Where would you shoot to disable a vehicle?

This is a discussion on Where would you shoot to disable a vehicle? within the Carry & Defensive Scenarios forums, part of the Defensive Carry Discussions category; First off, Howdy. Lots of good info floating around here. I agree, shooting to disable a vehicle during a chase situation is a bad idea, ...

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Thread: Where would you shoot to disable a vehicle?

  1. #46
    New Member Array daddyo's Avatar
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    First off, Howdy. Lots of good info floating around here.

    I agree, shooting to disable a vehicle during a chase situation is a bad idea, and shooting the driver only slightly better. However, from a purely theoretical mechanical standpoint (long-time hot rodder here), how far the vehicle will go with a hole in the radiator will depend on what the engine is made out of. I personally drove a Chevy Monte Carlo with an all cast iron engine for about 2 years with a water temp of 300+ (thought the gauge was broken). I'd guess an all aluminum motor would last about 10 minutes or so (my brother tested that one on a Celica). Either way, it isn't instantaneous and it would still take some time for the water to drain out.

    The only way to kill the motor instantly is to take out the ignition system, but most cars don't have distributors any more. Now that I think about it, a hit to the computer should shut down an engine immediately but the location varies between manufacturers. And killing the motor isn't going to instantly stop the vehicle. Mr. Inertia still comes into play.

    All in all, if I had a choice and could guarantee a hit on my chosen point, I'd go for front wheel bearings/axle much more fragile than you would think and a car isn't going more than a few feet if they seize. If rear drive, the rear differential would be another good choice. I would also rate the oil pan higher potential than the radiator, although harder to hit. Motor will seize VERY quickly sans oil.

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  3. #47
    Distinguished Member Array nutz4utwo's Avatar
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    just some useful info to consider:

    I have a Tomtom one GPS thing in my car. It is very helpful if you are unfamiliar with an area. One of the features is a database of all police stations in the USA. You can (relatively easily) get it to navigate you to the nearest police station.

    TomTom ONE 3rd Edition Portable GPS System w/ Preloaded Maps of US/Canada - Refurbished - 1N01.083 - Buy.com
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  4. #48
    Member Array FLSquirrelHunter's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by farronwolf View Post
    I will either stop immediately or use my vehicle as a weapon
    +1

    or both

  5. #49
    Senior Member Array Phillep Harding's Avatar
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    Cars vary too much for anyone but an experienced mechanic to know where to shoot, or if there's even a place to shoot, and then it's down to being able to hit the darn target.

    Visualizing from the side, the front windsheild is a bigger target than the driver once the other car gets a little ahead (hitting fom the inside, through the passenger window), and a starred up windsheild is hard to see through. So: "Driver", "passenger", "front windsheild".

    Other than that, I don't know if shooting once and slamming on the brakes might be better. He'd hit the brakes second, or swerve, better to be first on the brakes and evade. That's assuming no one else is close by.

    Has anyone popped a 12G flare into a car? The passenger window would have to be open, of course; the flare has neither the wt nor the velocity to break glass or damage anyone shot with one. They give off a lot of smoke and a nice hot fireball should be pretty distracting.

    Probably just an amusing thought that's useless.

  6. #50
    Member Array homepcmd's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Phillep Harding View Post
    Cars vary too much for anyone but an experienced mechanic to know where to shoot, or if there's even a place to shoot, and then it's down to being able to hit the darn target...
    One of my mentors told me that your "target" when it comes to ALL moving vehicles is...







    The driver. While unpredictable in which direction or how exactly the vehicle will stop... he's ALWAYS found it to be true that dead drivers disable them.
    “We sleep safely in our beds because rough men stand ready in the night to visit violence on those who would do us harm” - George Orwell

  7. #51
    Member Array C Paul Lincoln's Avatar
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    Two or three rounds through the door, and then it sounds like a good excuse to top out the bimmer! Not many SUVs that can hang on at 130 mph or get there quickly.

  8. #52
    Member Array isaiah357's Avatar
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    alright i have a link that will ansewer this debate,


    The Box O' Truth - The Buick O' Truth


    look at it!!!
    SHOOT INTO THE CAR ANYWHERE!!!
    the glass and steel that you send flying through the car WILL stop the threat one way or the other, nobody likes a face full of glass at speed.

    of course this is purely hypathetical as i would never shoot out of my moving car, if say i was on foot and somebody was in a car that needed deadly force this is what i would do.

  9. #53
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    I will just note that ccw sized pistols are only marginal manstoppers , and you want one to stop a vehicle that the military typically uses .50 BMG cal and up on ???
    Thats a good point.

    From now on, I'll make it a point to carry my 10-shot .50 BMG behind the seat in my truck... magazine staggered with AP and APIT. If someone messes with me, I will be required to stop the truck,exit and remove rifle. If the offending party makes the mistake of returning, I will be prepared.

    I have 911 and the fire dept on speedial. I will also call the highway dept and make them aware of the road hazard with melted asphalt and large burning mass of steel sitting in the road.

    Great post!
    Its made me think of a few things I havent before.













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  10. #54
    Senior Member Array Ragin Cajun's Avatar
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    No matter what you do, if they haven't shot at you and you shoot into another vehicle, you are going to jail and it will be viewed as road rage.

  11. #55
    JD
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    Quote Originally Posted by ccw9mm View Post
    How, exactly, does one find the local police dept. in the next town, or an unfamiliar town?

    Agreed on the escape/evade plan, which is infinitely better than pulling over and stopping. But nobody seems to get specific about just how such a PD would be found anywhere but the home town. Being on a 911 call at the time is all good and well, but it's not exactly practical during E/E avoidance of a pursuing thug in a 3500 lb battering ram.
    Obviously, we can't cover every scenario, IE. "What if grasshoppers had machine guns?" But in this case, there are a couple of things:

    1. Get a location from 911, where are the cops coming from, I'll head that way. "I'm on 91 South, mile marker "X" where's help?"
    a. If someone else is in the car with you, have them talk to 911.

    2. Look for signs, most highways do have signs for the nearest state police barracks every couple of miles.

    3. If your coming into a decent sized populated area, look for "Main Street" even if the PD isn't there, it'll probably be close, and now you also have witnesses as to what's going on.
    a. If it's a smaller town the odds of this go up, most smaller towns I've passed through "just off the high way" have PD's that are almost dead center of in the middle of town.

    You can't plan for every single event that can occur, but it is important to at least have a general plan for these things.

    Around home I know almost every PD and Sheriff's office in three counties, so I really don't have to worry about that in my normal day to day activities

    A lot of times I've found myself on long road trips in states where I can't carry, worse is that through a lot of those places I've have large areas with no cell coverage, think stretches on I84 through NY state. I generally look over maps before hand and at least try to get an idea of where some of this stuff is.

    It always made sense to me, but maybe I'm just strange.

  12. #56
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    Originally Posted by ccw9mm
    How, exactly, does one find the local police dept. in the next town, or an unfamiliar town?
    A TOM-TOM GPS works great for stuff like that.

    I really like mine.
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  13. #57
    Senior Member Array ICTsnub's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Stirling XD View Post
    I read a thread several months ago about a guy in a small car getting harassed/threatened by someone in a large SUV while driving on an interstate. The other driver started out tailgating and escalated to trying to run him off the road. He had a 911 operator on the cell phone but police were still a long ways off. He finally feared for his life enough that he was ready to open fire and the sight of the gun caused the SUV driver to cease and desist.

    This situation has had me thinking about where to shoot a vehicle to disable it. Obviously, shooting the driver would bring the conflict to a quick resolution. The downside to that is you just converted a guided torpedo to an unguided, 2-ton torpedo traveling at 70 mph. Shooting the tires would definitely make things difficult for the driver, but there’s no guarantee it will stop him. We’ve all seen police chases on TV of cars running on rims. Plus, you will most likely shoot a tire closest to you and that may make him swerve into you. There are a lot of critical parts in the engine compartment that would bring a vehicle to a halt if shot. The gas line, throttle linkage and oil pan would cause the car to die quickly. But hitting parts you can’t see from another moving vehicle requires much more luck than skill. I always thought the radiator on a car was weak point that also presents a big target. But I don’t know how long it would take for a car to overheat if there was a bullet hole in radiator.

    Has anyone else given this some thought? If you decided you had to shoot to stop a vehicle, what would you aim for?
    Ok, I'm going to go out on a limb. There are only two questions in the OP. Both are in the last paragraph. So....yes I have, and I think:

    I work on a car lot, and if someone were to try to use an SUV as a weapon against me while I was on foot(refer back to the only questions in the post), I would shoot toward the steering wheel area if it was driving towards me from the front or back. The driver should be in that vicinity. The SUV is not a threat from the side in this case. At these ranges, there simply isn't time to wait for a vehicle to "bleed out".

    If I am driving, and any shot is available from the back or side, I should be able to brake, and get behind the SUV, or stop, or turn off, or change direction and make room. So if they are behind me, I'm not sure how to look back to shoot and forward to drive. I do know most cars are hurt worst in the front, so I would try to out stop him to smash his front, maybe bust the radiator, and set off air bags.(If I can out run him, there is no threat).

    Or you could shoot them in the place they did on "The A Team", blow them 20' in the air, and not hurt anyone in the car.

  14. #58
    Member Array Stirling XD's Avatar
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    I've recently learned that if a vehicle with an automatic transmission loses transmission fluid in the torque converter, the engine can't drive the transmission. The engine will still run. The driver will still have power steering and power brakes, but no ability to move under it's own power. The torque converter acts as a clutch (to put simply) and sits between the engine and transmission.

    But I have to admit, putting that little bit of knowledge to use would be extremely difficult. Hitting it would be the first hurdle. Penetrating would be the next. It's probably not the best option.

  15. #59
    VIP Member Array farronwolf's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Stirling XD View Post
    I've recently learned that if a vehicle with an automatic transmission loses transmission fluid in the torque converter, the engine can't drive the transmission. The engine will still run. The driver will still have power steering and power brakes, but no ability to move under it's own power. The torque converter acts as a clutch (to put simply) and sits between the engine and transmission.

    But I have to admit, putting that little bit of knowledge to use would be extremely difficult. Hitting it would be the first hurdle. Penetrating would be the next. It's probably not the best option.
    Yea, that would be about the least probable way of stopping an automobile. The torque converter is surrounded by metal, between the engine and tranny, way underneath the auto. Not very likely that you would even come close with a pistol of hitting it let alone putting a hole in it to make it stop doing its job.

    I guess you could lay in the road and let them drive over you and take your shot from under the vehicle.

    Handguns just don't have what it takes to stop an automobile, short of a lucky shot or hitting the driver, I just don't see it happening.
    Just remember that shot placement is much more important with what you carry than how big a bang you get with each trigger pull.
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  16. #60
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    Quote Originally Posted by Stirling XD View Post
    If you decided you had to shoot to stop a vehicle, what would you aim for?
    The driver. Aim at the top of the dash board just a little low of COM as the windshield will cause the bullet to strike a little higher than your point of aim!
    ALWAYS carry! - NEVER tell!

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