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Old May 29, 2012, 05:39 PM   #1
Tickling
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Defense against vehicles?

I stumbled across a link here at TFL awhile ago on the subject of cars versus bullets.

http://www.theboxotruth.com/docs/thebuickotruth.htm

I would like to preface the following situation by saying that in no way do I think it justifies the use of force at all. It merely got me thinking.

I had never really given the subject of vehicle-defense much thought until this weekend when I had an encounter with an intoxicated driver. My girlfriend and I were walking along a crowded main-street, started to cross in a cross-walk and were a third of the way across when a vehicle "stops" right in front of us. And then in apparent anger, the driver revved his engine extremely loudly. Now understand, traffic was crawling and the vehicle in question was a good 1/8th of a mile away when we started across.

Nothing came of it besides a slightly scared girlfriend. I can understand the drivers annoyance, many people were crossing (jaywalking?), and he looked like he had had a few beers.

So I have two questions,

1. First, in this situation obviously no force was warranted, but say it had escalated and a person was trying to run you down with a car. Is shooting at a car ever a good idea? According to the above link, it's an iffy proposition to begin with. And you have a high likelihood of ricocheting bullets going all over the place. How would you respond if on foot, and escape was not an option in the long run? (I could only find one case involving a defense shooting vs. car but I am sure there are more. Here: http://www.buckeyefirearms.org/Ohio-...n-self-defense)

2. My second question is directed at the law scholars here at TFL, I did some research and it seems that "revving" your engine at a pedestrian can get you saddled with assault charges or even an assault with a deadly weapon charge. Can anyone confirm this? I can't see myself ever doing it, but would like to know.


I apologize if this post is in the wrong place, or has already been addressed. I did a search and found nothing.
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Old May 29, 2012, 05:44 PM   #2
jason_iowa
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Possibly in a stand your ground state or if you were unable to evade for whatever reason. Obviously a car can be used as a deadly weapon. I think it would be a pretty tough sell to a jury though.
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Old May 29, 2012, 07:13 PM   #3
Frank Ettin
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Like any other similar question, it's about exactly what happens and how it happens. It's all about whether you can convincingly articulate why the applicable legal standard justifying your use of lethal force has been met.

It's like the assembly instructions for a bookcase -- tab A goes in slot B.
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Old May 29, 2012, 07:42 PM   #4
Tickling
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I understand that any of these situations can be highly variable. I guess I am just looking for general tactics.

Does one aim for the "attacking" driver? Tires?

Obviously escaping would be the best option and that's what I'd use a firearm to facilitate. However it seems there is a very low chance of incapacitating the driver. Case in point, I just found a year-old article about an off-duty sheriff's deputy in my area who was almost run down by a robber driving his vehicle. Despite poking numerous holes in the vehicle he came very close to being hit TWICE without giving the attacker a single scratch.

Of course our Sheriff's department is somewhat of a joke.. Not long ago a deputy responding to a burglary somehow allowed the burglar to escape in his (the deputy's) SQUAD CAR.
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Old May 29, 2012, 08:39 PM   #5
KevK.
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Well a few thing to consider about cars.

IMHO..
Most lighter rounds can skip off of a windshield so you might not hit the driver. If you went for the tires or the engine chances are even if you got hits the forward momentum of the car might still just carry it into your lap.

Also, if you did manage to divert the cars path you could still have legal issues from the damage it might have caused to buildings, other cars, or other pedestrians.
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Old May 29, 2012, 11:06 PM   #6
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Use your time and energy to dodge the car. It is extremely unlikely you could save yourself with your gun.

Getting a bullet into the car, into the bad guy and that causing the car to immediately stop is unlikely.

Groups of soldiers with machine guns have had difficulty with this. Your little pistol will likely just lead to the gas pedal being pressed harder.
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Old May 29, 2012, 11:52 PM   #7
kilimanjaro
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I think it would be a rare jury that would believe you were completely incapable of stepping out of the way, or into a doorway, to avoid a threatening path of a car. You can be sure a jury will be reminded that a driver can swerve at the last instant, or come to a halt, and your bullet just escalated a bad joke on his part. Of course, all this is after you are arrested and jailed by the cops.
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Old May 30, 2012, 02:02 AM   #8
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I would be a lot less worried about whether I could convince a jury that shooting at a car was justified, than I would be worried about whether shooting at a car was likely to be effective.

As others have noted, cars pose certain challenges with regard to penetration and deflection.

(OTOH, parked cars don't provide much protection to their drivers. Doors and side windows aren't hard to penetrate. Best defense for a driver is to use the vehicle to leave ASAP.)

As a pedestrian, can I outrun a car? Not likely... assuming I stay on the road or in a relatively level, relatively solid off-road area. BUT!!! If I can leave the road area, and enter woods, or scale a wall, or enter a building, or run into a swamp - or even just hop across a ditch - I can evade most vehicles.

When walking near traffic, I normally look for escape lanes, just as I would when driving a car or truck or riding a motorcycle. (Defensive walking can be just as important as defensive driving or riding.) I'm not really worried about being deliberately assaulted by a vehicle, per se, but I am worried about drunk drivers, distracted drivers, and possibly even drivers suffering catastrophic drops in blood sugar or other acute medical problems.

Note that in the cases of drunk, distracted, or medically disabled drivers, shooting at them is very unlikely to have any effect whatsoever.

From a physics perspective, say one has a .45acp. A 230gr bullet weighs approximately 1/30 of a pound. Call momentum 850/30 or about 28.3 (just for comparison purposes). My wife's 3000lb car at 30mph (or 44fps) would have 132,000 vs the 28.3 of the .45 bullet for a momentum comparison - IE the bullet, if it doesn't hit the driver, or take out a tire, has absolutely no chance of even slowing the vehicle.

If it does hit the driver (or near the driver) it might cause a swerve - but it might not.

If it takes out a tire, it will probably cause a swerve, but whether it will cause enough of a swerve...

Odds are much better to put some kind of physical barrier between oneself and the vehicle.
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Old May 30, 2012, 03:18 AM   #9
Tickling
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A lot of great advice here and ideas to ponder. Thanks for the responses.

For me, drawing my CCW would always be a last-ditch effort in any situation once I had exhausted all other options. Which seems to be the rational consensus here regarding vehicles.

I appreciated your analogies MLeak, and especially your advice on keeping an eye out for vehicles when walking. More pedestrians should do that rather than assume it's the other way around..

@Kilimanjaro
I don't know as the "prank" angle would hold water as the same could be applied to ANY self defense shooting I'd assume.. As far as "ease" of escape, that could be argued both ways. Pretty hard to outrun a car. But that would depend on the circumstances of course.
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Old May 31, 2012, 09:17 AM   #10
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IMO- A tire would have zero effect on the vehicle trajectory. As proved on mythbusters a bullet whole in a tire causes a leek the same as a nail. Possibly if you were carrying a shotgun with fletchet rounds you may be able to rip that tire apart by shooting it.
As stated hitting the driver when scared and on a quick draw is slim.
Shooting as many rnds as possible into the engine bay would be your best bet. A pistol wouldnt effect the block but it could and probably would shatter the intake manifold, hit the computer or other electrical system. If its an old carburated ford you got no chance. You would need at least a 30-06 with a AP rnd.
Best bet is to dive out of the way and get the tag number. Then find out were they live and run them over with your car.
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Old May 31, 2012, 09:44 AM   #11
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Cars are very difficult to kill with bullets. We were forbidden from trying to stop a car with gunfire. If the driver is trying to kill you, you shoot the driver. That goes back to "Carry enough gun", mouse guns do not apply, "Oh, I don't need to carry a reload" sounds silly in this context.
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Old May 31, 2012, 10:25 AM   #12
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Quote:
As a pedestrian, can I outrun a car? Not likely... assuming I stay on the road or in a relatively level, relatively solid off-road area. BUT!!! If I can leave the road area, and enter woods, or scale a wall, or enter a building, or run into a swamp - or even just hop across a ditch
Also: Stairs - the natural enemy of wheeled vehicles and the chubby
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Old May 31, 2012, 11:10 AM   #13
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Quote:
Cars are very difficult to kill with bullets. We were forbidden from trying to stop a car with gunfire. If the driver is trying to kill you, you shoot the driver. That goes back to "Carry enough gun", mouse guns do not apply, "Oh, I don't need to carry a reload" sounds silly in this context.
Okay, you are in the middle of the street in a crosswalk and the driver is trying to run you over. How many times are you going to be able to reload before he hits you?

5 rounds of .357 with 158 gr bullets trumps 30 rounds of 9MM with 125 gr bullets unless you are shooting an Uzi. Either way how many shots are you going to be able to get off before you are a splotch on the pavement.

Me thinks a little two stepping to one side or the other might give you a better chance of survival then shooting.
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Old May 31, 2012, 11:37 AM   #14
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no matter what I may be "allowed" to do... I really doubt that I would stand and fire at a vehicle racing towards me. My first reaction would more likely be to run out of the way.
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Old May 31, 2012, 12:46 PM   #15
Stressfire
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Quote:
Me thinks a little two stepping to one side or the other might give you a better chance of survival then shooting.
Well, fine, if you want to go and be sensible about it
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Old May 31, 2012, 01:34 PM   #16
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Recall a couple of LEO incidents from years ago. In the first a wounded police officer fired 3 shots, 2 hit the car, one hit the perp in the shoulder. In the other incident a police officer fired one shot, the perp was killed instantly (head shot). Back then, police mostly carried S&W or Colt revolvers in 38 special, 158 gr hard ball (no hollow points available back then). Both hits thru the windshield.

“Me thinks a little two stepping to one side or the other might give you a better chance of survival…” [Old Grump}

Agreed, sounds like the best course of action.
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Old May 31, 2012, 02:18 PM   #17
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I would be worried about whether shooting at a car was likely to be effective.
--MLeake

That is my thought in a nutshell. Since I don't expect gunfire to affect the trajectory of a car, I don't consider my pistol to be an appropriate tool for the job of surviving this type of assault. Others have mentioned much more appropriate tactics. If you are interested in survival, evade; if your goal is revenge, shoot, but don't expect to emerge unscathed.
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Old May 31, 2012, 06:02 PM   #18
Merad
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No offense to anyone here (haven't read the whole thread) but you'd have to be a fool to "stand your ground" against a vehicle. It outweighs you by 15-20 times if not much more. Your bullets may as well be spitwads and you're barely even a speed bump. Get the heck out of the way and worry about the gun if/when the guy gets out of the car.
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Old May 31, 2012, 06:13 PM   #19
Nanuk
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OG, I never said I was gonna stand there and be a hood ornament.
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Old June 1, 2012, 09:23 AM   #20
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As long as you don't do what they do in movies and run away from the car by screaming and running down the street, you're probably fine. If you're on a city street, go up on the sidewalk between parked cars, or into an open door.

Really the only way you'd be in trouble against someone trying to run you down in a car is if they had a lot of speed worked up already and you were oblivious to their initial approach. If someone started from a stop and was near you and you noticed them, the odds of them being able to actually injure you I would think are pretty small.
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Old June 1, 2012, 10:31 AM   #21
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I know an officer (LEO) that a man was trying to flee in a car the officer pursued and then the man bumped the officers car a couple times. The officer started shooting at the man (some 37 rounds) and ended up hitting him 9 times in the neck. The man had 5 rounds removed in surgery and had to leave the other rounds due to where they were and then went to prison.
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Old June 1, 2012, 01:20 PM   #22
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I have several friends who are cops and the conversation of cars sometimes comes up. One of their concerns, as well as my biggest concern, regarding cars is the drive by shooting or armed robbery from a car, which happens quite often. The perp is using the car, and likely car door as cover to shoot at me while i'm somewhere in the open with no cover. I may have no choice but to get low and shoot through the sheet metal, glass and interior panel in order to get to that perp.

Often these car and gun conversations tend to center on defense against someone trying to run us down with a car but perps using cars as cover is much more dangerous. It's much more difficult than just stepping aside and running from that.
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Old June 1, 2012, 02:18 PM   #23
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2 months back in Albuquerque, someone tried to ram their way out of a stop.
Fortunately the officer stopped the attack with a couple of well placed shots through the door. The car may be hard to stop, but it still needs a driver.
That officer is one special guy. Glad he's on the force for us.
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Old June 6, 2012, 12:16 AM   #24
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Radiator. Empty the coolant, vehicle will eventually overheat and stop.
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Old June 6, 2012, 09:25 AM   #25
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Radiator. Empty the coolant, vehicle will eventually overheat and stop.
Sure, 5 miles after it has flattened you. I've had to confront people in cars many times. I have ended up on the hood of a caprice. Get out of the way by going to the side. Place other objects (trees, cars, light poles) between you and the car. A car going only 20 MPH is covering ground at the rate of appoximately 29 FPS (88 feet in three seconds).
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