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Old March 16, 2006, 09:50 PM   #1
Doug.38PR
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Shooting out tires

Before anyone says "OMGsh another Doug senario. Whatchu gonna be doin' shootin' at tires anyway?!! What are the odds that you're going to be able to shoot at a car. If it is chasing you you can't shoot at the tires from your car very well, it is running from you then you then they are fleeing from you." I UNDERSTAND ALL THAT!!!
This is more a tactic and training question that relates more often to LEOs than civilians.
I just happen to be watching the movie First Blood on AMC and saw a scene in which a state police car is chasing Rambo in an army truck. THe car is trying to run the truck off the road while trying to shoot him in the drivers seat of the truck. WHY NOT SHOOT OUT THE TIRES!!!
Okay, that is a just a movie, a fairly ridiculous movie at that (the national guardsmen in this movie are like something out of police squad...genuine mall ninjas)
BUT, I remember in one of MANY police chase film reels shown on FOX news over the years in which this 18 wheeler is running from police all over some city (think it was LA) nearly killing people and destroying property. At one point one of the policeman gets a chance to run up to the truck cab while it has slowed down and gets a chance to run along side of it as it is making a wide turn and fire his gun at the cab. WHY NOT SHOOT OUT THE TIRES YOU"RE RIGHT NEXT TO THEM? The truck is stopped and you can shoot or arrest the madman.
I do remember seeing an episode of the X files in which Mulder and a sheriff try this on a camper driving in circles.....with each of them having no success saying "shooting the tires out from under a moving vehicle is a lot harder than it seems." BUT, that is just TV.
YES, it is possible that if done the vehicle could go out of control and crash into something...but what do you think is going to happen if you hit the driver and stop or kill him!
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Old March 16, 2006, 09:56 PM   #2
BreacherUp!
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Our deadly force policy prevents us from shooting at a vehicle in order to cause it to be inoperable. If the driver of the vehicle is the source of the threat, and dealy force is justified, than deadly force must be used against the driver, not the vehicle.
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Old March 16, 2006, 09:57 PM   #3
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I'm not sure why people don't just shoot out the tires. But fortunately, my office window happens to overlook a highway. Hang on just a moment and I'll do a few real world experiments. Be right back .....

....................

....................

OMG! Becaue if you shoot out the tires of a truck, it goes out of control and flips through the air and HITS A SCHOOL BUS!

Gotta go now .... if anyone knows of an inexpensive island to live on without an extradition treaty with the U.S., please send an email to my Blackberry.
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Old March 16, 2006, 09:59 PM   #4
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For us civilians the only practical tire shooting I could see doing would be in a case of road rage where someone was chasing me and shooting at me at the same time. I might put a few rounds through the hood with my .357 and hopefully the engine damage would slow/stop them.
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Old March 16, 2006, 10:11 PM   #5
Doug.38PR
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Quote:
Our deadly force policy prevents us from shooting at a vehicle in order to cause it to be inoperable. If the driver of the vehicle is the source of the threat, and dealy force is justified, than deadly force must be used against the driver, not the vehicle.
That's odd. The .357 magnum was invented for just that purpose: disabling a vehicle. The .357 was designed originally to penetrate engine blocks.

But that is odd. Seems to me stopping the bad guy with whatever option is available should be the policy. Again, yes the vehicle could lose control and flip, but the same thing would happen if the driver of the vehicle is hit. Tires (especially on an 18 wheeler) are larger targets and more exposed than a man covered inside the vehicle
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Old March 16, 2006, 10:23 PM   #6
Big Calhoun
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Another civilian perspective...if the BG is getting away, I'd rather let well enough alone. I would try to place a few in the car body so that it's identifiable later but I'd rather not risk trying to shoot out the tires and causing a bigger mess than what already exists.
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Old March 16, 2006, 10:33 PM   #7
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Shooting out the tires does not stop a vehicle; except in the movies (where they flip and roll like on the A-Team).
Watch one of those Police chase shows and you will invariably see cars and trucks running only on rims for miles upon miles.
In fact one of the first things the Police do is put down spike strips.

So your scenario is invalid.

Shooting the engine block might work if the bullet wasn't deflected, deformed, blocked or broken up in the process; or you didn't just miss.

In Blackhawk Down one of the Delta Force snipers puts a round right through the engine block of the gun dealer's Jeep; but:
A he is a sniper, not J Q Public, and it is his one and only job in the world to put rounds exactly where and when they are needed.
B he is in a helicopter flying overhead on a parallel speed and course not bouncing around in a chase vehicle.
C he is using a rifle not a hand gun.

A vehicle is a hard thing to stop, better to shoot the man not the machine if your life is at risk.
If it isn't then don't shoot at all.

G

PS Why didn't the guys on "The Unit" on tuesday shoot the engine block or the radiator of the truck when they had the chance, since they just wanted to get away rather than kill everyone?
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Old March 16, 2006, 10:55 PM   #8
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.357 penetrate an engine block? I just got done rebuilding a 454, and something tells me that wouldn't happen. Maybe if you developed some kind of steel core, pointed bullet or something...

As for your question, what BreacherUp! said is what I have always heard. Any use of a gun is deadly force, and deadly force can only be used against the threat, nothing else. So, if the guy is a threat, you can shoot him, but if he isn't, you can't shoot anything.
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Old March 17, 2006, 10:41 AM   #9
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Isn't that what spike strips are for???

Shooting out tires is against our policy too. (As well as all other surrounding agencies.) It is getting hard to use deadly force on people using vehicles as a weapon, LAPD is continually getting into trouble with that issue.
Anyway, shooting tires from what I've heard is not nearly as easy as you'd think, and it is also dangerous for the general public. That is why we carry SPIKE STRIPS.
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Old March 17, 2006, 10:45 AM   #10
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Breacherup! wrote:

Quote:
Our deadly force policy prevents us from shooting at a vehicle in order to cause it to be inoperable. If the driver of the vehicle is the source of the threat, and dealy force is justified, than deadly force must be used against the driver, not the vehicle.
That seems really odd honestly. The driver may be the source of the threat, but at that moment he is using the vehicle as a deadly weapon. (smashing property, possibly hurting or killing other civilians, ect)

And it seems very silly that "deadly force", ie force that can cause death, cannot be used against an inanimate object that was never alive in the 1st place...!? Shooting driver OR vehice either one could, in theory cause an accident, but isn't that why you are trying to stop him in the first place?

Sorry, but some laws and policies make absolutely NO SENSE AT ALL to me.
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Old March 17, 2006, 11:22 AM   #11
invention_45
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I have to weigh in here too, about the oddity of it being against the rules to shoot out tires. It does not seem to make sense.

As far as the truck flipping or going out of control, what do you imagine will happen when you shoot the driver instead?

Not that I care whether you shoot the tire or the driver, mind you. But why disallow the tire?
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Old March 17, 2006, 11:38 AM   #12
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The rubber part of a tire is fairly small, and is on the edge of the wheel. A car is moving, potentially moving very quickly. A miss carries a risk to others. Unless you lose a tire while manuvering, it's not that big a deal (no one here has ever had a blowout?). Cars running from the police routinely lose tires, often all of them. A car without tires is plenty drivable, but harder to turn and stop (for clarification, you have much less traction, so sliding and skiding are more likely). This makes a car with no tires more dangerous to others on the road, as the driver will be less able to avoid other vehicles and pedestrians.

For a civilian, there is no reason to shoot out someones tires. If they are getting away, let them. If they are getting closer, use the time you'd spend stopping, aiming ans shooting to get away. BTW, you are very unlikely to be chased by someone in a car.

Doug, I think you either need to seriously reevaluate your threat level, or change your lifestyle (don't take offense, but unless you are involved with criminals, have a line of work that ****** off criminals, or are married some psycho's ex no one is going to hunt you down, and if someone is looking for YOU, and they are remotely inteligent, you'll be dead before you know today's the day.)

For law enforcement, the return on shooting out a cars tires aren't usually worth the investment. I know of a case where a TransAm with no tires was boxed in and was actually able to start moving the police cars by alternating between hitting the front one and the back one. The driver was stopped when two cops broke through the side windows and dragged the driver out of the car. Shooting the driver wasn't an option because of all the police around the car. (BTW, one of the cops who got the driver out also got hurt in the process). That's real life.
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Old March 17, 2006, 12:54 PM   #13
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I think you'll find that most departmental use of force policies prohibit firing at a moving vehicle. Like the PIT maneuver, it's considered deadly force. There's several problems with it. Not only are there too many variables to predict where those rounds are going to go, you also usually don't know about any other occupants in the vehicle. Are there kids? Hostages?

It has been done, of course, as a last ditch effort to stop someone when there's no other way, but a round from a pistol, or even a patrol rifle, is far less effective than spike strips. A single bullet hole in a tire isn't much more than a slow leak, whereas the spikes in spike strips are hollow and are designed to release the tire's air at a controlled rate. The only thing that's really effective is a well placed round of 00 from a shotgun.

Quote:
That's odd. The .357 magnum was invented for just that purpose: disabling a vehicle. The .357 was designed originally to penetrate engine blocks.
I don't know where that started, but it doesn't work. We tried this several times years ago in a junkyard, and the block just laughed it off. Maybe a 180 grain hardcast Buffalo Bore? Don't know, but I still doubt it.
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Old March 17, 2006, 01:14 PM   #14
swmike
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Having worked in the tire industry for over 20 years, I can attest that a tire is far more restant to bullets than "Hollywierd" makes it look. A spinning wheel/tire will tend to deflect a handgun round (rifles have more success) more often than not. Unless the shot is at the weakest part (the center of the sidewall) and close to right angles, it will most likely be deflected off in an unintended direction. This then leaves the bullet free to damage or kill on it's own.

Most attempts to stop a vehicle are usually carefully planned events (as much as they can be). Stop strips are used as they allow for a controlled deflation of the tire. That's why the "spikes" are hollow. To make a vehicle suddenly uncontrollable can be a bigger problem than just "herding" it to a remote location.

If safety to the public was not a concern, then all police cars would be equipped with AT-4 Anti-Tank weapons. Actually, it would sure solve a lot of problems. No more pursuit. No more BG. Just call a wrecker for the big pieces and a street sweeper for the rest.
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Old March 17, 2006, 01:26 PM   #15
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Thanks for saying that, Capt. Charlie. What I thought was it was OK to shoot the driver but not the tires, and that didn't make too much sense.
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Old March 17, 2006, 03:02 PM   #16
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A few years back in metro Atlanta, a woman in a minivan was hit from behind by a drunk driver. They both stopped, but he then tried to drive off before the cops arrived. She was carrying, and when he got back in and started up, she put a few rounds into his vehicle to disable it. Shot at least one tire and the radiator, I think. She was indicted for using deadly force without just cause. The jury exonerated her.
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Old March 17, 2006, 03:11 PM   #17
azurefly
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Quote:
Originally Posted by breacherup!
Our deadly force policy prevents us from shooting at a vehicle in order to cause it to be inoperable. If the driver of the vehicle is the source of the threat, and dealy force is justified, than deadly force must be used against the driver, not the vehicle.
Another instance where terror and paranoia about lawsuits, not doubt, is the reason for trumping a common-sense solution that may, in some cases, address the problem and hasten its conclusion. :barf:

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Old March 17, 2006, 03:21 PM   #18
azurefly
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Quote:
Originally Posted by newerguy
The rubber part of a tire is fairly small, and is on the edge of the wheel. A car is moving, potentially moving very quickly. A miss carries a risk to others.

What of a missed shot that was aimed at the driver, not the tire? No risk to others?


Quote:
Originally Posted by captcharlie
I think you'll find that most departmental use of force policies prohibit firing at a moving vehicle. Like the PIT maneuver, it's considered deadly force. There's several problems with it. Not only are there too many variables to predict where those rounds are going to go, you also usually don't know about any other occupants in the vehicle. Are there kids? Hostages?
Wait, are you now saying that apart from just prohibiting "shooting out tires," deadly threats presented by a driver of a vehicle cannot be addressed by shooting the driver either? So what can be done, then? Just wait til he runs out of gas?

You speak of the possibility of others in the vehicle (and they may be hostages OR accomplices): you don't to shoot at the vehicle for fear of endangering them. Fine. But the presence of non-principal suspects cannot always be used to justify a no-shoot rule. What if, for example, the guy in the car was waving a hi-cap pistol out the window and firing randomly on a city street? Hell yeah I want the cops taking their shot at him, and screw the people who may or may not be in the car with him, and who may or may not even be fellow criminals!

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Old March 17, 2006, 03:24 PM   #19
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I recall watching episodes of "World's Wildest Police Videos" where the police were pursuing reckless drivers who were driving on flat tires or even rims at high speeds. Seems to me that shooting out the tires does mark to mark the perp's/BG's vehicle than to actually disable it.
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Old March 17, 2006, 03:36 PM   #20
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Everything I have heard backs up 'newerguy'. Spinning rubber has a high likelihood of deflecting any bullet. Even if the car was sitting still you would have a dificult time puncturing the tire as most bullets are either going to deform or just bounce right off (thinking FMJ).

I think most police departments have gotten to the point where 'If you fire your weapon, it better be because the guy is going to kill you or kill someone else.' They want to discourage any kind of nonsense like shooting a gun out of a bad guy's hand, shooting to disable or shooting out someone's tires.

I mean it makes sense to me, when you start firing the gun, it better be for a lethal reason. There are far better tools to use to stop a car. And if the need is great enough, you take out the driver.
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Old March 17, 2006, 03:43 PM   #21
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Only Barnaby Jones shoots out tires with his 38 snub nose.
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Old March 17, 2006, 03:45 PM   #22
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I've investigated several shootings where the tires were shot out and I've been on scene 3 times when it was done, 1 of those times I did it.
I've never seen 'spinning tires' deflect a bullet. One situation I investigated the officer, riding passenger, fired 12 rds from a 5904 while behind a fleeing felon. Speeds were 100+MPH. 8 of those rds hit and punctured the tire.
I took out a rear van tire traveling at approximately 80 mph using an 870 loaded with 0 Buck. 3 pellets penetrated the thread with the other 7 rds hitting the fender. We pulled the tire off the rim to recover the pellets which were still inside.
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Old March 17, 2006, 07:54 PM   #23
BreacherUp!
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I understand some of the confusion regarding shooting tires. But, the scenario you are painting that the vehicle is the threat is like saying you should shoot at the pistol someone is holding vice shooting the person (the threat). More danger is caused by trying to shoot out tires vice the driver.
Also, shots fired at a driver are not going to be made driving down the highway. They are made at short distances at lower speeds.
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Old March 17, 2006, 08:25 PM   #24
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Quote:
That's odd. The .357 magnum was invented for just that purpose: disabling a vehicle. The .357 was designed originally to penetrate engine blocks.
Oh, Doug...Elmer Keith is spinning in his grave.
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Old March 17, 2006, 10:05 PM   #25
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Lawnmower engine blocks maybe ?
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