The Gun: a basic self-defense strategy guide

Posted: January 9, 2020 by urbantacticskravmaga in Krav Maga in General, Krav Maga Principles
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UTKM Krav Maga Gun Disarms.jpgThe gun is the tool that changed the world. Where once only the wealthy and elite had the time to train for hand to hand combat while the rest were to busy just trying to survive when the firearm arrived it made it so that the everyman could more reasonably defend themselves. It also changed how we fight wars, as no longer could war be fought on the bravery of the full-on cavalry charge. It really changed the world and it many ways slowly led to the democracy we have today, as we consider them the great social equalizer.

From a fundamental self-defense perspective though, what is a firearm? It is a straight line attack that offers an attack range greater than that of our bodies’ normal capabilities.

From a technical standpoint disarming guns is easier than dealing with knives. However, it is rarely as easy as you think. What if the opponent resists or you miss the initial disarm. When things go wrong, which we should assume they should, you will need to revert to your fundamental hand to hand combat skills while gaining control of the weapon in question. This, despite what many Krav Maga organizations imply, makes firearms disarms more advanced in nature and should not be for beginners.

Disarming Guns:

You must remember that Guns are a long-range weapon, and thus, you will only be able to disarm them if the attacker has been foolish enough to get within arms reach and has failed to control you in a manner that would prevent you from moving to disarm. This would include both Pistols and Rifles.

Disarming rifles is actually far easier than disarming pistols due to the size difference. Pistols are meant for shorter range engagements than rifles which makes them more dangerous in the closer ranges we need to be to disarm them.

Disarming a gun unlike knives should always be done from the standing position and takedown attempts are strongly not advised as you may lose muzzle control in the process.

How to deal with Gun Attacks:

No matter the type of the gun the main thing to consider is your range from the attacker and what tools you have in your proverbial toolbox. Other things to consider are if the attacker is an active shooter or a static threat.

Active Shooter

  1. Run and find Cover – This is always the best option if you are able to and are unarmed. If they have a You may not be able to though or you may need to protect others
  2. Use a Gun and SHOOT BACK! – In Israel, this is a real knife defense. However, you need to ask your self the following.
    1. Is it legal where you are to have a gun on you for Self Defense
    2. Do you have a Legal gun on you?
    3. Do you have the required skills to operate the gun under duress
  3. Charge them – This does not mean charge them head-on, but this could be a possibility if they are a terrible shot particularly with a handgun. If they have a rifle then charging head-on is not advisable. BUT, the faster the threat is taken down the faster everyone is safe. If more than one person come from different angles and charge and jump on the attacker it is the fastest way to stop the threat. Just know, there is no guarantee you will not be hurt thus this is not a decision to take lightly. Fundamentally, you must overwhelm them by Causing pain, Off Balancing and disrupting all while getting control of the weapon.

Another thing to consider is other people. There is a belief in gun disarms that you must never point the gun at anyone but the attacker. While this is certainly preferably trying too hard not to point it at other people during the attempt may result in hesitation and failure. So long as you do not get shot you can stop the threat which is the main goal. If someone is an active shooter then their goal is to shoot as many people as possible. By going for them and the gun you will 100% reduce the overall casualties and if you think otherwise you may not understand the mentality of such people. If you do disarm a gun from an active attacker and in the process, someone else gets shot, just know it is NOT your fault and you did the right thing.

Static Threat: Disarming a Gun

If you are able to get close enough to actually get a hold of the gun or weapon in question then you are in luck, your attacker has failed to take advantage of their strategic advantage of range.

These scenarios may also be the time you regret not taking acting classes. This is because a person with a gun who is close may not be looking to actually shoot you, but they may also. You may need to act in a manner that allows you to get in range. Some times you have to feign weakness or play along with what they want.

With that being said, the ideology that “Just do what they want”, is always the correct decision is incorrect. It MAY be the correct decision, but it also may mean your death. Only you will know. Sometimes they may leave after you do what they want, sometimes they might just kill you because it’s easier not to have witnessed or sometimes they just might panic and shoot you accidentally. This is why in Krav Maga we must stop the threat before it becomes worse.

It is also important to remember the Gun as a weapon operates on the straight line which means you need to get off the centerline either by re-directing the gun or getting yourself off the centerline or both. One thing to remember is that fine motor movement is not preferred in Krav Maga, yet when it comes to guns you may need to grab the gun. It is important then to remember, you must first push it off the centerline and then grab it. At speed, it looks like one step but it must always be two distinct steps.

Regardless, at all points, you MUST control the Muzzle direction as it is the dangerous part.

  1. Get Off the Center Line by Re-Directing the gun– The first goal is to get off the center line while immediately controlling the weapon. If it is a modern pistol then and it is appropriate based on the range you should have no problem re-directing then grabbing the pistol as you will be grabbing the slide, not the barrel. If it is a revolver or certain long guns, then grabbing the barrel is strongly NOT advised in which case you may consider the next step as your first step. Many disarm, especially with rifles teach grabbing the barrel first. However, this is a deeply flawed strategy especially with a rifle, as grabbing the barrel will not stop the gun from functioning and even if you are off the centerline even after one shot it will be extremely hot which may cause you to let go prematurely. If you cannot safely get a part of the gun that is plastic, composite or wood then move to the next step.
  2. Get Off the Center Line by Re-Directing the Weapon Arm – If you are unable to get the gun in your first move, then you must re-direct the weapon arm. It is also even more important especially if it is a pistol then you get your head and body off the centerline as well. The reason’s this needs to happen is the gun its self is too close to safely re-direct and grab, or you missed the gun and had to go for the arm.
  3. Control the Weapon Arm(s) – Once you are safely off the centerline you must firmly control the weapon arm. While your goal is to disarm the gun as fast as possible against a strong or aggressive person this can be difficult thus it is imperative that you control the weapon arm so that you remain off the centerline.
  4. Disarm the Gun– This must be done as fast as possible as the quicker it is done the quicker the threat is reduced. The individual may still be a threat even without the gun but at least it is out of their hands. There are only a few positions you will end up in with either pistols or long guns so remember what they are so that no matter what happens in a disarm attempt you can identify the position and do the correct disarm. Either way, Control the Muzzle while you are doing it preferably pointed at the attacker when possible.
  5. Create Space and Assess – Once you have the weapon you must immediately create space. Remember the advantage of the gun is a range, if you stay close you could also be disarmed. Disarming a person does not stop them as a threat so you must be ready to deal with them appropriately.  This step can get a little complicated depending on your skillset and the scenario but here are a few:
    1. Back away with your nonshooting hand up in a defensive position, with the gun down. This is best for civilians. Remember, if you disarm the gun and then immediately point it at the attacker and then the police show up who do you think will be the problem? Prior to this keep the space and be verbally dominant.
      1. A. In a situation where you have disarmed the gun but didn’t create sufficient space, use the gun as a blunt force weapon. Metal, composite and wood hurt far more than a fist. This must be a step as the assumption you can always use the gun as intended is not always true. It may not be loaded, or even functioning thus this becomes a great option to do massive damage to the attacker.
    2. Create space and tap, rack and be prepared to use the gun. This is the standard advice often given. If the gun was loaded or had ammunition in it and is functioning this could be the answer. Tapping and “Racking” or chambering a round may act as a deterrent to the attacker. However, if they attempt to call your bluff then you must be prepared to use this option. If you are not, then you better be prepared to move back fast as you attempt to maintain space.
    3. If you have your own firearm after you disarm and create space. Draw your own firearm. It is preferable to use your own as you know what state it is in at all times (or should). This option can be slow especially if there is not a chambered round. It also means you might also only be shooting from one hand which will decrease your accuracy.

Regardless of which option you need to do it requires good assessment. This is a second by second decision-making process based on your skill, the attacker, the environment and many other factors. The correct decision is very relative and can be difficult to make. The one thing to remember is DO NOT hesitate. Make a decision fast, and hope your training if you have any kicks in.

These many reasons are why at UTKM we do not consider anything firearms related as beginner material and are limited to advanced students.

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