We packed up all the 4H shooting gear Saturday afternoon and as I headed back to my horseless carriage parked by the fifty-yard rifle and pistol range, my curiosity got the better of me. I saw a young couple practicing downrange with a handgun about fifteen feet from their target. The young fellow was teaching his gal how to drop to one knee and shoot the "leg" of the cardboard bad guy.
They were friendly folks and I never really met a stranger, so as we chatted... he explained that his gal wasn't too sure about using a gun to kill someone unless it was absolutely necessary, so he was helpin' her learn how to shoot the legs of the bad guy to wound, rather than kill, the two-legged, cardboard varmint.
This is actually a concern I've spoken with many folks about over the years through informal conversation as an NRA and Ohio CCW instructor, and even years ago as a police officer. Some folks want to carry a gun to "scare" the two-legged varmints while others only want to wound them... 'cause they aren't sure they want to actually kill anyone... even someone threatening serious physical harm or death.
Now I've explained this many times over the years and I'd just like to be clear... guns and firearms ain't for scarin' or woundin'... they're for killin'. Yeah... yeah... I know... you weren't trying to kill the idiot who attacked you... you were just in fear for your life, fired in self-defense... to stop him from takin' your life... we aren't supposed to shoot to kill, were only supposed to shoot to stop the action of the aggressor threatening our life.
Ohio Revise Code Section 2923.11(A) “Deadly weapon” means any instrument, device, or thing capable of inflicting death, and designed or specially adapted for use as a weapon, or possessed, carried, or used as a weapon.
Now... I'm not an attorney... but in Ohio, like many states, a firearm is defined by law as a deadly weapon while in other states, case precedents by the courts have determined it to be a deadly weapon. Any use of a firearm, hence a deadly weapon, is the use of deadly force whether it is used to scare someone, wound them, or kill them... and if you fire a shot in the air to scare someone... a prosecutor will very well argue that you used deadly force against someone else... you're just a dang poor marksman. Oh... and remember... that shot fired in the air... those things eventually come down, ya know.
This is why, as an instructor, when it comes to personal or home defense... I advise that if you're not mentally prepared or willing to take a life... you're probably better off using a less-than-lethal option or calling 911 than to show or brandish a gun that you won't actually fire in self-defense... because if you point a gun at an intruder and you're not willing to pull the trigger... who knows, the intruder might be willing to pull the trigger after he takes it away from you.
Also, the reason most folks train to shoot center of mass with possibly a follow up to head is it increases the chances of hitting your threat, hitting a vital area, and stopping them... and is also the most likely way to result in killin' your threat. Trying to hit a moving knee or leg using a handgun from any distance is probably an almost impossible, if not just lucky, proposition when under attack and under stress.
When I carry or keep a firearm for self-defense... it is used just for that purpose... to defend myself or my family from anyone or anything that wants to kill or seriously harm us. I realize that by law, my firearm is a deadly weapon and when used for self-defense it can only be deployed to counter a threat of death or serious bodily harm... not because someone's dog took a dump in the yard or vandalized my truck.
Please make no mistake... if and when I'm shootin' a firearm in self-defense... I'm shootin' to stop the immediate threat of death or serious bodily harm... which means I'm using a deadly weapon...
...which means without the political correctedness (and by Ohio law)...
I'm... Shootin' to Kill...
PS: We've got some designer jeans... pre-washed... pre-holed... and cheap!
UPDATE: To clarify... the old jeans in the photos are my daughter's and the photos were taken for illustrative purposes... the actual "legs" target I saw being used by other folks on the range Saturday was made out of cardboard...