When the Bad Guy grabs your gun …

This comes to us from a Tactical and Preparedness Newsletter I get. It’s by David Morris and this one came in via email on 1/9/2015.

tactical fight for pistol

Building on yesterday, today, Ox has 4 strategies for fighting to your gun.

The reality of violent attacks is that most bad guys aren’t going to announce their intent to harm you 20 or 30 feet away.

They’ll either do it within 10 feet, as they’re rushing you, or they’ll wait until they’re “on you” to telegraph the fact that they’re a threat.

This is an issue for military personnel, law enforcement, concealed carry permit holders, and people concerned about home invasions.

So, Ox is going to show you some of the strengths and weaknesses of traditional gun retention and “fighting to your gun” strategies, as well as a field tested and proven technique from the Australian SAS, another tested and proven technique from the SEALs, and a technique that you’ve probably never seen before, but might just be the most effective technique to use in a fight for a gun.

One of these ONLY works in a military context.  The ones that you’ve probably seen before are almost guaranteed to fail at “the speed of life” and one is so simple and effective that you’ll wonder why everyone isn’t doing it.

See the techniques right now by heading over to the blog.

Garnet92: To simplify matters, I’m including the information from the blog (Survive the Coming Collapse) here:

4 Ways to Fight to Your Gun

Ox here, with this week’s newsletter, brought to you by the “Fight to Your Gun” combatives program from Target Focus Training.  Designed and proven by and for special operations personnel, it’s the ideal self-defense program for people who want to be able to effectively handle a younger, bigger, stronger, faster attacker…even without a gun, knife, or other external self-defense tool.

I touched on this briefly yesterday, but I want to go into it in more depth today.

There are topics in gun training that become “hip” from time to time and enter the world of “pop” gun training culture.

Some of them make sense, some are solid performers, and some are just plain bad.  Still others look great in training, but don’t play out so well at full speed or in real life.

Gun retention and fighting to your gun are two of these areas that have a lot of overlap and where there are a LOT of mixed training messages.

As an example, if your gun is in your hand and a bigger, stronger attacker grabs it, what do you do?

The popular gun training answer:

It’s widely taught that if someone grabs your gun, it shows intent to use lethal force. You need to know the laws and legal climate where you live, but let’s go with that for now.

Martial arts and defensive tactics instructors normally teach a version of either a twisting technique that exerts leverage on your attacker that exploits a weakness or frees the gun through pain compliance.

The other popular class of technique is a push/pull technique that uses your attacker’s mass and momentum against them and frees your gun.

Do they work? Yes. BUT, they are specialized skills that need to be practiced frequently and regularly for you to have any expectation of pulling them off successfully under stress.

Furthermore, both focus on the gun as being the main weapon, rather than the brain and central nervous system of your attacker being the weapon you need to fear.

Two things commonly happen in a fight for a gun that also need to be factored in to the equation:

First, the gun ends up going off…a LOT of the time. If your attacker has a grip on it when it goes off, it’s going to malfunction at this time and not go into battery. (“battery” is when the slide is forward, a round is chambered, and the weapon is ready to fire.)

Second, when the gun doesn’t go off, it’s very common for the gun to go out of battery and not return to battery. Sometimes, the mag release gets pressed and the mag falls to the ground too.

Both situations mean that once you get solo control of the gun, you’re holding an impact weapon and will probably going to need to AT LEAST reduce (fix) the malfunction before it will fire again. Not a game stopper…just something you need to be aware of.

So, let’s look at where we’re at at this point. If a round went off, it’s unlikely that it hit your bigger, stronger attacker. If it did hit them, there’s a good chance that it wasn’t a fight stopper. You’re standing arms length from someone who just tried to grab your gun and you’re probably holding a gun that’s in a non-firing state.

If you continue on the “the gun is the weapon” path of logic, you’d move backwards and laterally while trying to get your gun back in the fight. As you do this, your attacker will either run, surrender, or close distance to go for the gun again or start pummeling you.

In short, it’s not clean, it’s not pretty, and it’s not predictable…except that chaos and Murphy are pretty much guaranteed.

The Navy SEAL way:

Since the mid-late 80s, one of the techniques that the SEALs have been using in situations like this is to simply lean/fall/roll back and fire. In most cases, your arms will go to full extension, your attacker’s arms will go to full extension, the gun will point straight at your attacker somewhere around the mid-high chest area, and you’ll end up with a solid hit on target.

This works beautifully with a carbine (rifle) but since pistols are mediocre at best, there’s still a good chance that you’ll end up with a non-functional pistol and an attacker who is above you, holding the muzzle of your gun, and may have several seconds or minutes of fight left in them.

At this point, it’s time to go to empty hands combatives to free your pistol and/or finish the fight. As long as you know the odds, it’s an excellent gambit to play…but it’s not a 1-shot-miracle-stop with a pistol—it requires deliberate, calculated, purposeful followup. (I’ll get to this in a minute)

The Australian SAS way:

I was “playing” with a couple of Aus SAS guys last year and we were going over ways to handle this exact problem. Their solution is to carry a knife/dagger that is accessible, 1-handed, with the left hand, and use it to cut the bad guy off of your gun if he decides to grab it. This is a great, proven technique when you’re kitted out for battle, but doesn’t work for me on a daily basis.

You CAN change how you carry your knife so that you always draw and open it one-handed with your left hand and make this work, but I haven’t traveled that far down the rabbit hole.

The Ox way:

I get to play with a lot of the cool kids, but I’m no operator, and I’ve got no pedigree or “creds”, but, unlike Ricky Bobby, I AM a thinker.

I’ve upset literally dozens of firearms, DT (defensive tactics), and martial arts instructors with my approach, but whenever I am put into this situation and asked what I’d do, my answer is “Punch his throat…if he can’t breathe, it might distract him from fighting me for my gun for a second or two to get control of my gun and do whatever I need to do.”

And it doesn’t have to be a throat punch. It could be a heel stomp to the instep, an eye gouge, clapping the ear, or another strike that elicits a spinal/central nervous system response that interrupts your attacker’s OODA (Observe, Orient, Decide, Act) loop.

Regardless of which option is best, this approach is fundamentally different because it focuses on the BRAIN and central nervous system of your attacker being the “weapon” rather than seeing the gun as the weapon…which may or may not be able to fire projectiles by the time either of you “win” the battle for the gun.

Control your attackers OODA loop, and you control the fight.

If you’re not familiar with the OODA loop, here’s another way to look at it. If you punch someone in the throat, jam your finger in their eye, or clap your hand over their ear (rupturing their eardrum), you “short circuit” higher level thought and your attacker’s “primal” brain focuses 100% on the turmoil you just caused…it’s like hitting the reset button on a computer. Their brain will work at full speed again in a few seconds, but it’s not going to get much done in the meantime until it gets booted up again.

In the context of a fight for a gun, it means that their thought will go from getting control of your gun to protecting the part of their body that you just destroyed…even if just for a moment.

During this “reset” time, you can keep piling on strikes and/or get solo control of your gun, get it into battery, and use it (if necessary) to stop the fight or engage additional attackers.

The critical component of this is that if you and an attacker are fighting over your gun, the gun is not what you need to worry about—it’s your attacker’s brain’s intent and willingness to kill you that you need to worry about. Take out your attacker’s brain’s ability to focus on killing you and you eliminate the threat.  You could have 20 guns and 20 knives within arms reach of both you and your attacker, but if your attacker doesn’t have the ability to use them, the guns and knives are not a threat to you.

The gun is simply a tool, and if your attacker is close enough to fight you for your gun, he’s close enough to use any number of tools to hurt/kill you besides your gun…including hands, elbows, etc.

Are the fancy push/pull and rotational gun retention/takeaway techniques invalid? Absolutely not. They work. They just work a LOT better if you punch your opponent in the throat or jam your thumb in his eye first.

And the best part is, the same tactic works for a lady with a purse or a man with something of value…punch an attacker in the throat and everything else you try afterwards will be more effective.

Thoughts? Questions? Comments? Share them by commenting below:

This next part is important.

I’d be lying and doing you a disservice if I said I came up with this approach.  The majority of it came from Tim Larkin’s Target Focus Training.

It has it’s roots in the Chinese warrior martial art of Kung-Fu San Soo, was refined and enhanced during black-ops missions in Vietnam, further refined in the First Gulf War, and honed to a fine edge with law enforcement, military, and civilians in the 13+ years since the Global War On Terror began.

It was designed for Navy SEALs for situations where they’d been out in the field for weeks at a time, were dehydrated, tired, malnourished, probably dealing with injuries, carrying a full load, and encountering someone who was fresh and ready for a fight.

Ironically, this set of requirements make the system ideal for civilians and law enforcement facing younger, faster, stronger attackers with little or no notice.

To learn more about the TFT “Fight To Your Gun” system, which costs less than a single month at a typical Crossfit or Krav Maga gym, click >HERE<

Garnet92: I hope that you’ve become more aware of preparing for close and personal contact, it just might be more important than practicing at the range. Sure, you can hit that bulls-eye at 21 ft., but how likely is it that you’ll be aware of an attacker at 21 ft. or more? Of course, we need to be proficient with our weapons, but we also need to be prepared if the attack comes as a surprise at 6-8 ft. The following few closing sentences are important – think about them.

Now back to the email:

Why am I so confident in the fact that most encounters will start within 10 feet?  Besides the fact that crime stats and predator behavior support it, there’s the simple fact that indoor encounters skew the stats down.

Think about your own house…how many places can you be in your house where you would encounter an attacker/home invader who is more than 10-20 feet away?

In short, you need to be prepared for encounters with attackers that happen within your reactionary gap…or too close for you to access and deploy a firearm before they reach you.

I felt that there was some good, useful information here. It does describe a problem that is likely if a Bad Guy (BG) attacks from inside of the traditional 21 ft. “combat” distance and prevents using your weapon as you intended. I readily admit that I had not given enough consideration to what happens if the BG gets his hand on my gun so that it can’t be immediately fired. The techniques described are worth remembering – just in case. I view these suggestions as akin to carrying a handgun; better to have (know) it and not need it than need it and not have (know) it.


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8 Responses to When the Bad Guy grabs your gun …

  1. Kathy says:

    You make a great point, Garnet. I’d never given much thought to that phase of an attack, but will certainly bear that in mind. Hopefully, like you said, it’s good to know and hope we never need to use it.

    • garnet92 says:

      I suspect that we’re not the only ones to have let that aspect of an attack escape attention. It rang bells for me and so I thought that others could benefit. Agree with your statement that we all “hope we never need to use it.”

  2. Clyde says:

    All good useful information, Garnet. Another useful thing is to try NOT to panic, and use the techniques and tools at one’s disposal. If one can do it, THAT can be a life saver as well.

    • garnet92 says:

      Right Clyde, panic is our enemy in all sorts of stressful situations. One way we can all avoid panic is to be prepared – as best we can – for all sorts of unexpected activity. All that really takes is thinking about what we’d do if …. [fill in the blank] happens. That doesn’t mean that what we’ve planned will work, but at least we will have considered various options and won’t be completely unprepared. And another important contributor to a successful outcome is confidence. A person without personal confidence is handicapped in any high stress surprise situation.

  3. upaces88 says:

    This is important. I need to read it 2-3 times…..

    • Garnet92 says:

      You’re right upaces, During the process of editing and posting, I’ve probably re-read it 10 or 12 times and I still need to read it again. It’s too important to let it just slip into the ether.

  4. Ox says:

    Hey Garnet, Ox here…thanks for expanding the reach on this article.

    • Garnet92 says:

      Hey Ox, thanks for visiting N&F and commenting! I was happy to repost your excellent article, it deserves more distribution – it could even save lives. BTW, I just read another excellent article (by you) on training mistakes. Since we are primarily a political blog here (as opposed to a gun-centric one), I won’t post it now, but perhaps in the future. Seems to me that some of the true gun-related blogs ought to be re-positing – it’s good stuff!