Double taps? Shoot ’till they drop from your sights? No.

In the old days, and still somewhat today, some instructors teach the “double tap”.  (This is more than two shots fired quickly together, a technique know as the “controlled pair”.)  An actual double tap requires that you fire two rounds as fast as you can pull the trigger.  At typical engagement distances and with a competent shooter, this results in the two rounds impacting maybe a couple or few vertical inches from each other, something that’s perfectly acceptable for real.  The theory is that handgun rounds suck –all of them–and a two shot burst will be twice as effective as a single shot, and you need all the stopping power advantages you can get with a handgun.

Good theory.  Bad solution to the problem.

An alternate solution to the anemic power of hand gun rounds is the “shoot the BG until he drops from your sights” technique.  Again, good theory, bad solution.

Here’s why:

  1. True double taps are extremely difficult with anything but a single-action pistol.  The whole point is that the second shot is fired while the gun is still in recoil.  With a striker-fired pistol like a Glock or M&P, getting two rounds only a few inches apart while pulling the trigger as fast as you can requires a very high level of skill.  So, wild shots are likely to ensue.
  2. You are responsible for every round you fire.  Period.  Just ask your local DA.  You want to, and to truthfully be able to say you, aimed every shot that you fired at another human being.  (Side note: “aimed” isn’t the same as “sighted”.)  Unaimed fire is the very definition of irresponsible.
  3. You are shooting faster than you can assess the need for shooting, and every shot has to be individually justified. Remember that the need for a follow up shot can change in a tiny fraction of a second.
  4. I defer to Paul Howe, retired from the finest unit of combat shooters in the world, and a man who as seen the real deal more than a bunch of times.  MSGT Howe’s position is that you get a sight picture for every shot.

Remember that every hit you place on a person will have an effect.  It may not stop them, but it will all but certainly slow them down.  I usually express this as “every hit buys you a good half-second to assess the situation and place another shot on target if necessary.”  Even a peripheral hit in the biceps will likely buy you a half-second or more.

Now I certainly appreciate the logic of a fast two-shot controlled pair; to me it’s like a fast 1-2 jab-cross combination in boxing.  These two-impact techniques are executed “as a single stroke”; that is, as a single committed technique.  And yes, this line of thought is the counter-point to what I’ve written above.  I am waiting to hear, from smarter people, in the legal field, as to the advisability thereof.



One thought on “Double taps? Shoot ’till they drop from your sights? No.

  1. Shooting Until they drop will likely land you in court. It has done so for law enforcement officers and I would expect it to be even worse for civilians, it plays really bad in the media. I think a double tap is different. If one has the skill to execute a true double tap I don’t think doing so would be legally problematic, but that skill is not the easiest to acquire. I had no problem with double taps with my Glock 19, but since changing to the Shield I need that second sight picture.


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