View Full Version : Spray and Pray benefits?
January 13, 2006, 02:06 AM
I was reading Chic Gaylords chapter on Alley Cleaning and it seems there can be at times a tactic to Spray and Pray. The tactic is recommended best with a semi auto like a 1911 A-1 (the book was written before speedloaders). It involves watching for a muzzel flash in a dark alley (or similar situation) and then responding by rapid firing your entire gun around a certain radius of where you saw the muzzel flash. The bullet spread will likely hit your target. In case it doesn't you have a magazine to slam into your gun (or speedloader to drop in if you a revolver carrier). Interesting tactic.
January 13, 2006, 03:02 AM
In a war, maybe. The reality is that you are visible with YOUR muzzle flash, you are expending ammunition that might be needed, the round fired at you may just be a decoy technique and you will be focused on a solitary target when there may just be multiple targets. ONLY shoot at identified and visually confirmed targets.
January 13, 2006, 05:58 AM
Yup, in combat, it's called "suppressive fire", or "go ahead and give 'em some"...In other words, dump rounds in their direction to keep their heads down...Thus the term "fire and maneuver", etc...
Kinda scary for civvy application, as you are held accountable for EVERY round your fire and where it ends up :eek:
January 13, 2006, 09:35 AM
You are financially, legally and morally responsible for every round that leaves the barrel of your gun.
January 13, 2006, 10:26 AM
Even in a war, if you are properly trained, spray and pray is never really a solution. As a Marine, I trained my boys that if you're not aiming at something, then you're not really suppressing anything, now are you? Suppressive fire also does not mean 'expend all rounds'...no, it means you put the appropriate amount of rounds downrange to fix the enemy in place and to make it really difficult for them to leverage effective fire at your maneuver element. If you don't see something or aren't aimed in...don't shoot. You have to watch your ammo levels even closer in an extended firefight...don't think I'd ever want to be caught with my pants down. :)
Now, I won't say that there weren't times when a few machine guns weren't laying down walls of lead in order to do that, but all in all, every man is accountable for every round that leaves his weapon.
In modern times - knowing what we know now of tactical employment of personal weapons systems and movement, fire, cover, concealment - I don't believe there is ever reallyan appropriate time for spray&pray. You do not fire unless you have PID, you do not fire unless you are aware of what's behind the target, and most importantly, you do not fire unless you know what you are shooting at.
If you're clearing alleys and such....well we have handy little things called grenades, which work exponentially better!
January 13, 2006, 12:19 PM
Kinda like the ATF at Waco. Expended all their ammo then ran away.
January 13, 2006, 12:50 PM
+1 for Pickpocket. Supression fire, or spray and pray should at least be toward the enemy's position or suspected position. Spray and Pray seems to only benefit military war zones and not civilian situations, especially Civilain with a handgun in an urban environment and even more so with a lower capacity 1911. Spray and pray with a 30 round Assault rifle...OK...with a 17 round 9mm maybe....with a 8 round 1911...you could find yourself in a bad situation with an empty gun.
January 13, 2006, 07:40 PM
It depends on who you pray to, and how he answers
January 13, 2006, 08:18 PM
Chic Gaylord's book was written in the 1950s. The chances of multiple assailants, etc., etc., were pretty close to nil. The general public feeling back then was that if you were in an alley, with someone shooting at the police, and you got yourself shot, too bad.
Times have changed. Yet, I really doubt that too many bad guys are going to "decoy" the cops. The idea of shooting towards the muzzle flash, and shooting a measured amount of times, can still be useful. You'd be surprised how many "gangstas" just stand there to watch you fall.
We all have great reasons to not do something, but I wonder how many truly would follow them as closely in combat as they do in armchairs. Tell me how many wouldn't put a couple of rounds through the wall, next to where the guy keeps popping out to shoot at you. :)
January 13, 2006, 08:39 PM
but I wonder how many truly would follow them as closely in combat as they do in armchairs
Don't forget, your best chance of walking away from a firefight is to stay calm and make reasonable decisions.
When it's time, you're going to automatically revert to training...so train well, and train smart. When you need it, it will be there.
January 13, 2006, 10:15 PM
the only benefit to pray n spray is usually to the guy your shooting at.
January 14, 2006, 01:09 AM
Mr Gaylord was a fine shot and holster designer but leaves a bit to be desired in practical application at times.
Spray and pray? Recognisance by gunfire isn't exactly a good urban self defense tactic. Something to be done with a belt fed auto in a war not a handgun in an alley.
January 16, 2006, 12:47 AM
stay out of the alley
January 16, 2006, 07:56 AM
Rounds are cheap, our Marines lives are very valuable. I would rather send allot of bullets prior to sending one of my Marines into anything. Suppression is any area function, it can be a large object area that needs to be suppressed, with no visible targets beyond an ADDRAC of something something similar to 1st squad suppress the white building at the sustained rate. Since the enemy often wants to hide, they aren't visible targets to obtain PID on. Accountability for every round sounds nice, but it's not the reality. There is a reason we call it collateral damage, because we would rather have an alive Marine and have accidentally shot a non-combatant in vicinity of the enemy, than to have allot of dead Marines for fear of hitting an unintended target. Additionally it goes back to intent, if a Marines was doing the right thing and makes a mistake, nothing is going to happen because of a dead non-combatant.
The British Soldier
January 16, 2006, 09:17 AM
We have a difference in doctrine that goes to the core of the differing armed forces that we have. For centuries the British Army has been disciplined to fire aimed shots, rather than large volumes of fire. That is probably a core reason why we have only, very recently, been given a weapon with an automatic capability for individual use.
It was said that during the Boer War, the red coated soldiers there fired accuarately out to 2,000 metres; unfortunately the Boers were pretty good shots themselves [actually the result of good British marksmanship training!] and that was the final campaign that soldiers wore bright red [come shoot me] uniforms. Following on with the issue of the Lee Enfield rifle, the enemy often thought that they were being fired on by machine gun companies; because the soldiers developed a style of shooting that involved using the second finger on the trigger and thumb and index to cycle the bolt. A flick of the wrist and the bolt was cycled.
I don't think spray and pray is any use at all; better to put accurate consistent fire into the target and put it down, whether with a rifle or a pistol. Of course in the urban environment one is legally bound to make sure the rounds are accounted for carefully.
January 16, 2006, 11:18 AM
it can be a large object area that needs to be suppressed, with no visible targets beyond an ADDRAC
If you're not shooting AT something, then what exactly are you supressing? Suppression, by the maneuver warfare school of thought, is to fix the enemy in place or to prevent the enemy from effectively bringing direct fire to bear on your maneuver element. If the enemy is neither taking effective shots at you nor attempting to move...why would you attempt to gain superiority of fire?
1st squad suppress the white building at the sustained rate
Sustained does not mean cyclic. 10 rounds per minute would be considered sustained, would it not?
Since the enemy often wants to hide, they aren't visible targets to obtain PID on
Once again, if they're hiding, what exactly are you supressing?
There is a reason we call it collateral damage, because we would rather have an alive Marine and have accidentally shot a non-combatant in vicinity of the enemy
No argument about rather having my Marines alive....but that's not why we call it collateral damage. As always: time, mission, and situation dictate.
To act or not act for fear of hitting non-combatants is sometimes acceptable and sometimes is not. To not CARE about hitting non-combatants is NEVER acceptable.
January 16, 2006, 12:10 PM
Anyone's chest bruised yet?
January 16, 2006, 01:46 PM
And all this because of a 1950's era book. I'd hate to think what would happen if it been a book from the Civil War! We'd all be arguing bayonet charge tactics.:D
The British Soldier
January 16, 2006, 02:05 PM
And all this because of a 1950's era book. I'd hate to think what would happen if it been a book from the Civil War! We'd all be arguing bayonet charge tactics.
You're right - I'd better go and get my red tunic ironed!
January 16, 2006, 02:06 PM
Bloody Redcoats... :D
But really, I think it's stayed relatively on-topic in terms of whether or not Spray & Pray is effective...which was the point of it all ;)
January 16, 2006, 02:50 PM
Seems pickpocket and I agree quite a bit on several threads going here, including this one.
Semper Fi pickpocket
USMC 4/11; 3/12
January 16, 2006, 03:31 PM
Robin - Semper Fi, mac.
The British Soldier:
We have a difference in doctrine that goes to the core of the differing armed forces that we have. For centuries the British Army has been disciplined to fire aimed shots, rather than large volumes of fire.
yup. In fact, that was one of the deciding factors during the fight for the chateau of Hougoumont at the battle of Waterloo. The Brits held back the numerically superior French at the chateau - which was strategically located on the flank of the battlefield - with their practice of fire discipline.
January 16, 2006, 03:34 PM
put em right thru the walls, ceilings, and floors koresh style:D
January 16, 2006, 09:59 PM
So your telling me you never recieved fire from a building that you couldn't ID where the fire was coming from? I know I did several times, all we knew was it came from and to suppress to get men into it.
January 16, 2006, 10:25 PM
You're missing the point. Yes, I recieved fire where I couldn't tell which building it was coming from....but what are you going to do? Put a SABLE round through some random houses?
No, we reacted accordingly, maintained cover, switched into bounding overwatch mode, and looked for the guy(s) to screw up and show himself.
If we KNEW which house it was, or if I saw the guy take another shot, I put an AT-4 into it or we'd kick the door in because the guy who leaned out of the window and shot at me just guranteed that his house was now considered hostile. But I can tell you that no one shot into a house that wasn't ID'd as hostile.
One of the harder things to deal with was the fact that guys would cache weapons in a house, shoot at us when we approached. We would react, close in on the house, but by that time they would have slipped out the back, mingled with the running crowd, and locate themselves in another house with another cache. Even in that situation we couldn't very well level a house without ID'ing a muzzle flash or a hostile target.
My point is that it's a dynamic decision making process, it never stops....you can't always say that collateral damage is ok, you can't always say that non-combatant casualties are justified.
January 16, 2006, 10:51 PM
You have to watch your ammo levels even closer in an extended firefight...don't think I'd ever want to be caught with my pants down. Pickpocket said it and I agree a hundred percent.
I have been in one "extended firefight" when ammo got short, and it is a scary feeling. Especially when it starts to get dark, and you know they won't send a re-supply chopper in, in the dark.
I never went into the bush again without at least two extra bandoliers of ammunition, and the extra weight didn't bother me in the least.
January 16, 2006, 11:17 PM
I have been in one "extended firefight" when ammo got short, and it is a scary feeling. Especially when it starts to get dark, and you know they won't send a re-supply chopper in, in the dark
Reminds me of the platoon cut off at "the knoll", as depicted in "We Were Soldiers Once". Chilling stuff.
January 17, 2006, 07:32 AM
Iraq ain't Vietnam, the closest US forces came to running out of ammo was when elements of TF Grizzly (5th Marines) reached the outskirts of Baghdad and their lead element 2nd Tanks went red on 5.56 near Al Takawaya. However at that fight it was notable that a reinforced tank battalion destroyed most of a republican guard division (I believe it was the Medina, reinforced with allot of foreign fighters).
January 17, 2006, 10:39 AM
Did they re-establish TF Grizzly for OIF? The only TF Grizzly that I know of operated parallel to TF Ripper in Desert Storm/Shield, and it was Ripper that 1/5 belonged to.
What was Grizzly's AO?
I also don't remember an Al Takawaya in the NE sector of Baghdad....do you remember where it was?
I think what we're all trying to say is that there's no REAL reason to validate Spray & Pray as being tactically advantageous.... it only promotes poor fire discipline, bad conservation of ammunition, and zero PID of your target. Not saying that there's NEVER a time when it might be useful, just that its application is severely limited.
If I interpret your continual opposing stance, I can only assume that you believe spray & pray to be a valid and useful tactic. If the thread wanders any further the Staff will probably boot it to General.
January 18, 2006, 09:19 AM
TFs Ripper, Inchon and Grizzly (and Tarawa for 2nd MEB) were all in use for OIF I. The battle was at the SE side of Baghdad (I believe it was on highway 5 prior to going north on the east side of Baghdad), it was when 2nd Tanks took most of their losses for OIF I. You probably remember seeing Capt Houston's burnt out M1 in the intersection of two roads.
January 18, 2006, 10:11 AM
Technicaly I am not a big fan of "Spray and Pray" but I did use suppressive fire once to keep a bad guys head down while myself and a friend got to safety.
It worked. Im alive. He's alive.
I really don;'t want to go into detail on this, but basically, I laid down a volley of fire with a 1911 while my pal retreated, then he laid down some fire with a .38 while I retreated and we kept doing that till we could get to safety and contact law enforcement.
If it works, do it.
You are better off using aimed fire, whenever possible.
A shot from an alley, or in my case, from a booby trapped marijuana field, you may not be able to see who is shooting at first, just the general direction of the muzzle flash and the smoke.
January 18, 2006, 07:28 PM
We could sit together and think of several scenarios justifying the use of 'overwhelming firepower', which is militarese for 'spray and pray'. However, in daily life, there are far more scenarios where between one and three properly placed shots will grant victory.
You were in such an exception, you formulated a plan and you survived. Well done!
As mentioned, Gaylord's book is from the 1950s - and New York City. Both law enforcement and the public seemed more - understanding (?) - of random shooting by police. I have contact with a number of federal agencies and several state and local agencies. Most of them are not 'understanding' of shots fired at all; only grudgingly permissive of directed shots at those posing an immediate danger to the officer or public. None of them allow warning shots, or any other discharge not specifically directed. Shooting an innocent bystander is at best a career stopper.
In short, this is not an appropriate technique.
After reading Gaylord, I direct your attention to:
Cooper's Complete Book of Modern Handgunning, which, despite the grandiose name is pretty good, although dated in terms of new weaponry.
Sixguns by Elmer Keith. Also dated, but read his comments on stopping a car in Washington D. C.
Anything by the late Skeeter Skelton. He was probably the most well rounded of all the lawman gun writers of the '60s - '70s.
January 19, 2006, 11:00 PM
Jack Malloy, thats called breaking contact, replace you and your friend each with a fire team, and thats pretty much how it's done. I suppose it would be good to put a couple of rounds "downrange" before retreating could be a good idea, but if you chose to stay and fight, please don't waste your ammo.
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