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Importance of Ergonomics in Semiautomatic Weapons Selection

NCJ Number
Police Chief Volume: 59 Issue: 12 Dated: (December 1992) Pages: 21-24
V Atkins
Date Published
6 pages
This study examines the relationship between certain weapons characteristics and controllability, then relates these desirable characteristics to hand size and criteria for weapons selection.
As semiautomatic weapons have evolved into handguns thought to be appropriate for police work, and the characteristics of police officers have expanded to include more women and smaller men, appropriate criteria for weapons selection has become increasingly important. A literature review provided background information in five areas: (1) weapons selection methods and criteria; (2) upper-body strength; (3) recoil energy; (4) bore axis; and (5) hand size. An examination of 50 male and 50 female trainees revealed significant differences between males and females on all measures. Females have a smaller hand size and less handgrip strength than males. While increased strength may be developed through exercise, other factors (such as grip length) are unalterable and must be taken into consideration in weapons selection. The study supports the hypothesis that weapons suitability can be determined by comparing hand size with the known characteristics of a specific weapon. 1 table, 15 notes