Shot Placement For Concealed Carry | Stop The Threat

In personal defense and concealed carry, shot placement is paramount. Whether facing a threat or training for proficiency, understanding where to aim can make the difference between neutralizing a threat and failing to stop it.

This article explores the critical aspects of shot placement, its importance, and how to achieve effective results.

Rather than debating on what caliber will do the most damage, consider your shot placement.

Why Shot Placement Matters

Anatomical Targets:

Understanding the human anatomy is essential for effective shot placement. The following areas are critical targets:

  • Head: A shot to the head can instantly incapacitate an attacker. However, due to its smaller size and potential for movement, it requires precise aim.
  • Chest: The chest houses vital organs such as the heart and lungs. A well-placed shot here can quickly stop an assailant.
  • Pelvis: Shots to the pelvis can cause significant pain and immobilize an attacker, making it difficult for them to continue their assault.
Shot Placement For Concealed Carry
When we developed the IQ Target, we wanted to make a singular target that can be utilized hundreds of different ways. When used in conjunction with the Dead Man’s Hand shooting decks, the IQ target allows the shooter to work on everything from trigger manipulation to target identification and transition. 52 cards, 52 drills, 1 target.

Welcome to the timers and switches of human targeting.


A timer starts as soon as a bullet impacts the human body. The speed at which the timer expires depends on where the bullet impacts and the number of impacts.

Once the timer expires so does the threat. So where on the human body will the timer start?

The most common is the high chest area (high A zone). By shooting in this area, you are, in effect, hitting the lungs and possibly the heart.

Aiming for the heart and lungs is where most people practice. It makes sense and is the largest area of the human body to aim for. The body can survive roughly three to ten minutes after you blow the heart or lungs out.

Do you want to fight a guy for three to minutes who knows that he is going to die? Probably not. He’s got nothing to lose at that point.

The next best shot to take is the one that incapacitates the threat immediately: the kill switch.

The Kill Switch

A kill switch is a specific area of the human body when impacted by a bullet, will dispatch the threat immediately.

Two primary areas of the human body are considered a kill switch: the head and the spine.

Shot Placement For Concealed Carry and Home Defense

We’ve seen active shooter events in the past where the shooter was wearing body armor. In this scenario, the only option for immediately disabling the threat is a headshot or the neck.

In a recent course I attended, this is why the instructor focused on accuracy at 25 yards.

An accurate shot to the neck will penetrate through to the spine, causing immediate incapacitation.

Shot placement for concealed carry
Kill Zone Target is back in stock – Designed with an overlay of the basic human anatomy allowing shooters to see where their rounds impact on the average sized torso.

Human Targeting

Once you have a basic understanding of timers and switches, you can now work on where to aim in order to stop or dispatch the threat.

Depending on the clothing worn you can identify a prominent point to aim at, whether that is a logo, a word, a letter, or a button.

You need to know where to target a human in order to effect the most rapid incapacitation and where on the body to aim in order to do that.

Now, what if the threat is not static presenting to you a perfect square target?

Chances are you may have to take a shot from another angle. When you do that you need to know where to aim from those other angles in order to start a timer or flip the switch off.

What if you’re standing at a 90-degree angle to the active shooter? Where would you aim for the kill switch?

For me, I’m going for the ear. By aiming at the ear, the bullet will impact the brain/head, thus hitting the kill switch to stop the threat where they stand. Lights out.

This all, obviously, requires A LOT of practice. To become proficient in taking these shots under stress, you’re going to need to put the reps in.

Pro Tip – Use a shot timer to induce a little stress. Just knowing that you’re waiting for that timer to go off and that your shots are being timed dials up the anxiety a bit. Want to step it up even more? Have a buddy control the shot time so you’re 100% not aware of when it’s going to start. In addition to that, you’ve got somebody now watching you which adds to the anxiety level.

shot placement for concealed carry

Practice Practice Practice

Next time you go to the range to practice, have a game plan. Don’t just go through the motions of slinging lead downrange. Practice A-zone hits and headshots.

Start at 7 yards, go slow, and focus on all the fundamentals. Once you are confident at hitting those specific areas at 7 yards, then move your target out to 10 yards and repeat the process.

Work your way out to 25 yards until you are certain, without a doubt, that you can make that shot.

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