Rob Pincus

When To Stop Shooting

Rob Pincus
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Duration:   3  mins

In the world of armed defense, there’s a lot of talk about when to stop shooting. Before we talk about that, remember we only shoot to stop the threat. We shoot as long as we need to, from moral and legal perspectives as well as an efficiency in training standpoint. We want to apply only as much force as we need to stop the threat.


But how do we take the concept of “shooting only enough to stop the threat” and apply it in the firearms training environment? The fact is, it’s nearly impossible in the standard live-fire environment. When shooting on paper or steel, there isn’t much you can do to simulate needing to stop shooting. Rob takes some shots on target to demonstrate this.


Rob has some ideas on this as one of our self-defense concepts, and they start with assessing the target after you take your shots in training. Get used to taking a good look at the target — for example, if there are no holes in your paper target, it is not time to stop shooting. If you have a steel or popper target, it’s easier because you get instant visual or auditory feedback.

With the standard paper target, after assessing the target and seeing that you have good hits, you must visualize the need to no longer shoot. There is no standard number of shots that you can take and know you can stop.

When doing force-on-force scenario training, it is possible to simulate knowing when to stop shooting. To do it properly, the role players must give you very overt clues that you don’t need to shoot anymore.


Don’t make “when to stop shooting” a physical act that you practice on the range. Don’t do double- or triple-taps. Just practice to shoot until you perceive you no longer need to shoot. Then you can do scenario training and/or video-enhanced simulator training to help you put that together with your physical shooting skills.

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