Monday, May 10, 2010

What to do if bullets start flying all around you

Zombies and raiders sound cool, but ordinary shooting incidents happen everyday

I’m listening right now while answering emails about yet another kidnap that ended up in a gunfight between the cops and police, with the victim caught in the middle.

A couple in a mini Cooper ( a very expensive car here, that translates into rich people) was kidnapped as they were entering their house and they went “ATM Touring”, getting as much money out as possible.
The kidnap ended in a gunfight in Villa Carlos Gardel, a well know slumber town. They tracked them down because the car had Lowjack tracking device, a neighbor had reported the incident.
They took the woman with two of them to the ATM, the other two stayed with the husband at their home.
What this woman did probably saved her life: She hit the floor.
In most cases where people survive a gunfight, people that aren’t doing the shooting and are caught in between, they survive because they hit the floor, going as low as possible.

If you have cover near by, that is of course better, but when you measure time in fractions of a second, you have no place to go and you’re surrounded by people that are going to get gunned down, hitting the floor and going as low as you can will probably save your life. The good guy shooting your way will appreciate it to, you just gave him green light to shoot your kidnapper.

If the gunfight continues after that initial second or two, you can drag yourself with your arms like a snake (don’t crawl) towards cover. Again, do so while remaining as flat as possible, leaving the smallest and lowest possible area to get shot, minimizing the odds of such a thing happening.
Sounds exaggerated, far fetched situation? It happens all the time.
Regarding cover, you should know the difference between concealment and cover. Cover stops a bullet, concealment doesn’t.

People sometimes underestimate the penetration power of a handgun caliber projectile. Commonly used 9mm will go through 4 layers of thin metal without breaking a sweat. This means that a car door is concealment, not cover. Same goes for most signs you find on the street or drywalls in houses. Unless it hits a beam or some structural part of a door or building combined with a good dose of luck, the projectile has enough velocity to inflict a lethal wound. A dry wall, or other thin layers of metal or plastic will hardly slow the projectile at all. Remember that steel rifle armor plate is 0.25” thick! Cement columns, brick walls or landscape that gives you a couple feet of dirt

How fast do you drop, in what way? Beats me. You probably have a suitcase with you, grocery bags. You’ll be caught in an awkward moment while putting your jacket on as you hold a purse or briefcase.
You’ll have you baby in your arms and decide right there and then what you do. Its going to be the equation of your life, where you take into account the possibility of hurting yourself (and maybe your child) if dropping like a sack of potatoes or doing it more carefully, the urgency of the situation, likeliness of getting shot, and having to make the decision that may cost you your life in a fraction of a second. I’d go for it as when doing pushups, only faster and trying to minimize the impact with my hands, but your life is well worth a few bruises or even a broken bone. If I have my baby boy, I’d drop fast too protecting him with my arms as well fall. If its my older boy I’d grab him by the neck and pull him down along with me, the priority being getting down as fast as possible, minor injuries a far distant second place.



Anonymous said...

Well, this is what I've read. Like potential bomb threats, you should protect yourself by laying down, pointing feet at shooter to protect your vitals as much as possible. Another hint, this by a TV show (Surviving Disaster) - stay away from walls by at least a foot. It seems bullet richochets travel along the walls, so staying away from the faces should help.

Just saying is all - investigate this and verify.

Anonymous said...

When I joined the US Army back in 1989,my father gave some advice.

When the bullets start flying make one with the dirt.

It came in handy during Desert Storm and later during my stint in Sarajevo.

So Col. Coopers advice is and has been prove to be very sound. I've lived it.

Anonymous said...

could you please elaborate on the difference between pulling yourself like a snake along the ground vs crawling while traying to stay as low as possible (in terms of survival advtantage)?


Joanna said...

Try a Krav Maga fall break: Bend at the knees and let yourself fall parallel to the floor, like you're dropping into bed. While falling, put out your arms in a crucifix position and strike the ground with your palms as you land. The striking motion forces your head up and rounds your shoulders, making for a softer landing with less chance of injury. Also, because you literally land flat on your back, your weight is distributed across your entire body -- compare to catching yourself on your hands in a forward fall.

Bones said...

I inadvertently once got behind an unlicensed pharmaceutical salesman as he began dunning a customer with an overdue invoice by spraying 9mm bullets into his front door. Had the customer decided to negotiate via high velocity lead I would have been directly in the line of fire, putting me at risk of receiving an unearned errant overdue payment notice.

The only cover available was behind nearby cars. The best place to be seemed to be low behind the front wheel. Any projectile would need to got through the engine block and the steel of the front wheels.

Fortunately the customer decided not to dispute the charges.

Unknown said...

I have no experience in such a situation, but I do have a question.

If a shooting happens in a crowd, like a subway or sporting event, does everybody else hit the floor too? It would suck to hit the floor and then get trampled because the people stampede over that guy on the ground.

Ryan said...

I'm in a profession where we "do" gun fights. We train that in almost all situations (unless someone is very close) it is best to maybe fire a shot then get to cover or at least flat on the ground before responding further. If you don't have a gun or otherwise (if 2 randoms on the street are shooting at each other do I want to get involved?) are not participating then skip the shot and get behind something or down.