Running From Danger – Straight Line or Not?


running from dangerRunning From Danger – Which is more effective? Straight Line or Zig Zag?

“Serpentine! Serpentine!” is a line from a movie made in the 70s called “The In-Laws” where two men are trying to escape men shooting guns at them. The resulting scene is one that has been referred to many times in cinema since then. The concept is simple: run in an erratic pattern and you make a harder target to hit. But does this really work?

At Survival Life they shared a study on whether or not travelling in a straight line or in a zig zag pattern is more effective when running from danger. The results are interesting from a test that was run by a Firearms Training expert from the Ohio Police department. He had people run in three different ways whilst being shot at with paint balls fired from a Glock 17 pistol.

One group was told to run in a straight line, another was told to run in a crouching position and the last group was to run in a zig zag pattern. The shooter started out with his back turned while the runner had to run a 30 yard distance to shelter and avoid getting shot. The results of the test were that running in a zig zag pattern was only slightly more effective (between 2-9 percent). So although many prey in the wild adapts the pattern of running erratically to escape, perhaps the advent of modern weapons have made it less effective.

 To see the shooting test in more detail, click here:

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