A Traffic Stop Experiment

There is no way to predict and few ways to categorize the actions that occur during a traffic stop.


When suspects rushed the officer at slower than a running pace, officers gave verbal commands but did not get their OC out. This gave the suspect an advantage. Several times suspects shuffled up to the officer and ran the last few paces. OC was deployed but the officer would then be forced into additional action. The most effective response is to get the OC out early enough for a steady stream to the face.

The time for OC deployment averaged about 2 seconds throughout the test. This included draw and aligning the thumb under the cap. What changed was the accuracy of the stream and the decision-making process of the officer. If the officer got the OC out quickly, the assailant ran into the stream.

Training works

If LET were to deduce anything from these efforts, the more times scenarios were run, the better the outcome. Succinctly, training works. Nothing new, just reinforcement of what was already known.

Additionally, Airsoft training works. The products are inexpensive, work like the real thing and cost pennies to fire. Airsoft products fit the holsters and accessories of their real-life counterparts. They sting just enough for targets to be reminded why they are seeking cover. They are accurate enough to be a viable training venue. Agencies that conduct Airsoft training should consider a safety policy that includes full-face protection and appropriate clothing.

This experiment's data should not replace an agencies own investigation and data collection on traffic stops. The purpose is to continue the conversation, not circumvent training or second-guess current doctrine. LET encourages agencies to use Airsoft and inert OC to assess their own training needs.

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