Blood on the Sand: SWAT vs. GSG-9

April 23, 2010

Spike.com has asked Max and I to share the load of writing "Blood on the Sand" this year. As this is the first time I've written the blog and the first time you've heard from me informally, I'll introduce myself and the format that I have planned prior to delving into some SWAT vs. GSG-9 "post mortem."

The best way to introduce myself is to point you towards my website, GeoffDesmoulin.com. Everything you ever wanted to know about me and more is there BUT in short I was recruited for Deadliest Warrior based on my background as a Biomedical Engineer, Karate Black Belt, and former Emergency Medical Technician.  My biomedical research aims to further understand the biomechanics of injury so that preventions may be engineered and new treatments developed. The black belt is in Isshin Ryu Karate (Okinawan style), but I currently train at a local Systema club (Russian-based) in Calgary, Alberta, Canada.

Due to that background my interest for the blog lies in the science behind why the warriors are so deadly and how we'll be testing them. Consider it a compliment to Max Geiger's witty "Maxizm's" and historical perspective; from me you'll get the Biomedical Engineer's perspective. For example, a brief intro to the match-ups, weapons that I think are interesting, and why, equipment that will be used to test those weapons, how that equipment works, and why it's important for the simulation's accuracy. Further, you'll get some behind-the-scenes stories from warriors that shared combat experience with me. In summary, Spike.com has given me a bi-weekly free for all to geek out about the upcoming match-up... you have been warned!

Warriors in The True sense (SWAT vs. GSG-9)

Now, of sheep, sheep dogs, and wolves... unfortunately most of us are sheep.  Going about our daily lives, ignoring and sometimes criticizing sheep dog factions like SWAT and GSG-9. Why? They look like wolves. They have the same coat: they wear body armor and ballistic rated helmets, they have fangs: they carry the latest in night vision sighted high-powered sniper rifles and the new 6.8mm assault rifles. Sheep find it more comfortable to keep this wolf like creature hidden away; it naively comforts them that "all is well." Then the day comes that sheep are confronted by wolves. Some sheep die, others scatter, while sheep dogs switch on, kit up and finish the fight.

Consider the following anonymous but "real" accounts. School shooting, multiple dead, many injured, unknown number of gunmen still armed and their location unclear. Two police officers and two paramedics arrive on scene, run toward the gunfire at a nearby building, while students clamor in the opposite direction screaming, disoriented, grabbing at the first responders in an attempt to save themselves but in essence are inhibiting the rescue operation. 

Entering the building, the four rescuers hear gunfire coming from the second level... the police officers decide that the elevators are tactically superior to the stairs, the paramedics follow suit. In the elevator, the police officers discuss a plan to exit the doors and advance in the direction of the gun fire once the second level is reached. This is where one paramedic froze and s*** himself, while the other started crying and assumed the fetal position in the far corner of the elevator. The police officers exit the elevator, open a suspect classroom door and one is immediately shot and falls to the ground, his partner advances and exchanges gun fire with the assailant... takes a grazing bullet to the side of the head, but he loses that eye and falls to the ground. The assailant advances on him attempting a "coup de grace."  BUT, like any good sheep dog he had counted his discharges and new that his 9mm only held one more round AND with his good friend hit, one eye, and a single round... he raised his 9mm and shot the a-hole between the eyes. Yep, I teared up at this as well.  

Cool Points That Didn't Air

LWRC PSD - Okay, so this is rock solid BUT did you know why the 6.8mm round was designed? It was designed to combine the positives and remove the negatives of current 5.56mm and 7.62mm NATO ammunition. The current standard 5.56mm round is a quick round and carries a moderate amount of energy potential. While the 7.62mm round is slower and carries a larger energy potential. A quick round is more accurate since it gets to its target faster and has less time to be influenced by wind, rain, and other environmental distracters while a round with more energy potential has greater take down power. The 6.8mm combines the high velocity and therefore accuracy of the 5.56mm while maintaining energy potential close to that of the 7.62mm. Best of both worlds.

Did you also know that the sighting system on that weapon and shown in the show has an EOTech heads up display technology sighting system? Woot! It can switch from cross hairs to red dot reticle. Anywhere that red dot lands on the ~1inx1-inch display is where your round will land. It's designed so that the operator can keep both eyes open during shooting. This is important since during a high stress situation both eyes are kept open by the body's emergency response system in order to get as much info on the threat as possible... so it makes sense to build a sighting system that supports that.

One more point! I'm geeking out! You were warned! X26 Taser: I tested it on a 1K Ohm resistor that mimics the resistance of human flesh and hooked up an oscilloscope that allowed me to calculate the amount of electrical energy that it imparts on the body. I tested the X26 in two conditions:

1) both probes touching the resistor mimicking both probes embedded cleanly into the skin and

2) one probe touching the resistor and the other one about ½ inch away mimicking that one probe is obstructed by clothing say a thick leather jacket.

What I found was that the energy imparted to the body was virtually the same in both cases! Why? Tasers push only a small current, BUT in high resistance situations like poor contact with the probes it has a high voltage (50,000 V) that it can draw off of to push that same small current (i.e., safe and effective under various conditions).

Okay, I'm done geeking out for this week. Find the hosts of Deadliest Warrior on Twitter at @maxgeiger, @drdorian, and @geoffdesmoulin.

If you missed the latest Deadliest Warrior episode that Geoff refers to here - SWAT vs GSG-9 - stay in the loop by watching it on Spike.com.

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