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Old July 21, 2012, 10:25 PM   #51
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This awful stuff in Colorado got me thinking. What can a normal defense caliber do against someone like that?

Say 5 rounds of 38spl, or 7 rounds of 45acp, or 10 rounds of 9/40...

Attempt a head shot? Dump the mag into the body?
As for the rounds you mentioned, nothing at all. Especially when it's worn by someone psychotic. I have to think a smart guy like this would have to know he needed plate, did he have it, I don't know.

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Old July 21, 2012, 10:34 PM   #52
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They only way to effectively engage someone in body armor is with a rifle. Big bore handguns will be stopped by soft armor but they will deliver a bunch of backface deformation and still probably take them out of the fight.
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Old July 21, 2012, 10:49 PM   #53
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I have done a drill at the range where you try to stay on target while getting nudged by someone standing behind you (left, right, forward and back- at random) and accuracy goes very far south very fast. It would be way worse getting bumped into, stepped on and run in front of by a crowd of panicked people. Add to that the gas, lighting, and fear and I believe it would be virtually useless for most of us (except for the best trained ones with REAL combat experience) to engage this target unless it was a last ditch effort at very close range. Not trying to be negative or confrontational, just realistic.
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Old July 21, 2012, 10:56 PM   #54
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What would be the merits, if any, of banging away at the weapon of the shooter?

Not trying to put a bullet down the barrel or anything, but focusing on the shooter's muzzle flash and sending return fire down that axis.

The way I see this possible tactic is that the hands and forearms are usually still vulnerable in armor, and by sending shots towards the long gun itself, you may screw up its functioning, severely distract the shooter, and/or if luck intervenes, strike the target in the face.
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Old July 21, 2012, 11:41 PM   #55
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As I see it the biggest obstacle to accurate return fire initially would be the panicked crowd. Once the crowd is hunkered down, then the only problem is the absence of light and the smoke. Night sights would be a plus if you remember to use them. A semi auto of sufficient power and capacity fire bursts of 3 or 4 and shoot him to the ground. I would say point shooting training would be a big plus. It certainly is no place for a 5 shot snubby and no reload. Like has been said it may take 4 HITS to realize he is not going down.

It still hurts to get hit with a vest on, the military kevlar helmets will not stop a 223, 7.62X39 or a 40 S&W that I know of. In the helmets I shot all went in the front and out the back. I was really surprised, those are the only rounds I used as they were pretty shot up.
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Old July 21, 2012, 11:56 PM   #56
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Shoot at the crotch and face. A hit in either of those places will rearrange priorities.
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Old July 22, 2012, 12:30 AM   #57
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At close contact range, it might be better to physically take him down, and if he's still fighting, shoot him in the face.

Gas masks, last I checked, don't stop most bullets.

This would require a rear or flank attack, initially.

Might sound cold, but if he was armored over torso, legs, neck, and head, it would be (IMO) very reasonable.

(Edit: Common tactic against armored knights in earlier days: knock them off their feet, then cut their throats, or stab them in the armpits or groins with daggers. Same concept applies.)

Last edited by MLeake; July 22, 2012 at 12:47 AM.
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Old July 22, 2012, 12:41 AM   #58
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Shoot at the crotch and face. A hit in either of those places will rearrange priorities.
Assuming a hit can be made. Shooting in a dark place, full of teargas and crowded with panicking people, at a person who is shooting back isn't tremendously conducive to pinpoint accuracy with any gun at all, let alone a typical carry pistol. The bad guy was using long guns, shooting unarmed persons, including children; he was prepared and in spite of that, his kill ratio was only 17%. Doesn't sound like even he was making good hits.

I don't think it's realistic to assume that the average CCW'er is going to be able to, under the stress of the moment, assimilate the fact that the attacker is wearing body armor, compensate for that fact effectively, and then make the hits required before the gun runs dry.

The Tyler Courthouse Shooting gives us insight into what happens when a guy with a handgun (in this case, probably a better than average shot using a full-size .45ACP pistol) confronts a guy in body armor wielding a rifle. The guy with a handgun died. Wilson made at least one good hit on Arroyo, but it had no effect due to the body armor. Arroyo shot back and killed Wilson. Arroyo wasn't nearly as "armored up" as Holmes was. No limb protection and no helmet.

I think that if a person feels he must intervene in a situation like this using a typical CCW handgun, he should figure that realistically he's going to be a momentary distraction and hope that some people will be able to escape while the bad guy is killing him.

Probably the best case realistic scenario is that he is enough of a distraction to cause the guy to change his tactics in a positive way for the potential victims or that it allows or inspires someone else to intervene more decisively while the bad guy is killing the CCW'er. For example, after killing Wilson, Arroyo left the area--possibly as a result of the encounter. At least some witnesses think so. On the other hand, given that he had already shot his wife, he may have left because he figured his mission was accomplished. It's hard to know.
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Old July 22, 2012, 01:02 AM   #59
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How to engage someone in body armor?
I want to say on bended knee with a ring in hand....

A crossbow would probably do a better job than any handgun. That, or a bayonet charge.

A mass onslaught by an unarmed crowd would have taken him down quickly. That's just not the crowd mentality when shots are being fired.
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Old July 22, 2012, 01:51 AM   #60
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Ballistic helmets - all that helpful?

My understanding was that the brain buckets the military uses are not proof vs. bullets. That might have been only rifle bullets, not sure.

Based on the knowledgeable people who have already commented, I suspect I'm misinformed. Always a first time!

Shooting in the face seems like the only way, and I can't imagine being able to do it from more than point blank range. The Unitarians in Knoxville that took down the right wing psycho trying to massacre them took the right approach: gang tackle. Hard to pull off, but there's not much else to try.
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Old July 22, 2012, 02:12 AM   #61
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As a combatives-certified US Army soldier, I can say that body armor in an urban combative situation changes the parameters of self-defense measures.

Generally, most pistol calibers are sufficient (in the hands of the proficient and properly trained) for defending one's self against even armed aggressors. But when someone dons bullet proof or bullet resistant armors, engagement tactics must adapt accordingly.

I have no idea what type of body armor that monster in Colorado was wearing, but I am fully aware of the abilities and limitations of US Army body armor.

The body armor issued in the US Army will stop up to 10 5.56mm/.223 rounds (depending on angle), or 3-4 7.62mm rounds (depending on angle), up to 20 9mm rounds, and several .45 ACP rounds.

As for how to best engage someone wearing similar armor, it depends on your weapon of choice and level of skill. If you have a standard caliber handgun, your best bet is to dump as many rounds into center mass of the assailant as continually as possible in order to distract and possibly subdue him. Since accuracy is more difficult in a dark theatre setting with possible distances beyond 20 feet, you don't want to risk missing a head shot and increasing the risk of collateral damage to bystanders.

My personal advice is to use the assailant's body armor to your advantage. The armor required to stop multiple bullet impacts is often heavy and cumbersome, especially to someone not used to it, and even more so if the assailant is covered in the armor. Use that knowledge to try to tackle or overpower the assailant rather than try to pound your way through the armor with ammunition.

That said, if more Americans use their constitutional right to arm themselves, the guy could have been brought down by a barrage of self defensive projectiles from his intended victims instead of the tragic opposite.
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Old July 22, 2012, 02:21 AM   #62
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He was not wearing a "bullet proof" vest. Reports are he bought the vest a knife and some other stuff for 300 bucks. I'm thinking it was just a tactical vest that provided very little if any protection from bullets.

Unless he had a real vest underneath.

Gas mask is not going to stop squat neither was a lot of the stuff he was wearing. Sounds like the media is blowing this way out of water and he was not that hard of a target. Looks can be deceiving.
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Old July 22, 2012, 03:15 AM   #63
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Face and limb shots would work, IF you can manage them. With a ballistic helmet and throat guard, that is a pretty small target. Limb shots will almost certainly slow down the attack, but a slower mass murder isn't that much of a victory (at least not for those in the room).
I think this might become more of a tactics question than targeting. A side or rear attack from close range is probably the best bet. If the shooter doesn't know they are being attacked until you have an almost contact shot available, your odds of stopping them are better.

In a dark environment, with a panicked crowd, and gas, the odds of a successful immediate stop aren't great for people more than a few feet away.
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Old July 22, 2012, 05:29 AM   #64
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From the movie "To Hell and Back" starring Audie Murphy

This thing's only got about four inches of armor. Oh, yeah?

Say, how thick do you think this G.I. Shirt is?

Tactical Vest, Body armor vs my tee shirt. Tactics with a CCW averaging 8 rounds. Two to COM, one to CC, two more to COM, one to CC, two to COM. Gun dry. Calculate a hit rate equivalent to that of the shooter, someone posted 17%, equals 1.36 hits and the rest misses. Those are daunting odds to think about. I think the posters who favored a mass rush from all sides as a viable tactic had the right idea. Another movie line "You may get him or you may get me but you can't get all of us, one of us will get you." The biggest issue is how many folks would rally to the cause and charge. That harkens to our heros on flight 93 who did rally and prevented that plane from hitting it's intended target.
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Old July 22, 2012, 05:49 AM   #65
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Originally Posted by JohnKSa
I think that if a person feels he must intervene in a situation like this using a typical CCW handgun, he should figure that realistically he's going to be a momentary distraction and hope that some people will be able to escape while the bad guy is killing him.
That might well be the outcome. My comment wasn't related to the decision to become involved.

Addendum: Above was written in a hurry.

I don't assume any typical CCW round is adequate for un-armored opponents. An entertaining life has taught me that if you don't disrupt the upper vertebrae/CNS, you ain't shutting anybody off. You may kill them and make them hurt enough to desire a truce and a trip to the hospital. This isn't going to make a dead-ender quit. Successful engagement of the upper vertebrae/CNS requires precision. We can plan for that and we can train for that.

Fortunately, dead-enders are infinitesimally small component of the criminal or criminally-insane population. Was this guy one? I'd say not, given that he surrendered when confronted by the fuzz. I kinda suspect that if one or two folks had given him a dose of his own medicine, inside that theater, he might have shot fewer people.

Of course there are no guarantees. Gunfights are a melee at best.
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Last edited by Sarge; July 22, 2012 at 09:03 AM.
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Old July 22, 2012, 07:37 AM   #66
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Well, there was another movie with Audiy Murphy, I believe, in which he is facing a group of men who for some reason are at odds with him. He is alone. He says to the group something like this: "I know you can get me but first I'll get you, and you and you," pointing to various men in front of him. Works both ways, I suppose.
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Old July 22, 2012, 09:05 AM   #67
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Originally Posted by Sport45 View Post
...A mass onslaught by an unarmed crowd would have taken him down quickly. That's just not the crowd mentality when shots are being fired.
That's because as a group we've moved our "heros" away from real men with feet of clay and the associated foibles those men have and replaced them with screen myths much like Batman. Batman's character flaws are bigger and not real like Audy Murphy or even Murphy's characters.

We, therefore, have become a nation of mostly sheep.

And I suggest that the anti-2nd crowd thinks of us as black sheep, although I don't know why black sheep should be considered bad. Seems like a foul rap to me. The lamb doesn't choose its wool.
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Old July 22, 2012, 09:43 AM   #68
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2 to the body, 1 to the head

IF, you know he or she has armor, and a head shot is not a good option, shoot the groin area, the hips, feet, etc. to take him down, and he will do down with a gut shot or groin shot, then neutralize him if he is still active and able to return fire...

To engage will attract his attention, so it is a fight if you engage! You must be better than he is, practice, train, and do it again ... YOU MUST BE SKILLED, or face George Zimmerman lynch mobs if you miss and injure an innocent. In the theater shooting ONE MAN with the skills and a gun could have saved so many. I was working L.E. in Colorado when Columbine went down ... not a good memory, apparently many who went unarmed have forgotten...

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Last edited by WildBill45; July 22, 2012 at 09:48 AM. Reason: add paragraph
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Old July 22, 2012, 10:28 AM   #69
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This was a well planned attack. They guy had an AR-15, a 12 gage pump, and .40 pistol. He fully armored. He used tear gas or something similar.

There are some situations you just can't prepare for.

Let's say there were 3 or 4 concealed carry folks in the audience who came to the decission to fight back. They would be acting independently, with no plan and no coordination. The best they could hope for is to draw the shooter's fire for a while and allow more of the innocents to escape through the exits. As was pointed out above, they would probably not realize the shooter was wearing armor... they would just keep banging away until their position in the crowd was revealed. Given the shooters great advantage in high-capacity long guns, and body armor, there is a high probability that the 3 or 4 defenders would end up shot.

Trying to prepare for this is like trying to prepare for a suicide bomber with C4 strapped to his chest.
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Old July 22, 2012, 10:46 AM   #70
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Trying to prepare for this is like trying to prepare for a suicide bomber with C4 strapped to his chest
All fights, including physical ones cannot be prepared for, except to train and increase your speed, vision, and skills. The shooter probably is not prepared either for a good shooter putting 230 grn. hardballs through his gas mask, and/groin, even if he had a plate in his groin area, a .45 will ruin his day!

You have to do something ... sitting there and watching your family die is not an option!!! I would attack without a gun in that situation, I assure you.

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Old July 22, 2012, 10:52 AM   #71
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Too near the edge. Time to end this.

Good call, Frank - I mentioned several times not to engage in ridiculous posturing.

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