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"Dead Right": Recognizing Traits of Armed Individuals

NCJ Number
FBI Law Enforcement Bulletin Volume: 75 Issue: 3 Dated: March 2006 Pages: 1-8
Anthony J. Pinizzoto Ph.D.; Edward F. Davis M.S.; Charles E. Miller III
Date Published
March 2006
8 pages
This article presents findings from several studies on the identification of traits of armed subjects in the preparation of police officers for potential violent encounters.
Knowledge, awareness, clear thinking, and finely tuned observation skills may give police officers an advantage when confronting armed individuals who may give off specific and unique signals indicating the presence of a firearm. Clothing characteristics and behavioral traits are some of the things that an officer must look for when encountering an individual, they must also consider the individual location, surroundings, and circumstances. Is the individual dressed inappropriately for the weather and temperature conditions also check the accessories and items being carried by the individual. Especially unconventional firearms—handguns disguised as other objects. Behavioral traits include individuals not using holsters to carry firearms, they frequently touch the weapon to make sure that it is still hidden, secure, and accessible. Female offenders usually prefer small weapons or automatic pistols easy to conceal in a pocket of their outer clothing. However, in the absence of these traits and characteristics, officers must still keep their guard up in any type situation that presents itself. Law enforcement officers must be prepared for a violent encounter when confronting a suspected armed subject. This article presents findings on the traits of armed offenders that have been obtained from three studies which were conducted over the past 15 years.