Quote of the Moment

"Beep Industries currently has no openings. This is a good thing. Any number of career paths are better than game development. Lots of jobs are more lucrative and far less work. We hear marketing and animal husbandry are filled with potential."

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Shoot Him In The Gun!

I'm a little surprised none of the gunbloggers I read seem to have covered this yet, but the most recent Mythbusters covered the popular "disarm the poor bad guy by shooting his gun" myth that's popular both in the movies and with anti-gun advocates who've gained their gun knowledge from movies.

Unfortunately, there aren't a lot of videos up on Discovery.com, but here's a summary and some of my own observations.

1. Even under lab conditions, you can't knock the gun out of someone's hands 100%. The first test they guys ran was to make a mechanical analogue with the same grip strength as a human hand, and try to shoot the gun out of it. Even with perfect alignment, they couldn't successfully shoot the gun out of the hand when it was pointed forward in firing position.

2. Lead Bullets + Steel Guns = Flying Fragments. The tests referenced above also revealed what happens when a lead bullet strikes a gun: the bullet fragments, providing fast-moving chunks of lead that go in multiple, unpredictable directions. Take a look at the start of this video. In the full episode, they show that a number of the bullet fragments hit the guy holding the gun, and had the gun been next to the head of a hostage, it's entirely possible some of the fragments could have hit the hostage too. Lead fragments and unarmored human tissue aren't a happy mix.

3. You can't predict the human element. To test variations in human reactions, they worked up a way to have the user hold a gun that fired in a different direction, simulating the shock of a bullet hit, and remote fired the gun when the holder wasn't expecting it. Here's a video explaining the design, and the physics that make it work. Jaime dropped the gun two out of three times. Adam never dropped it. Had Adam been an actual target, he could potentially have gotten his gun up and a center of mass shot off even after his gun was hit.

Admittedly, the show wasn't perfect. I would have liked to see the show take the experiments farther, testing different calibers and bouncing a few rounds of a Glock or another wonder-nine, but this did have some great visuals and proof.

What did the episode teach, really? For people who actually make the "well, the cops are trained marksmen, they should just shoot the bad guys in the arms, legs, or gun", this should provide some solid visual and scientific proof for why shooting someone's gun is a bad idea. People will still get hurt, and it's not reliable.