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Friday, May 10, 2013
Shooting Through Automotive Glass
Many of us spend a significant amount of time commuting, running kids from one activity to another, or on errands for our business. In some states, commuters spend several hours in their cars each day. For nurses who travel, salesmen, drug representatives who deliver samples to physicians offices, we sometimes travel into neighborhoods which can be problematic. Road rage incidents can sometimes descend into someone approaching you in your car, with a firearm in their hand. There you are sitting in your car, in traffic, unable to run, and with your most precious cargo, your family and children sitting in the car with you.. All of us should therefore know something about shooting through automotive glass. I was watching NCIS Los Angeles this week and I was wondering how they always seem to compensate for this, and avoid getting shot to boot. Suffice it to say, television makes shooting and the consequences of doing so, simpler for storyline's sake.
1. First of all, I wish to say that this is not information to be used when you have road rage or are angry yourself. Firearms do not belong in the hands of anyone but the stone cold calm, and sober. This information is for use when a.) you have no option of retreat (like me stuck on Interstate 29 South of DC but in Virginia, pinned in the front and in behind, but with an angry man exiting his car and walking over to me, for example, or approaching me with a tire iron while I have kids in the car, for example)
2. Glass deflects a round somewhat and can alter the bullets course, and so it may be necessary to fire multiple times in order to vanquish your threat. After two rounds, your own glass will be gone and deflection is no longer a factor.
3. Here in the South most of us drive with sunglasses anyway. When we fire through automotive glass, this may also result in some level of eye protection. Sunglasses are also a good idea because we are more likely to see a threat approaching.
4. After watching some of the videos, at the link below,which unfortunately will not embed here, please do the mental preparation for someone approaching your car with lethal force, and think about your alternatives from BOTH your driver's side, and your passenger side of your car.
Several years ago, a homeschooling Mom was accosted while driving her minivan with her young son in a Richmond, Virginia, McDonald's. A man and two women appeared to be trying to abduct her young son. The car was locked but the women continued to try to get in through a minivan side door near the boy, which was not completely closed. The woman hit the man with her car, and sped away. These three persons have continued to try to abduct children, and remain at large. Please mentally prepare as to what you would do, if a similar circumstance befell you, with either a child or a grandchild.
5. In the scenario of being approached by someone planning to use deadly force while in your car is a difficult situation as you are being required to meet deadly force with deadly force more quickly than many of us feel comfortable in terms of retrieving our weapon. In addition, this is an uncomfortable scenario for many of us because in a vehicle, we are unable to line up a hot quite the way we normally would in practice. This can also be difficult for those who are left handed (As the approach from your driver's side would cause you to need to fire with a right hand, when your right hand may not be dominant. This is one reason we all practice with both hands.
6. We need to realize that in this scenario, we will likely need to fire more shots than normal, because the glass itself can not only deflect the round, but may alter its effectiveness otherwise. (It can actually damage the round itself.)
7. There are striking differences in glass deflection potential from side windows as compared to windshields. Please watch the video carefully. There is also variation in terms of the type of car.. Through the windshield, the initial round will tend to arrive at the target much higher. The second shot, through the ruptured windshield should arrive closer to the target. Keep in mind that once again, you will likely need to shoot more rounds than you normally would to vanquish the threat.
8. For those who are interested, the caliber round in the video is a 40 smith and wesson.
9. You have multiple challenges in having to fire at someone who approaches your vehicle with potential to use deadly force. a.) You will need to retrieve your weapon and use it in a position in which you have never used it before, and do so quickly. b.) the noise of firing your own weapon within the car, so close to yourself and potentially your children may be intimidating, and could cause a hazardous intimidation with hesitation. c.) shooting through auto glass may also diminish your shooting accuracy, even at close range.
10.) Many states have special laws which add penalties to shooting from a car. These were designed to make criminals think twice about drive-by shootings. However, self defense in your car in the face of a mortal threat is legal in the US. Make sure you check into the laws as they apply to your state with regard to this scenario. Remember that it is still better to go to a coroner's inquest and be ultimately judged by 12 than be carried by 6.
Personal Defense Network has a number of videos on this and related firearm and other issues.