Monday, March 10, 2008

T-Shirt of Death

Michael Bane has a post up which should be of interest to all shooters interested in defence. It focuses in on an experiment conducted by an LA police officer after he heard that gang members were practising shooting at the little white triangle of exposed white T-shirt commonly worn beneath LAPD uniforms.

Curious he set up an experiment with a mannequin on the range dressed in a uniform with a piece of paper representing the t-shirt. He selected a group of shooters he knew to be of average skill-

Explaining only that this was a "quick course in low-light shooting" so as not to tip off the true point of the test, Richards led each officer to a spot about 10 feet in front of the target. He told each to draw at the sound of a timer buzzer, step to the left or to the right, come up on target, fire 3 rounds as fast as possible, then scan the area. By incorporating movement, scanning and time pressure, "I wanted to distract them from thinking too much about the target."

These are officers trained to aim centre mass remember.

In his low-light experiment, by contrast, more than 80% of the shots across all the officers and all sets of fire hit in or immediately around the Triangle of Death simulated by the peek of white paper. In other words, Richards concluded, in low light they overrode their training and focused their shots on what was most vividly visible. All the officers confirmed in a post-shooting debrief that the patch of white had drawn their aim.

Amazing how under the minimal stress of a shooting test, training went out the window and instinct took over. Something to bear in mind if you own a gun for the defence of yourself, family or home. Think also of the targeting effect of what you're wearing.


RickR said...

If I remember correctly, that was the thinking behind Batman using the bright yellow crest on his chest, to get bad guys to shoot at the stongest part of his body armor.

Jay.Mac said...

That's actually the first thing I thought of too- not surer of the story (maybe Dark Knight Returns) but there's a scene with him running across a tight-rope or cable and a sniper hits him on his bat logo.

He says something like, "Why else do you think I wear a target on my chest?"

Anonymous said...

Please re-read the Michael Bane Blog it was a police officer in Mundelein Illinois that did the experiment based on information he heard about LA