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Author Topic: Prone subjects shoot FAST  (Read 2058 times)

Hock

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Prone subjects shoot FAST
« on: December 03, 2010, 11:51:12 AM »

This is from Force Science...

New Force Science study results: Prone suspects with hidden hands more dangerous than imagined

The latest study by the Force Science Institute has produced 2 surprising findings of importance to trainers, street officers, and police attorneys:

    1. Some suspects lying flat with hands hidden under chest or waist can produce and fire a gun at an approaching officer faster than any human being on earth can react to defend himself;

   2. The angle sometimes advocated as the safest for approaching a prone subject appears, in fact, to be potentially the most dangerous.

In testing 5 different angles of weapon exposure and attack, FSI researchers discovered that the overall average time that elapses between the instant a prone suspect's first movement can be seen and the discharge of his pointed weapon is less than 2/3 of a second.


    One subject in one of the firing postures monitored was able to move so fast that the gun in his hand could not be detected until the moment it discharged. The fastest subjects produced the weapon from under their chest and fired it upward and ahead--the line of approach taught by some trainers as being the most protective for officers.

One trainer who witnessed the testing exclaimed: "Wow! I knew suspects could be fast, but I didn't know they could be that fast!"

    "This study is the first of its kind," lead researcher Dr. Bill Lewinski told Force Science News, "and it scientifically establishes that the desperate urgency officers often feel to control a prone subject's hands is fully justified.

    "If hidden hands are not controlled immediately and the suspect is armed and decides to shoot, an officer is likely faced with an insurmountable challenge to react fast enough to prevent what could be a fatal attack."


RESEARCH MOTIVATION.
Common street sense dictates that a live suspect lying on his belly with 1 or both hands hidden under his body poses a potential threat because of his possible access to a concealed weapon. However, Lewinski points out, "all training and tactics for dealing with this real-life field problem have been based on anecdotal experience, impulse, and supposition, not on any scientific foundation."

Moreover, in recent years a number of controversial, high-profile encounters have been captured on news video, showing officers using what appeared to be extraordinary force to expose downed suspects' hidden hands during capture and arrest.

"Media critics and other civilians, including jurors and force review board members, seemed unable to understand the officers' sense of urgency in some of these cases," says Lewinski, FSI's executive director. "Strikes with batons or flashlights delivered by officers trying to gain control of resistant suspects' hands were sometimes interpreted as malicious outbreaks of rage and vindictiveness.

"It became clear that we needed to scientifically explore the threat level presented by prone suspects with hidden hands because of the significant legal, training, and survival implications inherent in this subject."

Sgt. Craig Allen of the Hillsboro (OR) PD, the on-site coordinator for the resulting FSI study, put it this way: "Let's have the facts. Once we know for certain what we're dealing with, we can understand, explain, and train."

TESTING SET-UP. After some preliminary testing at FSI headquarters in Minnesota and at the Northeast Wisconsin Technical College to refine methods, Lewinski and his research crew last February performed a 4-day series of rigorous experiments in Oregon with the help of Hillsboro PD's training unit.

One at a time, 39 volunteers--a mixture of male and female LEOs and college students, ranging in age from 19 to 32 and with varied fitness and agility levels--proned out on mats on the floor of a vacant commercial building. Each held a .22-cal., J-frame S&W revolver loaded with black-powder blanks under their chest or waist.

Each volunteer fired 25 rounds, producing the gun and shooting 1 round as fast as possible 5 different times in each of 5 different directions: from the chest up and ahead, to the left rear, and to the right rear, and from waist level to the left rear and to the right rear. Each was told to shoot as if trying to hit an officer center-mass approaching from those various directions at a distance of about 10 feet.

Three high-definition video cameras positioned at 3 different angles filmed the action. These time-coded tapes were then synced and meticulously analyzed under the direction of safety-management researcher and doctoral candidate Madeleine Gonin at the Ergonomics Laboratory at Indiana University.

Some of the participants were also filmed by the Canadian Discovery Channel. "Each of the subjects moved in a somewhat different way, depending on what seemed most natural and fastest to them," Lewinski says.

SURPRISING FINDINGS. From Gonin's analysis of various elements in nearly a gigabyte of video footage, 2 measurements are the most significant, Lewinski explains.
One is the amount of time that elapses from the moment a subject starts his or her first, detectable pre-attack movement (usually a shifting of feet or hips) until the gun discharges. The other is the time from when any part of the gun is first visible until it fires; that is, from the time "something" from under the suspect's body--not even yet identifiable as a weapon--is first captured in a camera frame.

"All the time lapses recorded are startlingly fast--much faster than we imagined before the experiments," Lewinski says.
« Last Edit: December 03, 2010, 11:57:07 AM by Hock »
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