Where would you shoot to disable a vehicle?

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; 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 ...

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Thread: Where would you shoot to disable a vehicle?

  1. #1
    Senior Member Array Stirling XD's Avatar
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    Where would you shoot to disable a vehicle?

    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 thereís no guarantee it will stop him. Weíve 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 canít 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 donít 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?


  2. #2
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    Shooting the vehicle would be illegal in my state, so I wouldn't shoot to disable a vehicle. I would shoot at the driver of the vehicle and if the stress made me miss, very likely, and I happened to disable the vehicle, then so be it. However, I would have been shooting at the driver to stop the threat to my life.
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  3. #3
    JD
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    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.
    And there's the problem.

    Shooting a vehicle is a no-no. It's kind of that whole "know your target" and what is beyond.

    You don't know what that vehicle is going to do when you start sending rounds into it, it could swerve and kill other pedestrians / motorists, you could shoot through a body panel and kill the wrong person if there are other passengers.

    Too many things can go way to wrong.

    I just don't get these auto "chase" incidents. I don't get why these people don't just E&E to the nearest PD.

    And remember, if you're being followed. NEVER GO HOME!

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    Senior Member Array Cthulhu's Avatar
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    +1 for JD's post.

    I'd drive to the nearest police station or sub-station. I've got my ideas of where to shoot, but I don't want people thinking it's a good idea, or putting an eye out when they try it and the bloody thing ricochets, so I'll keep it to meself.

    -JT

  5. #5
    VIP Member Array Rob72's Avatar
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    There are usually better solutions. Personally, you don't shoot to disable a vehicle with less than 12g/.30 caliber.

    Now handgun rounds through the door panel, that tends to get a driver's attention. Lots of important stuff that people reflexively react to, below the sternum. Even folks that "don't know better" usually don't like the thought of being shot in the belly.

    I would take a good defensive/offensive driving class. If you feel you may need to shoot through a car, I would recommend the Hirtenberger L7A1 9mm(IIRC). Subgun ammo that's really hot, with superior penetration. Hard on pistols, so don't shoot it recreationally, and buy a Wolff +P hammer & mainspring, if you carry it.

  6. #6
    VIP Member Array farronwolf's Avatar
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    Why not just pull off the side of the road, and when the person gets out of their vehicle shoot them if they are that big of a threat? The car is already stopped and is not going to go out of control. You have a semi stationary target, and you don't run the risk of running off the road yourself when your trying to aim and shoot a gun while driving.

    I can't think of any reason to shoot from my vehicle while I am driving it. If someone happens to threaten to shoot me while driving or takes a shot at me from another moving vehicle, I will either stop immediately or use my vehicle as a weapon before drawing and trying to engage in a firefight while driving.
    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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  7. #7
    Senior Member Array Stirling XD's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by JD View Post
    I just don't get these auto "chase" incidents. I don't get why these people don't just E&E to the nearest PD.
    That would be a the best thing to do if possible. However, not all interstates are in populated areas. If you are not familiar with the area, exiting could put you at a bigger disadvantage and reduce the number of witnesses. In many parts of the west, it's not uncommon to travel 20 to 30 miles between exits. And those exits may lead to even more remote areas.

    I'm not saying there aren't better options to opening fire. I have always wondered about vulnerable points on a car.

  8. #8
    Ex Member Array Ram Rod's Avatar
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    Where would you shoot to disable a vehicle?
    Without a LAAW rocket? HHmmmm---I dunno. Never thought about it. Taking out the radiator will still take a while for full effect, a few miles at 70mph more than likely. I'd say use other methods.

  9. #9
    Ex Member Array FN1910's Avatar
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    Unless you are lucky there are no real vulderabilities of a car. You could shoot the radiator and it would finally run hot and freeze the engine up. Shoot the gas tank and hope it runs out of gas, shoot the tires but that is iffy at best if you are riding down the road and will slow them down. But as for a magic shot to disable a car it has to be a magic shot. You shoot the driver and that is your best bet for disabling the car.

    Preferred action is to keep driving until you can get to a safe place. If you can't and have to pull over then get out and take cover. When the other driver gets out then shoot him. All the rest is movie stuff and lucky shots.

  10. #10
    JD
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    Ok, how about this, you're in a car, there's a car along side you / behind you, what ever.

    How are YOU going to physically shoot the radiator (located dead center of the front end) with a pistol while safely driving your own vehicle?

    *Note most of us are right handed, so are you going to stick your "weak hand" out the window with you're only other defensive tool other than your car?

  11. #11
    VIP Member Array David in FL's Avatar
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    The only reason to fire is in response to a direct threat to my life. In that case, I'd aim for the individual that represents that threat.....

    The car never did anything to me......

    To be honest though, I can't envision a scenario where I'd have to resort to shooting if I'm in my own, operational vehicle.

  12. #12
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    If you've got time to draw your pistol, and take your eyes off the road to aim, then you're probably not under a threat that justifies firing a shot.....

    Matt
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  13. #13
    VIP Member Array Redneck Repairs's Avatar
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    Totally aside from the moral/legal problems with shooting at a moving vehicle ....
    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 ???

    Allrighty then LOL .
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  14. #14
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    Shooting from a moving vehicle at a moving vehicle is movie/TV stuff.....

    Just try it with your finger sometime.......While driving down the road. try to shoot your finger accurately. It's harder than you think....
    Quemadmodum gladius neminem occidit, occidentis telum est.-Seneca

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  15. #15
    Member Array madmunky40's Avatar
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    shooting from a moving vehicle.....that's a no no.
    i'd get his plate # and vehicle description pass that on to 911 and try to safely drive my vehicle.
    "It is better to live one day as a lion than a hundred years as a sheep."
    - Italian proverb

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