Heat Strain at High Levels does not Degrade Target Detection and Rifle Marksmanship


  1. Tikuisis, P.
  2. Keefe, A.A.
Corporate Authors
Defence R&D Canada - Toronto, Toronto ONT (CAN)
A recent investigation found no degradation in rifle marksmanship due to mild heat strain (up to a 1°C increase in core temperature) even though the subjective sensation of discomfort was significant. The present study was conducted to determine the level of heat strain that might cause degradation in both target detection and marksmanship (TD&M). Hypothesis: Degradation in TD&M performance is expected in individuals that reach a level of high heat strain. Methods: Eleven subjects (mean ± SD of 28.9 ± 6.0 y, 177 ± 10 cm, and 81.2 ± 18.8 kg) participated in 3 counterbalanced trials, control (C), heat with hydration (H), and heat without hydration (D). Core temperature was increased through a combination of exercise and passive heating over 4 h. Measures of shooting performance every half hour included target detection and engagement times, friend-foe discrimination, and shooting accuracy using a small arms trainer. Results: All physiological measures and indices indicated that a significantly elevated heat strain was attained during H and D compared to C. Mean heart rates and core temperatures approached 150 bpm and 39°C, respectively, at the end of the heated trials. Aside from minor differences in target detection and identification owing to target type, no detrimental impact on TD&M due to heat strain, whether hydrated or dehydrated, was observed. Conclusions: High levels of heat strain do not adversely affect target detection and rifle marksmanship performance, at le

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heat exposure, target detection and engagement, vigilance, shooting performance
Report Number
DRDC-TORONTO-SL-2005-098 — Scientific Literature
Date of publication
01 Oct 2005
Number of Pages
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