If you have been taught that in a self defense situation you should shoot to kill, you have sadly been misled. Shooting to kill someone is the wrong goal. The right goal, is to survive the fight and live another day.
Firearms in the hands of sheepdogs and good people are meant to save lives, not take them away. Your primary objective when using your gun for self defense is to stop the threat, not take a life. As I put it recently in a course of advanced students … first survive; then help others survive.
Perhaps you have been led to believe that if you don't shoot the bad guy they will survive to file a lawsuit against you. There are two problems with this idea. First, so what? Is your money worth more than their life?
Second, if you kill them their family will sue you anyway. Trust me, if you shoot someone you are going to face a lawsuit regardless of if they die or not. Ask OJ Simpson about it.
Law enforcement officers are trained to first stop threats and then to administer first aid to all including those who they may have just fired upon.
The reason why is because they understand that they do not shoot to kill or shoot to take life, but always seek to save it. This is why gun laws support the preservation of life with the use of deadly force. Taking life can only ethically be justified in order to preserve life.
If you ever wonder if you could really pull the trigger, remember that you aren't shooting to take a life. You shoot in order to save lives. That is all the clarity and justification you will ever need.
If that person dies because you had to defend yourself against them, that is a byproduct of their attack.
Let me be clear. If you have to kill someone in order to stop them from being a threat then kill them. I am not saying you should shoot to injure or maim or slow down. Doing so would be foolish. I'm saying that you should shoot to STOP the threat and without question, we all know the best way to stop a threat is to shoot center mass. If that happens to kill the person that is an understandable potential outcome.
What I'm suggesting is that a person's ultimate outcome of living or dying isn't relevant to the objective. Having the objective to kill someone is illegal. Having the objective to protect your life and shooting to stop a threat but ultimately killing someone is both moral and legal.
Stating it differently; the intent is the issue. Intending to kill someone, maim someone, or injur someone is illegal. Intending to survive and protect your own life or the life of another innocent person is legal.
The method or tactics may be similar but the intent matters both in terms of having the best survival mindset as well as ensuring you act morally and legally.
Forget what anyone else may have told you. Your objective is not to kill, but to live. Your plan is not to take life but to save it. Here are a few other important resources to help you understand different aspects of this:
Leave your thoughts on this in the comments below.