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Firearms Reporter Brings Clarity to the 'Why Can't We Shoot People in the Legs' Debate

This debate was bound to happen. The questions were predictable. And the liberal media once again showed why they’re viewed as idiots. In the wake of the shooting in Columbus, Ohio in which Ma'Khia Bryant was shot and killed by Officer Nicholas Reardon after trying to stab another woman, this line of questioning was bound to be hurled into the Democrat media complex. 


“Can an officer shoot the leg”? 

This comes from watching too many movies and crime dramas on television. No, an officer can’t do that. This isn’t The Matrix. You have seconds to respond when dealing with a violent situation like this, or when an armed suspect approaches an officer. Shooting the leg or arm is a small target, the torso is the biggest—it’s not that hard. It also limits the chances of collateral damage. In the Columbus shooting, aiming for the leg or arm could have easily resulted in bystanders getting shot. Second, it’s not like this thing called the femoral artery is shielded from a bullet if someone is hit in the leg. You can still die. Third, this isn’t even a debate grounded in reality. Bryant was armed. She was going to stab another person. The officer acted in accordance with the law in the exercise of his duties to maintain order and protect public safety. When CNN’s Don Lemon and Chris Cuomo agree that this was a good shoot—you know the far left has nothing to complain about, if they do, that’s fine. It’s a free country but it’s under a misinformed narrative. 


Stephen Gutowski is a firearms reporter who just launched his own publication, The Reload, and he offered his two cents along with explaining why this ‘shoot in the leg’ debate is quite dumb.

“Some countries do train to shoot at extremities, but it brings some very real complications. For instance, in some places police shooting at an extremity can be viewed as less-than-lethal force which is not a great standard because shooting someone anywhere is potentially lethal,” he wrote. “Additionally, ‘aiming for the leg’ is extremely difficult in real-world deadly force encounters. Police in most countries are taught to aim for center mass because that's where they're most likely to actually hit what they're aiming for, he added. 


He also noted that police are trained to use non-lethal means in situations when a firearm is not necessary. 

Emily Miller, another reporter who has written extensively on Second Amendment issues, also weighed in on the “shoot in the arm and leg’ debate. Miller wrote a book, Emily Gets Her Gun, which was based on a series she wrote for The Washington Times:

1. “Can an officer shoot the leg?”

If a police officer shoots an assailant in the arm or leg, he made a mistake.

It’s very difficult to shoot a moving target -- a person who can go in any direction-- so you aim at center mass (the torso) because it’s the biggest part of the body and easiest to hit. This ensures that internal organs are hit and the person stops coming at you or the victim.

Center mass also helps to decrease the chance that missed rounds - which are likely in a high stress situation --  hit a bystander. 

In this case, if Reardon had only shot Bryant in a leg, she would likely still be able to hold onto the knife and stab the girl on the car. (The reporter didn’t ask but that’s also why the officer shot four times — to stop her from stabbing the other girl. One shot is unlikely to stop someone cold.)

2. “Could he have just shot her in the arm?” 

The arms and legs are small targets and much harder to hit and also unlikely to stop the bad guy. If Reardon had tried to just shoot her moving arm, he would have likely missed and shot one of the victims or innocent bystanders in the crowded scene.

3. “Can they shoot somewhere that would not result in a fatal wound?”

Law enforcement is trained for complicated scenario. They are called to a scene to stop the threat, but at the same time, they have to not kill innocent bystanders and protect their own lives. They have to try to determine what is happening in a hectic scene. There may be more than one bad guy to stop.

Officers are trained to shoot only when the threat is imminent and will cause serious bodily injury or death. In this situation, Reardon needed to stop Bryant from stabbing the second girl. Bryant was doing the opposite of the officers’ verbal commands to “get down” and stop.

4. “Should the officer opt to use a taser rather than a service weapon?”

We don’t know if the officer had a Taser, but it wasn’t possible in this situation. He would have had to get close to the knife-wielding girl. He would have likely been stabbed himself if he tried to use a Taser. Then she could have gone back to stabbing the other girls.


There is nothing for Black Lives Matter and other lefties to protest here. They can, but it’s all on the basis of total lies. Bryant was armed, she was about to stab someone, and apparently some folks on the Left think the stabbing should have happened because…defund the police or something. 

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