Interview of Bob Stasch, Chicago PD Veteran Of 14 Gunfights

Here is a 52 minute interview with Chicago PD Lieutenant Bob Stasch. He has been in 14 gunfights. There are some very interesting things in his recollection. His second story is of particular interest for me. Many people have a false faith in “stopping power”. Having read a few LEO examples it seems that there is a possibility that people have a stronger will to survive beyond rational belief. I tell customers at work, that people will surprise you. They can defy physics and rationality and Bob Stasch’s example is a good one.

He goes on to talk shop about his progression of firearms on and off duty as well as details the change in ammunition choices for the Police.

He shares his personal retort to “why did you fire?”. “I fired to live” as opposed to “I fired because i was in immediate danger of death or serious bodily harm”. It is a subtle change that still conveys the same amount of information in a short and concise method.

His preferred practice target is a 6″ paper plate. From his experience in gunfights, he has progressed to aim for the head. If he can hit the plate, he is confident he cant hit a head at combat distances.

Bob also discusses Chicago’s Toughest Cop: Frank Pape.

Phil Note: Interview by

Nicholas C

Co-Founder of KRISSTALK forums, an owner’s support group and all things KRISS Vector related. Nick found his passion through competitive shooting while living in NY. He participates in USPSA and 3Gun. He loves all things that shoots and flashlights. Really really bright flashlights.

Any questions please email him at


  • Anonymous

    As a fellow LEO (with laughable experience compared to him), I don’t think it’s wise to shoot for the head, much less go on the record saying that is what you aim for. Could easily be misconstrued that you have the intent to kill and land you in court. Especially in a liberal town like Chicago.

    • avconsumer2

      Also… I consider myself a pretty good shot, but hitting that plate if it’s rapidly approaching in addition to rapidly bobbing… yeesh… reckon I’d take two or three hits to center mass as opposed to the alternative.

    • DonDrapersAcidTrip

      What dream world are you living in where cops suffer actual lasting harmful consequences for anything they do let alone anything involving a gun. “Oh no I’m about to get into a gun fight, I might have to read people talking bad about me on the internet while I’m on my paid vacation if this arbitrarily makes the news and my feelings might get hurt”

      • CrassyKnoll

        Yes, recent facts indicate that the mere presence of an item that merely closely resembles a weapon is enough justification for a cop to shoot someone to death.

        • Sulaco

          Get out of your moms basement. Join a LEO agency and you patrol in the dark alleys on foot alone with people trying to kill you in half second in counters and then tell us how wise you are.

          • CrassyKnoll

            That you resort to petty insults without knowing a single thing about me really couldn’t put a finer point on your lack of a credible argument.

            You’ll get credit for being brave and responsible when you start being held responsible for indefensible – and ultimately criminal – acts.

            It’s not longer a tough and dangerous job when it becomes a license to unjustly shoot people.

          • Thank you!

      • Beju

        In liberal Cook County, suing the police isn’t exactly rare. I know a guy who sat on a jury in a case where a woman claimed that after being arrested at a bar, the police took her to the lake and repeatedly dunked her head underwater. Then they brought her to the lockup, presumably blow-drying her hair first. That was the second time the suit made it to a jury, the first time resulted in a hung jury.

        Due to Chicago’s history of settling just about any lawsuit over fighting them, nearly any fatal police shooting in Chicago will result in a lawsuit. This is also made more likely by the fact that Chicago never brings perjury charges against people making demonstrably false complaints. Unlike medical professonals (whose mistakes kill legions of people annually), police can’t get any insurance that covers punitive damages held against them, which as a whole happens every other month in Chicago.

        • Walt

          I think if you check he is taking credit for othe officer’s shootings

    • CrassyKnoll

      We need to stop buying in to this canard.

      Lethal force is lethal force. There is no practical, medical, or scientific justification for declaring that a head shot is “more lethal” than a shot through the heart, aorta, or the upper spine (ie. a shot to center mass.)

      The best way to counter this nebulous argument is with widespread and repeated ridicule.

      (I see nothing wrong with recommending against the head shot because it is a darn hard target, but based on that line of thinking your ‘best’ target becomes the pelvic girdle, and that all but guarantees multiple shots to reliably affect a stop.)

    • 4Bravo1

      You never practiced a single head shot on the range? I’ll bet you were trained to aim for thread at some point in the academy on some drill.

  • echelon

    14 gunfights in Chi-stan? Actually seems a little low if you ask me…

    • Mr. Sarcasim

      LOW?? I thought guns were banned in Chicago? Shouldn’t be ANY gunfights there, right? (Snork!)

      • echelon

        Funny how bastions of progressivists and fundamentalists really aren’t all that different…

  • Tiru Maru

    If he “can hit the plate”, he is confident he “cant hit a head ” at combat distances.
    Say what??

    • Nicholas Chen

      It is what was mentioned in the interview.

      • noob

        “can hit a head” vs “cant [sic] hit a head”. possible typo.

        • BLUEEYES

          Er….I AIMED for the shoulder… BUT…..… ducked… and, and ..and… turned before I could make him stand there… Officer.. It’s his fault he got hit in the head!

  • Shawn

    Good interview, very informative.

  • roguetechie

    So I feel compelled to make a comment after reading the comments so far…

    1. I wouldn’t admit to head shots as intended poi: So the one time someone with real experience in gun fights actually keeps it real he catches flak for it? I know lots of people in the firearms community believe that if we just try not to give the antis stuff to hold up and use against us that they will leave us alone. It’s not true, appeasement never works! Further I’ve noticed a pretty amazing loss of real institutional knowledge in the community since it has turned more PC than the PC brigade.

    2.head shots: Keep in mind that the beat this guy did his gunfights in is organized gang bang territory and soft body armor has been common there for a long time. When you have to do your gunfighting at close range with a sizable percentage of your potential opponents armored up, yeah you’re gonna aim for the head!

    • Vitsaus

      Cops are exempt from those considerations. There is virtually no level of aggression they can display that will actually cost them anything aside from a month of bad publicity. For the ordinary home owner, yes, a headshot might create a legal mess, especially if the defendant states that they “practice” for that. For cops the rules are much different, as we have seen, even summary executions of non death penalty offenses in broad daylight, captured on film are far from a career stopper.

      • Sulaco

        Examples please.

        • Vitsaus

          You evidently do not watch the news, nor visit any watchdog sites.

          • Sulaco

            You evidently have nothing in the way of examples just spew. Any incident you could name to try to bolster your views when examined show multiple layers of review from local to federal. No dept exists in a vacuum as you apparently want to believe or preach. The results don’t comport to your demands so in your view must be the result of evil forces.

        • n0truscotsman

          The more dramatic and obvious example is the Serpico debacle.

      • 4Bravo1

        Please provide a single court case where a shooting was ruled unjustified simply because of the target location. Just one. You apparently do not understand use of force law, and simple definitions like deadly force and serious bodily injury.

  • John

    Do any LEO’s use the Ruger SR series?
    I have the 6E and SR-40 and like them both very much.

  • Mike

    Holy crap, people… If deadly force is justified, freaking shoot them in the face and kill them! If a head shot is not acceptable, why are you shooting?

    This ridiculous Ayoobian fear of the aftermath will cause hesitation that will get you killed!

    • basicloaf

      Here here! For non-LEO/.mil, if you are clearing leather, kydex, or the sling tightens in a critical incident, there should be no other reason than stopping the threat and using lethal force.

      For LEO/.mil, if you are in a critical incident and your weapon is holstered/slung, you are doing it wrong.

    • Gail Pepin

      Exactly what is Ayoobian fear?

      • M.M.D.C.

        Some say it’s where a river of fear empties into a sea of tranquility. It may also refer to the fear of overzealous prosecutors.

      • Drapetomanius

        A reference to Massad Ayoob and the legally hyperconcious culture that some schools (Frontsight) have adopted. An 8 hour class will include 2 hours of legal council, etc.

  • noob

    wow that first 23yo drug dealer that took 15 bullets and kept fighting until his knee was destroyed was one tough bastard. I wonder if he would have kept fighting if his guts had been cut away with a broadsword like in the legends of old?

    • morokko

      Actually, there was this one cat called Enkidu who was slinging uppers behind some disco in old city of Ur and one time he was shooting Mac-11 at akkadian Five-O with his eyes completely gouged out. When this character ran out of bullets, he kept fending off his enemies by flailing at them with squashed hedgehog for nearly three hours before tripping on the trash can due to blindness.
      There are also accounts in Egil Saga about Norse drug dealers that kept on fighting frankish SWAT even after getting live vasectomy with bodkin arrow. Those stout people are extinct by now in Scandinavia. No need to explain why.
      Bishop Thietmar of Merserburg tells about those early medieval slavic drug dealers that fought on with their heads cut cleanly off, although according to his chronicle they seemed to have mighty problems with counting all those eightballs correctly, and ultimately ran out of business.

  • Badkarma060

    Remember these important words after you use any weapon to save your or your families life. “You have the right to remain silent”. Exercise that right. “Anything you say can and will be used against you”. Remember Bernie Goetz 1984. Made a comment to one of the four mutts he shot, “you look good here is another”. The proverbial nail in his coffin, so to speak. Also try not to let them hear you say “Comply or die MF”… 😉

  • gunsandrockets

    Very interesting. Not at all what I expected : very close ranges, no reloading, single handed, large caliber, point shooting, headshots.

  • Gail Pepin

    While we do have a Creative Commons License and allow reposting if the whole Show is kept intact. It would have been nice to give credit and maybe a link back to the ProArms Podcast for creating this interview.

    • elmer

      I agree. No mention of ProArms Podcast in the post. Maybe next time Nicholas…..

  • Walt

    Frank Pape retired around 1972 Stash did not come on the job till the 80s.