When in a car under fire:

In all cases the cars were well-built, European models, moving at fifty miles per hour or less. All hostile bullets were oblique shots from distances of anywhere from five to eighty meters. In the cases where I was in the vehicle, I recall a lot of glass shards, bullet fragments, and pieces of metal and plastic flying around, but there were few serious injuries. In both cases, our car subsequently stopped, not as a direct result of the attack, but because the driver panicked, drove off the road, and hit an obstacle. Had the driver simply driven away at high or even modest speed, we would have been out of there with no further drama. The vast majority of the serious injuries in armed attacks on cars result from the subsequent wreck, not from gun-shot wounds.

Lessons learned:

When in a motor vehicle under armed attack:

>Get down as far as possible and stay in the car, even if the car stops or is involved in a wreck. If you do violate this rule, be ready to fight- then and there.

>Keep the car moving. For reasons which are not fully understood, bullet penetration of moving vehicles is significantly less than that of stationary ones.

>Don’t worry about Molotov Cocktails. If one hits your vehicle and starts burning. The flames will burn out very quickly and damage nothing.

>A good driver is more valuable than a whole car full of good shooters.

>If you’re the driver, don’t try to drive and shoot at the same time.

>In car wrecks, soft body armor greatly reduces the seriousness of upper-body trauma.

>When bullets (even tracers) strike the fuel tank, nothing will happen, except that some fuel may leak out. The fuel will not ignite.

In the situations were we were stopping cars, the Lessons were:

> You must get the car stopped. So long as the vehicle is moving, no effective attack is possible. The best way to stop the vehicle is via heavy barricades, where the vehicle is trapped and cannot readily escape.

>When there is gun play, shoot the driver, not the car. Shoot all the other front-seat occupants immediately after taking out the driver.

Even thirty-caliber rifle rounds fired directly at the motor compartment almost never stop the vehicle immediately. Bullets impacting into the radiator or the tires are most effective, but, even when direct hits are obtained on these targets, the vehicle almost always keeps right on moving.

>When engaging moving targets, one must track the target continuously and carefully press off his shots, continuing to track as the gun fires. Stopping the tracking process and then firing will always cause the bullets to impact behind the intended target.

>Even with the highly-vaunted SS-109 round, the 223 Rem is still disappointing with regard to penetration. The bullet does not reliably penetrate motor vehicles with enough force to cause serious injury on the inside. Shotgun slugs and, of course, the 308 Win, do much better and are the preferred choice for this duty.

I have seen those tests were the bullets get into the car and hit the target, and I know the SS-109 round does well in these “tests.” But something happens when that car is moving which greatly reduces penetration, and I’m not so sure how many tests have been done on cars that are moving.

>Pursuit vehicle take-outs are possible but require the element of surprise and exactly the right set of circumstances. Unintended and unanticipated collateral damage is always a significant risk when using this technique.

The one thing I am adamant about is we have to continue to train individuals to be absolutely ruthless when they are in battle, precise, but ruthless. You don’t have to walk on many mass graves in this part of the world, then nervously sit down for a drink with the people who put the bodies in those graves to feel perhaps a little inadequate with the skills you possess and that pistol in your belt.