[LMB] Arrows

Bart Kemper bkemper at bigdogz.com
Wed, 27 Feb 2002 19:49:33 -0600


 > From: Bart Kemper <bkemper at bigdogz.com>
 >>
 >> Well this is all fine and good for a stilletto...but there is
 >> also the *thunk* of hitting ribs.  Even knives do it, let
 >> alone long pointy objects.
 >
 >
 > I've never stuck a long pointy object into a living animal by
 > hand. I have, however, driven one in using a compound bow.
 >
 > A bow provides enough energy so that a very sharp (razor-class
 > or better) blade will penetrate an elk hide, slice cleanly
 > through ribs that are a lot bigger than human ribs, and
 > penetrate the hide on the other side. You can shoot a sharp
 > arrow right through the rib cage of a 500-pound animal whether
 > or not you hit any ribs.
 >
 > The backbone and skull are enough to stop an arrow, however.
 >
 > Arrows, by the way, kill very differently than bullets. Bullets
 > use hydrostatic shock and massive tissue damage to kill their
 > target. Arrows are designed to pass right through as cleanly as
 >  possible, but cut as many blood vessels as possible. I know
 > people who have cut themselves with their own arrow and not
 > even realized it until they saw all the blood all over
 > themselves -- similar to how you can get a paper cut without
 > feeling it.
 >
 > -Mike
 >

Very true, but only of the modern broadheads with the razor edges on 
them.  You'll find before that there was a dazzling array of arrow 
designs, with flight arrows with thin metal heads for high arcing 
flight to pierce plate armor to y-shaped heads for causing LOTS of 
trauma as they enter and stick, preferably hitting bone, to some 
horrific barbed suckers that just look *bad*.  A lot of the 
damage/difficulty they caused was just having to deal with this 
painful wooden thing stuck in your in a very inopportune time to 
seek medical assistance....and as long as it was in there, it was 
causing damage.

You are absolutely correct about the difference between arrows and 
the modern bullet (as opposed to the old .70 caliber lead shot that 
had more kinetic energy/impact damage than hydrostatic shock).  In 
fact, a modern broadhead arrow fired off a suitable bow will 
penetrate bullet proof armor except for the chicken plate.

However, the differences between an arrow and a knife thrust, for 
example, are 1) there is usually considerable distance between the 
attacker and defender so that the defender doesn't' have any ability 
to react/flinch/roll, 2) an arrow is a stabilized missile that has 
its full energy committed upon release, whereas a thrust must be not 
only aimed, but maintained throughout the contact, and 3) there is 
usually not much going on directly between the attacker and 
defender...the defender usually has little chance to influence, let 
alone overpower, the attacker's strike if it from an arrow whereas a 
non-stealth strike from a blade can be contested as long as they are 
both breathing and fighting.  Therefore, it is more likely to get 
good penetration *if* you hit the target with an arrow...which is 
why they were used from bows, crossbows, traps, and other ballistic 
launchers.

bart