Firing Guns Into The Air, ‘Tis But A Scratch’ & Other Stupid Ideas

Circular gun shot Bad Karma of Man iStock-leremy 847506336

USA – -( When Joe Biden announced last week that police should shoot to wound rather than shoot to stop the threat, most people ignored his crazy ideas. They considered them merely the rantings of an 80-year-old man likely suffering from dementia, who has lived most of his adult life in a bubble surrounded by armed protective details.

But when firearms trainer Rob Pincus told FOX News he supported Biden’s ideas, even shooting a shotgun out a door to scare away bad guys, it was too much. Even with Pincus’ previous statements calling for more gun control, he had crossed the Rubicon. There was no going back.

Here’s what Pincus told FOX News: “Biden, many years ago, made a statement about going outside and firing a shotgun up in the air if somebody is trying to break into your home. What he said last Friday is really very closely related to that concept, which is if you’re going to use a gun, you don’t have to use it to kill someone, there’s other ways to somehow use a gun to defend yourself; and that is anathema to people in the training community, whether it’s law enforcement, military or civilian defensive shooting in the United States,” Pincus said, adding later, “I have to admit that Biden’s right. If somebody were trying to break into your home, and you stick a shotgun out the window and fire rounds into the air, that person is probably going to leave.”

Now that Pincus was all-in on Biden’s warning shots and shooting-to-wound tactics, I asked experts from law enforcement, the military, and the civilian shooting industry what they thought about Pincus’ comments. Here’s what they had to say.

Law Enforcement’s Response

“The whole concept of what Biden was saying is insane,” said Sarasota County (Florida) Sheriff Kurt Hoffman. “Every modern law enforcement agency is teaching a single-officer response to an active shooter, so you’re never going to shoot to potentially incapacitate. You’re going to shoot to stop the threat. Why shoot for limbs, feet or ankles? It makes no sense whatsoever.”

Shooting to incapacitate, Hoffman said, prevents a deputy from helping the wounded.

“If you can’t effectively neutralize a threat as quickly as possible – which equals shooting center mass – you can’t render aid to other people on scene who need assistance. Are you going to wound someone and hope he stays down while you render aid? This is the complete antithesis of what we would do. This is crazy.”

Firearm Industry’s Response

Mark Oliva, managing director of public affairs at the National Shooting Sports Foundation, said firing warning shots, as Biden and Pincus have suggested, could land the gun owner in jail.

“Among the cardinal rules for firearm safety is to know your target and what is beyond. NSSF does not recommend any firearm owner blindly fire their shotgun, or any other gun for that matter, into the air. President Biden’s, or anyone else’s advice, that this is a viable option only puts gun owners on shaky legal ground. Jeffery Barton, of Clark County, Washington, was charged with illegally discharging a firearm after intruders attempted to break into his home. Those charges were later dropped. However, he was convicted of obstructing a police officer,” Oliva said. “Firearms are used lawfully each and every day to defend an individual’s life or the lives of loved ones. The decision to use a firearm in self-defense is a serious and are never taken lightly. Discharging firearms recklessly into the night sky could have unintended consequences. Firearm owners should be confident of their intended target and what is beyond it whether they are using their firearm to defend their life, hunting or on a recreational target range. Firearm safety rules are paramount, no matter what the scenario.”

Training Community’s Response

Bob Keller is a retired Master Sergeant who spent all of his career in Army Special Operations, including 17 years as a Tier One operator in the 1st Special Forces Operational Detachment-Delta (1st SFOD-D), which is better known as Delta Force. Today, Keller teaches civilians, law enforcement, government, and corporate groups through his training firm, Gamut Resolutions.

Keller has been in more than 400 gunfights and has never once shot to wound. It is “ignorant and irresponsible,” he said, for any instructor to teach shooting to incapacitate.

“There’s no way an average shooter can do that,” Keller said. “If you’re telling people to do that and they get in an active shooter situation – and keep in mind anything within CONUS is a no-fail shot – and they’re now aiming for someone’s arm or leg, the likelihood of them making the shot is miniscule. That’s a tough shot for me and I’ve been training my whole life. What happens if they miss the shot and hit a child? Such a low-percentage shot is a huge risk in a CONUS environment. I’ve never shot to wound, at least not intentionally. If someone has a gun in their hand and is getting ready to use it, you don’t shoot to wound. Does he (Pincus) know how hard of a shot that is? It’s ridiculous. Who’s going to be held responsible if a friendly gets shot because someone was trying to shoot the bad guy’s arm? I’d like to see him (Pincus) make that shot.”

Marc Pezzella is a former SWAT team member, a former SWAT team commander, a retired Sheriff’s Office lieutenant, and a former U.S. Department of State military contractor with more than 25 years of service and tactical experience, who now teaches tactical shooting at Advanced Defensive Concepts.

Pezzella believes Pincus’ shooting-to-wound idea is lunacy.

“Shooting to wound? Who are you shooting at? Are they mentally stable? Do they feel pain? What is their level of commitment to the fight? Will shooting make them more angry? Are they on drugs? Are they on alcohol? Are they able to fight through the wound?” he asked.

Pezzella pointed out that 96% of civilian defensive shootings take place within nine feet.

“Assuming you hit them in the arm or leg, within nine feet you don’t have time, distance or opportunity to shoot again,” he said. “Shooting in combat is extremely difficult to do well: they’re shooting and moving, and you’re moving. If someone threatens you with a firearm, the time you think you have to wound them does not exist, assuming you can even hit them. It’s not possible to shoot someone in the extremity in the real world.”

The what-goes-up-must-come-down Response

Joe Krawtschenko is a retired law enforcement officer, a firearms instructor, and owner of The Gun Shoppe in Southwest Florida.

A few years ago, he met Diego, a then-10-year-old boy who was fighting for his life.

“Diego and his parents were standing in their front yard near Ruskin (Florida) watching fireworks on New Year’s Eve,” Krawtschenko said. “He was standing between his parents when he suddenly fell to the ground bleeding from the head. A .45-round hit him right on the top of his head, penetrated his skull and was lodged in his nasal cavity.”

Diego was in a coma for a week and spent years recovering.

“What goes up must come down, with enough force to kill someone, and we don’t know where it’s coming down,” Krawtschenko said. “Diego recovered. The last time I saw him, he took a class from me with his mother. He’s a normal kid, riding a skateboard.”

Krawtschenko described Pincus’ and Biden’s tactic of shooting into the air as “moronic.”

“You’re going to have a bunch of idiots firing warning shots into the air with no idea where the shot’s going to land,” he said. “We live in a well-populated area. Look around within a mile of where you live. There are schools, parks and playgrounds loaded with kids. Diego and his parents never became anti-gun. They’re anti idiots-with-guns.”

UPDATE: Pincus posted this response to this story on a private Facebook group.

Seems like some wannabe “investigative journalists” insist on proving that they can’t be bothered to investigate anything but their own agenda.

Every fundamental defensive shooting class that I can recall teaching over the last two decades has included an acknowledgement that most defensive gun uses are psychological, not physiological.. but, also an assurance that I wasn’t teaching the class for the threats that would get scared away, I was teaching the students to be better prepared to use their gun to physically stop the threat.

A gun is not a signaling device and should be used as such… nor should there be such a thing as “I was shooting to wound”. Firing a gun is a use of lethal force.

This story is presented by the Second Amendment Foundation’s Investigative Journalism Project and wouldn’t be possible without you. Please click here to make a tax-deductible donation to support more pro-gun stories like this.

About Lee Williams

Lee Williams, who is also known as “The Gun Writer,” is the chief editor of the Second Amendment Foundation’s Investigative Journalism Project. Until recently, he was also an editor for a daily newspaper in Florida. Before becoming an editor, Lee was an investigative reporter at newspapers in three states and a U.S. Territory. Before becoming a journalist, he worked as a police officer. Before becoming a cop, Lee served in the Army. He’s earned more than a dozen national journalism awards as a reporter, and three medals of valor as a cop. Lee is an avid tactical shooter.

Lee Williams

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Pincus has taught and talked a lot of “magic focus”, “instinctive flinch”, BULL$#|£ for years. If there’s a dollar to be made, or an opportunity for self promotion, he’s all in.

Last edited 1 month ago by JIAZ
Knute Knute

And Dan Reedy too. They are two nasty peas from the same rotten pod. IMO, anyway.

Knute Knute

But I do enjoy poking fun at their stupid antics. I never liked clowns at the circus, but these two clowns, and many more like them, are at least somewhat amusing. A gun is not to signal with… so one should use it to signal with! Damn, if that sentence isn’t cartoonishly clownish, I’ll eat my hat. Without salt! All it’s missing is a tunnel painted unto a cliff that trains then come out of! -)


Perhaps Pincus, Biden and similar ilk would prefer it if we just loaded up with blanks. Then, when we shoot into the air, we could get all the noise but without the danger of injuring the poor unfortunate who is forced into a life of crime by circumstances outside his control. This sort of nonsense regularly spews forth from the mouths of the ignorant (and by ignorant, I am referring to Progressives and some RINOs). If Pincus and his acolytes would not put gas in their cars and just push them where they want to go, we could eliminate air… Read more »


Extremely well said.


Rob was taken out of context and his meaning turned 180 deg from his intent. He doesn’t agree with Sleepy Gropey Grabby Demented Old Circus Monkey, Biden!


Pincus sounds like a CNN employee when says:
“Every fundamental defensive shooting class that I can recall teaching over the last two decades has included an acknowledgement that most defensive gun uses are psychological, not physiological.”

What fact is that “acknowledgement” based on?

Hey Pincus – Instead of deflecting, OWN IT.
Your arrogant manner is catching up to you.

Knute Knute

Pincus is quoted here as responding thusly: “A gun is not a signaling device and should be used as such…” So, does he actually think that a gun should be used as a signaling device? He regularily talks out of both sides of his mouth like this, and as a published author he really should know better. I just put it down to foot-in-mouth disease, followed by a desperate cover up that makes even less sense than the baby babble that he started out with. This is why I seldom bother to read any of Pincus’ writings. If he cannot… Read more »


Law enforcement in Los Angeles parks their cars under bridges at 15min to midnight to avoid getting hit from all the bullets that come down from people shooting guns into the air at 12:00. At about 15 min after they come out and go back to policing. I think telling cops that they need to shoot to wound is cruel. They need to shoot to kill. Anyone with morals and ethics would not want to purposely wound an animal, you shoot to kill it and put it out or our misery. It’s a moral responsibility. You’re so far gone uncle… Read more »


As far as shooting into the air, I’m reminded of buying my first box of Remington brand .22LR as a teenager. The inside flap read, “Dangerous within one mile”. Celebratory gunfire is for Mideast jerks and assorted idiots.


Amen on the mid east jerks and idiots. I remember 1.5 miles. I tested that It didn’t go that far but it did go about 800 yards. Elevation was about 20 ft above the target. Still, shooting into the air is for morons and Aholes. Doesn’t matter who you are or where you are from. Uncle Joe kamalatoes advice shows that he is a Muslim at heart.

Oregoneistan. Thanks for the comment.


Yes, I stand corrected. I went to my gun safe to look for a box of Remington .22s. It does indicate, “Dangerous within 1.5 miles”.


My celebratory gunfire all goes downrange, and into a target of some sort.


Any good lawyer or well trained police officer will tell you to never shoot to kill, only “shoot to stop the threat.” Whatever that means 😉

Not everyone who voted for pResident Biden is an idiot. Many I know are mere ignorant fools. Synonymous with easily fooled ignorami.


DIYinSTL: shooting to stop the threat is about the individual being incapacitated, or no longer being an imminent deadly threat. “Shooting to kill” is an element to first degree murder. Shooting to stop is the same as shooting to incapacitate. Shooting to incapacitate has nothing to do with shooting people in the arm or hand. Oldvet: “shooting” anyone leads to civil lawsuits. Doesn’t matter if the person lives or dies, you’re gonna be sued. More importantly, don’t get prosecuted for murder AND get sued because you didn’t understand the law. Shoot to incapacitate/stop the imminent deadly threat, then STOP SHOOTING,… Read more »


To Deconflictor. Shooting center mass is shooting to kill. All the vital organs are there to support life. Another thing is you need to do your best to increase your odds of stopping the criminal and it is easier to hit a large target than a small one so you shoot for the body. Shooting center mass to stop the threat is lawyer speak. They try and make it look like you intentionally murdered the guy and that is what your intent was and the proof is in the hollow point bullets you used so that is why they teach… Read more »


Speaking of the He/She/It situation, I have yet to find ANY criminal law supporting it being a criminal act of shooting “Its” or “Theys” or “Thems” or any other pronoun? Could it be that being binary does not fit the description of a HUMAN life?

Last edited 1 month ago by USMC0351Grunt

I don’t know because I don’t understand and nor am I willing to recognize other people’s sick thoughts that deviate from science. XX or XY determines who or what you are. You might think differently in your head, but the science doesn’t lie. There is no third set of chromosome. I will not conform to the new thought of who or what people think they are. When or if they make the mistake of correcting me or telling me they associate as a they or a them I will flat out proudly and loudly tell them we are all XX’s… Read more »


So, if the “IT”, “THEM”, THOSE” or “THEYS” or whatever “Binary-Whatever-The-Hell” are not covered in the annals of criminal law, nor in the hunting manuals from what I am seeing so far, then you don’t need a license or a tag? Asking for a curious person.

And forgive me, I could only give you 1 up-vote because I don’t have multiple accounts on here to assist you any further.

Last edited 1 month ago by USMC0351Grunt

No problem. Up votes or down it is all the same. I get people that agree and disagree, some have kahunas to say something and the down voters don’t. Thanks for your support. Hope all is well in Texas. I wanted to watch the faggy winers get their butts handed to them on a platter but Dish network is not providing FOX network because of negotiations so again, I do not get to watch the game. No over the air wave for me to get it free on HD tv. See what happens when you have foreigners from another country… Read more »


Musicman44mag. We will have to disagree with each other on so much of your statement. “Lawyer speak.” I’m not an attorney. I do realize, however, that lawyers rule every aspect of the aftermath of a shooting. It’s easy in a vacuum to be ruthless while discounting “lawyer speak” in what is acceptable and what is not when you are not facing prosecution and civil liability for shooting someone. If you are now a defendant (criminal and/or civil), “lawyer speak” is going to rule your world. Maybe it’s better to adopt it BEFORE the shooting so you can make better decisions.… Read more »


Ok, you might just be giving information which is what I think it is but anyone should know that if the person is stopped and then you walk up and shoot him again to kill him or not it is attempted murder or murder. I wouldn’t do that just like I know you wouldn’t either. I have to commend you because you are a better person than me because when it comes to rendering aid in hopes that he lives I choose not to because I don’t want him to do it to someone else again or come back for… Read more »


OK, I might be wrong about that for some states. And how does that affect the concept of shooting to incapacitate by shooting at center mass? If the individual dies because I justifiably shot him and I stopped shooting when he was incapacitated rather than shooting him until he was dead, and now, according to you there is no civil liability because he’s dead, how will that affect the post-shooting criminal prosecution of my case?


I get that you weren’t commenting about the center mass debate. But it is all tied in. The idea that because you shot the suspect that he will certainly die belies the realities of most shootings: most bullets don’t hit people, and those people hit by bullets don’t die. Shooting lawfully is about incapacitation and then stopping. Shooting them until they die after being incapacitated is not lawful anywhere except on the internet. Whether that incapacitated person lives or dies is up to innumerable factors and should not be the goal in shooting him/her. RE: civil liability. That might apply… Read more »


THIS is the stuff you want to rationalize with at the split second that a perp puts a gun in your face?


No, sir. These are the limits and permissions to deadly force. Knowing when it is permissible to exhibit my weapon, threaten to shoot, to fire in defense of self and others, and when to stop firing provides me freedom of actions because I know when and what I can do while lessening criminal and civil liability. You’re evidently a Marine (God bless you and all Devil Dogs). Do you want to go into combat without a thorough understanding of your ROE (Rules of Engagement)? A civilian not understanding when it is permissible to shoot under the law and, as importantly,… Read more »


Hey, I was one of them, always knew where to gravitate to about that time.. I remember being in Rampart station when a record clerk asked the watch commander if he had some extra shotgun shells he could give her so Willy could celebrate New Years in style. The thought of 00 buck raining down was a scary one. On the other hand, I lived in Chino Hills, and on the 4th of July we would go out to a high spot and watch all the fireworks displays for 20 miles around, then about 10 minutes later watch various fire… Read more »


NO WASTED SHOTS ANYWHERE, any shots fired will be on target !
Ammo, thanks to Biden, Pincus and cohorts costs too much to waste !
Eliminate the perps, end the problem !


Ammo conservation is ALWAYS a GOOD thing!


Any DGU is 90% psychological and 10% physical. You have to be willing to press the trigger to neutralize the threat. If neutralization ends the life of the attacker(s) so be it. I have heard too many people say their firearms are there to scare. Biden is a moron that couldn’t count his balls twice and come up with the same number. And Pincus is someone who strives for mediocrity, yet still fails to meet his goals.

Remember, shoot center mass and only stop when the bad guy stops being a threat.


When hunting, I shoot to kill. Always humanely. When it’s self-defense, I teach to, “Stop the threat by whatever means available.” Each self-defense situation is unique. Very often, the best defense is to run away. However, because of proudly-earned physical disabilities, I can no longer run, and will be more inclined to taking a more direct approach. I will be focusing on center-mass, and will, “fire until the threat ceases.” I’ve been “fortunate” enough to be on the receiving end of a firefight three times so far, and in two instances I was NOT instantly incapacitated, one time a calf,… Read more »


All situations hv diff variables & req. Diff measures & levels of force. Us military & leo’s protecting hostages: Take control with all means necessary. Always train up to massive force. A few situations might require shooting in ground. Most thieves are ”chicken sh?T” & will run at sight of armed good guy. Also some cwp holders (women & men) are afraid to fire guns. Also variables like pistol, rifle, & shotgun would hv diff criteria. Shooting slugs vs 00 buck in gnd near a person would be diff. Known & repeat criminals: No question; remove genes fm face of… Read more »


Our reality is that we shoot to incapacitate every time we reasonably engage in deadly defensive force as civilians or civilian police. And sometimes the person being shot dies. We are not permitted by law to “shoot with intent to kill” (that’s a key element in first-degree murder), but to respond with deadly defensive force to stop the imminent deadly threat of death or serious bodily injury to ourselves or others. A recent example, in the Taqueria shop shooting in Houston, all of the defensive shots into the armed robber were perfectly justified, incapacitating the suspect. The shooter’s final shot… Read more »


i have watched some of his videos, seems like just another someone trying to make money, what i did observe was how pincus locked his elbows strait when he shot. we all know that by doing so your body absorbs the recoil, making your body move back so if you bend your elbows slightly they will absorb the recoil like a shock absorber and your body will be stably. i contacted him about that and did not get a reply and he still locks his elbows. i think people think the bullets go into space or something, that’s nuts


The only time I would be satisfied “shooting to wound” is using my Henry 45-70 Gov rifle. And why you ask? Just to see how long the bad guy would survive after being hit in the hip or shoulder…lmao.


To be honest, I never heard of this guy “Pinko” or “Pincus” or whatever his name is before this article. However, just reading the first sentence of the second paragraph of Lee’s article told me all I needed to know. FOX News has been quietly slipping a Gun Grabber, Anti-Gun agenda into their programming via their producers for years. In fact, it goes back to the Megan Kelly, Gretchen Carlson Bill O’Reilly days. Anytime a school shooting – they began to be front and center shouting what the Gun Grabbers had to say, never the 2nd Amendment Defenders. How many… Read more »


The update needs to be posted at the top of the page. Rob Pincus’ name has been defamed and his sanity questioned by selective editing. Shame on the original reporter and your article’s formatting!


In any defensive shooting scenario the intent is to neutralize imminent threat to ones self or others. Shoot at the easiest target area which will happen to be the largest exposed body mass. Repeat firing until the threat is neutralized whether they are incapacitated and no longer able to pose a threat or they cease to live. Either way the threat is neutralized. BUT……….do not continue to fire once the threat is neutralized because then if the threatening individual dies as a result of shots fire after neutralization it becomes homicide as opposed to defense. Shooting to injure only is… Read more »


Pincus was misquoted. Or Pincus was quoted out of context.

Last edited 1 month ago by Bozz
Joe R.

IMHO. . . [like who cares. . . ] Y E S, shoot to wound, because it at least means you are shooting! Shooting in a shooting situation is CATHARTIC. Once you lose your cherry to direct-action, you have immediately passed through an otherwise impenetrable mental barrier, and it is on. So YES, pull the damn trigger and walk-it-in from there if you have to. Shoot over their head if you have to. (YES, also try as best you can to follow safety guidelines regarding knowing what’s behind your target [“know where all your rounds will go, and where all… Read more »


WTH? “Shoot over their head if you have to. (YES, also try as best you can to follow safety guidelines regarding knowing what’s behind your target [“know where all your rounds will go, and where all your rounds went”]).”

Just WHAT do you call schizophrenia?


Joe R.
Someone hacked your account posted an unintelligible rant.