Seven rounds


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.

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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, 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

72 Responses to “Seven rounds”

  1. If my life is on the line in a self defense situation: I want as many rounds as possible available to me in a weapon I am proficient with.

    • Roger that. Thanks for reading, and for your comment.


    • I agree completely. I would never want to be left short of ammo if my attacker was still coming at me. I’m not a skinny little woman, but I’m not huge either….just average size. My time as a LEO was cut short not by a bullet, but by an auto accident…but I saw enough happening in and around me to know that if I’m in a firefight…I want more than enough ammo to send me home…not to the morgue.

    • 4 Roger Kissel

      LtC DAVE GROSSMAN asked at one of his seminars, “How many are carrying ?”
      Lots of hands went up. “Of you, how many have a spare mag ?”
      LOTS of hands went DOWN.

      • 5 Jason Walp

        It amazes me how many people who carry, rely on their weapon not jamming. If you have a jam, clear it, and the weapon jams again, chances are it’s the mag. You do a tactical reload, but wait…I don’t have a spare, now what???? Throw the weapon at the attacker???

  2. 6 Fritz

    Another great article Chris! Another little vingette story for ya. I was talking with some Army SOF guys one time and they told me a story about one of their teammates. He had been shot in the face (admittedly some impact was taken by his NODs) while climbing a ladder on an assault, then fnished climbing the ladder, and killed the guy that shot him in the face. 7 rounds indeed!

  3. 8 Heath

    I usually just shoot the gun out of their hand….

    • Shooting the gun out of their hands is way too unrealistic, Heath. I just shoot each individual bullet as it leaves the bad guy’s barrel. Whatever I miss gets deflected by my Wonder Woman bracelets.


      • 10 KHorn

        Amateurs. Everybody knows you use a lightsaber to deflect incoming fire.

  4. 11 Heath

    Spot on. As usual..

  5. 12 6B45N

    The guy at the club with half his head shot off, you forgot to mention that when he laid down on the stretcher, it was like someone poured a five gallon bucket of blood into the concrete.

    • I remember that, it was surreal. I didn’t understand why the paramedics didn’t put a bandage on his head first. That was one of the most memorable crime scenes I’ve ever been on.


  6. 14 bruce101

    I went to school in the 50’s when the teachers were armed and the crazies were locked up.along came the communist teachers union who disarmed the teachers while ted,the swimmer,kennedy emptied the mental hospitals with predictable results.don’t think that the national socialist democrats did not plan this because they have long wanted to take our guns and our constitution.

  7. 16 Angela

    Scary stuff……

  8. 19 Jeff Butler

    You mean the gunfights in the movies AREN’T realistic? 🙂 The scary thing to me is that the people that spout this nonsense, from a position of complete ignorance and non-experience, are then 100% believed AND REPEATED by the masses that also don’t know any better. It’s like exponential math and it feels like an uphill battle trying to explain to people how what they’re being told is WRONG.

    • Jeff,

      Amazingly enough, much of what Hollywood puts out is…wait for it…absolute crap! You’re right that way too many people believe it though. And that’s a good way to put it, the exponential effect of people who don’t know convincing other people who don’t know, and then millions of people absolutely believe a load of utter BS about guns and lethal force encounters. One stupid lie/misconception I keep reading is “Having a gun won’t help you in a mass shooting. All the soldiers are Ft. Hood had guns and they got killed anyway.” Someone has to try very hard to ignore rules prohibiting soldiers from carrying on base to believe that one.

      But hey, don’t give up the uphill battle. It’s worth it.


      • 21 Phil

        I’m glad to find your blog Chris. Just getting started reading it and appreciate you sharing your experience. Doubt I’ll ever have similar but can’t hurt to read the real just in case.

        This entry reminds of a passage in book “Billy Lynn’s Long Halftime Walk” – “Nothing looks so real as a fake, apparently, though ever since seeing the footage for himself Billy has puzzled over the fact that it doesn’t look like any battle he was ever in. Therefore you have the real that looks fake twice over, the real that looks so real it looks fake and the real that looks nothing like the real and thus fake, so maybe you do need all of Hollywood’s craft and guile to bring it back to the real”.

        Fiction of course, but throws a little light on how removed from reality we can be before we even commence to conjuring hypothetical scenarios, let alone witness or participate in the real.

        • Thanks for the compliment Phil. Speaking of Billy Lynn, I’ve written two reviews on that book here on my blog. I’ll have to warn you though, I’m not a fan. But I admit Ben Fountain is a good writer.

          Every police or combat real-life experience I’ve had has been different from what I expected. During one firefight, after French snipers had fired from the mountains over my head to hit two Taliban, after a Taliban machine gunner had just barely missed me and a French Marine with a long burst, after several air strikes had hit Talib positions three hundred yards from me, I remember sitting in the back of a French armored vehicle, taking my helmet off and thinking, “I’m so bored, somebody please shoot at us.”

          Real life is just weird sometimes.


          • 23 Phil

            I’m not a fan of the Billy Lynn book either but that one passage stuck. Plus I got a chuckle out of the chapter title “Raped By Angels” I’ll catch your reviews along the way.

          • There were a few good quotes and passages in that book. Despite the fact that Fountain pissed me off so badly, I have to give the guy credit for writing well and sticking with it for years until he found success.


  9. First time reader of your blog, Chris, but it certainly won’t be the last !

    I spent 12 years on a University Police force in the middle of the worst crime sector in the city. I can relate to your experiences with shooting situations and how they are far from how the general public perceives them.

    I had one instance where I was engaged in trying to arrest an armed idiot that tried to hold our library hostage because the object of his affections had spurned him. During the altercation, I was shot in my left thigh with a .38 spcl round; I wasn’t aware that I had even been hit until after the situation was resolved and the suspect was on the way to the lockup ward of the hospital (with three rounds in his chest), and my partner noticed blood seeping down my uniform leg. The doc at the hospital told me that had the round hit me just 2 mm to the left, that I would have bled out in less than a minute. As it was, he stitched me up and I was back on duty in two days. It took longer for the shooting review board to declare it a good shoot than it took me to heal well enough for full duty status.

    The perp is still alive and is just about to be paroled after ten years in prison.

    • Please, man, spread the word. People need to know about incidents like that. Your leg wound caught my attention, because in the 20/20 “videotaped experiment” one of the college students shot the suspect role player in the thigh. All that Diane Sawyer said was that she didn’t shoot him in the head, like she thought she did. No mention of the fact that she inflicted a potentially lethal wound on the shooter.

      If you’re going to be around the guy who shot you after he gets out of prison, watch your back. Hell, watch your back anyway. Thanks for reading, commenting, and especially for sharing your story.


  10. Of course, then there’s the Tueller Drill, which I’m sure you’re aware of. For civilians (as vs. LEO’s), the typical encounter will be in the context of the home. Non-criminal civilians simply do not engage in firefights outside the home, they retreat or get shot, that is reality even in states like Texas where they issue CHL’s like some states issue traffic tickets. As you’re aware, it takes 1.5 seconds for a perp to cross 21 feet and physically set upon the defender (which, if the defender is female, elderly, or a typical flabby office workers, is end of game). That means the civilian has 1.5 seconds from the onset of the home invasion to acquire the target and pull the trigger as many times as he can to stop the attacker.

    In that context it doesn’t matter whether you have a 7 shot magazine or a 17 shot magazine, given the cycle time of a typical autopistol, revolver, or automatic rifle or shotgun plus the reaction time of the typical civilian, he or she will be lucky to get five shots off before the perp is on him. And unfortunately civilians being civilians the five shots are likely to be from a .38 revolver or 9mm autopistol, which, as you point out, is unlikely to drop the attacker within that 1.5 seconds.

    Makes the WInchester SX2 look even better for home defense…

    • We’ve had numerous incidents nationwide where armed citizens didn’t retreat, the Portland Mall shooting being the most well-known recent example. But I agree that in general citizens will retreat rather than engage in a gunfight outside their home.

      The problem I have with your stance is that you’re assuming all shootings inside the home will follow the same cookie-cutter template: suspect is inside the home, less than 21 feet away, and therefore can overwhelm the citizen before the citizen can fire more than 7 rounds anyway. Your supposition ignores numerous possible factors:

      The presence of barriers between the suspect and homeowner (homeowner is behind a locked door, furniture is in the way that prevents the suspect from running directly at the suspect, etc).

      Suspects who are under the influence of alcohol or drugs and aren’t physically capable of closing 21 feet in 1.5 seconds.

      Suspects who are overweight or injured and incapable of closing 21 feet in 1.5 seconds.

      Armed suspects who create distance and use cover rather than closing with the homeowner (if a suspect is firing at you around a corner, you will likely fire more than 7 rounds at him because he’s presenting a limited target area).

      Suspects who hesitate rather than immediately close distance.

      Suspects who panic when they’re shot at and attempt to flee while firing.

      Suspects who receive serious or even non-survivable wounds that slow them down but don’t stop their aggression.

      Suspects who receive nonlethal wounds that immobilize them but don’t stop them from firing their weapons.

      And so on. Nothing about a gunfight follows an algebraic formula. Humans aren’t robots and their actions aren’t scripted. If shootings could be boiled down to the predictable set of “if/then” rules you’ve described, most police officers (including me) would be dead. I don’t know if you have any tactical background, but what you wrote gives me the impression that you have an unrealistic view of armed encounters. Civilian gunfights, like military combat, are dirty, confusing, and unpredictable. The Tueller drill serves only to illustrate the danger of a knife-armed suspect within 21 feet (later amended to 24 feet, I believe). It doesn’t serve as a must-be-followed script for every shooting that could ever occur in every home.

      Thanks for reading and commenting.


      • Of necessity a blog entry is not a book and cannot cover all scenarios, and the same is true of a blog comment. My primary point was that civilians are not LEO’s and typical gun use for self-defense by non-criminal civilians was not typical of the situations you mentioned. Civilians don’t engage in gun fights, and the moment you start talking about gun fights, you’re outside of the realm of typical self-defense use of firearms by non-criminal homeowners. For example, a non-criminal civilian is not going to lay down suppressive fire against a criminal who is firing around a corner. That just isn’t how civilians think. A civilian is going to run, he’s going to hide, he’s going to seek cover himself, but using his firearm to gain tactical advantage to exploit to end the threat isn’t his mentality — he’s waiting for you, the LEO, to arrive and end the threat. He’ll use his weapon if the intruder leaves cover and approaches him, but a civilian’s mentality simply isn’t tactical.

        The Tueller Drill was there just to point out how rapidly situations can play out within a limited interior space, not as a guide to how gunfights play out. In fact, the NRA is quick to point out that most home defense scenarios play out without a single shot being fired — the intruder realizes that the homeowner is armed and decides to seek easier pickings elsewhere.

        I personally think the 7 round magazine limit is stupid. I could build a high-cap magazine with relative ease with common tools bought from Cheap Chinese Tool Place and some commonly available parts, magazines don’t require the high-quality machining of the handgun proper, meaning criminals will have all the high-cap magazines they want regardless of any ban. But that’s a different argument against the ban, not the one you’re trying to make.

        • Civilians typically don’t engage in protracted gunfights, but that doesn’t mean there’s no need for more than 7 rounds. The young mother in the recent GA shooting was a good example. She emptied a 6 round cylinder in seconds and was essentially defenseless against a criminal. She was fortunate the criminal was (apparently) unarmed and CHOSE to retreat. Whether civilians typically engage in protracted gunfights in the home or not, seven rounds can go real quick, and may not be effective. And the 7 round mag limit doesn’t only apply inside the home; it also applies to armed citizens carrying outside the home.

          I think you’re painting with a broad brush when you say a civlian’s mentality isn’t tactical. I’ve known many civilians who had more and better tactical training than the average police officer. And there are millions of military veterans with tactical mindsets.

          The only arguments I make against the 7 round limit are the ineffectiveness of the average pistol round and the likelihood that the average shooter will miss with most of those rounds anyway. Those factors apply across many different possible situations.

          I agree that criminals will still have high-cap magazines, regardless of a ban. That’s another good reason to oppose it.


  11. Well said, there is almost NO such thing as a one shot stop with anything short of a large caliber rifle, and not always even then…

    • When I was a kid my VN vet neighbor told me about shooting a .50 at drugged NVA soldiers attacking a perimeter. He saw NVA with arms blown off, still running toward the wire. Pretty amazing how much punishment a human body can take and still survive.

      Thanks for reading and commenting, and please come back anytime.


  12. I notice you don’t mention any situations in which there is more than one assailant, but that would definitely be a time when you might need more than seven rounds.

    I wonder if the people who support “seven rounds” are all sharpshooters or something. I’m not a great shot (passable, but not great) even shooting at a non-moving, non-threatening paper target. I imagine I’d be lucky if one shot in ten actually hit a moving target who was intent on hurting me, especially because I’m sure my hands would be shaking even worse than they usually do.

    • Wife,

      You’re right, I completely forgot to mention multiple assailants. That’s another reason to have more than 7 rounds, probably the best reason.

      You’re right that even trained shooters will likely miss more than they hit. Good points, thanks for bringing them up. Please feel free to come by and comment anytime.


  13. 35 dnc

    Stumbled onto your blog and I’m enjoying the hell out of it. Thanks for sharing your experiences and great writing.

    Yet another point in support of standard capacity magazines is that those who are physically disabled may not have the ability to reload quickly, if at all, and need as much capacity on board as possible.

    • Glad to hear you’re enjoying the blog. That’s something I can never hear enough of, actually :).

      Wasn’t there a story a month or two ago about a guy in a wheelchair who used a gun to stop a home invasion?


  14. 37 bobfiegel

    Well, if I may put just a little spin on it, I just FEEL better having more rounds available, and when it comes to self defense, I don’t believe how I FEEL about it should be legislated away any more than the practical side should be.

    But if we must be practical, if I have 15 rounds I guarantee you I will FEEL more free to lay a few into that wall in hopes I get a reaction from the jerk hiding around the corner, or I may FEEL more free to try a few down the hall to keep him from getting closer.

    Or I may not.

    But shouldn’t I have the option?

    • Bob,

      I wouldn’t say the feelings have anything to do with it, but I definitely think you should have that option. When someone’s trying to kill you, having more rounds than you may need is better than having the bare minimum, period.

      Thanks for reading and commenting, please keep coming back and offering your thoughts.


  15. Isn’t any circumstance in which firearms are unlimbered, by definition, a gunfight? With over 2million defensive uses a year, I’d say that’s one f*** of a lot of gunfights civilians aren’t engaging in.


    • Mark,

      I’d have to respectfully disagree with you. I’ve drawn my weapon on suspects many times in my career, probably hundreds of times, but I’ve never fired at anyone as a cop. Simply drawing the weapon is not the same as being in a gunfight. The defensive uses of firearms are just as important when no shots are fired, but they’re not the same as gunfights.

      Thanks for reading and commenting, and please come back anytime.


  16. Excellent write-up! But seven rounds is still seven rounds too many to the gun-nazis here in Chicago who are after one thing, and one thing only –TOTAL CONTROL!

    • Djach,

      I personally don’t use terms like gun-nazis, although I understand why others do. And I think you’re right, “reasonable, common-sense” gun control will lead to a push for total confiscation. Writers on sites like Huffington Post are speaking openly about it.

      Thanks for reading and commenting.


  17. 43 Scott

    Chris would you mind if I linked to this post and quoted it in daily use shamelessly?

    It’s one of the best arguments I’ve heard for countering the theory that some states have about the 11th or 8th round being a thermonuclear-heatseaking-babykiller bullet.

  18. 44 Aesop

    #1: Guy in the ER had 12 holes in him, 6 going in, and 6 going out. He was a hoodrat “in the wrong neighborhood”, rival gang car pulled up to open up on him, and he said “Feets, don’t fail me now!”, deployed the Nike Defense strategy, and took a cylinder of (probably .38s) to both thighs. Called 9-1-1 from a payphone he ran to 5 blocks away. After antibiotics and 12 bandages, was discharged home that evening. One can only imagine the astonishment in the car as they connected with every shot, and their quarry continued to run away at full speed.
    #2: Little (5’4″) gangbanger came to the ER after taking a .38 to the upper forehead at less than 10′. Had a nice ragged divot up his forehead and scalp where it followed the line of the skull bones before continuing on its merry way. Luckily he wasn’t a couple inches taller, and his new gang tag is probably “Zipper”. Antibiotics, bandage, discharged home later that night, complete with a crap-eating grin over his second chance at life.
    #3: Crazy dude wants seat on packed city bus at rush hour, when refused he shoots Passenger 6 times in the chest at muzzle to chest range with his trusty Raven .25. Passenger then commences to get up and whup the daylights out of Crazy Dude until the sound of flying molars alerts the the local constabulary, who rescue Crazy Dude and charge him with att. homicide.
    Passenger has not a scratch, all 6 slugs having been stopped by his $6.95 Radio Shack AM/FM pocket radio. Detectives take slugs as evidence, man poses in local paper for photo with shattered radio and holes in shirt pocket.
    We sent Radio Shack a provisional NIJ 1/2A Threat Level rating for their radio, but they weren’t amused.

    Bullets are cheap, and my life is dear. If I have to defend the latter with the former, the only way I’m done shooting is when someone is no longer a threat, or when I can no longer find more ammunition to put in the gun, whichever comes first. Once the gun’s been fired, it doesn’t take much more effort to clean up after 50 rounds than after just 7.

    • One of the stories I didn’t put in the blog post was a guy who was shot in the head by a bunch of gangsters armed with a .223 rifle. He was standing up with a towel around his head when we arrived. The round bounced off his skull. People have hard heads.

      If you happen to have any of those radios laying around, mail me a few.


  19. 46 John Tatum

    Very good article written by someone with a lot of REAL experience. I have never been shot, nor have I ever had to shoot anyone, but I have had several close calls the only thing I have received is powder burns a couple of times. But because of my occupation I have seen, tended to, been personally involved in, and the recipient of industrial accidents, several of which were life threatening. And I can tell you the human body can take a hell of a beating and survive. Great article.

  20. Very read Chris! Thank you. I must say as a side note that it shows some innefectiveness of the 9mm and .38 rounds for stopping power. Or possibly FMJ target rounds? I would assume the criminals arent going to pay for more expensive defense rounds.

    • Jerry,

      Some of those shots were with 9mm hollow points. You’re right that those calibers often fail, but people are also just hard to kill. As far as criminals using expensive ammo, in my exerience they use whatever they can steal. We joke about criminals’ weapons being loaded with one hollow point, one ball round, one wadcutter, and two empty cylinders. The ammo is usually a mixed bag, whatever fits in the gun.

      Thanks for reading and commenting, hope you keep coming back.


  21. 50 theinnerhaven

    Couldn’t agree more! Good post.

  22. 52 Stinksmom

    In 2009, My husband and I married and I moved to Ft Bragg, NC. We lived on base, safe enough right? I had only ever fired a gun once, with his help. well in 2010 (January to be exact) the Army deployed him to Haiti as part of a GRF (Global Response Force) response to the earthquakes.

    He loaded the 12 G (the only firearm we had) and told me if anyone came in the house while he was gone, pump, hold it to my hip, and pull the trigger, get back up (his words, I had never fired a shotgun) and do it again until I ran out of shot.

    low and behold who shows up at my back door after stalking and being scared off the night before by my friend at her house? Spc Aaron Pernell- you can read all about him. funny thing is- he didn’t get in, I pumped the 12G and he took off like a bat out of Hell.

    Thank God for the 12 G. That guy was a nutcase. You can see all the hysteria he caused before he was finally caught. My husband came home from Haiti and bought a few new “friends” to join the shotgun.

    oh- and when he was serving in Iraq, I also had to scare off intruders with our firearms. I owe my life to them.

    Now that we have a kid, you can bet we won’t be backing down on our 2nd amendment rights. Thanks for your service.

    • Damn. Thanks for sharing your story, and for being a military wife. My wife reminds me daily that it’s not easy. I’m glad you made the decisions you did, and it’s good that you’re standing for the 2A now. Your experience means a lot to this debate.

      Regarding Pernell, sure, he watched soldiers in his unit raping Iraqi civilians. What a lying douchebag.


  23. 54 Jason

    American Digest linked you again today and brought me back here (again). Still a great article and many good reminders of why we carry what we do.

    • I appreciate that, Jason. That essay is, I think, one of the more illuminating ones I’ve written. I was pretty shocked when I learned what bullets really do and don’t do, and even after 10+ years of police work I’d still continually see new things that amazed me. I’m off the street now, but I took a lot of street lessons to heart. And lesson number one is, TV and movies are just slightly unrealistic in the way they depict shootings. 🙂

  24. Reblogged this on Critical Defense Training Blog and commented:
    This is an important read……

  25. CHris, I would very much like to have permission to copy this article and give it to my students when they take classes. If you give me permission, I will certainly credit you for the work. Great read!

  26. These big city liberal idiots make laws to satisfy their liberal constituents. The result is the gradual diminution of all of our rights as they are slowly chipped away like melting ice. Any restriction on firearm capacity is a deprivation of our second amendment rights.

    • I get the overall sentiment, but *any* restriction on capacity is a deprivation of our 2A rights? So if we can’t carry a 200 round drum on our AR-15s, we’re being stripped of our rights?

      This topic kinda tears me. Even at war, I used regular 30 round mags. I don’t quite get the reasoning that we’re somehow living in tyranny if we can’t have mags not even used by soldiers at war.

      • 62 pewpirate

        Yes. Any restriction on capacity is a deprivation of our 2a rights.

        In case no one has told you, the 2a wasn’t written for the government, or “soldiers at war” as you put it, which is obviously implying the U.S. Army. The irony of that statement is most impressive, albeit unintentional..

        Maybe you’re a bit more of a fudd than you try to lead on.

  27. 63 Nathan

    My buddy and I go to college together, and we both carry on campus daily (three cheers for Texas). We share many classes together, and in every room we have worked out a tactical plan for engaging shooters. I carry fifteen rounds in my pistol with another magazine close at hand, and he does the same. Put together, we might have enough rounds to effectively engage a well armed attacker. And if that isn’t enough, I know of at least three others in most of our classes who also carry. I want every last one of those rounds available should someone come in to threaten my life.

    Once again, Chris, you have written a masterpiece. Keep up fighting for our rights through the power of the written word. I appreciate your work immensely.

  28. 64 Brian Campbell

    Very good article with excellent reasons to have greater than 7 rounds and spare magazines to boot! I served in Iraq in 2006-07 at a Combat Support Hospital and an attest that many of our patients were insurgents that survived multiple GSWs to limbs and torsos but still survived. They were hit by several different calibers and included center of mass shots that they survived long enough to be saved by our great medical staff. One issue kesrnedvis how the body survives on the adrenaline produced during an armed encounter wheather being the shooter or being shot, however, once that adrenaline dump goes away the body crimps and sometimes in an unsurvivable manner. In other words they enter triage walking and talking but when given any treatment they crash quickly. This just supports why so many stories exist about people shot multiple times without going down. One other pet peave is how Hollywood portrays gun shot wounds, themain character is hit in the shoulder or upper heat and has a sling or bandage in the next scene! No chest tube or amputated limb from the destructive force of high velocity rounds shattering bones and joints. Thanks again for the great information supporting the law abiding civilians 2nd amendment rights!
    Col retired “Soup” Campbell

    • Thank you sir. And more importantly, thank you for what you did for us in Iraq. I was lucky to never get hit or have any of my Soldiers hit in OIF, but we always knew that if it happened you guys would do everything you could to keep us alive.

  29. 66 Golden Shellback

    I have not seen or been in a firefight. But as a Navy veteran I have read some Medal of Honor citations.
    Many received many wounds from gun fire, I do not remember the recipient but his citation listed around 30 gunshot wounds received while rescuing fallen comrades.
    Every one of those amazing Medal of Honor recipients show 7 rounds are a start not a limit.
    Great article.

  1. 1 Who needs more than 7 rounds?
  2. 2 gun links | Forlorn Mind
  3. 3 Seven rounds
  4. 4 Parrothead Jeff & Friends » Seven Rounds – Awesome Writing From A Blog I Just Found
  5. 5 Weekend Knowledge Dump- September 20, 2019 | Active Response Training

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