Discussion in 'Strategies, Tactics and Training' started by Wichaka, Jul 22, 2018.
...life is not flat.
Louis Awerbuck did some exercises/training and wrote at least one article to help people understand this reality.
Unfortunately it is difficult to get the point across with paper targets--we're trained to assume that if the bullet hole shows up in a good spot on the 2D target then it is a good hit. What is really needed is some kind of 3D target so that people can see that when they aim for (and hit) the "heart" on the front of a 2D target that's at a steep angle to them, what they really did was punch a hole through the fat or muscle on the front of the chest rather than penetrate into the torso to hit the heart.
Here's a good video (not Louis Awerbuck) on the topic.
The grade A option would be a torso like this, covered with a T-shirt:
The company doing those is called All Ballistics.
One of those without organs will cost you at least $500. With organs it will be more than double, even if you want it without the bones.
Louis had a target similar to what the OP posted. You can make a reactive 3d target with a ballon, an old shirt or jacket and some rags or crumpled paper.
Inflate the ballon to the approximate size of the “kill zone”. Tie a string long enough to come up out of the collar and tie to the target frame. Place it in the shirt or jacket, then stuff the area around it with the paper or rags and hang it from the target frame.
When the shooter hits the “kill zone” the ballon deflated and the target falls from the frame.
This is good to teach shooting from other perspectives then face to face. Usually gunfights don’t start with both sides squaring off in the street like in an old western movie.
Realistic 3D targets, like the one JohnKSa included in Post #2 and Odd Job included in Post #3 would likely produce effects comparable to an actual human body but are well outside the range of what most shooters can afford.
Recently, my son took a forensics class. What they used as a stand-in for a human body was meat. for about $100, they were able to fill a union suit (with legs and arms stitched shut) with bones, organs and muscle that responded closely to the gunshot photographs the instructor had. In particular they were able to observe the effect of a bullet contacting bone on the trajectory. Plus, when the shooting part was over they were able to expose their "corpse" to the elements to study insect colonization and wildlife predation.
Action target has a pretty decent selection of 3D targets for reasonable prices. I've been a fan of: https://shop.actiontarget.com/content/dst-insert-3d-target-scoring-cardboard-insert.asp
Just mount them on a piece of wood or PVC and you can orient them however you like. Sure it's not a full torso, but it's a decent approximation of where the student needs to be aiming anyway.
I used fiber optic spools, took them apart and used the heavy cardboard tube...which is about torso size. I flatten them down a bit to get the body shape, and use spray adhesive to put the anatomical target on.
Very effective in teaching students about angles, and that center mass isn't always accurate.
Awerbuck came to our LE instructors seminar twice, once for shotgun and the other for pistol. He's got the personality of a brick, but very insightful about range issues.
You know he passed a few years ago?
Yes, talked to some of his acquaintances awhile after...his medical condition was too much for him.
A great loss to the instructor arena.
I can recall my first exposure Louis and his target manipulations. We all turned our backs to the targets and it sounded like he was wadding up and tearing the paper targets. On his signal we turned around and engaged...there was a lot of hesitation down the line that first time. As all the paper targets were folded, some parts torn off and all placed on the backers at odd positions along with the target stand being angled.
As he pointed out, one can spend a lot of money on fancy and moving targets, but in the end nothing will replicate the movement of the human body. So the best we can do is mix it up and present to the shooter something they've experienced little of...angles!
I introduce my students to such things with my Run the Gun classes, and before taking the class most think its a basic course. To me it is, as I firmly believe there are certain things every shooter needs to know from the start...but after two days, none have said this was a basic course.
Guess I need to rework the description a bit.
If you have a "department store" near you that still uses mannequins for showing clothing, try asking them if they have any damaged ones that they are going to trash. To cut down on their waste stream (and reduce their cost for it), they MAY be willing to let you have some damaged ones for little to no cost. If the damage isn't too bad, you can probably fix them with what used to be called "muffler bandage", a fiberglass screen mesh (like windowscreeen) and 2-part epoxy.
You could also try gauze mesh and wallpaper paste for the repairs, esp. after shooting holes in the mannequins.
I'm glad you mentioned the repair part. I used mannequins years ago...oh, 20+ or so years ago, and it didn't take long to have plastic pieces flying all over the range! Lol I would recommend wrapping them first to keep them intact longer. Then again, maybe they gave those to me for a reason...hopefully newer models are not plastic style.
A weird thought just occurred to me. Do you remember making a model as a kid with paper-mache? Instead of the fiberglass mesh and resin to hold the mannequins together, "white school glue" OR wallpaper paste, and newspaper, all over a chicken wire form. This way you can shape your own "torso".
Just a thought.
Wow, there's something I haven't thought of...will have to find a mannequin as a pattern.
The one in the pic that started this, is a heavy thick cardboard tube from a fiber optic spool. Pushed into shape and flattened a bit. Then using spray adhesive, the paper target is attached.
I've been using these in all my "Run the Gun" and "S.A.T." classes. The tube is thick and heavy enough that it will take a few hundred rounds before it needs to be thrown out.
They have been great learning tools
3D targets are easier to visualize and it helps understand more which part should we aim for. Using 2D targets could blurr our perception of realistic targets and that we'll end up missing them at all.
Well, the easy summary is that with paper targets, aim for the center. With 3-D targets (live and dummy), aim for center mass. I've always been trained to aim for center mass of the target, whatever center mass is presented.
2D versus 3D - This is why I regularly counter people that claim "shot placement is everything" with "Shot placement is nothing without trajectory and penetration." People seem to associate stereotypical external locations as "kill spots" without consideration of the location of the actual structures inside the body relative to the shooter.
I see the 2D-3D issue with hunters as well and it results in a couple of issues. They know from silhouette targets that show a perfectly perpendicular side view exactly where the kill zone is and always shoot it from level ground (few gun ranges have significant differences in elevation between shooters and targets). The first issue is that when they get in the field, they shoot for the silhouette kill zone regardless of target orientation and their elevation relative to the target. Unlike self defense shooting, these are folks that got to pick and choose when they were ready to shoot. They actually end up with less ideal shots and a lot more tracking involved, sometimes with very poor shots having resulted, because their bullet tracked true along its trajectory and then missed or did much less damage to vital organs because the shot placement was made as if the animal was standing perfect perpendicular to the hunter and it wasn't.
The second issue is that hunters will sometimes opt not to take perfectly good shots unless the animal is standing perfectly perpendicular like a silhouette target. In one regard, this speaks well of these hunters not taking shots about when they are not confident. In the other regard, this speaks to their lack of understanding about what they need to do to make a proper kill shot on a target that is not perfectly perpendicular.
Bottom line, as the orientation of the target differs from the shooter, shot placement will need to change as well. The amount of difference between the shooter and the target will dictate the amount of change needed in the shot placement to garner comparable results.
This topic brings to mind my early entry into archery. This was back in the mid 70's, compound bows were the new thing and 3D foam targets were just coming on the market, thus they were pretty pricey. Most individuals and small clubs shot cardboard silhouettes or pictures of game animals due to the high cost of foam targets. A more experienced hunter was telling me about shots on game and how a shot on a flat target, was different than a 3D or an animal at an angle. The standard instructions always were, "shoot just behind the shoulder" or "shoot for the far shoulder" but he showed me how an angled deer of 45* presented a much different perspective. A shot from an elevated tree stand really changed things. His advice rang true and I still remember it. He told me to "picture a volleyball hanging between the two front legs and drive my arrow through the center of the volleyball regardless of angle or your elevation. "Shoot the volleyball" rang true regardless of where I shot the outside of the target. This "volleyball" concept applies to practical pistol shooting as well. Punch the center out of a volleyball suspended in the center of the targets upper chest, no matter where you have to shoot the outside surface to get the "volleyball"
I've used a target of cardboard. It is folded into a 'box' a stylized human torso (a 3D version of an IDPA target). Then a proper sized balloon is placed inside to represent the heart. The target is then placed downrange at any angle to the shooter. One is then limited only by resourcefulness and range limits.
This is something that being a hunter really helps with. Shot presentations on game in the wild are rarely ideal. Taking a quartering presentation makes you think about the path of the bullet through the chest cavity. I think it was American Hunter or possibly Field and Stream that used to, or still may, have a section dedicated to these mental exercises in which they show a game animal, present the viewer with a weapon, range, and wind conditions, and challenge them to pick a shot or pass. You quickly become accustomed to judging angles and then imagining a line the near side to the offside shoulder, or the point of the onside shoulder to the last rib of the offside.
Though is sounds morbid, I will sometimes do similar exercises while watching a movie on tv or going about my day. Imagine a random bystander in the convenience store pulling a gun, assess the nearest cover or concealment available to you, your shot presentation, and your background. Running these "what if" scenarios goes a long ways to keeping you aware of your surroundings and your brain engaged in "conflict resolution mode."
A company I take classes from now regularly uses "green dudes". Plastic(?) torso shells. Very useful for examining shot placement from angles other than head-on.
It WAS American Hunter that had a one page quiz called "You Call the Shots" and it usually had a handgun, archery, and rifle based questions. They would give you wind speed, direction, distance, background dangers, etc., as these sometimes made us think about or ethics. They haven't had that page in the magazine for several years.
With a person turning a bit...what was once a viable shot window of 8", narrows down to 3-4" in an instant.
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