The Speed of a Prone Subject

Law Enforcement Executive Forum

Law Enforcement Executive Forum

Authors: William J. Lewinski, Dawn A. Seefeldt, Christina Redmann, Madeleine Gonin, Scott Sargent, Jennifer L. Dysterheft, Patricia Thiem

A within-in subjects research design was used to examine the dangerousness of an assailant in the prone position in relation to the speed at which the individual with “hidden hands” can fire a weapon. Forty participants were recruited to fire a handgun in five directions from a prone position. Each participant’s initial area of body movement and time to weapon discharge was recorded. Results suggest that partici-pants can fire a weapon from the initial movement of any body part to discharge in a little over half a second (M = 0.61 s), and the time from first object sighting (noting something was in the hands) to discharge was approximately one-third of a second (M = 0.36 s). Repeated measures analysis indicated that the fastest shooting times occurred in the chest up position. The head and upper body most commonly moved first when participants shot from the chest up position, while participants first moved their feet and lower body in all other positions. Lack of previous research points to the novel nature of this article. The speed with which a prone subject can turn and fire a weapon can be applied to officer training and policy.

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