Cardiovascular Adaptation during Action and Combat Shooting

Riccardo Fenici, Peter Fenici, Donatella Brisinda

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contribution


finalized to survival. In humans different emotional reactions can automatically arise in response to stress induced by life-threatening events. Fear is the first automatic reaction which boosts the instinctive reflex to "flight", from danger. Fear however can also mobilize great strength favoring "fight" and survival. This is fundamental to the police officer, whose role is to respond to the danger. During peak stress, adrenaline-induced increase of heart rate and blood pressure and perceptual distortions (tunnel vision, auditory exclusion, slow motion etc.) helps survival. However no information is available about the interaction between emotional and cardiovascular response during real shootouts and their effects on the final outcome of the confrontation. Therefore we have investigated the cardiovascular adaptation during combat shooting using two models. 1) National IPSC competition (6 shooters), 2) Man-versus- Man real combat, using paint-bullets (10 S.W.A.T officers), under different tactical interventions. ECG was recorded with solid state Holter equipment. Blood pressure was measured manually. Heart rate under stress reached about 200 beats per minute, for the occurrence of paroxysmal atrial and ventricular arrhythmias. Blood pressure behavior was different among shooters, with maximal systolic values ranging between 160 e 240 mm Hg. In individual exposed to the same stressful situation cardiovascular monitoring evidenced different physical reactions, being individual abnormal responses clearly associated with impaired performance. In combat-like situations cardiovascular monitoring is useful to disclose unperceived physical reactions and to evaluate the coping capability of the shooter.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationProceedings of the XXIV International Congress on Law and Mental Health Toronto
Number of pages1
Publication statusPublished - 1999
Externally publishedYes
EventXXIV International Congress on Law and Mental Health Toronto, June 13-18, 1999. - Toronto
Duration: 13 Jun 199918 Jun 1999


ConferenceXXIV International Congress on Law and Mental Health Toronto, June 13-18, 1999.


  • Cardiovascular Adaptation


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