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Tunnel Vision


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  • Tunnel Vision

    I can remember the first situation I was in where I was faced with using deadly force. I remember the whole world going black around the guy, and not seeing anything but the gun and his hands. When I think back, this scares me to death. It did not at the time, because I did not have time to be scared. I had made up my mind to kill this guy, because he was going to try to kill me. There were no other Officers there and I had a good back drop, but still, to think that my mind did that, is something I can't explain. That was a long time ago, and I have been in a few similer cases since then, but the tunnel vision did not come. Have any of you ever had that happen to you? It happened when I was a rookie, I had been of of FTO for about 2 weeks. I remember thinking in the academy when they told us about tunnel vision how it sounded crazy. Anyway, I just thought I would ask. Be Careful.

  • #2
    Tunnel vision

    I've had the experience. It was over 30 years ago, but it's as vivid today as the day it happened. Don't agonize over it. In discussions with Officers who have had similiar experiences, it sounds pretty natural. Train well, maintain and enhance your shooting skills, stay safe!!


    • #3
      I understand how disconcerting that can be.....

      Forgive me, but I am a bit surprised at your surprise -- In my academy, our range instructor walked us through all the physiological responses your body goes through during a deadly force encounter. The tunnel vision is a natural by product -- your mind focuses on the most dangerous threat to you. Also- - I would bet that you cant remember hearing anything during that time either. That is a response called auditory exclusion - your mind automatically tunes out non-critical sounds so you can focus on the immediate threat.

      These are all normal and helpful responses to critical incident stress -- You aren't weird or odd --As a matter of fact, if that didn't happen, then I would be more concerned... It sounds like nobody prepared you for these in training --- Do they talk much about this in your academy?



      • #4
        On top of just discussing tunnel vision, your academy should have induced it so you could feel the effects. When I went through, we were put through it in both shooting and driving scenarios. Most developed it, some did not. Everyone learned from it, and when the ones that developed it were recycled through the scenarios, it was lessened if not gone altogether. Which is not to say it won't happen again to them, but they were far more familiar with the effects than if someone had just told them about it sitting in the classroom.

        In other words, what you felt was not an abnormal reaction to a high stress situation. After the first time you realized it for what it was and pushed through it on subsequent occasions. I only wish academies would induce high stress situations and discuss the tunnel vision aspect as well; the results of it can be deadly.


        • #5
          I've never actually experienced tunnel vision, but when I pulled the trigger, I noticed the auditory exclusion. I never heard the shot, but I distinctly remember sound of the casing hitting the ground, but no other background noises.


          • #6
            Originally posted by Blazin413
            I've never actually experienced tunnel vision, but when I pulled the trigger, I noticed the auditory exclusion. I never heard the shot, but I distinctly remember sound of the casing hitting the ground, but no other background noises.
            I have to concur. I was forced into a gunfight in a back corridor of a large shopping center with a drug dealer. The corridor was high walled concrete. Several of us had said previously that we sure wouldn't want to get into a shooting in there because of the echo. We always thought it would be deafening. However when it did happen it was like a muffled pop.


            • #7
              I was just involved in a shooting a couple of weeks ago. I cant say anything about the actual shooting because it's still being investigated.

              I didn't experience tunnel vision, but did have some audible exclusion. I didn't actualy hear the gun shots during the shooting but remember my ears ringing after the shooting.

              Time seemed to slow down and I remember seeing the casings fly out of my gun like in slow motion.

              Audible exclusion begins to set in when your heart rate gets over 145 bpm. The way to over come this and tunnel vision is to remember your follow through. We practice the scan down scan technique to help us break the effects of tunnel vision.

              After the threat is gone you scan for a second or third threat then get another sight alignment on the original threat in case it decides to rear its head again.

              Remember to Breath!
              Last edited by MOGSOT; 04-11-2007, 03:35 AM.
              The views I share are my own, and do not represent the opinions of my employing agency.


              • #8
                Mine was 23 years ago. I fired a .357 Magnum revolver in a small, dark neighborhood bar. On the range, I knew the sound to be deafening and at night there was a tongue of fire extending four to six feet from the barrel. Inside the bar, I perceived the sound to be no louder than a dropped beer bottle and the muzzle flash to be a dim flashbulb. There were also seven witnesses that all said I yelled "Drop it!" twice before I fired. Although I remember the incident vividly, I still have no recall of that.
                Tim Dees, now writing as a plain old forum member, his superpowers lost to an encounter with gold kryptonite.


                • #9
                  Although I never had to pop it, I had 'er out, pointed and about 1/2 pound pull several times. In each occasion, the tunnel vision occured.

                  The most vivid was on a cold night on Interstate 80 - suicide by cop. 16 year old kid jumps out at the same time I was getting out, has a Browning High Power 9mm tucked in his waistband. His hand reaches for it and I've already got my .40 out, pointed and ready and I never knew I had done it. It was just there in front of my eyes, front sight on his heart.

                  Trucks and traffic wizzing by and I never saw or heard them. I saw only him, his gun and his car behind him. He keeps reaching, then backing off, reaching, then backing off; each time, I nearly crack two off. His hand never got within 5" of the gun, but he kept starting for it, screaming, "C'mon! Shoot me, Shoot me or I'll shoot you!"

                  I finally talked him down and proned him facedown, but I was so worked up I had to just hold him at gunpoint till back up got there (25 minutes later) so they could disarm.

                  It was -15, but I was not cold in just my shirt - no jacket. I never heard the traffic, but later heard from a trucker who said he almost ran me over, air horned me and everything, because I was standing in the lane holding my gun on tis stupid kid.

                  Truly a sensory "trip" had heard about in the academy and then experienced. It's real and a normal reaction. The body shuts down every sense it doesn't need, adding strength to those it does - in this case, sight and touch. My vision was crystal clear and I could feel the trigger like it was part of my finger.
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                  • #10
                    I have had it twice... I think they call it up here tachy psychy effect... or something like that.

                    First time I was in a wreck heading to back up another officer at an officer involved shooting, heading down the hwy at (they figured my speed out from the yaw marks, as I had no time to hit the brakes) to be 170 km/h (about 106) mph... I was on the through highway with the right of way, when an unlicenced16 year old w/o dads permission, took his car and blew a stop sign dead into my path.... I had enough time to crank the wheel to the left and say "oh F#$K!!!"... hit him sideways... cut his car in half at the firewall, I spun out coming to rest about 150 meters from the point of impact... but the tunnel vision set in, the friggin airbags came out in slow motion, literally, I saw them unfolding before my eyes.... Bad scene.... I was lucky only a couple cuts/ bruises and broken cheek bone....I was luckier than him... no seat belt, gets ejected out the back window of his car lands on his head... airlifted to trauma center 300 miles away, on life support... lives to try and sue me and my dept... so you wanna be a copper eh???

                    2nd time did the half pull of the trigger as a guy was running at me with a tire iron over his head.... all I saw was his chest, my sights, and the steady pull of the trigger, but he decided different and ran into his house....

                    I can tell you it exists, I have experienced it, I don't know If you can train to overcome it but you can train your gross and fine motor skills to react even when effected by it.

                    Play safe!
                    Last edited by Tack69; 04-11-2007, 09:37 PM.
                    Play hard, play fair, and above all play safe!


                    • #11
                      When i had my gunfight two years ago, i fired my M-4 3 times. I remember not hearing the actual shots being fired, but a ringing sound after all of it was over. I also can remember the slow motion "matrix" style movement going on. Was crazy.................


                      • #12
                        Originally posted by Blazin413
                        I've never actually experienced tunnel vision, but when I pulled the trigger, I noticed the auditory exclusion. I never heard the shot, but I distinctly remember sound of the casing hitting the ground, but no other background noises.
                        That strange, I've never heard of that-not that it means anything. Not being stupid but was the case hitting the ground loud to you? If you would, PM me please. I am doing a little research on this type stuff.
                        "Laws that forbid the carrying of arms. . . disarm only those who are neither inclined nor determined to commit crimes. . . Such laws make things worse for the assaulted and better for the assailants; they serve rather to encourage than to prevent homicides, for an unarmed man may be attacked with greater confidence than an armed man." - Thomas Jefferson


                        • #13
                          My partner and I answered a D/V call and were looking thru the apartment complex for the guy. As we rounded a corner at the north end of the complex five to seven shots rang out, we jumped back behind the wall, I could smell the gunpowder, I knew it had to be close and I figured he was shooting at us. 6165 Shots fired, shots fired....I peaked around the corner and there he was, a hispanic male, walking towards me with his hands out of view...I'm screaming at him, let me see your hands, put your mofoing hands up now...I remember hearing sirens in the distance...I stepped out from behind the wall...I remember his face...looking for his hands....my finger tightening around the trigger...seeing him bring his hands up and not seeing a weapon but continuing to walk towards us...a blank stare on his face...I don't remember what happened after that...my buddy told me that I kicked him in the stomach...as he lurched forward I grabbed him by the neck and threw him to the ground...I remember looking up and seeing cars from other agencies in the drive of that apartment complex and I remember thinking, Wow..they call came because of me. I looked down at my weapon and saw that the hammer was cocked almost all the way back....one more pound of pressure and he would have been breathing thru a new hole.
                          Moooooooooooo, I'm a goat


                          • #14
                            I had a shoot out dec 5th. I experienced tunnel vision at first but as i was shooting at the idiot i snapped out of tunnel vision when he hit me with the slug I had auditory exclusion the whole time I couldnt even tell them how many shots i had fired I thought i shot 3 but aparently it was more like 6 or so. After I was hit everything wasnt in slow mo anymore it was double time and i was ****ed. Im just glad i was able to get through my deadly reactions initally. I was ambushed couldnt have preapred for it but id never been under that stress before maybe they can stress that more at our academy to help reduce thoose reactions.
                            ‎"I'm angry. It's okay. I'll process my anger. I love myself. Whoosah.


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