Much is made nowadays of the various issues regarding "stopping power" of police ammunition. However, there are no magic bullets, at least as far as typical police handgun ammunition. The various common law enforcement pistol cartridges in use today are remarkably similar in their performance in ballistic gelatin. Anecdotal evidence shows, however, that no matter what happens in the lab, performance in the human body can be quite unpredictable. The best we can do is to make the most of what we have available. That is why accuracy is so important. Too often there are cases of police shooting at an assailant, hoping that they will hit something vital that will stop the attack. Sometimes they are under the false impression that any hit will do. It might. Sometimes the mere thought of being shot is psychologically enough to get an attacker to give up. But we are seeing more and more that both the psychologically and chemically enhanced behavior of many aggressive people has already moved past simply being scared or intimidated into submission. A recent shooting in my home area is a good lesson. An individual with a knife, who was attacking a sheriff's deputy, was shot four times with 230 grain .45 ACP Speer Gold Dot ammunition. That ammo is certainly one of the most respected of all cop carry loads. In this case, the deputy stopped shooting when the rather large suspect simply knelt down and stopped advancing toward him. To that point, the deputy couldn't even tell that he had hit the man, based on his reactions to the bullet hits. Although seriously wounded, the attacker could still have continued his attempt to stab the deputy, if he just simply hadn't gotten tired of being shot. In this case it worked out alright, as the deputy was far enough away. So, if we understand that there are no guarantees of "instant stops," then we can move on to making every hit count.
As I said before, most range training is done in a two-dimensional environment. Part of what Doc Williams is training officers how to do is to visualize the location of vital target areas in the human body from a 360 degree perspective. Bodies move in gunfights. As the body moves, so do the points of aim that are necessary to hit vital targets. Hunters have learned this. They know that the animal they are stalking may not present itself in an optimum stance, or even standing still. If they are to be successful, they have to know where to aim from various approach angles. Same thing here. If a suspect has turned, ducked, bobbed or weaved, as they often do, the aim point changes. They might even be shooting at you from the ground. When was the last time you practiced that shot?
As a group, the cops who have been most receptive to Doc's training are the "special teams" types. They realize that they will be called upon to handle the really tough, tricky jobs. They know from experience that the circumstances and environment will rarely be ideal. Snipers, for example, have to make tough, accurate shots with split-second timing. Every one has to count. As an illustration, Jim uses the example of an operation where a sniper had to shoot a hostage taker. He placed the bullet just where he had been trained, essentially "right in the ear hole." However, in this case, the sniper was not only to the side, but firing from an elevated position. In this case, the bullet traveled at such a steep angle that it missed the vital, deep brain target. Although it was a serious wound, it did not prevent the suspect from shooting and seriously wounding the hostage before he collapsed himself. Understanding the need to change the point of aim for such a shot would probably have produced the desired instant stop. By the way, this also illustrates that there are no absolutes regarding rifle caliber "stopping power" either.
Now that you understand the concept, here's the good news. Jim is available, his day job schedule permitting, to conduct his training, either for field officers or for firearms instructors. But he recognizes that both the timing and the cost for his services can be a barrier to actually getting it done. So, he now has a training manual available for law enforcement firearms instructors that will allow them to custom tailor the training to their agencies needs and resources. He has been working on this for almost two years and it is now "hot off the press." For less than $70 (manual cost and shipping), you can ratchet up your department training and get your troops thinking about three dimensional aim point accuracy. The movie The Patriot had the best line: "Aim small, miss small."
Please check out the Tactical Anatomy Systems, LLC web site for further info. If you have to shoot, putting the bullet in the right place and at the right time is a skill our profession requires. Dr. Williams is giving us the benefit of his professional advice. I find it's usually a good idea to follow the doctor's orders.