There was an article on Craven Desires
the other day involving the use of a firearm to stop a dog attack.
The attack in question could be an attack on yourself, another
person, or another animal. I concur that a “proper” use of such
a device in the scenarios indicated may stop the attack. While not a
perfect solution, certainly, it definitel gives the victim an
Lethality VS. Stopping Power.
When you attend self defense training
classes (totally recommended), they instruct you that you use your
weapon to STOP, or neutralize a threat to your safety. You are not
necessarily trying to kill your attacker. The attack ends when the
attacker STOPS attacking you (or someone or something else), not
necessarily with the attacker dying. So, while killing something
will definitely stop it from attacking you, you don't need to kill
your attacker dead in its tracks to stop the attack. Therefore,
incapacitation of the attacker stops the attack.
You want to select a weapon and
associated ammunition type with optimum “stopping power”.
“Stopping Power” being a standard euphemism indicating a
weapon/ammunition's effectiveness in incapacitating an attacker.
Firearms are not created equally.
Firearm ammunition is not created equally. Some have more stopping
power than others, some have a higher degree of lethality than
others. Again, stopping power and lethality are not necessarily the
same thing. If you shoot your attacker, they proceed to murder you,
and they die in the hospital 2 days after murdering you as a result
of the gunshot, you did not stop the attack. Yes, you killed him but
you failed in stopping the attack against yourself.
is a link to an FBI preliminary analysis of handgun effectiveness.
It notes that a human being can pursue an attack for up to 15
seconds after the heart has been destroyed. However, note that many
lethal pit bull attacks drag on for several minutes, so shooting your
canine attacker in the heart would certainly increase your chance of
survival, and reduce attendant injury. Again, not necessarily a
perfect solution, but a LOT better than nothing.
Note that an attacker can be
incapacitated immediately by a shot to the brain or central nervous
system. The pain of the gunshot wound to any part of the body may
also incapacitate them immediately.
I did some casual research on firearm
effectiveness in incapacitating canine attackers. There has not been
much (or any) formal research done on this issue. So, I perused
YouTube for dog attack related shootings caught on video. I focused
on videos because I don't necessarily trust police reports or witness
testimony: In other words, I want to SEE what happened and decide
for myself. This is by no means a statistically relevant list, but
it may give us an idea of what to expect if a similar scenario plays
out against you.
Main selection criteria:
Dog has to be in the act of
attacking, charging, or otherwise behaving dangerously towards the
shooter, another person or another animal.
The attack and subsequent shooting
incident could actually be seen on the video.
10 random incidents. 9 threats
neutralized. Again, we are contemplating “stopping
power”/incapacitation, NOT (immediate) deaths.
Averaging out the # of shots, you get
3.2 shots fired per incident. However, the 2 Russian incidents
involved shooting at a dog that was running away: Something that is
running away does not present an immediate threat to the safety of
the shooter or the victim, so if we discount those we get 1.875 shots
fired per incident.
Also noteworthy was the single shotgun
incident – it literally dropped the dog like a bag of dirt.
Essentially, 3 things indicate a
weapon's stopping power.
Weapon type / caliber.
(2) is of capital importance due to
the fact that a 125 grain magnum hollowpoint fired from a .357 magnum
will be a LOT more effective (due to a greater wound channel) than a
full metal jacket .38 special fired from the exact same gun. Now,
the .38 round might stop the attack, but is less likely to do so.
(3) is of capital importance due to the
fact that, it doesn't matter what you are shooting if you miss, or
only score a grazing hit. A head shot is ideal, but often
impractical. Center of bodymass (chest cavity) hits are usually the
best bet. A well placed round of .22 is a LOT more effective than a
poorly placed round (or 10) of .357 magnum.
There may be a gun video in my near future. Stay tuned.