On the Efficacy of Headshots

I was watching the Nova special on the Kennedy assassination and I saw something remarkable. They fired a rifle bullet through three feet of pine wood boards and the bullet looked nearly pristine. Then they fired the same type of bullet into a human skull filled with ballistic jelly. Half of that bullet had disintegrated.

Think about that for a moment. In terms of damage to the weapon, an inch or so of human skull is harder than three feet of wood. Imagine how hard you have to be striking to actually crack the skull. And how damage that is causing to your weapon in the process.

Of course cracking the skull isn’t required. The combination of a bleeding head wound and a concussion can certainly end a fight. Though it make take a few seconds (minutes?) for the effects to be felt and you’ll have to defend yourself in the mean time.

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2 Responses to On the Efficacy of Headshots

  1. Aaron Harmon says:

    A concussion can cause almost instant disorientation or unconsciousness, not to mention the demoralizing effects of a head-shot and the possibility of damaging an eye or the ability to breath properly. I do not know why it would necessarily take minutes to affect someone. I would think a thrust to the body that did not hit any major organs could take minutes to disable an opponent through blood loss.

    • Grauenwolf says:

      Concussions are weird things. Sometimes they affect people immediately, sometimes they seem fine but die hours later.

      But even if the wound is superficial, having blood streaming down my face sure as well would demoralize me. Just give me a few seconds to realize it’s happening, then stab me in the back when I turn to run.

      As I understand it, even thrusts that do hit major organs can take a long time to disable a person. From everything I’ve read a cut is more likely to end a fight, even if the thrust is more likely to be lethal.

      My point, if I have one, is that any wound isn’t necessarily an insta-kill. We all need to train how to break measure safely and not falling into the tourney fighter’s habit of freezing after scoring a hit.

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