What If I Get Shot?

Updated: Jan 22, 2019

In all likelihood, a concealed carrier who decides to get involved in the prevention of crime, for the sake of self-preservation, or to defend the life of another the chances of getting shot with a handgun are higher. Most of the time, those who intend on committing crimes; the weapon of choice is concealable, and therefore the pistol is the first choice. Connecting fact-based statistics to this statement can be found here on the FBI website where it clearly shows the number of handguns used in a crime as opposed to a rifle. More fists (and other weapons) kill more people than rifles, and this includes the heinous AR-15 platform. Going forward this is THE ONLY site one should use to find the most accurate up-to-date information regarding gun crimes — not the media, and certainly no one in politics!

Low-velocity pistol rounds, even with high-performance hollow point bullets, typically drill a permanent wound channel approximately the diameter of the expanded round. It would not be unreasonable to speculate the approximate diameter might be somewhere between ½” and ¾.” If the handgun round used meets the FBI’s protocol, penetration might be somewhere around 12". Your chances of surviving a handgun shot are much higher for several reasons. Primarily, the handgun round doesn’t carry the same velocity as a rifle platform. Much of this speaks to the amount of muzzle velocity coming from a weapon that has a much longer barrel and rifling within its barrel. The “rifling” refers to the grooves cut into the inside of the barrel. The rifling spins the bullet, creating stability and accuracy, just like when you throw a football. Barrels have evolved from “smooth bores” with no rifling, to barrels with rifling, starting in the 1500s. The maximum effective range of a typical 9mm handgun various, but most fall in the way of around 50 meters. Within 50 meters (150 feet) the round from a 9mm can have a catastrophic impact; the farther the shot, the less damage it may produce once it hits the human body.

Additionally, another reason why a person might survive a handgun wound involves end-user capability. That is, how good of shot your opposition may (or may not be). For the most part, your typical criminal doesn’t practice at shooting ranges and has very little knowledge of shooting techniques or how to effectively use a firearm. The innocent lives taken (from stray bullets) as a result of criminals taking shots at adversaries is a clear indication of that. Regardless, the best way to avoid being shot from a confrontation is first to determine whether or not your life (or someone else) is in immediate danger. Once determined, your next thought should be can I engage the adversary with clear shot? What is behind the target before engaging? These and many other factors exist in the decisions as to whether or not you will involve yourself in a gun confrontation.

Overall, for the law abiding concealed carry holder practice does in fact not make perfect, it only increases your chances of a favorable outcome (living through it). When at the range, we wear protective head gear, are mainly comfortable in rather pleasant surroundings, senses are heightened, but not to the degree of a paper target returning fire. This is far from the environment when engaging someone on the street where there is no ear protection, loss of fine motor skills, many bystanders, and most of all...FEAR.

With respect to your own injuries, or someone else's a good concealed carry holder always has "quikclot" and a some sort of tourniquet device such this one. If you are a concealed carry holder and do not have "carry insurance" I recommend the following insurance carrier USCCA (and no, I am not partnered with them; I have the Elite membership). I have had their insurance for many years and have come to find their product is substantial and very much needed. If you are going to carry a firearm, you must have proper insurance to protect yourself and others in the event of a catastrophic event.

Click here to enroll in the up and coming NRA Pistol qualification course.

David Scalise MSCS, MSPA

Thousand Oaks, CA 91362


CA Private Investigator Lic #28472

CA Private Patrol Operator Lic #120597

NRA Instructor Pistol/Rifle

California Dept of Justice Firearms Certified #349571

Call: (805) 317-4400 

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