This discussion arose from our article on bypassing body armor.  Today what seems like armor may easily be a bomb vest.  There have been several instances of bomb vests here in the USA.  And in the majority of active shooter events, there are explosives involved, whether they are successfully employed or not.  And Law Enforcement is taking this into consideration.  Here is a communication from the Training Sergeant of a major urban police agency in Arizona:


Thought you'd like to know that (at a recent active shooter training event -

(1) Head shots were encouraged

(2) Insurance shots were explicitly called for and

(3) in a multiple opponent drill, taking no prisoners was held as a valid approach to the problem.

To expand....

(1) they want the hits anywhere on meat, but if a head shot appears, do it. The training venue had the initial distances approx 50 yards, so practicalities were addressed as well

(2) Role player doing the jihadist imitation with a cell phone and a pipe bomb. Your article on Turkey was exactly on point with the instruction to put a contact shot or two in his head as you passed his body. We are accepting reality as there was no shyness about using jihadists as the bad guys in one of the scenarios.


"Can you really afford time and distraction to handcuff him?"

This brings up several points of discussion, but keeping with the issue of facing the bomb wearing bad guy, we will continue.

Some call for getting away...making distance.  That would be great in a perfect world, but distance is variable depending on various factors. Bottom line is you can't run away fast enough.  Not doing anything is not an option.  Unless you already have distance, running away is not an option.  And even if you think you have distance, a safe distance is undeterminable unless you know the nature of the IED.

Some suggest seeking cover.  That is not a bad idea but cover from pistol bullets is not the same as cover from an explosion.  I was fortunate enough to attend a medical debriefing of the Boston Marathon Bombing and got a thorough briefing on the dynamics of blast injuries.  Blasts act on the body in two ways - and I will try to keep it simple for both of us. 

First is the actual explosion resulting in extreme heat and an outward pressure wave.  The pressure wave will damage internal organs and the heat will burn skin, and lungs.  If you are behind a solid structure, that pressure wave will go around and not through it.  Its not something you will outrun, and if it catches you, like a big ocean wave, it will send you flying into whatever is next...usually something hard that will break your bones. 

Second, and subsequent to the blast are the bomb fragments themselves that are launched by the pressure wave. You have seen the images of ball bearings and glass and nails.  These are the things sent flying toward you by the blast.   hard cover will protect you and you again, cannot out run them.

So hard cover is good, but...

It is often not immediately available, and it takes some forethought to look for it. I suspect that in your day-to-day life, you are not constantly aware of cover and even if you are, the sort of cover that would actually protect you from the effects of an IED is not as available as you might think.  Picture this. You are at the coffee house getting your fix and a man walks in with a heavy coat, you glance and notice something under the coat as he walks inside - and as you try to make sense of what you just saw you realize - FUCK - IED.

Quickly now - Where is cover? - Is there cover? - How much time will you spend looking for cover? - Can you run away? - Can you run away IN TIME? - Do the people around you matter (not always...but sometimes)?

Lots of questions...can you answer them and act upon those answers in the span of one "Allahu Akbar"?

But you know what you always have with you is the ability and capacity to stand up and put a carefully placed bullet in his brain.  That is the one certainty. That is that the video of the event will show me drawing and putting every round in my Glock into his face and then whatever is left into his face as he lays on the deck.  If he still blows up, well...he would have likely gotten me anyway...but by taking the aggressive road I have a better chance of telling my story to the police responders, than having them making a death notification to my family.