Within the realm of defending yourself with a firearm against an attacker there are a few things one needs to know before they're put in that situation. One of these is shot placement, or where to shoot your attacker at. There are a few myths or misconceptions that go along with this as well.
When you're training on the range you tend to shoot either the chest, head, or both depending on the way you think or have been trained. The term for shooting an attacker is that you aim for center of mass (COM). The center of the largest visible part of the attackers body because you have more room for error.
The center of mass is typically in the center of the chest right in the sternum. A lot of people think that they'll stop if they hit the heart or lungs, or just because they've been shot. This is more times untrue than true. Most of your attackers are going to be on meth or some other type of "upper" drug that makes them "super human".
If you've ever been deer hunting or heard of stories where the hunter shot the deer but had to chase it for 200 or more yards even with a "good" hit or, been in or seen a car wreck that looked like the people should have been killed but they are out walking around waiting on the ambulance. This shows that the body can withstand a lot of force before it will stop. This can pose a problem in stopping an attacker sometimes especially when they are "hopped" up.
There are 3 places on the human body that we can shoot an attacker that will mechanically take out an attacker fast enough to stop the attack before they do us harm. Simply shooting them in the heart or lungs won't stop them fast enough to keep them from doing you harm. Shooting these places will eventually stop them but they will still be able to attack you until their body simply gives out. Even after being shot a knife wielding attacker can stab you 12-28 times before bleeding out.
The head is one of the places on the human body that will stop the attacker as soon as it is hit. However, the head is bobbing and moving side to side so much it makes this an almost impossible shot for most on a still target much less in this type of situation. I don't suggest a head shot unless you're at point blank range and this is your last resort shot.
The next 2 places are the spine and hips. If you strike either of these places the attacker will fall to the ground. This is what we are looking for to stop the attack. The spine is in the center of the body looking straight at the attacker and goes from the chin to the hips. We suggest shooting the center of mass, the sternum because the spine is straight to the back and go down with your shots until the attacker stops. Keep in the center and you can basically follow the spine all the way down. You will find yourself at the attackers hips and will find that if they have a bullet proof vest on you'll be below it at this point being able to take them down even with protective armor most of the time.
We suggest this way of shooting for several reasons. One, it gives the best chance of actually stopping the attacker and two, it's the largest portions of the body making it harder to miss the attacker. Do remember that once the attacker stops you must stop shooting, whether it is the attacker falling to the ground and unable to attack or simply running away.
Stay Safe, Stay Armed.