Thursday, February 9, 2012

The Keith Borders Incident: Why I Love This as a Reference

First and foremost, I regret the taking of any life as I do feel that life is sacred, I feel for the wounded officer for having to take a life, I feel for Mettinger family and all those involved.

But I love this story.  I've referenced this article in two sepearate posts:

An End to the Caliber Debate?
Sometimes "Center of mass" Just Isn't Good Enough...

And I want to take a little more time to address why I find this article so worth hanging onto and discussing any time I can.

It contradicts everything about "average gun fights"

Yes, this is a story about a law enforcement officer, but is it too hard to think of a scenario where this could be you against a felon inside your home with your family that is armed with a shotgun?

From the failure of the .45ACP with six (6) center mass hits (and a severed foot), to the amount of ammo expended, to the fact that a pistol beat a long gun, to the fact that an officer almost had to draw his back up gun, this story smacks down every thing that is erroneously regurgitated by the masses regarding training, prepardness, mindset, and equipment.

"Two shots from a .45 center mass will take a person out of the fight"
WRONG! This guy took 6 hits to the chest and had his foot taken off, AND NO he was not "on drugs"

"But the average gun fight is 3-5 shots"
 TOO BAD! While covering and suppressive fire are seldom found in civilian shootings, it's not a far fetch to admit that it may be required. As gang activity continues to increase and the "issues with Mexico" continue to spill over who knows what some may encounter.

"I don't need to carry a spare mag, let alone two."
THINK AGAIN! This officer was carrying a Glock 21, it has a capacity of 13+1, he almost expended ALL of the ammo for his duty gun and was looking to pull his back up, a revolver holding five (5) cartridges.  He fired 39 times and scored 10 hits, 7 of those hits were to vital areas.

"If the bad guy has a long gun and all you have is a pistol, you're done for" 
NOT IF YOU HAVE THE WILL, AND THE SKILL TO SURVIVE. (a whole lot of luck also goes a long way)

"The basic class I took six years ago was more than enough" 

Firearms Training
Officer Borders credits his firearms training for much of his success. He scored 10 hits out of 39 rounds fired, for a hit ratio of 26 percent, and seven of his hits were to vital areas. Although a 26 percent hit ratio is only about average for a police shooting, Borders' accuracy was far better than his hit ratio seems to indicate. Besides the fact that Mettinger was often more than 20 yards away, never closer than eight yards, and moving or behind good cover for most of the gunfight, Borders also expended a large number of rounds in his successful effort to keep Mettinger from reaching the 00 buckshot stored in the back of the garage. In addition, Borders had to deal with the blood flowing into his eyes, which distracted him, blurred his vision and forced him to pause several times to wipe it away. Under the circumstances, Officer Borders' accuracy was exceptional and that kind of proficiency cannot be achieved without good training.

Did your eight hour NRA Basic Pistol Class prepare you for this? Did the on-line class you took even teach you how to shoot? How long ago was that class? Have you ever drawn from your concealed holster and fired a single shot? Have you ever performed a reload from a magazine carrier on your belt? When the gunsmoke is filling the air and people are screaming, you're not going to have a range bag on a nice tidy bench for your to fish through at your leisure.

Training is paramount.

It is also important to note that Borders is a person who is never content with just being good enough. Rather than settle for the firearms training provided by his department, as good as it was, he trained on his own as often as possible. In addition, he practiced not only his basic shooting skills, but advanced skills as well, like the ricochet shots that served him so well in this case. This is typical of winners. They recognize that police work is a serious business that exposes its practitioners to violent people in desperate situations. Rather than be frightened by that fact, they plan for the day when it may happen by training as hard and as often as possible.

Some key points from the summary of the article:
  • Trust your instincts when you detect potential danger signs, and always put safety first. 
  • Consider carrying a third spare magazine and a backup gun in case you're ever involved in an extended gunfight involving the expenditure of an unusually large number of rounds. Backup guns can also be invaluable in a wide variety of other situations. Every officer should carry one.*
  • Gunshot wounds are seldom fatal. If you are shot, ignore the wound and focus on winning instead.**
  •  Besides developing the skills needed to effectively counter threats, training also instills the self-confidence needed to win. Train often, and train hard. 

*I do not carry three magazines, and have on occasion carried a secondary firearm, at least one spare magazine should be the bare minimum for a "civilian" conealed (or open) carrier. For any LE that may be reading, up your mags to at least three, if your agency allows back up guns (BUGs), carry one of thsoe as well.

**This works both ways, both Mettinger and Borders were hit and continued to stay in the fight. Do not expect one, two, or even three rounds to stop an attacker. I'd rather be surprised after the fact that it only took two or three than standing there in bewilderment that two didn't do the job.


In closing, "The Average Gun Fight Is..." If you're in a gun fight, the law of averages is all ready against you. The argument of the average gun fight being 7 yards or less, 3-5 shots and over in 3-5 seconds is just that, average. If you want your capabilities to be "average", you're not looking at this self defense thing the right way. Do you really want to be prepard for the "average" situation when defending your life, or do you want to be prepared for an above average situation?

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