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"Knock-down" effect of being shot?

Discussion in 'General Gun Discussions' started by Preacherman, Aug 15, 2003.

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  1. Preacherman

    Preacherman Member

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    Hi, folks. In a brief review of the film "Open Range" (see here), Dr. Rob made this comment:
    Now, I've heard a great many people denying that there is any such thing as "knock-down power" - particularly out of a handgun (heck, I've done it myself). However, with firearms that inflict relatively massive injuries, such as shotguns, I've seen this more than once. All occasions were in another country in a riot/unrest situation. I've seen at least four or five people get shot at close range with buckshot and/or slugs, and they literally flew backwards and/or sideways under the impact.

    The way this was explained to me by a medical guy was that with so great an injury to the chest cavity, the body's muscles spasm uncontrollably, thus giving the impression that the shot has made the person "fly" away, but in reality it's the spasmodic reaction of the muscles that causes this reaction.

    I've never seen the same reaction to handgun rounds, or rounds from a high-powered rifle (e.g. 7.62x51mm. NATO, 7.62x39 AK, 5.56x45mm., etc.). I've seen numerous people shot with these rounds, and while they've certainly fallen (and a surprising number have been able to run for a reasonable distance before falling), I've never seen them "fly" under the impact of the bullets.

    Can anyone shed any additional light on this subject? Those of you who've BTDT, or have been witnesses to such an encounter - have you seen similar reactions to massive gunshot wounds at close range?
     
  2. Moparmike

    Moparmike Member

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    While I have no personal experience, I have heard that if a gun has knockdown power for the person on the recieving end then physics would dictate that the person shooting it would be knocked down as well.

    But like I said, I have no personal experience with it, so YMMV.
     
  3. Justin

    Justin Moderator Staff Member

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    Mopar, you're right, if that's what P-man was talking about.
    But he's talking about a physiological reaction to being shot, not actually being bowled over by the round.

    In other words, a person gets hit in the chest with buckshot, and as a response all the muscles in their chest spasm wildly enough to knock them off their feet.

    Never having BTDT, I haven't the foggiest notion.
     
  4. Moparmike

    Moparmike Member

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    Oddly enough, a downwardly-plunging firey handbask
    So all we have to do now is design a phaser-like device that makes all the muscles in the chest spasm (physically or psycologically) and knocks the bg to his butt. Cool! I would have to make it look like a remote control though, and the mute button be the trigger.:D

    Ok, enough sillyness. I hope an answer is found, as the premise of the question seems quite interesting.
     
  5. 4v50 Gary

    4v50 Gary Moderator Staff Member

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    Remember Charles Henderson's Marine Sniper? It describes an incident where Hathcock used a 30-06 to shoot a fellow. The guy's response was to charge Hathcock. Hathcock had to put several rounds into the guy, including one to the brain, to stop him.

    From pages 73-74 of their classic book, "Shooting to Live" by Capt. W. E. Fairbairn & Capt. E. A. Sykes: "We shall choose for our first instance one relating to the big lead bullet driven at a moderate velocity. On this occasion, a Sikh constable fired six shots with his .455 Webley at an armed criminal of whom he was in pursuit, registering five hits. The criminal continued to run, and so did the Sikh, the latter clinching the matter finally by battering in the back of the criminal's head with the butt of his revolver. Subsequent investigations showed that one bullet only, and that battery deformed, remained in the body, the other four having passed clean through.

    A very similar incident took place more recently - though it relates to a different weapon. A European patrol-sergeant, hearing shooting and shouts of "Chiang-Tao" (robber), rushed to a rice shop which seemed to be the centre of the tumult, and there saw an armed Chinese robbing the till. The Chinese immediately opened fire on the sergeant with an automatic pistol at about 6 yards, firing several shots until his pistol jammed. Fortunately none of the shots took effect, and meanwhile the sergeant returned the fire swiftly and effectively with a .45 Colt automatic, commencing at about 10 feet and firing his sixth and last shot at 3 feet as he rapidly closed in on his opponent. Later, it was found that of those six shots, four had struck fleshy parts of the body, passing clean through, while one of the bullets remained in the shoulder and another had lodged near the heart. Yet, in spite of all this, the robber was still on his feet and was knocked unconscious by the butt of the sergeant's pistol as he was attempting to escape by climbing over the counter. Here we have two heavy jacketed bullets which did not waste their substance on mere penetration, one of them inflicting a wound which came near to being fatal. In theory these two heavy bullets should have stopped the man in his tracts, but the facts are as related..."


    The authors go on to tell of the 7.62 mm Mauser smashing to pulp the bone in one man's arm, necessitating amputation. They conclude on page 77-78: "We do not know that a big soft lead bullet will not have the knock-down effect generally claimed. All we can say is that we have never seen it. We do not know for certain, either, that a full-jacketed high-velocity small-calibre bullet will always have the effect described in the particular instance which we have given.

    "We incline to the belief that the human factor must influence to some extent the behavior of bullets. A pugilist at the top of his form can stand vastly more punishment than a man who is 'soft' and untrained. Capacity to resist shock and pain appears to be also a function of the nervous system, and marked differences occur in this respect as between individuals of different races. Perhaps that partially explains why some men are not knocked out by bullets when they ought to be."


    Sounds valid except for the race bit. I think it was adrenalin myself. My own opinion? Shot placement is everything.
     
  6. Wildalaska

    Wildalaska member

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    My understanding is that if you shoot someone with a 45ACP, he will get knocked down, but the 9mm will only wound.

    WildthatswhatIreadAlaska
     
  7. Preacherman

    Preacherman Member

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    Wild, I thought that applied only to the .50 Alaskan? :D
     
  8. Hkmp5sd

    Hkmp5sd Member

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    I don't think there is an actual "knock-down" effect in which the person is physically thrown back, including muscle spasms. There may be spasms, but they will appear more like a fish flopping around on the ground.

    On the other hand, there is human mindset. After years of Hollywood shootings, a person that is shot may react to being hit subconsciously by leaping backward. There have even been cases where a person with a non-fatal wound died because they had seen thousands of people in movies get shot and drop dead, so they did. The human mind is very powerful and if a person is convinced he is going to die, the mind is more than happy to comply.
     
  9. DigMe

    DigMe Member

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    I've shot feral hogs ranging in weight from 200 to 300 pounds with 000 magnum (3") 12 gauge loads as close as 10 yards and there was definitely no flying back. I'd say it'd have to be a muscle reaction moreso than any physics or knockdown power at work.

    brad cook
     
  10. 4v50 Gary

    4v50 Gary Moderator Staff Member

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    DigMe: if Hogs watched movies or TV, they'd know to fly back. ;)
     
  11. sm

    sm member

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    Preacherman,
    I'm hoping a Doctor or someone contributes, Because I'm really not that smart, limited knowledge, and REAL rusty on this stuff.

    Personally, I believe it is a combination of the Muscular,and Nervous Systems.

    Each skelatal muscle fiber is connected to an extension (a nerve fiber) [myoneural junction] of a motor neuron. 3 types of muscle tissue: skeletal,smooth, and cardiac. A skeletal muscle is an organ of the muscle system and composed primarily of skeletal muscle tissue, nervous tissue, blood and connective tissues. Ok IIRC, going from outside to inside ( onion-..no think of unwrapping a braided cable) Fascia covers the surface of the muscle,Epimysium lies beneath the fascia, and perimysium extends into the structure of the muscle where it separates muscles into fascicles. Endomysium separates individual muscle fibers. < getting smaller yet> Skeletal muscle represents a single cell of a muscle. Each muscle fiber is a thin elongated cylinder with rounded ends that are attached to connective tissue. I'm going to skip TO the MYOFIBRILS, these play the fundamental role of contraction. Two kinds of protein filaments (we are basically proteins and enzymes anyway) Thick proteins are Myosin / Thin protein Actin. I'm real real rusty on the bands of H zone, M line A bands sacromeres ... You got nerves in there and then the responses to nerves and muscles to stumuli ...Threat.

    Nerves are like the cable example again, so "peeling" or examining so to speak we have the schwann cells....wait( draw diagram) ok it goes dendrite, neruon neucleus, neuron cell body ummyelinated axion ( no "sheath") myellinated region of axion, NODE of RANVIER , myelin, Neurleimial sheath axon then Neurofibrils. Myelin = white. Unmyeliated= gray ( like brain, spinal cord...) I'm rusty so won't go on memory on the active transport and Inactive. Na+ and K- plays a major role with polarization and depolarization , open channels , diffused and I do recall the voltage of electrical impulse is at rest -70Mv ( negative 70 millivolts) at the peak of action potential membrane potential may reach +30 MV .

    OK we have chemicals in the body, neurotransmitters are chemicals to ( they have electrical charges...blah blah) some 30 different kinds of neurotransmitters (NTs) are produced by the nervous system.Some NTs release only one type, others 2, 3 kinds. Acetylcholine stimulates skeletal muscle contractions. So my supposition is the Flight/Fight response is affected by the victim (sober, drunk,doped[street drugs] scripted, meds...which affect how chemicals are released, which in turn affects the nervous system, which affects the muscles) Epi...err..adrenline as Gary pointed out plays a role too. I recall the example being used about sheep with MG. short story is with everthing else related to MG think about the chemical aspect. Stand on a dog house and jump off to scare the sheep.OK the sheep would make an initial response, some would -"might" move a bit--but then would literally FREEZE. The chemicals (we'll forget a moment about the other stuff) would cause the NERVES to cause the NERVES in the MUSCLE to contract...but NO elecrical signal to RELAX affording the muscle to CONTRACT again. NO movement...after a bit but each sheep was different and different muscles were affected, but 'scared stiff" as it were.

    So I think its a combo of all the above. If one sees a ball bat coming at them they "react" these above respones are going to be on a different level than if you see a balloon coming at you. The bigger the Threat ( bullet, caliber, ...etc) the greater the percieved response of victim and the body. The body is designed to protect itself, neat little computer we have, and adjusts itself accordingly.

    Anyway thats my theory and thoughts.
     
  12. DigMe

    DigMe Member

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    Hehe...

    Nah, they would have shot me first because seeing violence on TV causes violent behavior.

    brad cook
     
  13. MJRW

    MJRW Member

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    I've wondered about the statement that "if it could knock the target down, it would knock you down." It seems to me that may not be the case for a couple of reasons.

    1. The bullet is accelerating down the barrel. While the burn time of the powder is very short, we are not in fact catching the force instantly. Its the difference to me between getting punched and someone putting their hand on you and slowly pushing. You would be more able to resist the latter. The target however doesn't get the luxury of increasing force from nothing.

    2. The bullet when you are firing doesn't impact you. It impacts the gun, which then increases the square inches thereby reducing the PSI. However, the target is catching that same force in a much smaller area.

    Now, my physics was only enough to pass so anyone wanting to correct me, please do. I would rather be told why I'm wrong than assume I might be right if I am not. It just seems to me that these factors could explain why someone could get knocked down by a bullet when the shooter does not.
     
  14. hso

    hso Moderator Staff Member

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    MJRW,

    While the bullet may impact a small area that area is part of a greater whole :rolleyes: (sorry, had to), i.e. the person being shot. It is the question of why a person is knocked down or even flys away when shot not why pieces fly off that is such a puzzel.

    WRT the impulse during firing - the change in velocity is the same on both ends and the mass is the same so the energy imparted is the same. What I mean is that the force over time applied is impulse. The time for the bullet to leave the barrel of any small arm is a very small fraction of a second. The time for a bullet to come to a complete stop in a person is much the same small fraction of a second. Since the mass of the bullet won't change then the impulse the shooter is subjected to is much the same as that the person being hit by the bullet is subjected to. Energy is roughly equivalent as are momentums. Therefore, the shot that doesn't knock the shooter down doesn't knock the "target" down either. Some other mechanism than Newtonian mechanics must be at play.
     
  15. Horsesense

    Horsesense Member

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    A big stray dog attacked my Walker Coon Hound in my front yard. I shot it, with 20ga #4 shot, at about 10 yards. Unfortunately the only clean shot I had was his back leg. I know that sounds cruel but this thing had 20 lbs. on my 75 lb. $1000 dog and I had to do something. Anyway, the dog ran about fifty yards in the woods and just crouched down. I shot it at about 5 yards broadside in the chest and it did the mussel thing, if flew sideways a good five ft and was graveyard dead when it landed. I know that there is nowhere near the energy in a 20ga to do that.
     
  16. westex

    westex Member

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    Personal experience

    Several years ago while quail hunting with two hunters I knew and one I didn't I was hit from the side from about 30 yards with eight #8 pellets. Three in the stomach, three in one leg and two in the other. I'm still carrying one in my gut (makes for interesting conversations when I get a x-ray) and one against the bone in my left calf.

    When this happened I felt like someone had hit me with a 2x4 on the left side. I was knocked down on my right side and not knowing exactly what had happened kept on walking for about 50 yards until I looked down and saw blood seeping out of my shirt. One of the hunters I knew was a GP so we drove about 40 miles to his office where he found the ones in my legs. On a Saturday afternoon he dug out all he could without major surgery. Some funny things came out of this event but I won't go into them here.

    I wasn't knocked 10 feet back but don't let anyone try to tell me you can't be knocked off your feet by some little bitty pellets. At the time I weighed about 220. And did I ever hear anything from the SOB who shot me?:fire:
     
  17. Jeff White

    Jeff White Moderator Staff Member

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    I think that a lot of it is psychological. Getting shot is usually a new experience for most people. It's only natural that they may react the way their mind has programmed them to react from the only experience in getting shot they have, what the entertainment industry puts out.

    There are numerous documented instances where people have abosorbed many wounds, any one of which later proved fatal and they continued to function until they bled out. There are almost as many other instances where people have dropped like stones or appeared to be knocked off their feet by small caliber rounds hitting them in non vital places.

    I personally know an officer who has experience with less lethal 12 gauge rounds. He reports that in many cases they have had better stopping effect if the subject watched the officer aim the shotgun at them, and didn't know that it was a less lethal round being fired. On the other hand, there are several documented instances where a subject was shot with a 12 gauge bean bag from a blind side and it had almost no effect.

    I have no scientific tests to back that theory up, but how else do you explain it?

    Jeff
     
  18. Wildalaska

    Wildalaska member

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    Preacher, if I start a thread "Which is better, the 45 ACP or the 50 Alaskan", watch the fur fly :)

    WildfordorchevyAlaska
     
  19. Orthonym

    Orthonym Member

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    mjrw, hso, I beg to differ:

    MOMENTUM IS CONSERVED! (as my H.S. Physics teacher used to yell) The gun/shooter and the bullet have each the same momentum. Now, energy, that's a different story. The whole point of gun design is to put as much of the propellant's energy into the bullet as possible and the least into the gun. Think of the relative masses of bullet and gun. Think of the square term in the formula for kinetic energy. For that matter, think of the relative masses in an inelastic collision between a 200lb human and a 1/2oz bullet!(with due consideration for velocity, hence momentum, of the bullet)
     
  20. mete

    mete Member

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    It's amazing how things change - originally it was "stopping power " now it has become "knock down power" !! You should look up info on the subject by Dr Fackler he is the real expert. Better than uninformed opinions.
     
  21. only1asterisk

    only1asterisk member

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    I have covered this before, but it seems most people don't believe me. Saying that recoil would knock the shooter down if bullet impact is strong enough the knock over a target person is missing the fact that the whole design of rifles, shooting stances and techniques is to deal with recoil. The person who is being struck generally doesn't have the option.

    It is possible for a shoulder fired or handheld small arm to "knock a person down". That is, cause a person that would not otherwise have fallen down to fall quickly. It isn't to difficult to imagine a situation that this might occur. A police officer in a vest backpedals away from a man who has surprised him (armed with a .338), the guy with a rifle fires, hitting the officer's vest at the top of the trauma plate. The officer is off balance and the reduced needed to tip him over is reduced as a product of his rearward motion. The 338 has plenty of power to make him sit down hard. Imagine having the recoil of a loosely held .338 hitting you in you directly in the upper chest. You may not be knocked over. Now imaging it again, while you stick your foot out in front of you.

    Knocking a person down is a combination of some of the following.

    Body Position
    Bullet strike in relation to movement
    Bullet strike in relation to balance points
    Powerful impact with deceleration of the projectile occurring in uncommonly short duration(lack of penetration)

    It is possible, but under "normalish" circumstances the Earth, Moon and Sun have the line up with Mars just right.

    Then there are big @$$ rifles:
    http://www.serveroptions.com/humor/40.mpg
    http://www.serveroptions.com/humor/wilvid.mpg
    http://www.serveroptions.com/humor/saeed.mpg

    Recoil knocked these guys around pretty good.

    People are saying: See here, you disprove yourself!

    Witness different person with the same rifle:

    http://www.serveroptions.com/humor/ali1.mpg
    http://www.serveroptions.com/humor/ali3.mpg

    And a smaller guy with bigger rifle:

    http://www.serveroptions.com/humor/k700.mpg

    This guys feet don't even move, what gives?

    http://www.serveroptions.com/humor/13.mpg

    The fact is that getting hit with recoil that you're brace and ready for is different than getting hit by a bullet that you aren't.


    David
     
  22. standingbear

    standingbear Member

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    it has somthing to do with bullet energy and mass.the larger the bullet and the greater the energy from the bullet coupled with mass of the target.i.e. a rabbit shot with a 22 in a long rifle, is not going to just fly backwards and do the bojangles.a rabbit shot with a 22 in a 223 case,might if hit in a hard mass area(the skull,backbone)the 12 gauge on a dog sized animal at close range also will have a greater effect than would a 38 revolver or a 9mm.the 12 gauge has more mass when it hits;it spread out and retains the energy for a shorter distance until impact where it dissapates over a wide area.take a plastic jug,fill it with sand and shoot it.the sand will absorb the bullet energy in some while the high velocity rounds may penetrate.take the same sized jug w sand,fire a 12 gauge #6 load(or a buck load or even a slug) at close range..say 10 feet...itll help show what goes on with bullet energy,velocity and mass.
     
  23. Mark Tyson

    Mark Tyson Member

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    I saw, in a ballistic armor demonstration, a man standing on one leg shot at point blank range in the torso with a large caliber revolver(sorry, can't remember what caliber, but it was big). He did not tip over, much less fly back.

    By the way the shotee was the inventor of the armor. He went around the country hawking his product this way to PD's and other agencies. It's either a lot of guts or a lack of brains; you decide.
     
  24. Browns Fan

    Browns Fan Member

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    A couple of yrs ago I shot a deer that ran 40 yds in front of me at a full gallop with 00 buckshot; hit him right in the head. It was like I hit him in the head with an aluminum baseball bat. It was quite impressive!
     
  25. TallPine

    TallPine Member

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    Not one of those things in which one wants to accumulate a great deal of experience.
     
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