Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Human Factors Issues In Firearms Design And Training

March 7, 2006
Human Factors and Ergonomics Society
Firearms, unlike many tools, lack the standardization of design and training that could greatly reduce unintended injury and death.

Guns are tools. Like any other tools, they can be either good or poor at achieving their purpose. In an article published in the Winter 2005 issue of Ergonomics in Design entitled "Human Factors Issues in Firearms Design and Training," the authors look at the design and operation of firearms from a human factors perspective. Observations on standardization and the prevention of inadvertent use highlight some important ways in which the human factors/ergonomics (HF/E) community can contribute to the production of safe and effective future firearms.

Some of the problems identified by authors Peter Hancock, Hal Hendrick, Richard Hornick and Paul Paradis include the following:

  • Knowledge of how to use one type of firearm doesn't mean a person is going to be competent using other types.
  • Different firearms may use the same type of ammunition, but that's where the similarities end.
  • You don't have to be shot to be injured by a firearm; sometimes this happens when ejecting a spent cartridge in semiautomatic handguns or catching your hand on the sharp edges of some slide assemblies.
  • In some cases, it's nearly impossible to tell when there are still bullets in the chamber.
  • Even if there is a manual safety -- and sometimes there isn't -- a red spot may indicate that the safety is engaged, but sometimes it means exactly the opposite.
  • Handgun safety training courses are outdated; people taking these courses prior to 2000 got no instruction in safely using firearms to protect themselves at home.
  • Safety training does not address the matter of firearms use under high stress, when the operator may be affected physically, perceptually, and emotionally.

What can HF/E professionals do to make future firearms safer? In terms of design, HF/E research can help to determine a recommended standardized design for safeties and cylinder releases. Perhaps there should also be different standards for firearms design for different purposes, such as home defense versus law enforcement. One promising area is the "smart gun," which would recognize and be operable only by the owner, and HF/E input would be a valuable addition to design work in this area. Unfortunately, because of the long life span of firearms (collectors may own century-old guns), it could take decades for any design improvements to be effective.

"If one cannot change the tool to have an immediate effect on firearms safety," the authors say, "...it is possible to promote safer use through training and familiarization." Many accidents happen among users who either never took a safety course or had not had any training for many years -- not to mention the sometimes questionable content of such courses. By addressing the issue of use under stress, fundamental principles of pistol marksmanship, and exposure to more than one type of firearm before a user is considered qualified, training could be more effective.

The Human Factors and Ergonomics Society is a multidisciplinary professional association of more than 4500 persons in the United States and throughout the world. Its members include psychologists, engineers, designers, and scientists, all of whom have a common interest in designing systems and equipment to be safe and effective for the people who operate and maintain them.

Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Human Factors and Ergonomics Society. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.

Cite This Page:

Human Factors and Ergonomics Society. "Human Factors Issues In Firearms Design And Training." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 7 March 2006. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2006/03/060306214532.htm>.
Human Factors and Ergonomics Society. (2006, March 7). Human Factors Issues In Firearms Design And Training. ScienceDaily. Retrieved July 22, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2006/03/060306214532.htm
Human Factors and Ergonomics Society. "Human Factors Issues In Firearms Design And Training." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2006/03/060306214532.htm (accessed July 22, 2014).

Share This

More Matter & Energy News

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Government Approves East Coast Oil Exploration

Government Approves East Coast Oil Exploration

AP (July 18, 2014) The Obama administration approved the use of sonic cannons to discover deposits under the ocean floor by shooting sound waves 100 times louder than a jet engine through waters shared by endangered whales and turtles. (July 18) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Sunken German U-Boat Clearly Visible For First Time

Sunken German U-Boat Clearly Visible For First Time

Newsy (July 18, 2014) The wreckage of the German submarine U-166 has become clearly visible for the first time since it was discovered in 2001. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Obama: U.S. Must Have "smartest Airports, Best Power Grid"

Obama: U.S. Must Have "smartest Airports, Best Power Grid"

Reuters - US Online Video (July 17, 2014) President Barak Obama stopped by at a lunch counter in Delaware before making remarks about boosting the nation's infrastructure. Mana Rabiee reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Crude Oil Prices Bounce Back After Falling Below $100 a Barrel

Crude Oil Prices Bounce Back After Falling Below $100 a Barrel

TheStreet (July 16, 2014) Oil Futures are bouncing back after tumbling below $100 a barrel for the first time since May yesterday. Jeff Grossman is the president of BRG Brokerage and trades at the NYMEX. Grossman tells TheStreet the Middle East is always a concern for oil traders. Oil prices were pushed down in recent weeks on Libya increasing its production. Supply disruptions in Iraq fading also contributed to prices falling. News from China's economic front showing a growth for the second quarter also calmed fears on its slowdown. Jeff Grossman talks to TheStreet's Susannah Lee on this and more on the Energy Department's Energy Information Administration (EIA) report. Video provided by TheStreet
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.


Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News


Free Subscriptions

Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile

Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?

Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins