What is a “Double-Tap?

The “double-tap” involves two shots in rapid succession to the same target i.e. center body mass. See graphic, below:

If that doesn’t immediately drop one’s assailant, it stuns them enough (unless you missed) for you to take a half second longer and fire a third round to the head.

I was trained by Air Force military police firearms training instructors (CADMS, back in the day) as well as by multiple friends over the years who were either sheriff’s deputies, law enforcement, or tactical shooting instructors with experience as military police, law enforcement (local, state and FBI), and defensive shooting experience. I carry in accordance with my training, namely, Condition 2: A round chambered, full magazine in place, hammer down, safety OFF. As my firearm has a firing pin interlock, whereby the firing pin cannot move unless the trigger is pulled most of the way through its range of travel, and the trigger is physically guarded by my Level II retention holster, this carry condition is very safe, yet allows me to quickly draw and fire without having to do anything other than aim and squeeze the trigger. Wasting time on extraneous steps such as chambering a round or even flipping off the trigger greatly exacerbates the risk of one’s own demise in the face of a lethal threat. Put another way, I don’t have to “lock and load” as my firearm is always locked and loaded, but safely.

The following is an amalgam of my various sources of training:

If at all possible:

  • avoid: Avoid dangerous areas and potential encounters if at all possible.
  • retreat: If you find yourself in the midst of a threat, get out of there!
  • deescalate: If you cannot retreat, attempt to deescalate or diffuse the situation.
  • evaluate the threat: Are you actually in immediate threat of life and limb?
  • engage: If you actually are in immediate threat of life and limb, then neutralize the threat.

If you must engage:

  • Two to the heart, one to the head (double-tap + 1)
  • Simultaneously: Quick scan for other threats while taking cover (if you’re not already firing from cover).
  • Review work on target.
  • Repeat as necessary for any and all new and unstopped targets.
    When all threats have been neutralized, take charge of the situation while calling 9/11.

At all times, adhere to Jeff Cooper’s Rules of Firearms Safety:

  1. All guns are always loaded. Even if they are not, treat them as if they are.
  2. Never let the muzzle cover anything you are not willing to destroy. For those who insist that this particular gun is unloaded, see Rule 1. I know multiple people who forgot Rule 1 and negligently discharged their firearms. In fact, I know one individual who actually shot themselves as a result.
  3. Keep your finger off the trigger till your sights are on the target. This is the Golden Rule. Its violation is directly responsible for about 60 percent of negligent discharges.
  4. Identify your target, and what is behind it. Never shoot at anything that you have not positively identified. Failure to adhere to this rule is responsible for the majority of second-person hunting-related injuries and deaths.

Additional Considerations:

If there are more than two known assailants, however, I’m NOT going to double-tap + 1, but rather, I go into “rapid balloon-popping mode” followed by “mop-up mode.” The goal is to get the draw on them before any of them can fire.

Number of threats: If the threats number more than X, then execute a tactical retreat i.e. get the hell out of there! X is determined by your skill, experience, confidence, desire to risk life and limb, and magazine capacity. For myself and my weapon, X is calculated as follows: 15 rounds in magazine and 1 round in the barrel equals 16 rounds total. At 3 rounds per assailant, that’s 5 assailants. This leaves 1 round in the chamber while swapping magazines.

Thus, my X is 5. If there are more than 5 assailants, I am not going to even attempt to stand my ground as I would likely be overpowered. My only solution is to run like hell and whoever follows will be be dropped.