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Old December 2, 2005, 07:42 PM   #1
Doug.38PR
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Hostage situation: What do you do?

Okay, we've all seen movies like the Untouchables where Kevin Costner and Andy Garcia are facing off with a thug who has a hostage. The thug in all situations has the hostage in front of them as a shield while holding a gun to their head peering their own head out from behind the hostage to shout demands. Garcia pops a .38 into the guys mouth before he can count to 2.
We've seen similar posters for practice at our gun ranges where a guy in sunglasses an a gun is holding a scared woman hostage.

What do you do if you are confident that you can make the shot? This person is threatening to kill someone. They will probably die if you let them get away with the hostage. The hostage, in most cases (not all) it seems to me would have a better chance with the bullet zipping by their head by a few inches rather than taking a ride with a crazy thug. Or is that just hollywood? Must be somewhat real at least, otherwise why have posters at the practice range for it.
What do you do? Where do you shoot to ensure that they guy won't trigger his own gun after being hit? Hit the brain? Hit the mouth, eye, between the eyes, forhead? Shut down the brain and all nerves will shut down?

What say y'all to this?
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Old December 2, 2005, 07:53 PM   #2
eng2
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first dont let it come to this. second the brain stem top lip below the nose complete shut down
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Old December 2, 2005, 07:55 PM   #3
Weeg
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first dont let it come to this. secound the brain stem top lip bellow the nose complete shut down
What is "bellowing" a nose...Do you squeeze it to make air come out?

Let's see...

If you make the shot, you are a hero...

You miss, and...


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Old December 2, 2005, 08:25 PM   #4
eng2
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Like I said don't let it come to that.
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Old December 3, 2005, 12:55 AM   #5
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I have a book on called "The Military and Police Sniper". It is an awesome book for learning about long range shooting. Tons of info. Being a "sniper" book, it has a chapter on terminal balistics, and talks about just this sort of situation. It says from a face on veiw, you have a T shape target. It is about a 1" horizontal line across the eyes, and about 1" verticle line from the bridge of the nose to the upper lip-bottom of nose area. In this area, they say is a brain stem hit, which will cause a "sack of potatoes" effect. It says that with a brain stem hit, the perp can already be pulling the trigger, and they will not finish it. However, if you miss the stem and just get a brain shot, while still getting an instant kill, it will cause all kinds of unpredictable musle movements, and probably result in firing the gun. I have read accounts of Hathcock in Vietnam, where with head shots the vc would wind up 30' or more from where he was when shot in the top of the head.

I just hope I never have to see or do any of that!
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Old December 3, 2005, 01:17 AM   #6
springmom
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head shots

The T formed by the eyes and nose will indeed put the shot into the brain stem and the cerebellum, IF we're talking a front-on shot. I sort of figured that the straight-on shot would be an almost impossible one to take...BG sees you, and will simply adjust so that hostage is between you and him or BG does not see you but is NOT in a clean line of sight without other innocents around.

The nightmare comes in trying for a side shot. THAT would be an almost-impossible shot, ISTM, because you would be shooting into the most curved part of the skull, you would be in HUGE danger of making a totally survivable shot, and you have the problem of hair which may well distort the size and shae of the head for a shot. And from the back...well, if you are absolutely certain that there is nobody else in front of the BG, maybe. But again, the curvature of the skull is there, hair will certainly camoflauge the exact curve of the skull so that it would be VERY hard to make the shot just below the base of the skull.....

This is why CHL instructors tend to tell people not to take head shots, never mind the hostage situation.

All that said, with the high power rifles available a REAL sniper might well be able to get him. IANARS, however, so I'd try to get a REALLY sneaky position for a good shot; or more to the point, I'd let the police hande it.

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Old December 3, 2005, 01:17 AM   #7
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head shots

The T formed by the eyes and nose will indeed put the shot into the brain stem and the cerebellum, IF we're talking a front-on shot. I sort of figured that the straight-on shot would be an almost impossible one to take...BG sees you, and will simply adjust so that hostage is between you and him or BG does not see you but is NOT in a clean line of sight without other innocents around.

The nightmare comes in trying for a side shot. THAT would be an almost-impossible shot, ISTM, because you would be shooting into the most curved part of the skull, you would be in HUGE danger of making a totally survivable shot, and you have the problem of hair which may well distort the size and shae of the head for a shot. And from the back...well, if you are absolutely certain that there is nobody else in front of the BG, maybe. But again, the curvature of the skull is there, hair will certainly camoflauge the exact curve of the skull so that it would be VERY hard to make the shot just below the base of the skull.....

This is why CHL instructors tend to tell people not to take head shots, never mind the hostage situation.

All that said, with the high power rifles available a REAL sniper might well be able to get him. IANARS, however, so I'd try to get a REALLY sneaky position for a good shot; or more to the point, I'd let the police hande it.

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Old December 3, 2005, 01:21 AM   #8
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Rush 'em while pointing the gun at them and screaming "Drop the f***ing gun, mother f***ker!!!!" It triggers the 'survival instinct' and will make them react by defending themselves rather than shooting the hostage. Sounds tough, but I have talked to guys that have 'been there, done it' and they've proven it.





The words and ideas stated above should not be construed as legal or absolute advice. They are the opinion of the writer and should be treatesd as such
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Old December 3, 2005, 01:35 AM   #9
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Like this? 4-7 yards ?
[ link to LARGER image ]

If the choice is taking the shot, or having my family member killed or abducted, it's an easy decision...
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Old December 3, 2005, 08:16 AM   #10
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How many of all of you armchair quarterbacks have actually put your ACOG or AIMPOINT on a dude's head and dropped the hammer?


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Old December 3, 2005, 08:55 AM   #11
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Firing at a paper head is a whole lot different than trying to get a bead on moving heads in the heat of battle. If I'm the hostage and if any of the "armchair quarterbacks " (think you Weeg) thinks they can do a head shot on the BG, please, hold off. I don't think you're good enough or cool headed enough to pull it off.
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Old December 3, 2005, 06:20 PM   #12
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Not a good situation. There are some classes that run through the scenario.

About Springmom's CHL instructor saying not to take head shots - isn't that a little out of the range of the CHL course, IIRC. Failure to stop drills in most tactical courses teach head shots.

The CHL course is not to teach you tactics.
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Old December 3, 2005, 07:19 PM   #13
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our instructor was just giving his opinion

....on the topic, I think. His point was that people tend to see it as easy to make that shot and that it is not. It's one of those things that sometimes people assume they can do and that assumption can get somebody besides the BG killed

Springmom, who would just as soon y'all not shoot the guy if I'm the hostage either....
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Old December 3, 2005, 07:27 PM   #14
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a little off topic, but i was wondering where i could get a book like the one woodland was mentioning. plus if i was in a situation like that, it the shot was doable, i would most likely take it, if i was proficient at shooting at the range of the perp and the hostage.
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Old December 3, 2005, 09:16 PM   #15
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fine motor skills are going to go to hell in a handbasket when stressed for most folks who are not trained to handle situations like that. if you have had hours of training in a situations like those...your decison
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Old December 3, 2005, 09:59 PM   #16
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Nightmare situation, no matter how you look at it. Now, let me throw out this question that makes it an even worse nightmare: BG says drop your gun or I kill her (him). What would you do?
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Old December 3, 2005, 10:09 PM   #17
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This is an easy one to answer shoot the hostage in the leg. It worked in the movie speed.
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Old December 3, 2005, 11:32 PM   #18
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I believe the hostage should fake a heart attack or fainting spell and just go limp dropping like the aforementioned sack of poatoes. I think this would fluster the BG who would be left standing unprotected. He might take a shot at the hostage but I think he would be to puzzled and worried about being exposed. what do you all think?
By the way, I would not like to be the one to volunteer to prove this theory one way or the other.
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Old December 4, 2005, 12:09 AM   #19
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Rush 'em while pointing the gun at them and screaming "Drop the f***ing gun, mother f***ker!!!!" It triggers the 'survival instinct' and will make them react by defending themselves rather than shooting the hostage. Sounds tough, but I have talked to guys that have 'been there, done it' and they've proven it.
If one of my family members is taken hostage, I will let the bad guy know the he WILL DIE if he does not drop the gun, if he kills the hostage he will die slow and painfully and I would kill his whole family (something I would threaten and at the time I will mean it, but in retrospect I would not kill a bunch of innocent people, it would make me as evil as the man holding the hostage). I would keep moving, screaming that he will die unless he drops the gun, closing the distance, and not backing down. Maybe he will realize he is in a no win situation and he make back down and drop the gun or even try to take a shot at you (gun comes off the hostage , you take the shot) All the training in the world is not going to give 100% chance of an instant kill , but hitting the guy at point blank range should increase your odds.
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Old December 4, 2005, 12:28 AM   #20
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eng2 said,
Quote:
second the brain stem top lip below the nose complete shut down
springmom said,
Quote:
The T formed by the eyes and nose will indeed put the shot into the brain stem and the cerebellum, ...
Quote:
The nightmare comes in trying for a side shot. THAT would be an almost-impossible shot, ISTM, because you would be shooting into the most curved part of the skull, you would be in HUGE danger of making a totally survivable shot, and you have the problem of hair which may well distort the size and shae of the head for a shot. And from the back...well, if you are absolutely certain that there is nobody else in front of the BG, maybe. But again, the curvature of the skull is there, hair will certainly camoflauge the exact curve of the skull so that it would be VERY hard to make the shot just below the base of the skull.....
Those are some pretty wild notions.

First, it is amazing that if you shoot the top lip below the nose that you will hit the brain stem and cause a complete shutdown and that you can also shoot the T between the eyes and nose and either get a brain, cerebellum, or brain stem hit.

Y'all have oversimplified a difficult shot and have done so by claiming specific impact locations will cause specific CNS destruction.

Check the 2-D graphic below. This graphic pertains only to relative vertical shot angles as seen from the side and does not account for horizontal angles. Note that the same vertical angle problems also exist for horizontal angles as well. Depending on the angle, shots to the nose and lower orbits most definitely can miss the brain, brain stem, and spinal cord. This shots are not an assured success as noted above. There are folks who have attempted suicide by placing a gun in their mouths and firing. With the wrong angles, the shots completely miss vital structures and exit the back of the neck.

This leads into the aspect of shot placement. All that you can do as a shooter is to land rounds on the exterior of the bad guy. Ideally, you will be aiming at a specific area in hopes of damaging key organs below the impact. However, once a round is fired and hits the appropriate spot, there is no control on where the round will travel. It may be deflected from the hoped-for internal vital structure.

As the head is a fairly small target that tends to move around quite a bit, trying to aim a shot at the exterior of the person in hopes of hitting the brain, stem, and cerebellum will be tough. Of the three, the brain itself would be the easiest to hit as it is the largest.

springmom said,
Quote:
The nightmare comes in trying for a side shot. THAT would be an almost-impossible shot, ISTM, because you would be shooting into the most curved part of the skull, you would be in HUGE danger of making a totally survivable shot, and you have the problem of hair which may well distort the size and shae of the head for a shot. And from the back...well, if you are absolutely certain that there is nobody else in front of the BG, maybe. But again, the curvature of the skull is there, hair will certainly camoflauge the exact curve of the skull so that it would be VERY hard to make the shot just below the base of the skull.....
This is strange, Why should the shooter be concerned for what is in front of the bad guy when the shooter is trying to take him from the back? Why wouldn't the opposite also be true, or from the sides for that matter?

As for the side of the skull, and the back apparently, just how would you be shooting the most curved part s of the skull? Just curious, could you please rank the parts of the skull in order of amount of curvature? Contrary to your statement, the side of the skull is flatter than many other areas. No parts are completely flat, of course, but the area of the temporal is about as close as you can get.

Quote:
This is why CHL instructors tend to tell people not to take head shots, never mind the hostage situation.
This certainly has not been the case with the instructors I have had and instructors I know.

Glenn E. Meyer said,
Quote:
The CHL course is not to teach you tactics.
This is true. However, students often ask about such matters and the CHL instructor will usually try to explain things. That is not to say that the instructor will be teaching tactics, but may explain the reasoning for such shots, difficulty, etc.

Capt Charlie asked,
Quote:
CNightmare situation, no matter how you look at it. Now, let me throw out this question that makes it an even worse nightmare: BG says drop your gun or I kill her (him). What would you do?
My wife and I have discussed this at some length. There will be no relinguishing of a gun to the bad guy. Providing the bad guy with a another weapon and making us disarmed means that he would now have two hostages instead of one and better armed. The rule is that either we take the shot or vacate. The hostage taker (assuming it is just one) isn't likely to give chase while holding a hostage and he isn't going to shoot his hostage because a spouse did not turn over a gun. He needs the hostage as a negotiating tool and as a shield. So shooting his only hostage at that time would not be prudent for him. Of course, this all assumes the bad guy has higher function reasoning and can control himself. Such folks may not have higher function reasoning due to stress, drugs, medical conditions, mental conditions, etc. So they don't always play by any sort of well thought plans, if they had any.

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Old December 4, 2005, 12:41 AM   #21
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side shots....what I meant

Quote:
As for the side of the skull, and the back apparently, just how would you be shooting the most curved part s of the skull? Just curious, could you please rank the parts of the skull in order of amount of curvature? Contrary to your statement, the side of the skull is flatter than many other areas. No parts are completely flat, of course, but the area of the temporal is about as close as you can get.
I seem to be spending much of today trying to explain what I meant

There was some discussion regarding the brain stem. I was following up on that and saying that if you were trying to shoot THAT PART of the brain, from the side it would be extremely difficult. My point was that this is a tough shot to make, and as somebody noted, the extreme stress of the situation would likely blow my fine motor skills entirely. I myself would not be very confident in trying for a head shot. OTOH, I tend to shoot a bit high if I do miss my bullseye, so I might end up making one anyway.....

As for ranking curvature, I was therefore thinking about the rear of the skull as it curves outward from the neck and up. That's the "curviest" part; the top and sides are indeed more angled, or, in the case of the sides, nearly flat on some folks.

My artwork always includes at least the head and shoulders of the subject, and I am aware of its architecture As I said, though, I was thinking about the previous comments regarding the brain stem and trying to make that shot.

I don't think I'm that competent or cool under stress!

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Old December 4, 2005, 06:13 PM   #22
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my thought in the beginning was to not let it come to that. but should it come to that yes I would take the shot. leaving is just going to get you shot in the back. as far as a Brain stem shot its a good shot the BG is going to be very distracted at the least. I've been shot. your first thought isn't to shoot back. it's what just happened, then oh boy I need an ambulance. then shoot back. enough time for the hostage to move. leaving them there is not a good idea if a hostage has been taken things have gone very wrong the BG is most likely going to want to flee with out baggage to slow them down. a second thought is to keep them distracted until more witnesses come maybe a better out come can be found that way.
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Old December 4, 2005, 06:20 PM   #23
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Old December 4, 2005, 09:57 PM   #24
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Quote: "How many of all of you armchair quarterbacks have actually put your ACOG or AIMPOINT on a dude's head and dropped the hammer?"

I would think that the situation described above would not be considered a 'badge of honor' or an accomplishment. Although if it were done, I would believe that it would have been the only option available.

The closest I have come in training has been to put two rounds of simunitions into the facemask of the trainer, from 10 yards(maybe 8) with him retreating and me advancing while yelling all sorts of intimidating stuff. yes, we were prepared for this tactic, and it still scared the crap out of him.

In real life, no shooting, but the BG did respond fast enough to not get hurt. This would be the best ending possible.

BTW...MIkeyboy: I like the attitude. Loved one+ hostage taker=no hold barred.
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Old December 5, 2005, 07:31 PM   #25
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This is a situation I personally feel that everyone should make some preparations for. It is more likely to happen just because you are a gun owner, . . . non gunners will just watch their loved one being spirited away.

My preconceived plan #1 is to first show the BG that I will do everything possible to delay, slow, drag out, and defeat his plan to take my loved one as a hostage.

Things like shoot out the tires on the "getaway" vehicle if it is close.

I'll also put a couple of rounds over his head just to let him know that I'm not afraid to shoot him or at him (you would be amazed how many folks just fold up when they hear lead zinging around their head).

I will continue to circle him/her in the direction of their strong side in the hope that an opening comes. Depending on which weapon I have, I also just may sizzle one close to his head hoping he might duck into it, . . . and remind him that I just missed him that time, . . . gonna get him with the next one.

I will not pass up the shot Zak Smith has on the BG's legs and feet, . . . he ain't going anywhere with two shot up legs and feet.

I will be screaming at him all along, . . . demeaning, discouraging, dissing, abusing, degrading epithets about him, his parents, his children, anything to burn his gizzard at me. I want him to come after me, . . . one on one, . . . he is dead meat, . . . or at least I have given it my best.

In this scenario, . . . the police should be on their way, . . . all I have to do is keep the scene contained while they get here.

The main key is to take control, . . . let the bg know you are in control, . . . and take the first real good opportunity you get. You'll get one if you keep him guessing and un-nerved.

Anyway, . . . that is plan # 1, . . . will formulate # 2 as needed.

May God bless,
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