View Full Version : What happens?

September 30, 2006, 10:36 AM
Scenario: Gunman, 10ft away, with a gun held to the head of your loved one, finger on the trigger.
If you, or a SWAT sniper, gets off a shot to the BGs head, is there the possibility of a reflex trigger pull by the BG?
Or will he be INSTANTANEOUSLY rendered useless and the hostage safe?
This may have been addressed here before, but I'd like to know how the body responds immediately upon being shot in the head.

September 30, 2006, 11:00 AM
yes, the best chance is to sever the spine in the neck but good luck hope you never have to try it. The throat is filled with soft tissue so if your a damn good shot you might be able to do it, forgett the head you hear about people all the time surviving shots to the head. If you sever the spinal column his brain will loose total controle of his muscles perminantly!

Bud Helms
September 30, 2006, 12:09 PM
Well, this is kind of a gruesome topic. I think it better fits in T&T.

Off we go.

September 30, 2006, 02:04 PM
The only problem is that even with an upper spinal cord shot where the brain loses complete control of the body, there are still twitches. If he has his finger on the trigger already, I would think that there is a good chance that it would go off, even with a perfect shot. I obviously haven't tried this, so I am basing it on my education. For example, if you have heard of an upper motor lesion (basically a problem to the brain) the symptoms are spastic paralysis. So, in this example, even though the brain isn't controlling the body as it should, there is still movement. I am not saying that it will always happen, just that it is a possibility. Remember that not all movement has to initiate with a sensation in the periphery, go up to the brain, and go all the way back down to the muscle. The muscles that would squeeze the trigger finger (the flexor digitorum superficialis/profundus) are controlled by two nerves that originate from the mid to lower cervical area. So, theoretically if a bullet where to go through the spinal cord, it could cause depolarization, which would go through the nerve even without the brain controlling it and cause the muscles to fire. Again, I'm not saying this is likely to happen every time, just that it is a possibility. I personally wouldn't try any sort of shot when the BG's finger is already on the trigger.
But, while we are dreaming, if you are a good enough shot to aim for the spinal cord (not all that terribly big) then you might as well try and aim for the gun. Since we are pretending anyway, aim for the outside of the gun, so that the bullet would deflect away from your wife and make the gun inoperable. The gun is a bigger target than the spinal cord, and making it inoperable pretty much ensures that it won't fire (by definition).
Realistically, I wouldn't shoot in that situation.
Then again, this has been done before by SWAT, so maybe my theoretical fear of the BG's gun going off doesn't happen very often.

September 30, 2006, 02:15 PM
But what if he was demanding that you drop you gun. I've thought about this and God forbid us ever being in that situation...I'd have to say I'd take the shot. I seem to recall reading in some gun rag lately about this very topic. Long & the short of it was, imagine a little filet mignon sized spot around the base of his brain, right between the area between the bottom of his nose and lips. That's supposedly the magic spot that kills moter reflexes. Think of that and practise practise practise. Gives me chills just thinking about such a godaweful situation but it's nice when you start putting holes where they belong at the range...

Does thinking of this scenario make anyone else want to play with some simunition?

September 30, 2006, 02:38 PM
Shoot him about an inch behind the ear and keep shooting. You and your loved one are most likely dead if you put your gun down. At 10ft a head shot is pretty easy especially if the target is not moving.

You are making the assumption that he is going to pull the trigger if you shoot. He may not - whether you hit him or not. My concern with shooting at the gun is that the bullet splatter may injure of kill your wife. I'll take my chances w/the headshot.

September 30, 2006, 04:22 PM
Originally posted by Lurper.
At 10ft a head shot is pretty easy especially if the target is not moving.

Probably not as easy as you think when a crazed madman has a pistol aimed at your wife's head and if you're an inch or so off, she gets a lobotomy.

I don't think I COULD put my gun down, though. You are both screwed for sure then. I would have to take the shot as well and pray to god it's the best shot of my life.

October 1, 2006, 08:04 AM
Putting your gun down leaves you TOTALLY defenseless, so that isn't an option.
For me anyway.
Most of you are assuming the hostage is adult(your wife) and of adult height.
What if it's one of your thigh/waist high children?
Again, assuming the BG has his finger on the trigger, would a gun side shoulder shot force the BG, and the gun, to pivot away from the hostage?
Thereby forcing the BGs gun AWAY from the hostage and leaving just enough space/time to get additional shots in?
Would a 9mm shot to the chest have enough force to push the BG backward and, presumably, the gun upwardand away from the hostages' head?
The scenario is hypothetical but I'm sure LEOs are faced with it everyday somewhere.
What are they taught?
What is SWAT trained to do in such a situation?
Shoot or not?
I've never seen someone get shot in real life, but in every dramatization/movie execution/etc I've ever seen, when a BG gets shot in a hostage situation, he goes down like a sack of bricks!
Just this week I watched this very same scenario played out on some COPS show, and SWAT blew the guy away before he could get himself, and his hostage, onto a bus.
Does anyopne have any REAL LIFE experience with this?
Has anyone heard/seen the hostage get shot AFTER the BG was mortally wounded?
I just wonder what the proper course of action would be if this were to happen, say, in my kitchen or somewhere in my home.

October 1, 2006, 08:25 AM
I swear I saw a documentary about it somewhere. Anyway I remember the officer saying that a shot that disrupts the Central Nervous System will result in the severing of the brains ability to send the needed signal to his trigger finger, dropping him stone cold dead.

October 1, 2006, 10:09 AM
Talk this out with your wife ahead of time and have a signal to give her to move on. When she ducks or gets herself out of the way of the gun temporarily, let him have it hard and dont stop.

October 1, 2006, 07:51 PM
Timothy has a great idea, . . . just make sure to practice it so that everyone remembers what to do.

This is also one of those scenarios you want to make a decision on ahead of time. I have, . . . and I am not putting my weapon down. I am not leaving. If it is my wife, my son, my brother, etc. either the shooter is going down or I am going down. He has already shown to be a coward, therefore very little liklihood of any honesty, ethics, morals, . . . the hostage and I are probably dead when I give up my weapon.

On the other hand, . . . if there is an option, I will circle him , . . . walking into his gun hand, . . . knowing that if I keep it up, . . . one of us will trip and fall, . . . and there is a 2 out of 3 chance it will be either the bg or the hostage, . . . either case giving me and my weapon the chance to end this scenario.

I have no compassion for those who would hide behind the innocents, . . . and even less for those who would use my family for a shield.

May God bless,

October 1, 2006, 08:10 PM
Didn't anyone ever see the movie Speed? :D

Harry Temple: All right, pop quiz. Airport. Gunman with one hostage. He's using her for cover; he's almost to a plane. You're a hundred feet away. Jack?
Jack: Shoot the hostage.


October 1, 2006, 09:45 PM
Simply disrupting the Central Nervous System will NOT drop a person without any reflexive movement.

In fact, JUST THE REVERSE IS TRUE. It is not uncommon for a brain shot to result in convulsive movement while the spinal cord tries to make sense of the scrambled messages coming from the ruined brain.

To drop a person without any reflexive movement requires that the brain stem be destroyed or that the spinal cord be destroyed right where it connects to the brain.

The brain stem is a relatively small target located roughly in the center of the head. If you know exactly where it is (in three dimensions), you could probably hit it with a pistol from 10 feet assuming that the bony structures of the head don't deflect your bullet. Skulls are notorious for doing what they're supposed to--protecting the brain.


October 1, 2006, 10:06 PM
another thought on what I was saying earlier: how many of you have ever seen a chicken get its head cut off? I have, and the chicken definitely didn't go completely limp. I don't think anybody will argue that the brain had any control over the body, yet there is often times "coordinated" movement (I saw a chicken run quite a few paces before falling over).

So, I don't think that any shot is going to guarantee that the BG will not fire. That doesn't mean that I would comply, just something to keep in mind.

For what its worth, I have handled quite a few brainstems and spinal cords, and they aren't that terribly big. Once you factor in the soft tissue and bone protecting the CNS, you have a decent chance of at least some deflection, even at that range with a relatively easy shot. I honestly think it might be a better idea if the gun is held perpendicular to the spouse's head to shoot towards the rear of the gun. It is a larger target, with a clear view of what you are shooting at (no soft tissue or bone deflecting anything). From 10 feet it would be do-able. With a shot to the rear of the gun, it would hopefully minimize the chance of any fragments going towards the spouse, and at the same time pull the muzzle away from her head.

The Real Wyatt
October 1, 2006, 10:38 PM
Shoot the son of a bitch.
I'd surmise there is little or no chance that his gun will go off.
You don't really have many choices.
If you don't shoot him/her they're gonna kill your loved one.
Shoot the son of a bitch. Many times.

October 2, 2006, 01:21 AM
IMO you must shoot. Every .1 second you do not shoot is more time for the BG to pull the trigger. I beleive there to be no other options.

October 3, 2006, 09:39 PM
Something I came across today and thought was pertinent:
I don't know if you can read the print or not, but the kid had no lasting damage, and that was a pair of scissors half way through his brain! I saw an x-ray a while ago with an actual bullet in the brain, and the patient was walking. I am trying to find that to get it posted here, but until I do, I thought this was interesting.
So, even with the "end-all" head shot the BG might still be able to do more than we would like.

October 3, 2006, 10:36 PM
I'm going to hit this from a couple different angles.

Psychological: A gunman using a hostage as a human shield is acting in self-preservation, meaning if he shoots his shield, he exposes himself and forefits any protection against being killed he thinks he has. If the gun is pointed at you, it closes options quickly, because if he shoots you he retains his shield and can focus on the next threat. Though it doesn't exactly help the situation, it does give you room to manuver a little if the gun is pointed at the hostage.

Anatomy: A head shot isn't necessarily good enough. The target isn't the brain itself, but rather a small portion of it called the Cerebral Cortex. It's the little plum-sized portion right at the base that connects to the spinal column/brain stem. Unfortunately, from a front angle that portion of the brain is roughly nose/cheek level and in the very back, meaning it's behind a lot of tissue and bone that can deflect a bullet off target. On the bright side, if you disrupt or distroy it, the initial impact will cause a moment of "limp pause", where all motor function stops receiving signals from the nervous system. Involuntery reactions will likely follow, but the chances of them happening in a way that would continue holding the hostage, remain holding the weapon to the hostage, AND squeeze a handgun trigger even with a SA pull weight is extremely slim. What is most likely is the body would loose all motor control, go limp, drop the weapon while collapsing, and then twitch every few seconds while the rest of the body's systems finish shutting down.

The moral of this would be aim straight and pray you don't miss.

October 3, 2006, 10:49 PM
and it is a shot that will shut off the lights, right now.

Imagine a person facing you. Now, draw a short-legged "T", starting with the outer ends of the eyes, with the bottom of the center leg taking in the nose. That is the spot for the precision shot.

For a side-angle shot, the ear is the aiming point.

It is for this reason that you practice, and carry the most precise, accurate weapon that you can get. You practice, and practice, and practice some more.

In this scenario, it is the basics that will carry you through. Sight alignment and picture, and a steady pull of the trigger that will fire the weapon without disturbing that sight picture. Your front sight MUST be at a razor sharp focus; accept nothing less.

It may or may not be believeable, but I have practiced; at the range mentioned (10 feet) I can put a .45 bullet into a dime, without fail, with either hand, 100% of the time. It's taken shooting since I was age 8, and literally hundreds of thousands of rounds of practice to do it.


And pray that you never have to shoot this scenario. :)

October 4, 2006, 01:11 AM
A Glock or uncocked revolver or anything with a long, heavy trigger-pull would probably be unlikely to go off from muscle twitching. A cocked and unlocked 1911 or cocked revolver would be a much harder call...

What is the standard police operating procedure in these situations?