The controversy surrounding New York state’s new gun control laws mystifies me. What’s the big deal about limiting a pistol’s magazine capacity to seven rounds? Nobody needs more than seven rounds for self defense. After all, when you shoot someone even once, they fly through the air and drop dead, just like in the movies.
I arrived on a robbery call one night. A robber had shot a man through the sternum with a 9mm hollow point. He looked dead. I got on the radio and notified dispatch that we had a murder. Thirty seconds later, the victim started moaning and squirming. Less than a minute later he was fully conscious and complained, “This is the fifth time I’ve been shot.”
But nobody needs more than seven rounds. One round is usually fatal. And nobody could possibly still be a threat after being shot more than once.
The same robbers shot another victim that night. One round in the ankle, one in the face and one in the forehead. 9mm hollow points. This victim turned and ran about 500 yards through an apartment complex, pounded on a door to beg for help, and passed out. Last I heard, years after the shooting, he’s still alive.
But nobody needs more than seven rounds. When you shoot someone, they fall to their knees, pledge their soul to Jesus, gasp dramatically and die.
I answered a disturbance call one night. A teenage girl calmly told me that she had gotten into a fight with her ex-boyfriend’s new girlfriend. Several minutes into the story she informed me she had been shot through the thigh. I looked down and saw a bullet wound through her leg. She was completely unconcerned about it.
I responded to a burglary in progress. A teenager on PCP picked a random house and started kicking the sun room door in. The homeowner stood by the door with his 9mm pistol, called 911 and warned the teenager he was armed. The teenager kicked the door in. The homeowner shot him in the leg, then retreated into the house. The teenager forced his way into the kitchen. The homeowner shot him in the stomach. When we arrived, we had to wrestle the teenager into handcuffs. Had the teenager been armed, he still could have fired a weapon.
But nobody needs more than seven rounds. Seven rounds are more than enough to stop any criminal threatening you. When a criminal gets shot, their body’s entire blood supply sprays onto all the walls and they die within milliseconds.
I answered a call about a man with a gun. When I knocked on an apartment door, a drunk inside pointed a gun at me through a window. I jumped out of the way, drew my weapon and screamed at the drunk to drop the gun. He kept moving the gun, trying to get me in his sights. Another officer in a different spot shot him.
When we got inside the apartment, we found the suspect wide awake, flailing around on the floor. Fortunately a family member had disarmed him. He could still have shot us. The officer had hit him under the left arm. The round went all the way through his upper body and stopped just under the skin below his right arm. Last I heard, years after the shooting, the drunk was still alive.
But nobody needs more than seven rounds. When someone is trying to kill you, all you have to do is fire slowly and carefully to make sure you don’t run out. You can even count your rounds as you shoot. It’s easy.
When investigators asked the officer who saved my life how many rounds he fired, he said, “Two or three, I think.” But when they counted rounds in his magazine, it turned out he had fired eight. He had been a cop for over twenty years, and was a survivor of several shootings. Under stress, he lost count of his rounds. Because that’s what happens when you’re shooting to save your life, or to save someone else’s life.
But nobody needs more than seven rounds. You can just shoot the bad guy in the head. It’s easy to make a head shot under stress, right? And they’re immediately fatal.
I answered a stabbing call at a nightclub. When I arrived I found two women standing at the open door of a truck, telling the driver, “You’ll be okay.” When I shined my flashlight on the driver, I was stunned; he hadn’t been stabbed, he had been shot in the head with a .38 from close range. About a third of his skull was blown away. And he wasn’t just alive, he was awake. He nodded to the women, wiped his face, did his best to stay calm. When paramedics arrived, the man got out of the truck with minimal assistance. He died hours later.
I arrived on a shooting/riot outside a club. One man was dead in the street, another had been taken to the hospital by private car. As we tried to control the crowd, a severely beaten young man walked up to me and slurred, “Hey man, we need an ambulance.” I answered, “Yeah, we have one on the way.” As I spoke, I noticed a bloody dent on the side of the young man’s head. I thought, Is that a bullet hole? The man collapsed at my feet. A 9mm Black Talon hollow point had bounced off his skull. The wound didn’t put the man down until several minutes after he was shot. He survived.
I assisted on a rollover accident. The driver was an older woman who lost control of her truck. At the emergency room, a CAT scan revealed a bullet in her head. The woman died. Her husband was unconscious. Days later, when the husband awakened, investigators asked who shot his wife. The man answered, “Oh yeah, that. She told me she got shot in the head about ten years ago, before we got married. She never went to the doctor or nothing, though.” An autopsy showed it was an old wound. This woman got shot in the head, and never even bothered to get medical attention.
But nobody needs more than seven rounds. If little bullets don’t work, get a pistol that fires bigger bullets. Nobody could still be a threat after being hit by a big round.
In one of our firefights in Afghanistan, three French Marines were hit by gunfire. One died from a head wound. The other two were hit in the upper body and badly wounded. Those two Marines got back to their feet, kept their weapons ready and made it to safety with help. And they were hit by either 7.62×39 AK-47 rounds or 7.62x54R PKM machine gun rounds. Those are far more powerful than what any typical pistol fires.
These stories are all from my personal experience. Secondhand, I know of a man who was shot in the forehead, sneezed and blew the round out his nose. I know of a gang member who had half his head blown off by an AK round, then told the first responding officer, “They shot me, dog.” I know of a robber who ran into a restaurant with an Uzi and was immediately shot twice by an off-duty officer, then ran to a payphone and called 911 to report he had been shot.
Historically speaking, I know of the suspect in the Miami FBI shootout who sustained a non-survivable wound in the first few seconds of the fight, but still managed to kill two FBI agents and wound several others. I know of a drunk suspect who shot an Arkansas deputy twice, then took seventeen 9mm rounds in the torso without effect before the deputy finally shot him twice in the face. I know of the young Georgia mother who shot a burglar five times in the head and neck. He asked her to stop shooting, cried, and drove away. I know of many Soldiers and Marines who sustained horrible wounds and stayed in the fight.
When I’m on the street, I carry a pistol with a fifteen round magazine and three spare mags. Off duty, I carry a weapon and magazines that hold many more than seven rounds. I carry that much ammo because I understand what pistols are capable of, and what they’re not capable of.
The people who are pushing new gun control laws seem to think they understand weapons and lethal force encounters. They don’t. One of them thinks someone armed with a double-barrel shotgun is better off than someone armed with an AR-15, even if the person with the AR knows how to use it. One of them thinks people have been shot with unloaded guns. One of them thinks women can’t use an AR-15, even though women in the military have been using M-16s and M4s for decades. The same person didn’t know the difference between a barrel shroud and a folding stock. Some in the media think a rifle’s sling swivel is used to mount a bayonet and fire grenades. Some of them pay $200 for an expended anti-tank rocket launcher tube, which can’t be reloaded and is nothing more than a piece of fiberglass, proudly hold it over their heads at press conferences and proclaim they’ve protected the public from a “weapon of war”. They think cops who have body armor and backup need high capacity magazines, but private citizens without those things only need seven rounds.
Make your own decision about whether or not to defend yourself, and what you should use to do so. But learn the reality of a gunfight. Understand that you’re likely to only hit with a small percentage of the shots you fire, and those hits may not have much effect.
And most of all, remember that many people who say nobody needs more than seven rounds don’t have a clue what they’re talking about.
Chris Hernandez is a 20 year police officer, former Marine and currently serving National Guard soldier with over 25 years of military service. He is a combat veteran of Iraq and Afghanistan and also served 18 months as a United Nations police officer in Kosovo. He writes for BreachBangClear.com, Iron Mike magazine and has published two military fiction novels, Proof of Our Resolve and Line in the Valley, through Tactical16 Publishing. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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Tags: 2nd amendment, armed citizens, gun control, new york