Sunday, January 08, 2006

Neutralizing a Threat: Myth and Reality

Image hosted by Photobucket.comFederal Bureau of Investigation Law Enforcement Bulletin - October 2004 Issue One-Shot Drops: Surviving the Myth.

People who only have experience with firearms via the movies and TV are often shocked that in a defensive situation, a criminal will be shot multiple times. Sometimes they will be shot very many times. Here's why. [Not sure what is going on with the anchor for that story, but you may have to page down a bit to see it.]

This is an interesting article from the FBI dealing with law-enforcement shootings in which threats were not neutralized.
In the authors’ ongoing study of violence against law enforcement officers, they have examined several cases where officers used large-caliber hand guns with limited effect displayed by the offenders. In one case, the subject attacked the officer with a knife. The officer shot the individual four times in the chest; then, his weapon malfunctioned. The offender continued to walk toward the officer. After the officer cleared his weapon, he fired again and struck the subject in the chest. Only then did the offender drop the knife. This individual was hit five times with 230-grain, .45-caliber hollow-point ammunition and never fell to the ground. The offender later stated, “The wounds felt like bee stings.”

In another case, officers fired six .40-caliber, hollow-point rounds at a subject who pointed a gun at them. Each of the six rounds hit the individual with no visible effect. The seventh round severed his spinal cord, and the offender fell to the ground, dropping his weapon. This entire firefight was captured by several officers’ in-car video cameras.
These statistic surprised me. 5 hits with .45 hollow points and they felt like "bee stings." 6 hollow points out of .40 S&W and the guy was still walking!

Or the 9mm story:
In a final case, the subject shot the victim officer in the chest with a handgun and fled. The officer, wearing a bullet-resistant vest, returned gunfire. The officer’s partner observed the incident and also fired at the offender. Subsequent investigation determined that the individual was hit 13 times and, yet, ran several blocks to a gang member’s house. He later said, “I was so scared by all those shots; it sounded like the Fourth of July.” Again, according to the subject, his wounds “only started to hurt when I woke up in the hospital.” The officers had used 9-millimeter, department-issued ammunition. The surviving officers re ported that they felt vulnerable.
Though they don't say, I am going to guess that those 13 shots were full metal jacket, not hollow points. But if he could run several blocks, he could have attacked someone.

Adrenaline masks pain. As someone said, "pain is not relevant to survival." In all of the these cases, the criminal only "fell to the ground" when serious damage was done - severing of the spinal cord. I may need to rethink my defense strategy to include a weapon with a larger magazine. [Hat tip to Armed Females of America]

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