View Full Version : Hostage Situation

April 29, 2012, 08:02 PM
Today during a range trip I decided to setup a hostage situation in which I would have to shoot the BG while the hostage target was in front of the BG. Mrs. Vermonter was with me on this trip so it was not hard to visualize her as the hostage. While I was at it I did some jumping jacks to get the heart rate up.

When I got the heart rate up I looked at her for a wile and began to visualize the hostage target as her. I had ten rounds in the Glock drew and fired ten times. All ten rounds went into the head of the BG target and none touched the hostage.

This was almost a religious experience. I was in the right frame of mind and it felt real. I didn't post this to brag but rather pose a question.

What are you guys doing to make your training more realistic.

Regards, Vermonter

April 29, 2012, 09:30 PM
what is keeping the bag guy from shooting at the goodguy when he has a living shield in front of him?

April 29, 2012, 09:43 PM
And the bad guy would probably be moving and having the hostage moving too. You were shooting at a static target.

April 29, 2012, 09:54 PM
I am thinking of adding a pully system to add movement.

April 29, 2012, 10:06 PM
I've run sniper schools for LE. One scenarios or training exercises is to cut a window out of a piece of ply wood. set it off at different distances.

Inside the window, tie two balloons of different colors on stings to the window, one good guy, on bandit. Shoot the bandit balloon while the balloons are blowing around in the wind.

Want to add stress, put a picture of you daughter on the good guy balloon.

We did it with rifle and pistols.

April 29, 2012, 10:18 PM
Perfect movement with no string. I am going to try it tomorrow.

April 30, 2012, 07:47 AM
Actually, having the BG pointing his gun toward the shooter is BETTER since distance is safety. Highly unlikely he could miss the hostage but much more likely to miss(or not make a fatal hit) another 10-20' away.
The transition between the two is the best opportunity for a shot if that is possible. His focus is broken, he's having to shift from hostage to shooter, and the muzzle maybe in a neutral zone. He also may extend his head more to get a better view of the other target.
In this case, always try to get an angle position rather than a initial frontal approach.
Don't engage the perp in conversation, keep your focus on your aiming point.
Hopefully, you have a single action option on your handgun as now is the time to use it.

April 30, 2012, 08:08 AM
Don't engage the perp in conversation, keep your focus on your aiming point.

That is totally contrary to what is taught. You want the bandit talking. If talking he's not thinking about pulling the trigger.

In shooting talking is like breathing, you can't do it. You subconsciously stop to pull the trigger.

The preferred method is getting the bandit to ask questions, then he's waiting for an answer not a shot.

If you are going to make the shot, you ask a question, and pull the trigger as he answers.

Of course it's hard to get paper targets or balloons to talk.

April 30, 2012, 08:15 AM
First thing is the decision: I will not in any circumstances, if at all possible, allow a member of my family to be taken as a hostage.

With that in mind, you look for ways to WHACK the bg.

One is to keep him and the hostage moving, . . . by moving yourself. During the moving, there is a 2 out of 3 chance that the bg or the hostage will trip, stumble, fall, whatever, . . . giving YOU the momentary advantage.

Always move to the bg's shooting hand, . . . if he is right handed, . . . move to his right, . . . this pulls him from the hostage, . . . and it is harder for him to transition from hostage to you.

I have never used the window & baloons thing, . . . but I think I can see it becoming a part of our shooting.

May God bless,

warrior poet
April 30, 2012, 08:47 AM
Wow. Learning a lot on this one. All I have ever done for this is an overlapping pie plate drill. Having to shoot the 'sliver' or 'moon' of the bad guy. I will have to try it with balloons. Thank you.

April 30, 2012, 08:50 AM
As to ballons"

Make sure you have enough string to allow the balloons to wobble around in the wind or you are defeating your purpose.

April 30, 2012, 09:00 AM
I've run sniper schools for LE.

Are they still training to visualize a golfball between the earlobes on head shots to sever the brainstem for non-reflex shots?

April 30, 2012, 10:52 AM
to the OP, what distance was your target? really doesnt matter but a 5 ft would be alot easier than a 15 yd shot. And people like Kraig could teach us so much on here, he's been there and done it. Not just someone who pops stuff out of his mind

April 30, 2012, 12:12 PM
Here's one of my usual versions of this scenario:
One baddie and two no shoots, all pictures of people, rather than plain cardboard.
The bad guy is well hidden behind the hostages, with just the center of his face and upper head visible.
From 7 to 10 yards, start with gun holstered and hands up, just to lull the nasty fellow into thinking he has the advantage.
Draw and move to one side and engage as quickly as possible, with one or two shots.
Since our local ranges don't allow "no funny business", I have to do this kind of stuff at home, with blowback airguns.
But, they work quite well in a pinch.
The two (or even more) balloons sounds like a good idea to add to the repertoire.
A fan blowing on them should do the trick.
Thanks for sharing that one.

April 30, 2012, 07:19 PM
10 yards. Exactly. I didnt measure prior but i measured when I had finished shooting. I can see the talking thing making sense.

April 30, 2012, 10:01 PM
I've run sniper schools for LE. One scenarios or training exercises is to cut a window out of a piece of ply wood. set it off at different distances.

Inside the window, tie two balloons of different colors on stings to the window, one good guy, on bandit. Shoot the bandit balloon while the balloons are blowing around in the wind.

Want to add stress, put a picture of you daughter on the good guy balloon.

We did it with rifle and pistols.

Was a member of my law enforcement agency's SWAT team for several years during my LEO career and we went through a lot of training on Hostage taking situations .
Kraigwy is dead on in his posts here, All are good tactics and advise.

April 30, 2012, 10:32 PM
One of the guys at the local IDPA club came up with a cool moving target platform. Basically he took a target frame (H-bottom metal type with wood uprights) and strapped it to a large skateboard. He puts it on a ramp, where it is held in place by a block. The block is connected to a cord.

The ramp, skateboard and target are placed behind a barrier. When the timer sounds, the shooter first has to pull the cord, then draw and engage.

The skateboard with target rolls out from behind the barrier; the shooter tries to double tap the target before it rolls behind the next barrier.

It's harder than it sounds. We weren't going for head shots, either, and didn't set up a hostage in front of the target. That could be done, but the barriers would probably have to be farther apart for most of us to have a chance.

April 30, 2012, 10:50 PM
I know if is not relevant to normal hostage incidents, but when I was tasked with special weapons security we had standing orders to shoot the BG and if the hostage saved if possible. But no quarter given to save the hostage.
In other words, they were expendable to protect the special weapons

April 30, 2012, 11:35 PM
I know if is not relevant to normal hostage incidents, but when I was tasked with special weapons security we had standing orders to shoot the BG and if the hostage saved if possible. But no quarter given to save the hostage.
In other words, they were expendable to protect the special weapons

If I'm ever taken hostage.................stay home.

April 30, 2012, 11:44 PM
At this time, I shoot mostly at indoor/rental type shooting ranges in my metro area.
For practice, I like to shoot a few strings at extreme or contact range. I put the paper target on the lane approx 1-2' in front of me. That keeps the reflex & conditioning sharp to able to handle threats at arm's length/CQB distance.

I also shoot a few magazines or rounds weak hand to be ready for a "wounded" or injury event where you must return fire in a lethal force event.


May 1, 2012, 03:43 AM
Are they still training to visualize a golfball between the earlobes on head shots to sever the brainstem for non-reflex shots?

I am trained to use two classifications of shots. The first is the "surgical shot"; the second is center of mass of the exposed target.

The surgical shot's objective is flaccid relaxation; the instant shut down of the body so that a trigger cannot be pulled, a knife cannot be used, etc. And yes, there is a definite target area.

May 1, 2012, 08:35 AM
Just to clarify with kraigwy. Your addtion to my comment is correct for a trained individual. My comment was aimed at the average shooter and intended to prevent that person from being engaged and distracted by the same tactic that you suggested going the other way.

May 1, 2012, 11:36 AM
You make a great point here. I am not you nor am I kraigway. If your classification is either "trained individual" or "untrained individual" I for sure am in the untrained section. With that said I still beleive I could make the talking thing work out. I practiced it dry firing. Boy did my dog look at me weird while I was talking to a wall :).

My reasoning behind this type of training is simple. If god forbid someone was in my home and had a loved one hostage I would feel the need to act rather than back out.

I want to posess the physical ability to make that shot should the need present itself.

With that said can anyone coment on the decision making process that should be a part of this conversation? In other words what indicators should I look for in a BG who had someone hostage. Should I comply or not?

My current attitude towards this is simply that if someone has entered our home and is threatining to do harm to a family member there is no negociation and no alternitive.


May 1, 2012, 12:03 PM
You want to convince the guy that you want to comply to his wishes (no means am I saying to comply).

Ask what he wants, ask how you can comply with his wishes. If the bandit thinks you are complying it may tend to relax him a bit.

I'm old school..........NEVER GIVE UP YOUR GUN.

I have these targets in my shop and house just for dry firing. Dry firing with a laser sights give you instant feed back.

BUT: Remember the four basic safety rules. When laying out your dry fire targets, take into account your back stop. Think about what you'll hit if you screw up and don't unload before dry firing.

As I said, I have targets in my house and in my shop. If I screw up, behind my targets is a hill. I just have to patch a 38 cal hole in my wall. Actually the target in my house is on my granddaughter's bedroom door. (Still a safe background if I screw up noting gets hurt but for patching little holes.)

I also have a window cut in my shop wall that over looks my pistol range so I can shoot in bad weather or test loads without having to go outside.

I often hang the hostage target in the window so I can practice inside my shop.

Here is the targets I use, you should be able to down load and print them out.


Like I mentioned earlier, to add stress superimpose a picture of your daughter or granddaughter on the good guy portion of the target. It will make you think.

May 1, 2012, 01:49 PM
I hear you on the Never Give Up Your gun thing. I figure that if a person just wanted $ or things of value they wouldn't bother witha hostage of any sort. I could start with informing the BG that if they are looking for material items they will get no resistance from me.

Frankly I wouldn't be lying in this situation. If they are looking for material things they can all be replaced. I couldn't replace a loved one. We are a small household just she and I and a Dog. I would consider the dog to be a loved one too but I doubt there are many examples of Pooch hostages.

Any suggestions on reading material that might help me further here?

With Kind Regards, Vermonter

Lee Lapin
May 2, 2012, 12:52 AM
One trainer (Louis Awerbuck) I know uses this approach with students. It's a challenge... every time.



In 1989, YFA originated the Mirage Target System to try and address the problem of training on flat, stationary targets on the range and then facing 3-dimensional moving targets in the streets. Another purpose of designing this target was to make the shooter understand that he is responsible for the terminal resting place of projectiles and to concentrate on shot placement so as to be able to better judge whether an intended shot would be viable.

Originally, the system used flat or curved cardboard with targets that simulated a human form. It then evolved into a system which utilized 3-dimensional plastic humanoid-shaped targets on which clothing was draped in order to present a more realistic figure. We added the availability for the targets to simulate holding a hostage in front of them, and then the availability to have more than one target so as to better simulate a bystander problem.

Today, the system takes up to 6 humanoid targets, any one of - or up to four of - which can be set to move erratically. The configuration in the accompanying photographs show the middle target sliding between two others. This particular setup forces the student to take angles of fire and foreground and background problems into account. The target system is utilized in all YFA courses so that the student can put together many facets of the training he has received in a situation that is as close to a street problem as possible for range training.

Over a dozen years ago, YFA also pioneered the use of three-dimensional and negative paper and cardboard targets to "acclimatize" the trainee to the concept of defense against human adversary-shaped forms and finite shot placement.

May 3, 2012, 11:29 PM
In re"Giving up your gun, read"The Onion Field" by Joseph Wambaugh. Hard to read, but excellent nonetheless.

May 4, 2012, 10:31 AM
I have seen that suggested before I will have to take a look.
Regards, Vermonter

May 4, 2012, 10:39 AM
Just ordered a copy $6 including shipping. Not a bad deal over at amazon if you look hard enough.

May 4, 2012, 11:11 AM
Lee Lapin, . . . thanks for the post, . . . that looks like it could evolve into a fun and informative outing.

May God bless,

May 10, 2012, 09:42 AM
Since I'm not in LE, the only hostage I might realistically have to worry about would be my wife ... so ... we've worked on a code to help get us out of the situation. We've agreed that if I believe I can be successful, I'll call her by her middle name and she will immediately lift her legs, letting her weight pull her out of the BG's grasp while I have a clear shot at center mass ... there are obviously some problems with this, and we've worked on under what circumstances we might try it. Somebody addled on drugs or booze might be a good choice, where somebody who was sober and determined might not. Hostage situations are perhaps the most dire we might face and I feel if there's any possibility of success, it's worth taking the shot, with the alternative being the sure death or injury of both of us.

Just a thought ...

May 10, 2012, 10:33 AM
Its always nice to have a trained hostage. We always trained with a duress code to be used if taken hostage, usually you call your partner by your name, because sometimes an immediate reaction can end the situation safer. The trained hostage can help by placing their weight suddenly on the hostage taker, squirming, whatever to distract the hostage taker.

I have trained my wife, and also for her to close her eyes as I do not want for her eyes to be damaged by the flash or debris that comes out with the bullet.

May 10, 2012, 01:02 PM
That is fantastic. Hadn't even considered the possibility. I assume the only good tatic here would be to go dead weight?

May 12, 2012, 08:13 PM

Also the doctrine of ensuing the hostage takers do now escape and the hostages are expendable was military doctrine in the 70's and 80's when we were dealing with the red brigade.

Glenn Dee
May 13, 2012, 10:52 AM
Wow some great information here.

I come from the other side of the equasion. I'm a trained hostage negotiator. Kraigway is dead on the money with his comments. As far as a trained hostage?... I attended a course with a pretty young female officer from plainfield NJ. I wont mention her name in defference to her family, and survivors. It may have been a month or two later she was taken hostage by some deranged gunman and had a gun to her head. In the course we took we learned how a police hostage could communicate with brother officers and make action plans. I watched as she was sending all the signals. I could see the desperation in her face... She was signalling "I'm going to drop... shoot this M-F. But the negotiator held off and chose to talk to the perp who shot Officer P through the head. This whole thing played out on TV that night. Of course they edited out her death.

I guess the point of my story is this... In a hostage situation things are best left up to professionals. This is the Hostages best chance for survival. Hostage gaming is fine as well as fun. In a real situation a trained military, police, or citizen should be used. As well a hostage situation shooter should be trained as a hostage situation shooter. There is a difference.

P/S the police hostage negotiator in the above situation didnt have a clue.

May 14, 2012, 12:07 AM
you may want to seek out some tactical training instructors in your area. we have a few here. i only just recently learned about these, but plan to start taking classes as often as possible as well as getting back into martial arts. i've been out for about 3 years, though hold 4 blackbelts. i wish to continue with kung fu.

it centers me... and i feel that if i go back to that, i'd be less inclined to use my CCW unless i had literally no other choice.

May 14, 2012, 10:40 PM
I believe the odds of this situation occurring to me is about the same as winning the lottery, probably less so. I know of people who have won the lottery and have never heard of this happening in real life. Police may have to deal with it and i hope the 45 rounds they shot at the range last year pays off...

May 14, 2012, 11:10 PM
I just have Mrs Sport45 run around downrange with a cardboard cutout of a bad guy held behind her. She gets really upset if I hit her instead of the target. :rolleyes:

Just kidding, of course. I haven't graduated to tactical drills at the range. I just try to see how fast I can keep 3 to 5 rounds on a paper plate at 15 yards. I've watched IDPA matches and think that would be good training. Being a competition would add the adrenalin factor. Kind of like a HP rifle match.