Toe to Toe Tac Tuesday

I always discuss the various firearms related lessons we have on Tac Tuesday, but this is a real first for me. Instructor Greg taught us some basic and very fundamental hand-to-hand disarmament techniques. As the sign on the door says, "Simple, yet effective."

A larger than normal class turned out for this event. We are starting to get too big for our britches and may need to spread out some. Of all the twenty-someodd shooters, only six or seven were the regular 'heroes' of the Tuesday night group. We helped out by observing and coaching the newbies as they shot on the firing line. We ran through a couple of refresher shooting drills so that we could bring the newbies up to speed and quickly progressed from there.

First thing on Instr. Greg's mind was letting us experience "inducing a stoppage." For that, one of the Tupperware Ninjas offered up his Glock 17. This long slide firearm was the best platform to kick off our disarmament training with its rounded off edges and smooth surface. IG had each of us come up and grip the gun around the barrel. Our grip was an inch back from the muzzle and incorporated the thumb and first two fingers of either the strong or weak hand. With a tight Vulcan Death Grip, IG then fired one round. The action failed to cycle and, by our grip alone, a stoppage was induced. Those of you familiar with Mas Ayoob know this as 'de-fanging the serpent.' Mas goes a step further to talk about going for the mag release and dropping the magazine, but that should be reserved for when you KNOW you are going to lose control of the firearm.

Another stoppage induction we didn't do, but was brought up at dinner, was with revolvers. The first, and most painful, was sticking the web of your hand between the thumb and forefinger between the hammer and primer. Yes, I know, it hurts like hell. How do I know? I did it. Working with my dad's .38 one day, I decided to see what it felt like. Working with an unloaded gun (I verified that the cylinder was clear) I pointed it at a safe wall and stuck the meaty part of my hand in there and pulled the trigger. Compare it to having a mousetrap snap on your little toe. Yeah, feels like that.

The other revolver stoppage is done by grabbing the cylinder and holding on tightly. Now, if the hammer is cocked, you may very well be shot. Same goes for grabbing a semi-auto. The problem for a revolver shooter is that he cannot do anything but pull the trigger to advance a round. If you have a firm grip on the cylinder, then he will be unable to fire again.

As most of you already know, a lot of shooting incidents occur on, around, or within the three foot personal bubble. Some shootings occur even closer still. The intended object of this stoppage induction was to show that an armed attacker can be defeated if you can get your hand on his weapon. More often than not, we may be faced with an attacker who is less than knowledgable with guns, and forcing a malfunction will cause him to immediately adjust his thinking away from the attack. Remember when I spoke of shooting and moving? This does the same thing mentally as when you move off the line of force when you draw your weapon. The dim bulb in the Tango's brain gets dimmer still. What you have done is cause the bad guy to adapt to a changing situation. His mind was set and he was committed to a specific act. You, as the 'intended victim,' didn't act like one and ruined his plan.

**NOTE** It is best to try these techniques with someone who is QUALIFIED to teach hand-to-hand fighting. I am not an instructor, nor do I profess to have any hand-to-hand knowledge. I am merely expressing a first hand account of the lesson I participated in last night. The remaining drills were demonstrated and practiced with red/blue trainer guns (hunks of plastic cut to look like our favorite popguns!). The entire class was completely disarmed of all knives, guns, mace, bazookas, etc. REMEMBER TO THINK SAFETY AT ALL TIMES!!!

IG let us have some fun with the stoppage drill, and then turned our attention to actual confrontation. Working in pairs, we engaged in wresting control of a firearm from an attacker.

The first takedown move involved a full-frontal confrontation. One guy played the Tango while another did his best impression of the French two-handed greeting (typical interview stance). Done quickly and correctly, this all looks like a fast blur of movement. I will break it down for you, step by step.

  1. Pivot your torso away from the line of force. In other words, move your upper body away from the muzzle of the gun. This should ideally be a twist away from the gun so your strong side and the assailant's weak side are perpindicular.
  2. Your weak hand should come up in a rapid and forceful manner and firmly grip the gun. The idea is to aim for the barrel just forward of the trigger guard.
  3. While the weak hand is coming up, the strong hand should be coming down on top of the gun just to the rear of the ejection port. Get a firm grip over that gun like you are about to rack the slide.
  4. At this point, you have firm control of the gun and have moved out of the line of fire. Depending on the circumstances, you may have been shot, shot at, or caused a stoppage. This is where the fight becomes one for your life. To dislodge the firearm from the Tango, you should step into him and twist the gun in his hand. The idea here is to use your body, momentum and leverage against his wrist to pry that gun out and gain control.
  5. When control of the gun is acheived, you should push back and gain some distance from your attacker. Now, distance is your friend and you should take the opportunity to make your next move.

The danger with this move, as with the others I will talk about, is the close proximity in which you have to work. You are in a better position strengthwise when the gun is closer to you. For example, take a jar of pickles from the grocery store. Try and open it while your arms are fully extended. Very hard to do, isn't it? Now, try it again with the jar close to your chest. Comes right open, doesn't it? This principle applies to each takedown technique talked about in this Tac Tuesday class. Working close in, with the gun against the body, you have the strength and leverage available to you to come out on top.

The next take down is from an offset position to the Tango, as if you were standing to the side. This one involves pressure points and leverage against the wrist. It is uncomfortable and I don't know if there is a counter to the move.

  1. In a strong motion, bring your strong hand over the top of the firearm and grasp firmly.
  2. Bring the weak hand over the shooter's wrist. With the first two fingers, find and press hard against the middle of the wrist. This may cause immediate release of the gun as it is not a comfortable feeling.
  3. Throw your body weight into your strong hand and pivot against the gun. While maintaining a grip on the gun and pressure on the wrist, this will collapse the wrist and force the hand open. Remember that there is less strength in a bent wrist than a straight one.
  4. Push off your attacker and move to gain distance to plan your next move.

The wrist is one of the weak points to focus your attention on when going for the gun. When it is straight and locked tight, the wrist is hard to move. Moving the wrist in another direction will weaken it and allow even a weaker person to gain control. The other weak point to work on is the thumb. Working any kind of leverage against the thumb is sure to force a person to lose grip. Humans only have one thumb per hand and there is not a lot of range to a thumb. I have dislocated both thumbs before, and can say that it did not take too much force for that to happen.

The last drill we worked on was disarming from behind. We all sat and scratched our heads at this one until Greg gave an example. As he described it, we were to imagine coming up on a drunk relative who had a gun. There are two separate moves that can be used to dislodge the gun, but when used in concert, they are almost always 100% effective.

  1. Approach from the rear on his strong hand side, or whichever side Uncle Louie is holding the gun.
  2. The weak hand should come up and strike the wrist in a 'reverse karate chop.' (Hey, it's the best way I can describe it!)
  3. Simultaneously, the strong hand should come over the top and grab the barrel of the gun.
  4. The force of each of these actions separately may get the gun out of the hand, but when performed together, will insure that the assailant/Tango/Uncle Louie will loosen his grip.

Hand-to-hand fighting with an armed assailant is not something I recommend, nor do I wish to participate. It is tough, nasty, and you will more than likely be hurt. It is important that you continue the fight to the bitter end. Remember, this is a fight for YOUR life. Bite, kick, scratch, gouge, and cause as much damage as you can. Many violent attackers are scared off when the intended victim shows just a hint of a spine and fights back. For many attackers, it is about control, when they lose control of a situation, they then lose the initiative. If you are in a position to do so, shoot the SOB. If you run out of asshole repellent, pull your back up and shoot some more. If no backup gun is handy, pull your knife and cut away. No knife? Use your keys, fists, teeth, nails...etc., etc.

Get the picture? Good. Train to fight, and fight to win.

Do what you can to keep the attacker at a disadvantage. Use momentum, your body weight and any other available means to get leverage and the upper hand. One thing I remember from my judo days was to find a way to force the opponent's head down. Once he/she gets down there, the body is off balance and you can control them. It works best when you can get a hold of their sleeve and TUG HARD! Retain control of that sleeve, or grab the lapels of a jacket and you can control the fight. If their center of gravity is off, then the attacker cannot mount an effective attack.

One of the newbies brought up a valid question: Should you use the gun you just took from the bad guy?

That is a question with some glaring problems. For all anyone knows, we are dealing with some thugalicious punk with a duct tape pawn shop special. This guy probably got it from a friend who got it from a friend...etc, etc. In other words, it is an unknown variable and should not be trusted. Tuck that unknown variable someplace where it will not be a factor. Greg mentioned that once you have control and have gained some distance from your assailant, if the situation calls for it, you should draw your own weapon (your own weapon is a known variable, remember?).

If you have to use that weapon, you take a huge personal risk. You don't know if the gun is real, is actually going to work as advertised, or even if the ammo is in working order. I cannot speak for every situation where this will occur. I can only state that I will do what I can to get out of that situation first, and if need be, use my weapon as a last resort.

Hopefully, this information will be beneficial to you. I only post it here so that someone may gather a needed bit of information that may save their life. I personally hope to never use this training, but it sure is fun to learn new things.

Stay safe.

Shooter Out!


Anonymous said...

Dear Shooter,
Although you have the right to publish anything on the internet. Disarmament techniques are lessons that should be restricted to those you know are good guys. Just a thought.

Man of Issachar said...

I remember watching an old show reality tv show.

The segment was about a cop who had gotten in a tussle with a crook. He put his finger inbetween the trigger. This caused the gun to be unable to fire, his finger was also broken if i remember correctly.

just thought i was share.