Why Talk Of 'Shot Placement' Can Be Pretty Stupid

One of the banes of every gun forum moderator has to be the inevitable caliber wars. The ugliest tend to be 9mm versus .45 ACP.

As a 9mm guy, I used to enjoy those arguments. It was awesome to get in there and slug it out with the .45 lovers and all that, but as I matured, I learned that one of the more popular arguments in favor of my preferred caliber is pretty damn dumb.


This came to a head after I witnessed yet another caliber war in a Facebook group and then touched on some things in a post from earlier today that may not look related from the outside, but was.

You see, when a .45 guy claims that 9mm is too small, some 9mm proponent will counter with how shot placement is what matters.

Folks, that’s an idiotic argument to make, and here’s why.

1. Shot placement matters for every round

So far, there’s not a single firearm out there that will guarantee a one-shot stop. Not a one. Even .50 BMG doesn’t automatically end the fight, and if that one does, then what hope does any puny handgun round have?

The truth is, shot placement is the deciding factor for every round out there. Especially when you consider that when it comes to .45 and 9 mm, you’re talking about a tenth of an inch in diameter, that tenth doesn’t turn a BB gun into a bazooka, for crying out loud. While other factors play into how powerful a given round is, it’s not enough to matter.

Now, some 9mm fans will point out that because the round costs less they’re able to practice more, and that’s a fair point. Practice is vitally important. However, that doesn’t suddenly validate the argument.

But on a different front, is there anyone who argues that they like a particular round because they don’t have to aim? I mean, other than some of those who think the shotgun is the only gun you need if you don’t want to practice?

Of course not, so stop pretending that you’re the one who gets how important a precise hit is in ending an attack.

2. Shot placement isn’t exactly a given in an armed encounter


Now, while I’ve had to draw my gun before, I’ve never been on a two-way range. I don’t pretend to be an expert here. What I am, though, is smart enough to talk to and read actual experts on the topic of being in such a situation. I opt to learn from them, so I have at least some idea of what happens should I find myself with bullets flying in both directions.

In such situations, the body’s “fight or flight” response kicks in. It goes through certain physiological processes meant to help you survive a dangerous encounter. However, when those processes were developed, we didn’t have guns.

As a result, you tend to lose at least some fine motor skills. Your hands start to shake. Your vision does odd things. Your brain does odd things.

Now, couple that with the idea that the other guy probably doesn’t want to get shot. As such, he’s probably not going to stand there and let you take your time.

Such encounters are dynamic environments where a whole lot of factors come into play. It’s the reason even Tier One operators with the military miss shots in combat, and these are the most highly trained shooters on the planet, by and large.

With that in mind, do you mean to tell me that you’re able to put a single shot right through the heart at will? Seriously?

Yes, some people make that claim. I don’t even argue with them, mostly because I’m trying not to laugh in their face because such claims fly in the face of any reasonable understanding of a fight. Ultimately, isn’t that basically what the “shot placement” crowd is saying?

3. Anything to do with “caliber wars” is stupid anyway


Caliber wars are idiotic, and I was an idiot for relishing them back in the day. They’re nothing more than a way for guys to argue that what they have is the very best and anyone who doesn’t share that idea is an idiot, but what usually happens regardless of the arguments being made is that you’re showing yourself to be fairly dumb yourself.

Every round out has a series of trade-offs. As for me, I’m a 9mm guy because of round capacity more than anything. I know if I have to fight, I’m probably going to miss, so I want as many rounds before I need to reload.

Don’t agree with that? Cool. I honestly don’t care, though I’d love to hear your reasons why. Why? Because I like talking about guns.

But you’re not necessarily wrong because you made a different choice in caliber. Hell, I’ve gotten past the point of even having strong opinions against mouse gun calibers these days. After all, a .22 in the hand beats a .44 Magnum at home in the safe any day.

So starting a caliber war argument, especially claiming that shot placement is what matters, is idiotic. Please, knock it off.

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