Join Date: October 13, 1998
Location: Huntington Beach, CA, USA
I have been watching this one with great interest and have seen, what I would call some pritty good 20 - 20 hindsight, and also some darn good input.
Some have mentioned tactics, no question the tactics of "felony stop" should require "Back Up" - they do as does the tactics of common sense. Bad field call? Perhaps but I wasn't sitting in the hot seat, I don't know what influenced the decision to engage.
Training ? Do they? If so, how do they? They do, infrequently, and train like most LE - mostly square range, some mount training but very little, and probably resist compulsory qualification as a quarterly or bi-annual pain in the posterior. They train front sight, center mass, they train failure drills - you know two center mass (thoracic cavity) and one to the head. By the way the head shot lethal target zone should be the triangular outline defined by the eyebrow line and nose because it is well known that the outer perimeter of the brain case housing ( sorry Doc ) has been penetrated without effect many times in combat. I have had a prisoner, VN type, walk up to me with the outline of a bullet lodged under his forehead. The round had penetrated and traveled around the scull - he had no idea of its presence. Yet not twenty minutes later one of my shipmates, Ted Rischer, took a round in the head standing next to me - he went down - dropped as if hit by a bat. The difference - a matter of fractions of an inch and luck of the draw.
In actuality guys, and some of you know this all too well, it is often very difficult to stop an individual in a gun fight.
With respect to equipment, I refer to my comments on the "What is the smallest Caliber, etc.?" posting. Bottom line - the hand gun is a woefully underpowered device, chambered in any caliber, for the stopping job (the barrel is too sort). The operative here folks is "Stopping Job". For this scenario, there is absolutely no weapon in the arsenal better than the SH.G.. It needs to be thought of, and trained on, as the primary weapon in high risk service - not an after thought if this type of catastrophe is to be avoided in the future. It needs to be fitted with rifle sights and properly equipped to carry stand-by slugs and appropriate shot rounds with the magazine loaded with shot designed for the environment it is normally deployed (i.e. Game shot for household use and large cal. buck, shooter's choice, for close quarter outdoor encounters).
But most of all guys, be certain - the combat experience does not remotely equate to the range experience. Why do you think the national statistic for officer involved shootings has remained around ten feet with a successful hit ratio of about 20% or in 80% of police shootings 1 round in 5 actually hits the target within ten feet. Heck you can stand on your head and close your eyes on the range and hit 90% of the time at that distance. Point shooting, Front sight shooting, does it make a difference within ten feet? Not really, however, the superior value of front sight shooting comes into play eventually.
The key here is the realization that combat stress or survival stress triggers physiological changes within all of us. In the face of perceived extreme danger, especially when surprised by it, hormonal secretions induce adrenal activities that activate the sympathetic nervous system which creates all sorts of damaging effects to our ability to think clearly and respond normally.
Fine motor skills disappear at 115 beats per minute (hormonal induced hart rate increase), loss of complex (multi function activity) motor skills occurs at 145 BPM, the eyes become binocular dominant and peripheral vision is lost to a cone of about 10 inches. Auditory exclusion occurs when the visual system becomes the dominant sensory source and reaction time increases up to 400% and finally irrational behavior occurs.
( I site Bruce Siddle of PPCT here)
It is only through a quality continuing training program that these effects are minimized. We are dealing with highly perishable skills here.
Any good combat program must address the value of gross motor skills as these are the dominant skills we are left with under extreme stress, that is simplicity must rule, KISS. The program must build technique confidence which will lower the hart rate and activates a positive mind set which, in turn, enhances all types of performance. It must include a Methodology for practicing survival motor skills:
• Static - slow motion repetitions designed to develop basic motor program.
• Fluid - slow motion repetitions designed to match threat stimulus to survival response.
• Dynamic - full speed roleplaying.
Train in a minimum of response options as reaction times will increase with available options (time out-which one do I use here). And finally visualize every conceivable combat scenario. Visualize your responses - this is almost as effective as experiencing the combat and will condition you accordingly. Reaction times will quicken as will response time and anxiety and hart rate comes down.
Breath control will reduce the hart rate by controlling respiration. In through the nose in two seconds, hold two seconds, out through the mouth for two seconds resisting and working the diaphragm. this signals the hart to slow down but this is a short fix and must be used just prior to engagement.