How Many Shots Are NECESSARY to Stop a Lethal Threat?

So What Will The Jury Say?

Let’s say that the worst happens, and you are FORCED to fire…

Further, let’s say you absolutely have made the right decision in doing so (I pray that is the case!)

In Ohio, one is permitted to fire enough rounds, and only enough rounds, to STOP the threat.

How many rounds do you suppose that might actually be?

Personally (and this is NOT legal or other advice), I was trained in the military, with rifle or pistol, to fire 3 shots to center-mass, and am pretty sure that if my “fight or flight” reflex kicks in, that is how I would still respond to a lethal threat, given there’s NO other way around it.  But, wonder what a jury would have to say about that?

Why not just one shot?  Or two?  Why idd it have to be three? — they may very well ask such a question.

MY response would simply be that it was a result of military training.  However, is that gonna fly?  Will I lose my “self-defense” defense in court?  If so, how is that ok?

I’ve been thinking about this a whole lot, and am concerned about the topic is why I wrote this post.

It is my personal opinion that, when someone’s amygdala (that fight or flight part of the brain) takes over, and there’s a HUGE adrenaline rush, I may actually even empty my magazine and reload just to be sure.   Will that land me in jail I wonder?

If YOU were a juror, how many rounds would you consider a “fair” amount to stop a threat with a gun in THEIR hand(s)?

Just curious as to what people might think about this particular question.  I reckon I’ll just have to decide for myself, and train accordingly.  How about you?


  1. Law enforcement are trained to the standard of “shoot as required to stop the threat”. This is situation-dependent.

    In my training, we watched a dashcam video of a police officer who was shot and killed by his assailant, after the officer had already hit him five times in his upper body with .45 hollow points.

    In the end, you have to be able to articulate why it was necessary for you to fire one, two, seven or ten rounds. If I were a juror, and the accused offered the explanation for emptying their magazine “just to be sure”, I would translate that to mean “to be sure he was dead”, which would likely convince me that you fired your weapon with the intent to kill the assailant, not with the intent to stop the threat. If you couldn’t articulate why emptying your magazine was necessary to stop the threat of death, I wouldn’t necessarily go for a murder conviction if you had a legitimate reason to fear for your life, but definitely manslaughter on the grounds of excessive force.

    1. Hello AirSeaTraveler 🙂 I’ve seen some cool photos from some of your posts lately man. Hope you’re enjoying the “other” side of that lens.

      I have more stuff to say about this post, but will wait a day or two to see if anyone else has anything to say…lol…as if they would… :))

      T/C & God Bless,

  2. I got the answer for Ohio CHL holders from a prosecuting attorney close to here. Fire until the person falls from your front sight. That’s it. Simple enough

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