Considering the amount of time most of us spend in our vehicles, it’s surprising how little training time is devoted to the proper utilization of vehicles in a gunfight. Officers and armed citizens alike should be trained to maneuver their vehicle from danger or to address a threat from both inside and outside the vehicle, depending on the situation. If you’re inside your vehicle when shots ring out, you must first decide whether to evade or engage the threat. If you engage, will you do so from inside or outside the vehicle? If you exit, you need to know how to best utilize your vehicle as cover.
Evade Or Engage?
If you perceive a threat while behind the wheel of your vehicle, consider maneuvering your vehicle around the threat, if possible. This could be accomplished by making a quick turn at an intersection, executing a u-turn, backing directly away from the threat, or even driving past the threat. When maneuvering out of the kill zone, lower your profile in the driver seat to make yourself a smaller target and utilize the cover provided by the engine block to your advantage. If the assailant is actively shooting innocent citizens, you might decide to engage rather than evade. Of course on-duty officers are duty bound to engage the threat, so a purely evasive response is not an option.
If an assailant is pointing a firearm at you or a third party and is afoot or even seated in a vehicle, ramming him might be your best bet. While running over a gun-wielding assailant isn’t a commonly taught tactic, it certainly has merit. Why would you stop your vehicle and engage in a gunfight when you could simply put the “pedal to the metal” and achieve the same result with arguably a greater chance of success and less potential for injury? In-car video footage reveals that most officers don’t consider using their vehicle as a weapon. However, it’s hard to dispute the weapon potential of a 4,000-pound vehicle in motion.
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by Denis Prisbey / Feb 7, 2010