Recently I questioned why a student was hitting low on the target. It was below a mechanical offset issue so it got my attention fast. The answer may surprise you, but it only pisses me off.
They were taught this by their instructor in order to hit below body armor. Say what??? My problem is not with the student, my problem rest squarely on the instructors who would teach this or other asinine techniques. As instructors it is incumbent on us to ensure the information we share is sound and relative. These were not even pelvic girdle shots; these were just shots to the abdomen to get the rounds under the armor. The only good news was the instructor gave their “why” for teaching the students this technique so I can see how it may seem plausible to a novice student or new shooter. Again, let me be clear; it is not their fault.
Hot knife through butter
Let’s look at this more closely. The shooting drills were with M4/AR15 type rifles firing within 25 yards. At these ranges your rounds are going to fly through soft armor almost as if it isn’t there. But, is there a chance it won’t penetrate hard armor. While I acknowledge this fact, I would then reply who am I shooting. Because the only consistent demographic who employs rifle rated hard armor plates are good guys. That’s right, the folks who wear armor for a living because it is their job. So, why would an instructor teach this to a student?
Is a mobility kill good enough
Maybe the bad guys could employ rifle rated hard armor and maybe a shot intentionally aimed low may miss the armor. The very best you could hope for is a mobility kill. But here is the deal, that is still a pipe dream. Aiming low for a mobility kill still requires you to aim, and if you are staring down an armed suspected employing hard armor and that is the best you got, you are in a world of hurt. I have to assume this is the reason the instructor justified his tactics. They wanted their students to imagine facing down a domestic terrorist hell bent on a mass killing spree. I get that too, but you better bring more to the fight than a low aimed shot.
Rapid and repeated
If this was the true justification I would still have problems, it doesn’t stop the fight. It merely limits their movement and even then there are no guarantees. Instead, they should have been taught reduced targets; aiming for the brain and/or brain stem to produce an immediate incapacitation. These new students or novice shooters are not good enough to make those hits under stress. Why would you waste their time, their resources and create a false sense of security. Time should have been allocated at delivering rapid, repeated rounds to the largest target zone available until a better target zone becomes available. The operative words there were “rapid & repeated”. Pushing to deliver effective fire as quickly as possible to neutralize the threat should be the prime directive.
Responsibility lies squarely on the instructor’s shoulder. The student is trusting you to deliver realistic and effective instruction.