8

In Forever in a Day, Teal'c shoots Sha're (still possessed by the Goa'uld Amaunet) with his staff weapon. He was forced to shoot to save Daniel Jackson from the Kara kesh, Amaunet was using on him.

However, it is well known that a staff wound can be non-lethal, if not being shot directly at the chest or stomach. For instance, it would have been sufficient to shoot her hand, thereby destroying the Kara kesh. Clearly Teal'c is aware of what his staff weapon can do.

Is there an in-universe explanation for that?

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    I've always wondered this myself. Why didn't he just crack her over the head with the butt-end of the staff instead? Would have been just as effective and they could have eventually removed the symbiont. – Derek Jul 5 '15 at 21:41
  • Because... drama. – Omegacron Jul 7 '15 at 16:22
13

Considering the inaccuracy of a flaming ball of plasma, shooting at her hand, inches away from Daniel head, would have been risky. As the episode states, she was about to kill him, if not for Sha're likely delaying it a bit, and any hesitation on Teal'c behalf would have been life and death. It was a split second decision. As the episode showed, Sha're was well aware of this when she gave Daniel those hallucinations, and she made them in a way as to make sure Daniel would not blame Teal'c out of anger.

As to the non lethality of a staff weapon, it's inaccuracy aside, most people that recover from a staff hit have armor or protection of a sort, and even then they still don't survive often. Janet is a perfect examples. As are any suited Jaffa.

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    Kawasaki? Did you mean Kawalsky? When did Kawalsky get hit by a staff weapon? – Lightness Races in Orbit Jul 5 '15 at 19:36
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    In SG-1 season 5 episode 18 "The Warrior", it's made explicit that staff weapons are very inaccurate things. – jono Jul 5 '15 at 20:15
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    @lightness I'm probably thinking the wrong person. Maybe alternative dimension Kawalsky? I'll marathon to see who I mean – user16696 Jul 5 '15 at 20:19
  • @cde: Granted, alt-Kawalsky in Moebius... along with several other soldiers! – Lightness Races in Orbit Jul 5 '15 at 21:53
  • I love SG1! Also, the weapons of the Jaffa tended to be weapons of fear. The staffs and gliders shot fiery got balls of plasma that were never all too accurate but caused slaves to run en mass and scatter. I felt Teal'c, knowing this, took the safest shot. – Mike McMahon Jul 6 '15 at 6:21
7

Teal'c wanted to save the life of his friend, so he could not risk missing. The body is a much larger target than a hand. He also did not have much time to think - he had to act.

6

For the same reason you never see police officers shoot someone (we can thank ubiquitous video cameras for this now) just once in a non-life threatening place like the hand or the leg. Instead, they aim for the middle of the chest and they shoot more than once.

The middle of the chest is where you aim because it presents the largest target that's actually possible to hit. If you miss the exact middle of the chest, you're probably going to hit your target in another part of their chest, not completely miss them. This will still result in a devastating injury that your target will not be able to easily recover from, and escape or fight back.

Teal'c would have been trained to do this from the very beginning of his training, and that training would have been reinforced over and over and over again until it was completely automatic. Also, the staff weapon doesn't recover very quickly, and it's important to get it right the first time.

So he's always aiming for the chest.

3

In addition to the points raised in other answers with respect to the life and death situation, there was an active link between the hand device and Daniel Jackson. It's entirely possible that the energy of the staff weapon could have killed Daniel Jackson through this link. We saw in "Message in a Bottle", Season 2 Ep. #7 that the energy from the staff weapon can be transmitted via some conduit. Of course, this situation was somewhat different since there was not a physical connection, but Teal'c might have been aware of the danger the energy from a staff blast into the hand device posed.

Additionally, only wounding her with the staff blast might have afforded her sufficient time to kill Daniel Jackson through the hand device. We don't know how responsive the hand device is. While I'm sure Daniel Jackson would have been willing to take the risk, Teal'c's training would have instilled the instinct to protect his comrade at all costs rather than allowing the (potentially slim) possibility that a wounding shot would have been insufficient to save Daniel Jackson.

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