Feasibility of Audio Training for Identification of Auditory Signatures of Small Arms Fire

Report No. ARL-TR-5413
Authors: Kim Fluitt, Jeremy Gaston, Vandana Karna, and Tomasz Letowski
Date/Pages: December 2010; 50 pages
Abstract: Soldiers are exposed to weapon fire, and the ability to identify a specific weapon can greatly improve their situation awareness and enhance their combat effectiveness. Soldiers usually learn to identify the acoustic signatures of these weapons when on the battlefield. Live fire demonstrations prior to missions are important for Soldiers auditory skills development, but such demonstrations are not always available and are usually limited by the number of weapons available for comparison. The purpose of this study was to assess the feasibility of conducting auditory training in the recognition of small arms fire using high quality audio recordings and headphone playback. Eighteen subjects (ages 22-53) participated in the study. Several recorded exemplars of sounds produced by four weapons (AK47, M4, M9, and M14) were presented through headphones. Participants were allowed to train at their own pace, were tested using the recorded material; and were taken to a firing range where they were tested a second time using live fire sounds. Results of the study show that participants ability to identify the four weapon sounds improved with training and that the results of the training with audio recordings of small arms fire translate well to live fire situations.
Distribution: Approved for public release
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Last Update / Reviewed: December 1, 2010