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View Full Version : "What REALLY Happens In A Gun Fight": Good Read


gvf
March 11, 2008, 02:06 AM
Found this to be interesting:

What Really Happens In A Gunfight?
The conclusions from twenty-five years of lethal force investigation.
By Dave Spaulding

http://www.handgunsmag.com/tactics_training/what_happens_gunfight/index.html

JohnKSa
March 11, 2008, 02:17 AM
Definitely worth the read...The history of gun fighting for more than a century has shown that the person that lands the first solid hit will usually win the confrontation.I seem to recall this assertion also being made by a TFL member not too long ago.For many years, we have been taught that armed confrontations occur at very close distances (often times at arm's length), that few shots are fired and the person involved usually misses. These statistics were compiled from the FBI's Officer Killed Summary, which are released on an annual basis. Note that the operative word here is killed; these are officers that lost their confrontation. Have you ever wondered what happened with the officers that won? Did they do anything different to help ensure they would prevail? Interesting. This seems obvious and yet I don't believe I've seen this addressed before.

BikerRN
March 11, 2008, 02:22 AM
Thank you for posting that link. I learn something new each time I read it.

Biker

ragwd
March 11, 2008, 10:45 AM
Good article, worth the read. I have bookmarked it to share and re-read. Thanks gvf!

Fremmer
March 11, 2008, 11:38 AM
That article makes me think that a plain black front sight on a .45 ACP is not a good thing. :(

Hornett
March 11, 2008, 12:38 PM
Thanks.
Good info.

TacticalDefense1911
March 11, 2008, 02:26 PM
Very good article. Thanks for posting. It feels good to be, at least a little, justified on several opinions I have. I have always prefered basic sights on my handguns with a colored front blade as opposed to a post-and-dot or 3-dot sight. I also believe that the idea of the classic "double tap" goes out the window in those situations as well as 2 to the center mass and then shooting at the head. It seems as though, from reading that article, that, that is most likely not going to happen. Good info on the ammo as well; typical of what most people suggest.

vox rationis
March 11, 2008, 09:58 PM
great article thanks for posting it!

Along these same lines, the speed of the event is also reported frequently. While it is common knowledge that people report a sense of slow motion during an armed confrontation, there are also people who say, "It happened so fast, I just couldn't get caught up." While some may relate this to being startled, I'm not sure that the speed of the event and startle response is one in the same thing. Being startled is being caught flat footed and not being able to get in the fight quickly enough. The people I have spoken with report that their aggressor was fast, moved quickly and aggressively, moved with purpose, and inhibited rational, controlled thought on their part. One person told me that they actually were aware of their attacker's presence and were preparing to respond, but when the attack came, it just happened faster than they thought it would. This same person asked me, "What happened to all this slow motion s**t that I've heard about? This guy moved at warp speed." Add to this trying to draw a gun, necessary movement, muzzle flash and other related things and, well, speed kills.

I guess that this could be called the bad guy getting inside the good guy's OODA loop :o

Double Naught Spy
March 12, 2008, 05:10 AM
Time dilation can be perceived at the time of the action or as a memory. Spaulding brings up a good point about unprepared folks not being able to catch up with action. That isn't the same thing as real time-time dilation where things are perceived to move more slowly as they happen (versus recalling them in slow motion). Real time-time dialation is associated with various stressors, most notably adrenaline dumps than can also produce tunnel vision, auditory exclusion, etc.

So the whole warp speed perception can be as Spaulding noted, being caught flat footed, or it could be as a result of having the action happen before the stressors resulted in the actual physiological time dilation perception.

The history of gun fighting for more than a century has shown that the person that lands the first solid hit will usually win the confrontation.

I thought this was an interesting statement. Spaulding speaks of other studies that essentially looking at shooting data from the wrong perspective and hence drew the wrong conclusions. I don't believe that for most of us non-cops that we necessarily care about winning the confrontation. It isn't a game and it isn't the confrontation that this the critical thing about a fight. A gun fight is a life or death confrontation and the goal is (or should be) the winning or preserving of one's own life or the lives of loved ones. It does no good to get off the first shot and mortally wound but fail to stop the bad guy who then mortally wounds you or a loved one. Just because he dies first may make you the winner of the confrontation, but you both still end up as losers.

Lurper
March 12, 2008, 01:40 PM
Typically, "winning" and "surviving" go hand in hand. In the vast majority of cases I have looked at so far, the bad guy's desire for self-preservation overrides the desire to kill. In most multiple assailant incidents, the assailants flee when the victim shoots back. This is one of the primary differences in military and LE -vs- civilian confrontations. In the former, the assailant has already decided to take as many of the with him when he goes. In the latter, the assailant usually is trying to achieve a goal (money, drugs, sex) through intimidation. The moment you take them off of their script, they aren't sure what to do.

Additionally, about 85% of the time handgun wounds are survivable (for victim or assailant). So lethality is not necessarily the same as winning.

Skyguy
March 12, 2008, 05:43 PM
It does no good to get off the first shot and mortally wound but fail to stop the bad guy who then mortally wounds you or a loved one. Just because he dies first may make you the winner of the confrontation, but you both still end up as losers.

Well said.
It's about survival first, not winning a quick-draw shooting contest.

the person that lands the first solid hit will usually win the confrontation.

The operative word being 'usually'. There are many variables in a shoot-out. Solid hits are subject to a myriad of circumstance. What if the opponent of the first person lands a solid hit half a second 'after' the first person? That's a tie!

Have you ever wondered what happened with the officers that won? Did they do anything different to help ensure they would prevail?

Obviously, by purpose or accident, the 'winning' officers were not in the shooter's good line of fire, thereby avoiding the "solid hit".

The officers moved.
.

JohnKSa
March 12, 2008, 11:49 PM
Obviously, by purpose or accident, the 'winning' officers were not in the shooter's good line of fire, thereby avoiding the "solid hit".

The officers moved."The author attributes it to the following things:

1. Increased distance of engagement in encounters where the officer wins--increased distance favors the better trained.

2. Increased hit rate 62% vs 18%. The better the officer shot, the better his chances of "winning".

3. Making the first solid hit.

In short, he attributes it (or rather he quotes Fairburn as attributing it) to being able to hit your target solidly and being able to do it faster than the criminal and at what some consider extended range.

There's not so much as a hint in the pertinent section of the article to suggest that moving has anything to do with it.

MLeake
March 13, 2008, 05:13 AM
My question would be, "Did the researcher address the issue of whether and how the officer had moved?"

If he did address the issue, and the officers responded that they had not moved, that would support the draw and fire argument.

If he didn't address the issue, then no conclusion can really be drawn from his research.

Vs blades and blunt instruments, I can tell you that those friends of mine who have stood ground and blocked or simultaneously struck have been stabbed, cut, and bashed.

Those who have moved have taken minor, if any, injuries.

Guns aren't melee weapons, but...

(My past dojos have included several LEOs and a bunch of CO's)

Lurper
March 13, 2008, 11:48 AM
Obviously, by purpose or accident, the 'winning' officers were not in the shooter's good line of fire, thereby avoiding the "solid hit".
Or, the shooter's line of fire was not in line with the officer thereby avoiding the "solid hit"; otherwise known as missing the target. If they were out of the line of fire by "accident" it nullifies any value in their tactics. Unless of course you want to consider luck as a tactic.

M
The difference between blades and bullets is important. You can see the line of attack with melee weapons clearly. Unlees you are O'sensei, you can't see nor dodge bullets.

This thread shouldn't degenerate into a move -v- don't move argument (nor should have the other one). It's not about that. It's about what determines who prevails and the facts are indisputable - hitting the target first.

MLeake
March 13, 2008, 12:31 PM
It is about messing with the other guy's focus and balance, and it's situationally dependent. In some cases it may help, and in some it may hinder.

Just curious about whether movement or non-movement was an actively pursued topic during the debriefs.

106RR
March 13, 2008, 04:39 PM
A couple of points:
Slow motion effect is real, I remember waiting for the slide to go forward on my 1911. This was happening between shots. After the war I refused to buy one because I actually thought that the slide velocity was very slow.
Auditory exclusion always puzzled me but I understand now that it is a reaction to stress. It does not prevent damage to hearing. Your damage is permanent.
Post shooting adrenaline dump is much worse than you think. Your judgement and perception are chemically altered during and after the fight.


BTW
Yes I speak from experience!
RVN I Corps May 67 - May 68. 196th Light Infantry Brigade.

JohnKSa
March 13, 2008, 07:37 PM
If he didn't address the issue, then no conclusion can really be drawn from his research.That is exactly my point!

Skyguy
March 13, 2008, 09:12 PM
My question would be, Did the researcher address the issue of whether and how the officer had moved?

Below are some excerpts from and the link to an article in Police One that addresses/recommends officer movement in shootings.

http://www.policeone.com/writers/columnists/PoliceMagazine/articles/77165/
Shooting on the move; using your instincts
by Michael T. Rayburn

According to FBI statistics, almost 95 percent of officer-involved shootings (OISs) occur at 21 feet or less, with approximately 75 percent occurring at 10 feet or less. It is also a fact that well over half of all OISs occur at 5 feet or less. With this being said, how much actual cover can there be between you and the felon who is trying to take your life?

OISs are rapid, traumatic events that happen so suddenly a large percentage of officers involved in them say they were caught off guard. When this happens you fall victim to the action vs. reaction phenomenon, playing catch up to the suspect’s actions. The way to turn this around to your advantage is to move and move quickly. This forces the bad guy to play catch up to your action, your movement.

Nationally, the average hit ratio for law enforcement officers, standing static shooting at a paper target, is 90-plus percent. Yet when an officer becomes involved in an OIS our hit ratio is somewhere around 12 to 18 percent.
Obviously, some of the loss in accuracy can be attributed to stress and the fact that, in most cases, the officer is firing second in reaction to a shooter. But a large percentage of the difference can be attributed to the fact that an officer's instinctive reactions, in most cases, directly oppose the way he or she has been trained.

When the shooting starts you're going to want to move and move quickly. If this is the case, then why not train that way all the time? Every time you go to the range you should be practicing shooting on the move. Is it more time consuming? Yes, it is, which means it's more costly. But nowhere near as costly as it would be to replace a fallen or injured officer.

Author: Mike Rayburn is a 17-year veteran of the Saratoga Springs (N.Y.) Police Department and is the author of two books: "Advanced Vehicle Stop Tactics" and "Advanced Patrol Tactics." Mike is also an adjunct instructor for the Smith & Wesson Academy in Springfield, Mass.

David Armstrong
March 14, 2008, 10:27 AM
Have you ever wondered what happened with the officers that won?
FWIW, the statistics for the fights that officers win is almost identical to those where the officer loses, which makes sense when you think about it. Most incidents, win or lose, will happen in the same envelope of activity.