Posted on Leave a comment

Why More Bullets Are Better Than Less

I know, I know, the title is grammatically incorrect. It should be “fewer” bullets. But I’m no English teacher, so please bear with me. 

Here’s the deal: most people I know who carry a handgun daily, whether LEO’s or private citizens, don’t carry enough ammunition. If you’ve followed my blog, or taken one of my classes, or you’ve listened to people who’ve BTDT and carry a boatload of ammo everywhere they go, you should know this. But I haven’t covered this topic in a while, so I’m going to put it out there again for those who might have missed it last time around. 

This blog entry was prompted by an article on a police website last week about an Illinois cop who got into a shootout with a “highly motivated” felon who was determined not to go down. The cop hit the felon multiple times with his service handgun, a high-capacity .45 ACP, and according to the ME at least 6 of those hits were fatal wounds. But the guy just kept on coming at him with murderous intent until the cop finally put a bullet in the felon’s brainpan, and finished the fight.

I wish I could say that this was an exceptional case… but it wasn’t, and it isn’t.

The plain truth is this: contrary to internet mythology, a substantial minority of “good” gunfights involve dozens of shots fired, if not scores of shots fired. For example, in the Pennsylvania shoot-out that made internet rounds several years ago (and which I review as core material in my Shooting WIth Xray Vision classes), a total of 107 rounds of ammunition were fired by 3 police officers, while the single felon fired in excess of 30 rounds back at them. The subject was hit 17 times and, yes, he died of his wounds en route to hospital, but he was still fighting the cops when they put the cuffs on him.  

My good colleague Chief Jeff Chudwin shows a video in one of his classes in which a lone officer gets into a shootout with a felon and is forced to take cover behind his vehicle with only the ammunition on his person, i.e., one hi-capacity magazine in his service handgun and two more mags on his belt. He ran out of ammunition within 2 minutes, and the only thing that prevented his adversary from stalking him down and murdering him was the arrival of a second officer just as he ran out of bullets.

I could go on, and on, and on. I have literally dozens of similar cases related to me. Not from “a friend of a friend”, but by the involved officers themselves.

Ammunition is dissipated amazingly rapidly in a gunfight. If you don’t put your adversary down, and I mean down, with your first 2 to 5 rounds, you’re almost certainly going to be dealing with incoming fire. Which means you’re going to be moving to cover, and your adversary is going to be moving, too. Hit ratios drop into the low single digits when both fighters are moving, the statistics show. And you know you’re going to be firing while moving to cover, because you want to keep your enemy off-balance so he can’t draw a good bead on you while you do so. 

So let’s do the math. Your attacker points his gun, you see a opportunity to fight, so you draw and fire a double tap to his “center of mass”. He acts like you didn’t hit him and fires back. Suddenly you’re both moving to cover and rounds are going both ways. Let’s say your route to cover was 5 yards and you fired rounds as fast as you could while getting there. That’s 2 initial rounds, then another 8 rounds while moving to cover. If you’ve got a hi-cap auto, you’re probably OK now without a tactical reload; if you’re carrying a revolver or a single-stack 1911, you were empty before you got to cover. If your enemy has a hi-cap auto and he heard your hammer going snap-snap-snap he knows he’s got you, and while you’re trying to reload (assuming you have a spare mag or speedloader), he may well close in on you and execute you.

It happened to the California Highway Patrol troopers at Newhall in 1970, kids, and it can just as easily happen to you. Unless you prepare for the worst.  


When I was still an active member of my county’s SWAT team in Wisconsin, on my armor vest I carried 9 single-stack magazines for my SIG P220 service handgun (72 rounds), and five 30-round magazines for my M4 carbine (150 rounds). Most of the rest of the guys on the team were similarly kitted-out. We read the reports, we did some training exercises that proved to us how quickly we could run dry with a “standard” load-out, and after that, we all carried a LOT more ammo. Regular patrol deputies initially carried only 2 spare mags for their SIG’s on their duty belts, but most quickly upgraded to a minimum of 4 spare mags in a quad magazine holder.

What about the armed private citizen? I know there are some folks who figure that if they carry a fully-loaded gun, they’re GTG. And honestly, since the chances of getting into a gunfight as a private citizen are miniscule, it’s hard to argue with them. But I do argue with them.  They’ve already acknowledged that there is risk out there, which is the reason they carry a gun in the first place. If a person is already carrying a deadly weapon, why not carry a spare magazine as well? The extra weight is too much? It’s inconvenient to add a mag carrier to your concealment rig? Come on!

I strongly recommend the armed citizen should carry at least one fully loaded spare magazine on his person at all times. 

I also strongly recommend the armed citizen to select a hi-capacity autoloading handgun as his primary weapon. I used to carry a revolver or a 1911 as my primary weapon, but over time I came to realize the folly of that. I now carry a Glock 19 as my primary weapon, but I’d be equally happy with a Springfield XD, S&W M&P, or SIG 229. I don’t care about caliber, as I have stated before. But I do care about having enough rounds on my person to finish a gunfight, if one should break out. 

Posted on Leave a comment

Welcome to our upgraded website!

Well, we finally went live with the website upgrade today, and I’m feeling really good about that! 

This upgrade will make registering for classes MUCH easier online, and we will soon have digital downloads available on the website as well, including a digital version of the Tactical Anatomy Instructor Manual (1st edition). I’ve been reaaaalllllllyyyy busy with some hard Real Life issues for the past few months (no, none of which involve Medical Malpractice or criminal charges, LOL), which has taken away from my time on the rewrite of the Manual, but rest assured that by autumn (or what passes for autumn down here in the west Texas mesquite brush!) the 2nd edition will be available. 

The 2nd edition will contain all of the good stuff folks have come to know and love in the 1st edition, but will have new text chapters on Adult Learning Theory for the firearms instructor, range training drills for live fire and NLTA (SIMS and Airsoft), as well as an update on MILO scenarios shot using Tactical Anatomy hit zones, and how to use them. I think a LOT of folks will be interested in the chapter I’m currently writing, which consists of reports of successful real-time, real-world shootings by LE/military personnel who used their SXRV training to bring their deadly force situation to a swift and righteous conclusion. I’m considering including a chapter touching on the basics of Tactical Treatment of Gunshot Wounds as well, but it remains to be seen whether I can get that down to a manageable size. If I can’t, I’m just gonna have to make it its own book.

Changes in the printing/publishing industry are forcing us all toward a new paradigm. I will not be printing any more copies of the 1st edtion of the Tactical Anatomy Instructor Manual, because costs are prohibitive and there are simply much better ways of getting this information out to folks who need it. The 2nd edition will be available in two formats: as a digital download direct from the TAS website, or as print-on-demand hard copy book available from an internet publisher. Both will be cheaper than the current sale price, because I won’t have to be eating the obscene costs of printing these books myself as I have been doing since 2006.

I promise you I am working as hard as I can to get this second edition up and available for y’all, but like I said, Real Life intrudes mightily on me at present so I can’t promise a specific deadline. 

As for folks waiting for their member status to be approved… Now that we have the new website up, you will be getting some good news soon. There’s a ton of y’all, though, so it may take me a week or two. I review every membership application personally, and that takes time. Please be patient and I’ll get it done as fast as I can.  

On another e-front, I’m in the process of putting together some video downloads as well, which will come online as production moves forward. I’m a neophyte in the world of Youtube, but it seems that folks want to see prospective instructors in action before they plunk down their hard-earned cash for a class, which is totally reasonable as far as I’m concerned. There are so many jackasses out there selling ridiculous “training” that is as likely to get you killed or prosecuted (and always fleeced) that I believe it behooves anyone wanting to advance his deadly force skillset to seriously check my training out. So I’m going to be putting out a few Youtube videos in the next few months, which will also be available here on the TAS website once I get them produced. 

Please be warned… the first couple of videos are gonna be rough. I’ve been recording them on my iPhone, and using editing software to put them together. Whenever I get a few days off ER call and have respite from my Real Life issues, I’ll be driving into Town where Best Buy lives to buy a decent digital video camera. Until then, it’s gonna be grainy and edgy… but I hope the message will be clear enough. 

In other news, we are a GO for both SXRV classes in Saukville, WI, on July 12 and 13. Class registration is limited and filling fast, so do NOT delay if you want to sign up. I can’t take more than 30 people per class. 

OK. That’s about all I have to say about that, as Forrest Gump would say.

Tactical is as tactical does, it doesn’t matter a damn what color you paint your gear. Scouts out.