Shooting Someone In The Back? Under The Right Circumstances


Is it ever OK to shoot someone in the back? That’s what Kevin Michalowski discusses in a little more depth than most people think about when dealing with this question.

If the only option you have to stop a deadly threat is to shoot someone in the back, do it. But be ready to explain exactly why it was the only thing you could do under those circumstance to stop an imminent deadly threat. As with any use of deadly force, you need to be 100 percent certain of your actions. If the only course of action is to shoot someone from behind then you need to take that action to stop the threat.

This is really one of those tell-it-like-it-is videos. Do you agree?

Categories: General, Video
About Brandon Curtis | View all posts by Brandon Curtis

Brandon is the founder of Concealed Nation and is an avid firearm enthusiast, with a particular interest in responsible concealed carry. His EDC is a Glock 27 that holds Hornady…

Brandon is the founder of Concealed Nation and is an avid firearm enthusiast, with a particular interest in responsible concealed carry. His EDC is a Glock 27 that holds Hornady 165 gr FTX Critical Defense rounds, and rides comfortably in an Alien Gear Cloak Tuck 3.0 holster.

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  • BlueSCCY

    Definitely, say in any mass shooting scenario. I would think I would first tell the person to drop their weapon… but maybe not…. someone actively shooting innocent people could likely have a bullet in his back in his near future… but what if the person is running away? We have seen stories on your page where people have robbed people and been chased after and shot…. that’s grey…. but what about when they may soon be a threat again … perhaps after already hurting several people….

    • Earl Cooper

      Well Blue, I respect your opinion, but…”I would think I would first tell the person to drop their weapon… but maybe not….”, certainly tells me that you have never experienced any deadly situations in which some very desperate people that have nothing to loose and are ready to give it a go, with whatever and whoever, they consider to be a threat, because they feel that they are in a good situation to GET-EVEN for all of their life injustices…I’m from New Orleans and I draw my opinion from real life experience where the dark side of humanity rules all too often at times. I’ve dodged more bullets than most career NOPD officers have in a full career…My advice is…be ready, train for what you will do (have a policy about what that is) BEFORE & AFTER you have to shoot one of these elements…this shit happens so fast and at the absolute least expected moments, times and places…I can assure you of that…

      • BlueSCCY

        I was in Biloxi during katrina, so I have had some experience. And though I have not seen combat, I have served in the army for the better part of a decade… but my statement. Mass shooting.. no warning, but I think if someone was robbing someone, I might tell them to drop their weapon… if they turn to face me, take care of it…

        • Earl Cooper

          I get that…Blue, The only thing I can say, is that to tell “them”… to drop-their-weapon is a form of trying to appeal to their…”presumed rationally”…and…I can assure you that it really doesn’t exist…more specifically; then why would the perp/element decide to rob a “low-dollar” convenience store for a probable no go success for a few dollars…in my humble opinion…? I say…DON’T ATTEMPT TO COMMUNICATE WITH THE ELEMENT(s), because he (more likely than she…) has NO mode of rational logic about their decision to be there in the first place, because they had the balls to come in there and demand control of this convenience store scenario. A street circumstance is far more likely to be the situation that you would likely encounter vs…a “mass-shooting” IN MY HUMBLE OPINION…

    • TheLight

      If someone has already shot and killed a dozen people, no warning is required. You just shoot them because if you give them a warning, then you could be the one who ends up dead.

    • Molon Labe!

      If they are shooting the time for talk is
      Long since passed.

    • Shane Mayfield

      If they are stealing your stuff you have the right to shoot them! You think they will turn around when you try to stop them? Most times they run, so if you want to stop them you have to shoot them in the back.

      • BlueSCCY

        That’s not the best corse of action. in a lot of jurisdictions, if the person is not a immediate threat to you or others, you cant use lethal force..

      • Earl Cooper

        If you went to a conceal carry class to get your permit, then you would remember that you cannot shoot someone for trying to steal your car, property, etc…unless they are threat to you physically, as you WILL be charged with a homicide. If they have no weapon and are not attacking you, then you cannot shoot…that’s every state. You can hold them there and call the police. If under that circumstance they try to attack you, even without a weapon then you can shoot if there is a “disparity of force”…

        • BlueSCCY

          I didn’t go to a class. I went through 7 years in the army, haha. But you are absolutely right.. although the castle doctrine allows you to eliminate an unwelcome guest in your home…

        • Shane Mayfield

          No your wrong! In Texas I can shoot you for stealing a pack of cigarettes!

          • Earl Cooper

            Not as simple as you think…read the laws below pertaining to the use of lethal force in Texas. The laws in Texas are more favorable to the law abiding citizen…but not the way you interpret them…

            Texas Law (s)

            Sec. 9.41. PROTECTION OF ONE’S OWN PROPERTY.

            (a) A person in lawful possession of land or tangible, movable property is justified in using force against another when and to the degree the actor reasonably believes the force is immediately necessary to prevent or terminate the other’s trespass on the land or unlawful interference with the property.

            (b) A person unlawfully dispossessed of land or tangible, movable property by another is justified in using force against the other when and to the degree the actor reasonably believes the force is immediately necessary to reenter the land or recover the property if the actor uses the force immediately or in fresh pursuit after the dispossession and:

            (1) the actor reasonably believes the other had no claim of right when he dispossessed the actor; or

            (2) the other accomplished the dispossession by using force, threat, or fraud against the actor.


            A person is justified in using deadly force against another to protect land or tangible, movable property:

            (1) if he would be justified in using force against the other under Section 9.41; and

            (2) when and to the degree he reasonably believes the deadly force is immediately necessary:

            (A) to prevent the other’s imminent commission of arson, burglary, robbery, aggravated robbery, theft during the nighttime, or criminal mischief during the nighttime; or

            (B) to prevent the other who is fleeing immediately after committing burglary, robbery, aggravated robbery, or theft during the nighttime from escaping with the property; and

            (3) he reasonably believes that:

            (A) the land or property cannot be protected or recovered by any other means; or

            (B) the use of force other than deadly force to protect or recover the land or property would expose the actor or another to a substantial risk of death or serious bodily injury.

    • Kurt Hyllested Sr

      Robbery? No. Let him go. Mass shooting? Fair game. He is likely to kill more, and is a clear and present danger to the public, if not you.

  • Frank – Vietnam Vet

    This is simple – Police are trained – like it or not they are intensely trained for almost all scenarios as the Military is . You have no argument . In a mass shooting you can see by all means taking out the shooter is a must – but how many mass shootings do we see each year ?? Most back shootings I see are of one man verses one cop. ???? So where is the urgency to kill ? TIME – POWER – and almost always they are never found in the wrong . In truth – there is no excuse for a cop to shoot anyone in the back . Each incident has its own story – I don’t disagree that a criminal being chased by a cop will be a threat to some one near by and a cop has a one second choice – Kill or take a chance – I say use common scene – if you think you have to shoot – bring him down but don’t kill – after all – it may just be a scared person that deserves his true American justice – A trial – a jury – a right to prove ones innocence – THINK – we are all guaranteed the rights of our laws – both the criminal and the cop – neither one is any better than the other by the Constitution .

    • JC Hammer

      How do you propose “bring him down but don’t kill” Frank? Maybe you’ve been watching too many movies. The reality is that if an officer engages a target with his firearm he is shooting to kill and that the chances of this being legitimate use of force if the suspect is disengaging is very low, but does happen.

      • joe

        The way I see it if the perp is a threat with a weapon he’s bought and paid for – case closed.

      • Earl Cooper

        LOL :):)

    • TheLight

      Yes, police and soldiers are trained, but they are trained to shoot center mass because that is the target they are least likely to miss and is most likely to stop the violent suspect. Aiming to wound is not practical.

    • ron williams

      Keep shooting until the threat is gone. Front, back or on the ground.

    • GTeye2016

      I think you greatly overestimate the amount of mandatory training that most officers must receive to keep their certification… it’s a common misconception but you would be AMAZED at how little it actually is.

      • chris

        I will put ANY amount of money, against ANY cop, to meet me at the range for a “shoot off”. The mis-conseption that “cops have training in the use of guns” and “your average gun owner doesn’t” is a bunch of horse manure.

        • chris

          Liberals listen to and watch WAY too much MSLSD.

        • Earl Cooper

          That’s very true their gun training is often overestimated; however, it’s the State Police that much better trained in firearms than the city cops, or Sheriff Deputies…

          • Kurt Hyllested Sr

            It depends on the state. Some are excellent, others no better.

        • robert

          shooting at the range does not prove a thing. ANYONE can be an accurate
          shot. Its shooting accurately under a live stress situation that is the
          problem.statistically speaking, even seasoned professional law
          enforcement with years of on the job experience only land an average of
          about 1 in 7 shots accurately into the intended target, so someone
          without the experience, regardless of training and practice is going to
          have far less accuracy in a live stress situation. This is why we all
          get so pissed off every time some liberal politician talks about
          limiting the legal capacity of fire arms, “because there is never any
          reason a person should EVER need to have more than 7 bullets in a gun”

          • Earl Cooper

            Your post is very strange and I’m not quite sure what the point is, that your trying to make…”someone without the experience, regardless of training and practice is going to have far less accuracy in a live stress situation”…I completely disagree with you on that, because, if you think your training is NOT going to contribute to your success…then kindly explain that…duh? Then what would be your purpose in seeking out qualified training…Are you trying to make some kind of STRANGE case for magazine capacity laws…? Dude I RESPECT YOU…but I really just don’t get your point…AT ALL…

          • chris

            You’re an idiot. That is all.

          • chris

            NOONE. I repeat NOONE, trains under live fire. Not even cops.

    • Kurt Hyllested Sr

      You don’t use deadly force in an inefficient manner. There are few people on earth who can pick a non-lethal but disabling target in a dynamic situation.

      • Frank – Vietnam Vet

        Then I suggest the Police put this type of training on the forefront –

        • Kurt Hyllested Sr

          I have trained Marines and cops to shoot. I have competed for the Marines. I have thousands of hours on the range, and I would not attempt such a shot. That is movie stuff. Get in front of someone who has a paintball rifle at close range. Using a paintball pistol, try to shoot them in a non-vital area or to hit either of their hands. Let me know how that works out.

    • PharmDoc61

      Different rules for the police and civilians.

    • Kurt Hyllested Sr

      You mentioned ranges of 1000 military and up to 300 urban.85 % of police shooting are within 20′. Cop use pistols. 4″ pistols these days, unfotunately. You can not hit a small target under stress. 1 for 3 is the usual hit ratio, and I mean anywhere in the torso. Whoever was teaching you high and low shots is a fool. You shoot for immediate incapacitation, the best shot available under the circumstances. If you want to take him alive, you should not be using deadly force. If he doesn’t need to be dead, you are committing assault with a deadly weapon.

  • Earl Cooper

    So the perp has a gun pointed at an unarmed/innocent minimum wage clerk in a convince store and doesn’t notice your presence in the store while he makes a threat and demand for the cash and whatever else…Do you really want to order him to stop and demand he leave…while basically inviting him to a gun fight and giving up your advantage in this life threatening circumstance….I say NO…instead, carefully get him in your front sight for a head shot, or lethal back shot without risking an innocent bystander getting hit and send him straight to hell. When the cops arrive, say little more than what is obvious, point out the witnesses and tell them that they will have your full cooperation after 24 hours while you consult your legal advice…(the Police cannot ask you any more questions at that point) whatever the Police say if you decide to answer all their questions…be assured, that if you make mistakes in your account of what happened, then you may end up having your statements used AGAINST you…You need time to get your thoughts and recollection of the events squared away and seek legal advice if you really think it’s necessary. The DA will have the final say in any event.

    • You have that right and sometimes the police mix up what you say, better and safer for you to have an attorney present.

    • Frank Giannetti

      In this case, I’d shoot him in the ass. It will disable him, he won’t be able to get away, and then if he turns to fire at me, then you go for taking him out. You’re just asking for trouble making a back of the head shot your first choice. You don’t want to miss and hit the clerk. You don’t want to miss, period.

      • Molon Labe!

        You’re an idiot…

      • William A. Cheek

        That is why you’ll never have a carry permit.

      • Kurt Hyllested Sr

        You don’t use deadly force in an inefficient manner. A shot to the ass may well get you or the clerk a bullet.

      • Michael Driver

        NEVER leave someone like that able to recover and sue you! Do the RIGHT thing and rid the planet of the parasite. Tell YOUR story factually and honestly after consulting with your legal counsel. Even video records can be misleading or confusing/incomplete.

      • Donnie Aj

        In the Ass, Really. That’s opening a Whole Can of Whip
        -Ass problems!

      • Mick Dundee

        @frankgiannetti:disqus You always shoot to kill My Great Uncle God rest his soul was a Sheriff for many years in NC and said “Boy, if you have to shoot, kill’em. That way there’s only one of y’all lying about what happened”

      • Earl Cooper

        I have seen people shot in the leg and hip and that did NOT disable them. A couple of them said that as they began to bleed out they lost all feeling in that extremity yet they stayed in the fight. Don’t engage your target unless you have a clear line of fire in which no bystanders are going to get hit if you should miss and also remember that your shot may continue through the perp and hit another person. For me it would be a first shot in a lethal spot after carefully trying to get into position for it. If you shoot the perp in the ass, then he will probably shoot the clerk and start firing randomly around him to clear his path to get away, or to just “get it on” given his possible mindset…

      • chris

        $1000.00 says you DO NOT carry, or have a permit. A million dollars says you have no clue what you are talking about. If you ever do get a gun, please seek training, so you are not a threat to yourself and others.

  • TheLight

    Only two justifications that I can think of. One is if the person is threatening someone else and your best angle of approach to get a clear shot is from behind. That would still be considered justified under the laws of most states that allow carry since you are protecting the life of another person. The only other circumstance I can justify is if someone is running from you and has a gun pointed in your direction at the same time. It takes a little twisting of the body for someone to get into that position, but it is possible for someone to be fleeing from you and shooting at you at the same time. In that situation, your life is under threat of harm just as much as if the shooter were facing you so you would be justified in putting a bullet between his shoulder blades. In nearly every other circumstance where your life or the life of another person is not in immediate danger, back shooting is not justified.

    • bob

      Another valid condition is if during the fire-fight said bad man is moving to other cover .

      • Steven Feil

        or towards another weapon to use.

        • Or, just shot you or a loved one and is running.

    • chris

      Or is running to another area of your home, where your loved ones are hiding. There are THOUSANDS of situations.

  • Dan Gregory

    Well,if i have no other choice,i’m not going to ask them to turn around.

  • James Barnhart

    Shooting at me while fleeing, then yes.

  • Charles Joseph Maly


  • Leif

    Sure it is… if his back is to you and he is attacking another and you fear for their safety…

  • Eric Sil V A

    If a subject is reaching for his weapon while trying to shoot you while the subject is running, i would use deadly force. The clerk situation From the previous post, i would use deadly force. You cannot justify shooting someone in the ass to disable them. If that was the case, then why bother shooting at all. You would put yourself and others lives at risk for having that stupid way of thinking. If I had to shoot someone, its because they are a threat and the threat needs to be eliminated. Also when discharge your weapon, when LE arrives, you put that weapon down and put your hands in the air and dont open your mouth until you have legal representation. Like my instructor said, Loose lips sink ships. Seek immediate legal advice, dont bother talking to LE. Stay safe gun owners whether concealed or open carry.

    • Kurt Hyllested Sr

      Never talk to LE unless you have absolute written proof of complete innocence in your pocket.

  • Richard

    What you are missing is that it makes no difference whatsoever what you think about the situation at the moment. It only matters waht the JURY thinks, and juries are idiots who know nothing about law. You will likely go to jail if you shoot someone in the back!

    • Earl Cooper

      Richard…if you don’t have a CONCEAL CARRY PERMIT…then, WHY are you here…?

      • Richard

        Huh? I do have a CCW permit. Why would think don’t?

  • Robert Travis Howard

    Unbelievable the number of people advocating for shooting to wound. I hope everyone has the sense to see the stupidity of this notion. Whether you shoot to wound or to kill, you have exercised deadly force in the eyes of the law and will be prosecuted the same. If there’s a threat that you feel requires you to draw and fire your weapon, do so with haste and with the full intention of stopping the threat completely. A wounded threat is still a threat. The only threat that is not a threat is a dead threat.

  • Earl Cooper

    A lot of people look at what can happen after the criminal investigation is over and your unfortunate shooting circumstance has been ruled by the court as justified….Well people will easily find a lawyer who will take a lawsuit case against you…but, if it was a “CLEAN-SHOOT”…in which you did the
    only thing, or the most commendable thing that you could under the
    circumstances, because “it was the right thing to do”…then
    you should have NO FEAR of legal/civil consequences…In my humble opinion…I think that you should file a “counter-suit” for attorney’s fees…loss wages and other financial losses arising from this litigation…in the event that the
    perp(s) elements/friends and family file a lawsuit against you.
    Also, the DA has the power to PREVENT any lawsuits from going forward
    AFTER any criminal charges associatd in your case have been
    eliminated, if he/she wants to, based on the facts…although, they
    may still be biased in light of their personal, political, or other
    biased feelings about the circumstances of your case…In any event,
    you are absolutey right to consider the possibility of a lawsuit
    against you before “trying to do the right thing…” YOU
    ARE NOT OBLIGATED TO DO ANYTHING, OTHER THAN TO PROTECT YOURSELF…” Oh what a mess this shit can turn out to be…

  • Honestly