Hoch Hochheim, one of the great trainers working today, coined the term “Diminished Fighter Theory” years ago. Here’s one of his posts explaining the concept. He echos what I recall Paul Vunak saying to a class years ago: “Yes, the juk-chun-choy [your transliteration may vary] are little .22 caliber punches, but they buy you time for, and set up, a .308-class punch like a cross.”
I’ve often articulated this concept as it relates to self-defense shooting as “a shot anywhere on a person is a good shot because it will get a reaction and buy you time for a follow-up shot.” Essentially, every shot that lands buys you at least a quarter second window in which to place another shot on your attacker. Usually. Even a wing shot; I don’t know about you, but taking a 9mm to my even my bicep is going to cost me at least a quarter second of down time, and that’s time enough for my opponent to aim and place a better shot.
I am NOT advocating “spray and pray”. At all, and for many reasons (including liability). I AM suggesting that getting off your best shot quickly is better than getting off a much better shot later. Your first shot will likely gain you the window in which to place that better shot, while waiting to make that perfect shot may give your attacker his window of harm opportunity.
What I am hoping to point out is that the argument that “only shots to vital areas count” is not valid. Yes, they are better, and they should be your training and street goal, but on the street a shot to a non-vital area will usually buy you the time you need to make the vital-area shot. I really dislike the macho posturing that you have to make high center-chest shots every time or you 1) are wasting your time, 2) are a failed, poor and miserable shooter, and 3) aren’t a real man.