Shooting Through A Vehicle Windshield

Shooting Through A Vehicle Windshield

We have experienced a surge of new shooters and demand for firearms training in 2020 and no signs of slowing down. 

There are many benefits to this increased level of interest in becoming part of the firearms community.  It is reassuring to see more and more people take an active role in learning new skills and honing their ability to defend themselves and their loved ones.  It all starts with the four basic rules of firearms safety and learning the fundamentals.  Many of our new members and students have learned how to properly care for their firearms, clear malfunctions, utilize cover and much more through our Right On Target training classes and private lessons. 

For many of our new shooters and members the training does not stop at our entry level handgun or entry level carbine classes.  Many have continued to further their training by taking additional Right On Target classes.  All of our Right On Target Firearms Training classes were developed on a progression. 

Since not many people have the opportunity to train in and around vehicles, we did some ballistic tests using a windshield from a Toyota Tacoma and here are some of the results.  There are some other considerations to take into account and we will discuss some of those below. 

BLUF:  Shooting through glass is not the same as shooting paper or cardboard targets.

Things you need to consider.

  • Bullet trajectory
  • The angle of the glass *(Vehicle windshields are at an angle)
  • Position of shooter *(Are you shooting from inside the vehicle such as the driver’s seat or from outside the vehicle)
  • The thickness and type of glass
  • The size or caliber of the round and velocity

Remember you are accountable for every round.  So, if you are shooting through a windshield you better know what effects there will be.

Let us look at two of the most common scenarios. 

  1. Shooting from inside the vehicle through the windshield at a threat.  Keep in mind your vehicle can also be used as a weapon if the situation dictates such a course of action.  Note your point of aim and point of impact will be affected by the angle of the glass.  Your impact will be higher than your point of aim.  The angle of the glass causes the top of the bullet to impact first and changes the flight path of the bullet.  With that said, a good rule is to aim/shoot a few inches low when firing from inside a vehicle.
  2. Shooting from outside the vehicle through the windshield at a threat.  The same principles apply.  Only the angle of the glass will cause the bullet to hit low.  Thus, you should aim/shoot a few inches higher to account for this. 

Keep in mind this is only scratching the surface on the science and art of shooting through glass/windshields.  There is so much more involved in the data collection process and charting the data before a shooter can begin to accurately control where the round will impact. 

A few factors with ammunition are whether it is FMJ or hollow point, how many grains, and the size of the round.  In the photos you will see where we used 9mm FMJ 124 grain, 9mm hollow points, 45 ACP FMJ, 5.56 MOD 1 77 grain, 5.56 ball 55 grain, and 5.56 62 grain soft point,

Quick Lesson Learned:

  • When shooting through a windshield from outside aim high as the deflection is generally 2-3 inches and downward.
  • When shooting through a windshield from the inside aim low as the deflection is generally 3-6 inches and upwards
  • The driver should wear eye pro as there will be some flying debris or spalling.
  • If using a long gun or AR-pistol you can use the barrel to punch a bigger hole in the windshield to shoot through.

“You fight like you train.” -GEN. George Patton

Train with a purpose.

PREPARE | PROTECT | PREVAIL

By:  Travis N. – Director of Operations at Bellevue Gun Club

Travis N. – LinkedIn

If you are interested in organizing any specialized training for yourself, your business, department, family, etc., or if you have any questions, please call us at 425.641.2877. 

To schedule private lessons please email: rangemaster@westcoastarmory.com

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