Civilian law enforcement and military operations on urban terrain (MOUT) regularly enter into unknown situations where some unidentified subset of the populace may possess armaments that may be used against them. Ultimately, the most relevant test of the effectiveness of non-lethal energies in these situations is their ability to interfere with the targeting of those weapons on the friendly forces. It is also the test that offers the most immediate and tangible reward in the prevention of personnel injuries. Perceptual interference (e.g., light-induced flash blindness) or distractions from loud noises may contribute to targeting interference. How much do various energies or perceptual interventions actually interfere with targeting? We have devised a program of experimentation that allows for the pure and precise measurement of interference with the targeting process by any of a broad range of energies and stimuli. Our primary focus has been on sound and light interference with targeting, and experiments toward that purpose are described here. As expected, targeting accuracy decreased and targeting latency increased as the distance from fixation point to the target increased. The light flash interfered more with shots at more distant targets. Furthermore, as the angle between the fixation point and the flash increased, targeting latency increased but targeting accuracy was unaffected. Thus, light
interference is greatest when the flash is not at the point of fixation. These studies suggest that foveal flashes are less disruptive than peripheral flashes, and that disruption increases as targeting task demands increase.