

The best way to get that kind of experience with your primary rifle and handgun is to take some tough carbine classes. I strongly recommend Pat Rodgers' Carbine Operator class, and there are great classes taught by Paul Howe, Henk Iversen, Hilton Yam, Tim Lau, Tom Givens, and many others; there are many other good ones out there. If you take your primary weapons to one of these 3-day classes, you'll put 2000+ rounds of ammo through them, and by the end of TD-3 you'll know if your kit is GTG, or if it's derp. Then take your fighting weapons to competitive matches to keep up the skills you've learned in your carbine class. Take a carbine fighting class at least once every 2-3 years. Instead of spending money on new guns and useless shit, spend it on ammo/reloading compenents and on good training courses. 

So, I'm done spitting nails.  My point is simple: test your kit under tough conditions. Shoot a LOT of rounds with your kit. If you've got less than 1000 rounds through your primary rifle as it is currently set up, in my opinion your rifle is not proven. And "not proven" means it may well puke on you when your life is on the line.


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It looks like we may be having a busier training year in 2016. Arrangements are still pending, but I hope to have a calendar posted by mid-February. In the meantime, I'll put out some dates, both tentative and confirmed.

First, the confirmed dates:  we are hosting David Maglio of Massad Ayoob Group for a MAG-20 Range class on April 2-3, in San Angelo, TX. This is the entry-level class for all Massad Ayoob Group courses, but aside from that it is an excellent basic defensive pistol course and it's being taught by one of the best shooting instructors in the business. David is a charismatic and engaging instructor with instructor credentials out the wazoo, both in law enforcement and civilian circles. I encourage anyone with a Texas CHL license to take this class... we call it "basic" pistol training, but you'll learn a tremendous amount of practical pistol technique in this school and when you complete the Qualifier course of fire at the end of the class, you'll have new-found confidence in your ability to defend your life with your handgun.


I am planning to bring in Massad Ayoob next fall/winter to teach the classroom half of his MAG-40 class. MAG-20 Range plus his Armed Citizens Rules of Engagement class, when taken together, make up the flagship course he's been teaching since the 1980's (used to be called LFI-1). In my considered opinion as a deadly force instructor for civilian, law enforcement, and military personnel myself, I consider MAG-40 to be the most complete deadly force training program available to civilians anywhere in the USA. If you want to get this training in your shooter's resume, I strongly encourage you to take MAG-20 with us in April. 

I've been saying this for almost 20 years: anyone who keeps a handgun for personal defense NEEDS to take  MAG-40. It's simply the best class out there for winning the deadly force encounter AND winning the legal and financial battles that will inevitably follow if you should have to take an attacker's life in defense of your own. 

Now, on to as-yet unscheduled classes. 

First, we will be holding a combined Shooting With Xray Vision plus Combat Lifesaver class in Saukville WI some time in May or June. I do not offer Combat Lifesaver as a stand-alone class any more; you MUST take SXRV as a prerequisite for the tactical medicine class. If you have taken SXRV in the past, you will be able to register in CL alone, but if you do not have a SXRV certificate, you must take both classes. Tuition for the combined class is $350, and for qualified students the tuition for CL alone is $200. 

Second, I am working with Karl Rehn of KR Training out of Giddings, TX, to offer the same package in April or October. Same particulars apply for this class. 

Third, we will be offering a SXRV class in San Angelo, TX, some time this fall. Dates TBA. Tuition is $175. 

In addition to the above, I have plans to attend both the ILEETA conference in Chicagoland in March, and the IALEFI annual meeting in June. Cops take note. 


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As some of my readers may know, I was a schoolteacher before I became a doctor. And before I was a schoolteacher, I earned a degree in Zoology (a science), and before that, I was pretty much a science nerd my whole life. Makes sense, as my dad and his brothers are all engineers and construction types, guys who like to measure and cut and  fabricate and do it the right way, so that stuff doesn't fall apart. 

Making stuff that doesn't fall apart requires science. So does healing people. In fact, the entire fabric of modern civilization is founded on a huge and incredibly solid foundation of scientific knowledge, and its continued progress is quietly advanced by millions of people working to advance technology through the application of science. 

Nations such as China, Singapore, Russia, Germany (well, most of Europe, really) seem to understand this and they stress science education in their education systems from primary grades onward. Kids who do well in scientific disciplines in elementary school advance to special middle schools where they get further education and then they move on to the highest level of secondary education, where science (and math, the primary partner of science) is strongly emphasized. These nations have decided that their national interests, including their economic well-being, depends upon having a large population of persons who understand science. 

Not so in the United States. Science education prior to college in this country is sadly lacking, and it's getting worse. 

Compared to our neighbor to the north, Canada, our high school science curriculums are pathetic. Canadian students have to complete three years of science class just to get a basic high school diploma. If they want to attend university, they need more than that. If they want to study engineering or sciences at university, they need at least 5 year-long science classes, and many kids will have 9 or more credits in biology, chemistry, and physics at the very least. 

American kids have to obtain 3 credits, if that. And the quality of the classes is almost comical. Let's take chemistry for an example. (I taught chemistry at the high school level in Canada for 8 years, so it's the subject I'm most familiar with.)  When my kids were in high school in Wisconsin, I reviewed the courses available to them. I was amazed to see that the Chemistry subject material being taught at the highest level was equivalent to what Canadian kids learn in 10th grade. And I know from my training that Canadian kids' science education is about a year behind that of kids in European schools. And I understand from my teacher  colleagues that this applies to Biology and Physics as well. 

Think about it: this means that American high school graduates are 3 full years behind their European counterparts in the sciences. 

Let's take it one depressing step farther: I was an adjunct insructor at a Midwest college for a couple years, teaching Pharmacology. This was supposed to be a 3rd-year level class, which means the kids taking it had to have at least 3 credits in sciences already, at least one of which was freshman Chemistry. I had to "dumb it down" for these kids as they did not have Organic Chem or Biochem background; nonetheless, I was amazed to find that most of my students had only a vague grasp of such fundamental concepts as hydrogen bonding, electron valences, and polarity, let alone more advanced (and necessary!) concepts such as chirality!

I concluded long ago that Americans are in large part scientifically illiterate. And it's only going to get worse. 

The current Anthropogenic Global Warming hysteria is a classic example. The only reason this absurd hoax has gained a toehold in our collective consciousness is that Americans are simultaneously addicted to the greatest swarm of electronic "information" propagation in history (mainstream media and social media) while simultaneously being almost completely clueless about the fundamentals of science. 

Dr. Patrick Moore, a highly respected ecologist, gave a speech recently that I have posted on my Facebook page. In this short speech, Dr. Moore ripped back the curtain of obfuscation and lies perpetrated by the AGW alarmists and presented some very plain, very solid scientific facts that conclusively demonstrate that there is nothing whatsoever to worry about... except that the  powers that be may well wreck the global economy by buying into the lies. Dr. Moore just touches on the fact that the AGW hysteria could never have got off the ground if most Americans were not scientifically illiterate. 

As he points out, the popular view of ecology has gone from viewing mankind as an integral part of the global ecosystem to viewing our species as a blight on the planet which the planet would best be rid of. This is simply insane. If the people who believe this were in any way rational, they would immediately apply the logical solution to the problem and commit suicide. But they are not logical. Their eco-view isn't based on science, it's based on what they feel, what they believe. 

In other words, it's become a religion. And apparently they want the rest of us, the ones who don't believe as they do, to die first. 

Unfortunately, it may be too late to reverse this trend before disaster strikes. I am deeply concerned that this new anti-human religion is about to take a page out of the Koran and, following the examples of Islamist zealots, spawn a rash of ecoterrorism against the rest of humanity in the name of Gaia.

Troubling thoughts.  


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I came across a meme on Facebook the other day that said, "Just checked, and I didn't use algebra once today."

The implication of this facile message is that algebra--and by extension, any subject you didn't like when you were in school--was a pointless exercise, a useless time-waster, a needless instrument of torture that you were forced to endure by a cruel and unfeeling education system.

But nothing could be further from the truth!

In the first place, despite the fact that you didn't notice it, you used the skills you learned in middle-school and high-school algebra dozens, maybe even hundreds, of times today.  I know, I know... you didn't use a single x, y, or = sign, you didn't solve a single quadratic equation, you didn't follow a single identity equation to its logical conclusion even once. But that's not the point. Multiple times today, you used the skills you learned in algebra unconsciously, because you were busy thinking about other things. And what you really learned in those tedious algebra classes was how to think.

I discovered this crucial fact in 1976, when I was in university. I had completed by B.Sc. degree in Zoology, and realizing that my degree was worthless in terms of finding gainful employment unless I went on to graduate school, I elected to take a second degree in Education. This entailed a single year at the time, which involved a year of Education classes that I thought were ridiculously easy at the time, and essentially worthless except that they would get me to my goal, i.e., a teaching certificate and a decent job. But after only a couple of days in class, I became fascinated by the process of how kids (and adults, to some degree) learn, and what the benefits of learning are.

To cut to the chase, algebra teaches kids incredibly useful skills that they need to function in a complex society. Among these are such essential skills as higher-order pattern recognition and the most critically important cognitive skill of all, logic.

Algebra teaches us, by recognition and repitition, the process of logical thought. If a, then b, and if b, then c,, means that by logical extension, if a, then c. 

"Oh, yeah, everybody knows that," the simpleton scoffs.  

Well, everybody does not know that. If they did, we wouldn't be facing a crisis of unemployment and personal economic disaster all over the country. Huge numbers of Americans are not employable because they don't employ anything above the most rudimentary logic in their lives. Sure, they understand if a, then b. But that's about it. "If I don't get some money, I won't be able to eat." Which is about as complicated as the untrained mind can function. The extension of logic that gets someone from Premise A to Conclusion C, let alone Conclusion F, G, or Z, is beyond them. So they can't perform the higher-order functions necessary in any form of skilled labor.

Logic is essential to the application of the mind to complex processes. People who are incapable of using higher-order logic are cognitive cripples. And since our nation has advanced to being a highly technological civilization, we can't afford to allow our schools to keep spitting out cognitive cripples and falsely calling them High School Graduates.

If every American knew that, and applied that process to life, we wouldn't be in the mess America is in today. We would have an ample supply of educated, disciplined thinking people to fill our workforce. And we would have ample jobs to employ them. But we don't have those things, in no small part due to the fact that the ignorant and evil-minded among us have been crying for 50 years that algebra is a tool of the bourgeoisie, or that algebra is not needed in "real life", or that it is a tool of the white man to oppress the man of color. So we have dumbed down our schools. We have made algebra "optional". We have eliminated the most important tool for teaching our children logic that we have in our arsenal. And as a result we have a population led by emotion, by impulse, and by the cult of celebrity... all of which would be impossible to imagine if logic had not ceased to be at the core of our collective consciousness.

This is very dangerous for America.

America is supposed to be a nation of laws, and all of us are equal before the law. And by logical extension, if that principle is undermined, the foundation of America is in jeopardy. It's simple logic. And we ignore that logic at our peril.

Think about this example: if someone violates National Security law with their private communication, that person is by definition a criminal. If a, then b, right? And if someone violates that law, in fact commits a felony by their action, that person is by definition a felon, right? If b, then c, right? Okay: so if that person violates the law, s/he can and should be prosecuted, convicted, and face all the consequences of being a felon, right?

Sure! You say.  And I agree with you. Even if that person is a good person, who has done a lot of good, if they violate such a serious law, they should face the consequences. And that is exactly what happened to General David Patraeus when he violated our National Security laws.

But Hillary Clinton has by her own admission commited the same violation if not worse, and it seems she will not be held to the same law as General Petraeus was. She is by all logic a felon, pure and simple. And our laws say that a felon cannot vote, and cannot hold public office. Yet she is at this time the front-runner for the Democratic Party's nomination for the presidency. This defies logic!

And this is very, very dangerous for America.

Disparage algebra at your peril, people.



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A good friend of mine forwarded a Facebook post to me today, and I read it with interest. It's a well-written account of an OIS in which "center mass" hits failed to stop an armed and aggressive felon. If you want to read the account, please open this link:  http://www.lawofficer.com/articles/print/volume-4/issue-12/features/officer-down-peter-soulis-inci.html

The first thing I must say is that in my opinion Officer Soulis did an outstanding job in this gunfight. Did he make some mistakes? A lot of people on Facebook seem to think so, and they're not shy about pointing Soulis's "errors" out. But I wasn't there, and I refuse to second-guess a copper's actions in a deadly force incident without a FULL set of facts.

Second thing: Soulis did several vital things that ended this encounter in a positive manner. That is to say, he lived, and he stopped the perpetrator's attack. He was surprised by the felon's aggressive resonse to his questioning, but he recognized the presence of danger and responded appropriately before the perpetrator could opportunistically murder him. He put bullets into the bad guy, and even though he was hit multiple times by bullets, he did not stop fighting. In fact, he actually escalated his level of counter-aggression.

So on the face of it, I think this officer did a pretty damn good job.

But here's a hint as to the root of a correctable problem: the author of this article states that  "Palmer had taken 22 hits from Soulis' .40-caliber Glock, 17 of which had hit center mass".

The author's implication is that a "center mass" hit is a good hit. And that, my friends, is where we descend from good tactical analysis into the Land of Bullshit.

If you've attended my Shooting With Xray Vision class (SXRV), or you've read my book, you have heard me say this before:  there is no such thing as Center Mass.  In 6 years of undergraduate and graduate level science, I never once read or heard of an anatomic structure called "center mass". In all my years of medical school and postgraduate residency, I never read or heard of a medical term called "center mass". And in 40 years of hunting animals for food with rifles, handguns, bows, blowguns, atlatl's, and other weapons, I never once heard another hunter tell me to aim for "center mass".

The reason for that is that outside of police circles, the term does not exist. And for good reason. It's a bullshit term that has no relevance to reality. People use the term "center mass" because they're lazy and ignorant. Sorry if that offends you, but that's the bottom line. People who use the term "center mass" are admitting for all intents and purposes that they have no idea that critical structures of the human body exist in the human body that need to be interdicted by a police bullet to stop a felon's violent actions. They are admitting that they have no idea where those vital structures are, and they have no idea how to visualize those anatomic structures in a real live human body. 

If you don't know a fact, you are ignorant of that fact. This isn't necessarily a bad thing. But if that fact is highly relevant to your job, continuing to not know that fact is willful ignorance. And if your job involves training cops how to win and survive deadly force situations, not knowing that fact is in my opinion gross negligence.  And if you fail to learn the fact you are ignorant of and you fail to incorporate it into your training, you're not only negligent, you're lazy.

In other words, police firearms instructors who continue to use the term "center mass" in training their officers are, to borrow a phrase from Chief Jeff Chudwin, "occupying a uniform that rightfully belongs to someone else."


Defining Center Mass

In 2003, I stood up in front of 18 police LE instructors in a classroom and asked them to take out a sheet of paper and write down the definition of "center mass", and pass them forward. During the break I read through them and was only slightly amazed to read 18 different definitions. This shouldn't surprise anyone, because there is no credible publication anywhere that adequatly defines this bullshit term.

I then proceeded with the full SXRV  curriculum, and all 18 officers passed the final evaluation with flying colors. In the end-of-day debrief, I asked each the class to raise their hands if they thought that "center mass" was useful term in training police officers in the use of dealdy force. Not one hand was raised. And one veteran officer said, "Training cops to shoot 'center mass' is getting good cops killed." As each of those officers discovered, just because you think you know what center mass means doesn't mean that the green recruit you're training knows what you mean. And it for damn sure doesn't mean that the armed and aggressive felon shooting at you gives a tinker's goddam that you think you know what center mass might be!

Training cops in something that is going to get them killed is gross negligence, pure and simple.


A Better Alternative: Mediastinum, or High Chest

In Tacical Anatomy's SXRV training, we teach relevant human target anatomy, not meaningless bullshit like "center mass". We demonstrate to students in easily-grasped demonstrations exactlywhere the relevant target anatomy is located, and we teach our students how to visualize that anatomy in three dimensions. Which means a cop who is trained in SXRV is able to place his or her bullets where they will do the most good in the shortest time frame. The primary target area we teach is the mediastinum, or the high chest. This is both easier and harder than it sounds... trust me, you need to take the class to get the full understanding of what I'm saying. But that's not all (cripes, I'm starting to sound like a late-night commercial for a Salad Shooter!): we also teach alternate target zones if the high chest isn't available, or if bullets going into the primary target area are ineffective.


Better Hits = Better Outcomes

When cops learn precisely where to place their shots in an OIS, they make better hits and they miss less often. Don't take my word for it, look at the data from agencies that have adopted SXRV for their firearms training programs. Oh, wait, you can't look; police agencies still consider that info highly proprietary and highly classified. So you'll have to take my word for it, after all. Sorry about that.

Example One: large midwestern metro department, 2000+ officers. In the 3 years after they eliminated "center mass" targeting and completed SXRV training for all officers,  their OIS hit ratio rose from ~20% to 94%. Of 34 felons shot in 36 OIS's, 27 were permanently removed from the criminal population. And in those 36 OIS's not one officer was shot.

Example Two: a smallish West Coast sheriff's office, ~50 deputies. In the two years after they eliminated "center mass" targeting and completed their SXRV training, they had a dozen OIS's, 98% hit ratio, and 100% permanent removal of relevant felons from rescidivism. Again, zero officer casualties.

I could go on, but you get the idea. Providing better training to police officers on where to shoot the bad guys rather than flipping them off with a bullshit term like "center mass" is a training concept that our LEO's deserve to get from us, their trainers. Shooting with xray vision stops felonious behavior before cops or innocent bystanders can be injured by violent felons.

Better hits result in better outcomes.

It's time to purge the bullshit terms and techniques from police training so that we can guarantee the best possible outcomes from our OIS's. "Center mass" is a term that was always bullshit. It's time we turn it into antique bullshit.

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A few years ago I held a Tactical Anatomy Instructor Course at Milwaukee, WI. Police firearms instructors from all over the upper midwest attended, and we had a great, great class, in which 25 LE instructors learned how to train their officers in the principles of Shooting With Xray Vision (SXRV).

But what came out of that class was the stuff of legend. 

One particular agency sent its entire Firearms Training Unit staff to this class, and after it was done they went home and put together a plan to train all 2200 officers in their agency in SXRV's anatomically-correct targeting techniques. Administrative approval was given, and the FTU started a 2-year inservice program to take their officers to "the next level" in handgun combatives. The course of 8 half-day inservice courses over that 2 year span was based on the Tactical Anatomy Shooting WIth Xray Vision class and concept... and was designed to revolutionize the way cops shoot bad guys in their city. 

I had the privilege of attending a few of the last inservice sessions in this series as a guest teacher, and I was impressed by the confidence these rank-and-file officers got out of the training. At the end of the class I overheard one longterm veteran copper say to his partner, "I used to be scared to death of getting into a shooting scenario... but now I'm not only not afraid, I know I'll win if I have to shoot it out with a bad guy." (FYI, he used a more colorful expression than "bad guy".)

Here's the payoff of that department's SXRV program: they went from an  "average" police agency (compared to national data) to a team of gunfighting experts. Over the next 3 years, they went from a less than 20% hit ratio to over 90% round accountability. That's right, NINETY percent of their bullets hit the bad guys after this training! Moreover, the number of OIS's in that time period was 34, and 27 of these resulted in permanent removal of the offender from the criminal element. Best of all, not a single police officer was shot, wounded, or killed in those 34 deadly force encounters. And the total number of  OIS's in that time period dropped nearly 50%! These are the kinds of numbers that even city administrators and risk management pukes can get behind. 

At this point, 15 years after I started teaching SXRV, dozens of American police forces have incorporated the principles of anatomic-target based combat shooting into their firearms training, and thousands of private armed citizens have done so as well. The outcomes across America mirror the experience of the midwestern city police force I just told you about.  Shooting With Xray Vision is one of the most powerful success stories in law enforcement firearms use in the past half century, and most people are completely unaware of it.

Why have law enforcement agencies embraced SXRV? Because, as SIMUNITION inventor Ken Murray wrote in my books' foreword, "Society does not expect cops to enjoy shooting people; but it EXPECTS THEM TO BE GOOD AT IT!"  And quite simply, the SXRV gives cops (and private citizens) the tools they need to get good at it! The principles and training in SXRV can take ordinary shooters and turn them into exceptional shooters when it counts and your life is on the line. 

I'll be teaching an 8-hour SXRV class at the Saukville WI police department on May 30, 2015. This course is open to law enforcement and non-sworn civilians with proof of good character (concealed carry license, MAG alumni status, etc). Class will start at 0830 and will conclude at 1630 sharp. 

I will also be offering a 6-hour Tactical Treatment of Gunshot Wounds (TTGSW) class on Sunday, May 31, at the same location. This is a unique class that you can't get anywhere else from any other tac med instructor, in which I combine my 25 years experience as an ER trauma physician with my experience as a SWAT officer and medic to offer a full-spectrum course on treating and surviving trauma in the combat zone. You will get an intensive short course in human anatomy and physiology, triage, recognition of life-threatening emergencies, and the tools/techniques you need to address these emergencies. Training will be a combination of classroom learning and hands-on training. I strongly recommend that you have at least BLS training prior to taking this class. Like SXRV, TTGSW is open to any citizen of good character. 

Tuition is $100 for each class. (If you've previously taken SXRV, you can take it again for half price.)  You can register for the class through the Tactical Anatomy website using your credit card, or you can contact my partner David Maglio (phone 414-659-5811) to register in person with cash/check payment. For further information on the class contact me at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it., or David at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

(IMPORTANT NOTE: if you are a trainer/cop coming to Wisconsin that weekend to attend Davied Maglio's retirement party, you can sign up for one or both classes and write off the whole trip!) 

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Yes, that's right... an online expert has declared the lateral pelvis as the "best worst option" for the tactical shooter, whatever that means.

I've read a number of online blurbs & blogs about this topic, and have mostly dismissed them as unworthy of response. But this one got my attention. Not just for the confusing title, but for the surprising amount of verbage in the article that appears to have been lifted directly from my book, Tactical Anatomy Instructor Manual (TAIM; copyright 2006). I'm not saying it's plagiarism, because you can't say that when someone has copied a term or a phrase or even a partial sentence. But it's clear enough to me that either the author, or someone the author knows, has read my book and copied some of my words directly.

Which is not a big deal, as long as the author(s) use my words to  promote tactical advice I endorse. That happens a LOT (which tells me a lot more people have read my book or my magazine articles than I thought). But when someone turns around and says the opposite of what I teach using my terminology, that sticks in my craw more than a litte.

Let's put it this way... prior to the publication of the TAIM, I had found nothing in the laymen's press  stating that "there are only two reliable means of incapacitation by GSW: CNS disruption, or rapid, incapacitating disruption of blood flow to the CNS."  This is a phrase I've been using in my lectures and in my SXRV training since 2002, and I've seen it repeated in multiple sources both online and in print since my book came out in 2006.  So when someone uses this exact same phrase in their writing, and uses it to supposedly prove a point that contradicts my position on the matter, I get a little bit miffed. 

(Author's note, added Dec. 11, 2016:  Please let me emphasize: I wrote the above phrase and used it in my book, but the concept is not my intellectual property nor my own invention... it is an axiom of wound ballistics and terminal effects, going back to Dr. Martin Fackler's work in the 1970's and Dr. Gary Roberts' work in the 1980's, the numerous contributors to the IWBA Journal,  and beyond; I do not mean to give the impression that this is anything I discovered or promulgated on my own! I read the wound ballistics literature of these, my predecessors, and assure you that nothing I have done through my training or through TAS could have been accomplished without the foundation works of these authors.)

However, I made it clear in the TAIM and I make it clear in all my talks & classes that there are exceptions to this rule. And ONE of those is a lateral pelvis shot that fractures the bony structures of that region (the "weight-bearing triangle", an orthopedic surgical term), WHEN the subject is armed with a contact weapon. A contact weapon is an edged weapon or a bludgeon.

Some authors, such as the "best-worst" guy, point out that a bad guy lying on the ground with a shattered fem, aur can still fight. Well, duh. I wish I'd thought of that... oh, wait, I already did!!  Read the book, Sherlock!

I covered this in detail in the first 2 pages of the chapter on lateral pelvis shots. It doesn't take a brain surgeon to figure out that a bad guy with a firearm who's got a busted leg can still shoot you, and he can still fight you if you close with him. But we're not talking about bad guys with guns, for the most part. We're talking about bad guys with contact weapons. The POINT of shooting a contact-weapon-armed adversary in the lateral pelvis is to KEEP HIM FROM COMING INTO CONTACT WITH YOU. He can't stab you if you're 2 steps away. He can't hit you with his tire iron if you're 10 feet away. And if your adversary can no longer offer you harm with his contact weapon, you don't have to shoot him again. You can wait for backup to arrive to help subdue him... he sure as hell isn't going to run away from you!

The plain fact is that police (and righteous armed citizens) are FAR more likely to encounter a criminal attacker armed with contact weapons than they are with a bad guy carrying a gun. The statistics are pretty clear on this.  Being able to stop a potentially deadly attack by a guy with an edged weapon without killing him is a nice tool to have in your toolbox, most of us good guys agree! 

Curiously, the critics don't talk much about this. And the author of the "best-worst" piece certainly didn't offer any cases where a lateral pelvis shot failed.

But, being the nice guy that I am, I will offer you not one, but TWO real-world cases where a lateral pelvis shot stopped the attack and saved at least one life. These are not hypothetical cases. These aren't internet rumors. These are real life cases, not something I heard from a guy who heard it from another guy. I spoke directly with the officers involved in these shootings, and I have verified the pertinent facts through corroborating evidence. I could cite upwards of a dozen more cases, but these two stand out in my mind because they were two of the earliest successful lateral pelvis shootings by some of my SXRV students.


Multiple officers in a mid-size Midwestern city responded to a call to an angry man with a knife. One of the responding officers, who had taken my Shooting With Xray Vision class (SXRV), retrieved his department-issue shotgun from his squad car as he exited the vehicle. He saw that the subject had a large knife in his hand. The subject was shouting and cursing at the responding officers, threatening to attack. The officer in question took aim at the subject's lateral pelvis and fired one round of 00 buckshot (this was Federal ammunition, with the Flite-Control wad). The buckshot entered the subject's pelvis and shattered the head of the femur and the acetabulum. The subject fell to the ground immediately, and offered no further violence. He subsequently had to have the leg amputated at the hip.


A police firearms instructor in a large Midwestern city was off duty, visiting his girlfriend in her home, when he heard a vehicle alarm. He looked out the window and saw a man trying to break into his personal vehicle with a large screwdriver. The officer, who is a nationally-ranked champion shooter, ran out and confronted the felon. The subject responded by advancing on the officer with the screwdriver as his weapon and threatening his life. The officer, who has not only taken SXRV but teaches it to his department's personnel as part of their firearms training program, recognized the possibility of stopping the attack without killing the subject, and shot him in the lateral pelvis (double-tap) with his service pistol. The subject's pelvis was fractured (the right ileum, as I understand) which was both very painful and made standing on the right leg structurally impossible. The subject fell to the ground immediately and ceased the attack. He was taken to hospital and survived his GSW.

Notice that in both the above cases nobody was hurt except the bad guy. And as the second officer told me, it was a huge relief to him to know he could shoot the bad guy without having to kill him. As it happens, he knew the subject to be a juvenile, and the son of a neighbor. The death of this boy at his hands would have been devastating to him. 

Now, I'll offer you a freebie. Don't tell anyone.


This isn't a single case. The guy I'm talking about here was a cop in a third world country, a former colony of a European power, and who went on to serve in that country's special forces unit. After that, he worked in executive protection for another country outside the CONUS for a number of years, and eventually moved to the USA to open a shooting school. This school was very good, very hard to get into, and it wasn't around very long because some people who have much deeper pockets than you and I gave him an offer he couldn't refuse. Since then, he's been the fulltime trainer of a group of very high-speed low-drag tip-of-the-spear guys a lot of us admire who do good work in the GWOT. This guy (I'll call him "Harry", not his real name) has been teaching the use of lateral pelvis shots for a lot longer than I have. Harry's been teaching lateral pelvis shooting as part of his CQB package because he's actually shot multiple bad guys in the lateral pelvis, multiple times over multiple years, in multiple jurisdictions; and Harry's served alongside other guys who've done a lot of the same kind of stuff. And Harry is a strong proponent of this tactical expedient... because it works.


This is not a theoretical discussion, unlike the blog written by "best-worst" guy.  I'm not citing a bunch of medical papers to prove my point, because as a trauma physician I know very, very, very few doctors who have any experience in shooting people... and aside from myself, I only know a handful of medical doctors in the USA who have enough tactical training and experience to even comment on this subject. I'm not offering the opinions of a bunch of supposed experts who have never actually done what they say can't really be done.... I'm offering examples of real guys who've BTDT and got blood on their shirts doing it.

Shooting bad guys in the lateral pelvis is not an "entry level" tactical tool. I don't recommend it to new shooters, and it don't recommend it to IDPA/IPSC or other recreational shooters for their home defense planning. I only teach this tool to people who have the advanced firearms skills, anatomic knowledge, and tactical training to implement it effectively. I do cover it in my lectures and in my SXRV classes, with some significant limitations... and the only class I train people in this skill (outside of special classes for SWAT/military personnel) is my Deadly Force Decisions class, which I co-teach with my great friend and training partner David Maglio.

I don't intend this to be the final word on lateral pelvis shots. But like I more or less said in the beginning of this blog entry, I'll be damned if I'll let some armchair trainer use my own words to say the opposite of what I teach.

 Train with good trainers, and keep your skills sharp.  

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A week ago I wrote that I feared the Federal government is on the verge of waging a shooting war against American citizens. In the last few days, however, I've seen and read some things that have given me pause. Maybe I was being too pessimistic.

The key element in this has been the overwhelming response across America to the news reporting of the Bundy-BLM standoff, which the government did not expect. The feds thought they could impose a news blackout, and thereby operate with indifference to the law, then peddle a sanitized version of events through the mainstream media that told the version of events that showed themselves in the best possible light... in other words, propaganda. Instead, video of them sicing their dogs on unarmed and unaggressive people sparked a firestorm of outrage that swept across the nation and around the world. As I've followed the story in various internet news sources--and observed that the mainstream media is still largely silent on this story--I realize that the information revolution that has come about through the internet is quite possibly going to save America.

The Bundy-BLM story has shown that the mainstream media is becoming irrelevant. The fact that ALL the major networks agreed to a news blackout at the request of the feds and the White House is staggering... can you imagine Walter Cronkite refusing to cover this story because the president asked him to? I sure can't! It just goes to show how much of a lapdog the MSM has become in the past quarter century. If the MSM had held a monopoly on information in the past few weeks as they did when Waco and Ruby Ridge went down, the public might never have known the truth about this story. But the facts came out, and the whole world watched as the BLM was forced, not by guns but by information, to back down.

The "viral" spread of real-time news from the Bundy-BLM standoff will quite possibly prove to be a watershed event in American history as singular as the battle at Concord in 1775. One journalist (Mike Adams, editor of Natural News.com) says that the Revolution of 1775 was made possible by technology that allowed every individual in the 13 Colonies to own a high-quality rifle. The British, like all other European powers, allowed firearms only grudgingly to their subjects, and concentrated their firepower in the Army. In effect, they had a monopoly on weapons back home that didn't exist in America. They had never had to deal with an armed citizenry; they had never even considered the possibility. In 2014, the government had assumed that it "owned" the media but failed to grasp the fact that nearly every person in America has a portable video recorder on his person at all times in the form of cell phones, and that anyone can upload a video for the entire world to see seconds after the event has happened. The monopoly on information the feds thought they had proved to be an illusion.

So alternative media have had a field day, and anyone can see that the news networks are like the emperor with no clothes. The feds must be realizing that they can't conduct paramilitary operations against citizens with impunity any more (one would hope, anyway), and the egg on the faces of the MSM for abrogating their sacred trust to inform the public is truly epic.

The central political issue today is the same as it was in 1775: the government exists and functions only as long as the governed give their consent, so when the arrogant overreach of the government becomes intolerable to the governed, that consent is withdrawn. At that point the government is in jeopardy and its power begins to crumble, whether individual politicians realize it or not.

The politicians will bluster and pontificate and announce that they will only redouble their efforts to coerce the governed into submission, as Harry Reid did last week (sounding a lot like King George III, it seemed to me!). But eventually the reality of their loss of power will be unmistakable, even to the dinosaurs on Capitol Hill. And once the government realizes it has lost the consent of the governed it must necessarily retreat, as the British did after the final defeat in 1783. But we have to take note that it took 8 years for that to come about. If the Bundy-BLM standoff was the watershed event in American history that will lead to restoration of the American Republic with limited government and true restoration of the Bill of Rights, the process is going to take some time, and it might get messy. I hope and pray it will be a bloodless revolution this time, though.
And it appears to me that this bloodless revolution can be effected through the power of the people to share information without having to accept the government-controlled mainstream media acting as the middleman. The rise of alternative news outlets has been burgeoning for some time, but in the past few weeks it seems to have come of age. Well done, indy newsmen!

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We will be holding a special "express" version of our flagship Shooting With Xray Vision class at the Saukville WI Police Department on May 23, from 5 pm to 11 pm. This class will cover ALL of the same core classroom material I cover in the regular class, the only difference is there will be no live-fire training. 

SXRV is the original "deadlier force" course, developed over 15 years ago and taught to thousands of police and military personnel in the USA and abroad since then. I have distilled the thousands of hours spent in research and training I've done over the years into this class. There is simply no other course anywhere that can teach you what you'll learn in SXRV.

People who have put this training to use in actual officer-involved shootings and defensive shootings have experienced extremely positive and victorious outcomes again and again. I'll share some of those stories with you in class, if you're interested. 

Topics to be covered in this class will include:  ethics of use of deadly force; US case law in use of deadly force; practical terminal ballistics; gunshot wounds and incapacitation; review of vital human anatomy and physiology; and training in 3D anatomic visualization and targeting. This is a rare opportunity to take this training, I am only teaching this class twice in 2014 and only once in Wisconsin.  

Attendees will need to bring a notebook and pen/pencil, and colored markers (black, red, and blue). 

Tuition is reduced for this class at $100.00 per person. Please do NOT try to register for this class through this website. To register, send me an email at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it., and I'll send you a registration form which will need to be mailed in with your check. 

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Screen shot of Dr. Williams being interviewed by Police One TV