A sobering example of poor defensive shooting

I’ve pointed out on numerous occasions that to use a handgun for defense requires putting effective rounds in the right place to stop the attacker.  Put ineffective rounds into someone, and they probably won’t have the desired result.  Similarly, put effective rounds in the wrong place, and they won’t shut him down.

This was illustrated very graphically in a recent attack by a Palestinian on a bus stop in Israel.  Watch the footage below.  WARNING:  It’s graphic!  You’ll see the Palestinian crash his car into the bus stop, exit the vehicle wielding a machete, and attack those sitting in the bus stop.  A passerby draws his pistol and engages the man, but he keeps on renewing the attack and/or trying to get away.  Some reports I’ve seen indicate that he was shot again on each of those occasions, incurring up to a dozen bullet wounds, but until the end he kept on fighting, struggling and moving.  Clearly, the rounds did not do an adequate job, for whatever reason.

A corollary:  one single head shot through the brain would have ended the problem right then, right there.  I have no idea why the man with the pistol didn’t do just that.  He was close enough to be sure of his target.  If I’d been in his shoes, that would have happened the moment the Palestinian first sat up to reach for the machete . . . and it wouldn’t have happened only once.



  1. one single head shot through the brain would have ended the problem right then, right there. I have no idea why the man with the pistol didn't do just that.

    I am not aware of the laws in Israel, but I would not be surprised if they have a higher bar to explain an anchoring shot than we do. I know in South America, some countries will send you to jail for stopping an attacker with 2 to the body and 1 to the head. The thinking is that after being shot, you must give the attacker a chance to change his mind and stop what he is doing. By applying multiple shots, you are denying him of his chance to make the decision thus violating his rights.

    Yes, it is that stupid outside the US.

  2. @gunfreezone: In Israel? With a confirmed, no-doubt-whatsoever Palestinian terrorist wielding a machete? I suspect the only official response would have been to buy the shooter another beer.

  3. Many people can survive and continue to fight with parts of their brain missing – heck, they aren't necessarily using those parts anyway.

    One in the brain STEM will probably anchor them, but I thought that the idea was to keep shooting them until they stop the undesirable behaviour.

    One shot between the eyes, depending on stance, will not necessarily impact enough critical parts of the brain for an immediate stop. Bloodthirsty as this sounds, it would be better to aim for the tip of the nose or the philtrum.

  4. Do we know the caliber of the firearm used?

    Rule 1: Use enough gun. Rule 2: Keep neutralizing the threat until there is no threat left to neutralize. Rule 3: Practice shot placement under stress. Rule 4: Repeat Rule 3 until you cannot get it wrong.

    Handguns are notoriously short on power, and the small "convenience carry" guns – .22, .32, 380 auto, etc. – even more so, and they're in an uphill battle against adrenaline (or other drugs) and, sometimes, skull thickness. It takes a certain minimum horsepower to seriously interrupt brain function from the front. And, unlike television and the movies, The Hero On The Scene cannot count on one shot stopping Mr. Bad Guy. Even with excellent shot placement and adequate power results are often poor; the U.S. Army has been training double taps with 5.56 in CQB situations for quite a while now, and many is the deer hunter who has seen a perfect heart-lung shot with a large exit wound allow 100-150 yards of running before collapse.

  5. I do recall a US Marine who shot a downed terrorist in a war zone being dragged across the TV as some kind of war criminal.


Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *