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Article Title

EFFECTS OF BACKPACK CHEST STRAPS ON SIMULATED SHOOTING PERFORMANCE FOLLOWING REPEATED BOUTS OF TREADMILL MARCHING

Abstract

D.T. Kidd1, J. Hannah1, B.K. Higginson2, D.P. Heil FACSM1

1Montana State University, Bozeman, MT; 2Gonzaga University, Spokane, WA

While responding to threats, a soldier’s backpack and body armor need to interact seamlessly so the soldier can focus on the threat. While load carriage and physical performance tasks have been examined in the past, it is unknown whether using a backpack chest strap while wearingbody armor will influence marksmanship performance (i.e., due to a differential influence on pack palsy) following a brief bout of marching. PURPOSE:The purpose of this study was to examine how the use of standard and modified chest straps may affectshooting performance measures while under army assault load conditions during a simulated march. METHODS:Five young healthy men (Mean±SD: 21±1 yrs; 23.0±1.7 kg/m2BMI) participated in this pilot study. During the first lab visitanthropometrics were recorded, subjects were sized for body armor and familiarized with the marksmanship equipment. The following three lab visits each began with subjects wearing all data recording and load carriage equipment (body armor 8.05 kg, backpack 14.7 kg, rifle 3.25 kg) for a shooting calibration test. Next, the subject treadmill marched at 80.4 m/min (3.0 MPH) for 20 mins before doing a shooting performance test with a laser-based M4-style airsoft rifle. These events were performed two more times in immediate succession with a computer-based shooting performance recording system (66 mins total test time). Each of the lab visits corresponded to testing one of three chest strap conditions: modified chest strap (MCS), standard chest strap (SCS) and no chest strap (NCS). The number of hits and total score from the shooting tests were averaged for each condition and then analyzed using a repeated measures ANOVA (alpha = 0.05). RESULTS:There were no significant differences between conditions for hits (MCS: 6.8±4.6, SCS: 7.2±4.3, NCS: 4.6±2.7, p=.55) or total score (MCS: 47.84±33.40, SCS: 50.6±29.94, NCS: 33.44±19.94, p=.63). CONCLUSION:There were no significant differences in shooting performance between the three chest strap conditions tested. This may suggest that the use of a chest strap is neitherbeneficial nor harmful to a soldier’s shooting performance under the present measurement conditions.

Supported withfunding and supplies by Mystery Ranch LTD (Bozeman, MT)

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