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Mark Rivera, Customer Retention Manager and CJIS Security Compliance Officer with Vigilant Solutions, served for sixteen years with the Maryland State Police, retiring at the rank of First Sergeant with thirteen of those years at the supervisory and command level. He holds a Master of Science Degree in Management from The Johns Hopkins University and Secret clearance through the FBI, Baltimore.

Departments : Officer Survival

Bullet Proof

What do you do when the bad guy seems invincible?

June 01, 2003  | 


When presented with a deadly force situation, we have been trained to aim and fire our duty weapon at the chest, or "center mass." Why? This area presents the largest portion of the body. Typically speaking, we also know that once shot in this area, most people will stop their aggressive actions against us.

So imagine your disbelief when a threat continues to progress-even after you've delivered what would normally be considered "incapacitating" rounds. You think to yourself, Is it the gun? The ammo? Did I hit or miss? I had to have hit, but he keeps coming. Imagine the thud of realization when you determine your adversary is wearing body armor.

Good guys are not the only ones wearing armor these days. Some high-profile incidents have made this painfully clear.

In 1997, we watched in awe as two California bank robbers absorbed numerous rounds of fire and were able to continue their assault on officers in the North Hollywood bank robbery shootout. In 2000, escaped convicts dubbed the "Texas Seven" stole a vest from the lifeless body of Officer Aubrey Hawkins after he was murdered while responding to a robbery call. The Midland County SWAT team recently encountered a suspect wearing armor and brandishing an AK-47 while serving a narcotics warrant. An investigation revealed he had purchased the vest from a local gun store. These days, a suspect can sit back on his newly stolen computer, tap into the Internet, and order a vest for a couple of hundred bucks or less.

A technique known as the Mozambique, or "failure drill," helps address this growing problem. To follow this technique, if an oncoming threat appears unaffected after a couple of rounds to the chest, you are to raise your weapon and secure a single shot to the head. That will work. However, it doesn't hurt to have more than one alternate plan up your proverbial sleeve. Why not submit a third option?

Center Mass is Center Mass


A kneeling position helps to avoid over-penetration.

The "A, B, C" or "1, 2, 3" method of training presents three options for taking down a deadly threat.  Instead of aiming for the torso, usually considered center mass, and then not knowing what to do if it doesn't work, change the way you think of "center mass." When viewed as a target, a person can be divided into three zones:

A=torso (Center mass)
B= head and neck
C= pelvic/femur joint area

For the traditionalists who teach "center mass" target acquisition, you can continue to teach the center mass concept. Just further break down the area into center mass of chest, center mass of head, and center mass of the pelvic joint area.

CONTINUED: Bullet Proof «   Page 1 of 2   »


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