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Thread: Defending Against A Gun Grab

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    He's Grabbed Your Gun! Now What?
    Source: http://www.lawofficer.com/news-and-articles/columns/Nance/gun_grab.html;jsessionid=D157DF44B0466F63F8D3FA6B0 9FEC4F7

    When your gun is in-hand and a suspect grabs it, you better have a plan. I know what you're thinking, "I'll just shoot 'em", right? That might seem like an appropriate response initially but before you bet your life on that tactic, consider these factors.

    If the first round misses the suspect because he averts the muzzle, subsequent attempts to fire the handgun will likely result in the weapon malfunctioning, since the suspect's grip would almost certainly prevent the slide on a semi-automatic handgun from cycling. (I've experienced this time and again during retention and disarmament training using Simunition guns). Obviously if the weapon is unable to cycle, it's not going to go "bang" when the trigger was pulled. But, for the sake of argument, let's say your first round struck the suspect.

    Remember that the vast majority of handgun wounds are survivable. Unless the round struck an extremely vulnerable portion of the suspect's anatomy, it would not immediately incapacitate the suspect. Highly motivated suspects, such as those who would attempt to disarm you are often capable of fighting through the pain of being shot once.

    Don't get me wrong, shooting a suspect who grabs your firearm might help your cause. However, shooting him might not be enough. What you need is a reliable method of maintaining possession of your handgun that enables you to get the upper hand during the stress of a close quarter life and death confrontation.

    A commonly taught technique for retaining your drawn handgun involves pushing the muzzle of the weapon toward the suspect, then pulling and twisting the handgun from the suspect's grasp. When a suspect attempts to disarm you, strike him with the muzzle to inflict pain and distract him. When you pull the handgun toward your chest, twist the gun (counter clockwise if you're right handed). This will likely result in the front sight cutting the suspect's hand, compromising his grip on the barrel of your gun. In most cases, this method of handgun retention would be effective. But what if the suspect is twice your size and has hands big enough to palm a basketball?

    The Push, Pull, Pry Method
    If the suspect still has hold of your handgun after vigorously executing the technique described above, it may be time to resort to Plan B, which in this case is the Push, Pull, Pry method of handgun retention.

    This tactic involves using the forearm of your non-gun side to post against the suspect's wrist. This is best accomplished by moving your arm counter clockwise (for right-handed shooters) in a circular motion. Now step forward with your gun side leg at about a 45-degree angle. Then pivot on the balls of your feet to face 90-degrees to your left. Pull your handgun toward your chest to the close-quarter shooting/handgun retention position while using your forearm to pry the suspect's hand(s) from the weapon. If possible, maintain contact with the suspect's arm and grab his wrist, forcing it downward. This action serves to off-balance the suspect and reduces the likelihood of your muzzle crossing paths with your non-gun side arm. It also places you in a relatively safe position on the outside of the suspect's arm.

    Once the suspect is off-balance and his hand(s) have been dislodged from your handgun, pivot on the balls of your feet to face the suspect. Your handgun should be held high against your pectoral muscle, in the close-quarter shooting/handgun retention position, with the muzzle oriented toward the suspect. From there you should be able to create distance and or employ personal body weapons to facilitate the standard malfunction clearance (tap, rack, assess) described below.

    From the ground
    When someone is trying to take your gun, you don't want to be trying to decide between technique 15A or 17C. Under these circumstances, commonality of technique is vitally important. The same basic skill set should work for all in-hand retention applications regardless of your position relative to the suspect.

    In the unfortunate event you should find yourself on your back with the suspect on top of you, you can execute the Push, Pull, Pry method as described above, with only slight modification. Essentially, it's the same technique minus the footwork.

    One important consideration when retaining your handgun from your back is to move the gun to one side or the other prior to executing the technique. This affords you much better leverage and serves to compromise the suspect's balance. To attempt this technique with your handgun held in front of your chest (between you and the suspect) would be difficult, since the suspect would have a tremendous leverage advantage.

    Tap, Rack, Assess
    Anytime you have been in a struggle for your handgun, it's a good idea to tap the magazine to ensure that its properly seated, rack the slide to clear any malfunctions, and assess the situation to determine if firing at the suspect is appropriate.

    Keep in mind that the Tap, Rack, Assess maneuver can be performed with one hand. For instance, if while on the ground your handgun is out of battery, you could tap the magazine on your leg, the ground, or even on the suspect (in the form of a combative strike). You can rack the slide by placing the rear sight on the top of your holster and briskly sliding your arm along your leg. You are then in position to orient the muzzle to the suspect and assess the situation.

    All you need to add this valuable tactic to your repertoire is a little spare time, a willing training partner, a non-functional training gun and a pair of gloves (to reduce the possibility of injury to your training partner's hands).

    Start slowly and concentrate on proper technique. After you've developed good body mechanics, pick up the speed and have your training partner provide resistance. See for yourself if the Push, Pull Pry method is an effective means of handgun retention.

    Always have a "Plan B". Never give up!

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    Comment: I suggest a person not use their rear sight to clear the gun if a problem doesn't already exist. This is a difficult procedure under ideal circumstances, and can easily cause a jam.
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    I understand there is a potential for gun grabs because while OCing the gun is visible to anyone. But does anyone have evidence of a gun grab against a non-LEO.

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    ShipAhoy wrote:
    I understand there is a potential for gun grabs because while OCing the gun is visible to anyone. But does anyone have evidence of a gun grab against a non-LEO.
    I presume you also mean by a non-LEO.
    Does Hizonor Bloomie count?

    While I am sure that this has probably happened sometime, somewhere, it is obviously so rare as to be comparable to the danger of being taken out first because one is OCing. Both nearly qualify for urban legend status.

    Nevertheless the mere possibility of such a gun grab attempt is what motivates many of us to train: tactical awareness, weapon retension, defensive tactics, et al. and utilize holsters with some degree of security.

    Yata hey
    You will not rise to the occasion; you will fall back on your level of training. Archilochus, 650 BC

    Old and treacherous will beat young and skilled every time. Yata hey.

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    One little addition here for revolvers. If the BG has grabbed and locked the cylinder, twist the revolver OPPOSITE of the way the cylinder revolves to chamber another round. For S & W, the cylinder turns counterclockwise, so by twisting the grip/frame clockwise you can get another round chambered and fire the gun. Firing the gun when the BG has his hand on the cylinder trying to lock it will cause the BG serious pain and injury!

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    In a tug of war match over a pistol, I would immediately use Rex Applegate's baton retention method from Kill Or Get Killed. Sharply tug backwards, pulling the assailant towards you, while simultaneously side kicking him in the knee cap. Simple, and effective.
    Answer every question about open carry in Michigan you ever had with one convenient and free book- http://libertyisforeveryone.com/open-carry-resources/

    The complete and utter truth can be challenged from every direction and it will always hold up. Accordingly there are few greater displays of illegitimacy than to attempt to impede free thought and communication.

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    The various possible gun grabs boil down to a few basic scenarios:

    Before drawing:

    A would-be assailant, or just a joker, grabbing for your holstered gun is less common, but at the same time you are in a lower state of readiness (even Yellow is low compared to Red). Thus, a good retention system like a thumb break or Serpa's pushbutton retention is essential for any OCer.

    There are two directional ranges from which a grab at a 3:00 weapon may come. The first is from the front and strong side: roughly 11:00 to 4:00. In that case, your strong hand slams down on the pistol to keep it in the holster, and you turn towards the grabber with your holster side away from him. This makes the reach from you to him shorter than from him to the holster. You can put further distance between the two of you either by backing up, or by pushing or kicking the grabber with your off hand.

    Another method of retentionderives from aikido. If you see the grab coming or can for any reason intercept his hand, you can put him in a wrist lock and take him to the ground. The specifics vary depending on the angle of approachand which hand he tries to grab with, but the basic move is to grabhis hand withyour same hand (right-right, left-left)and twist it down and around to his outside, while moving and turning to place yourself outside his outstretched arm and facing the same direction as he.You then have him on a leash with his arm across your chest, and can pull him around you, putting him off-balance, and apply pressure to the back of his shoulder tobring him down face-first. You can keep twisting the arm for a submission hold, or release, retreat and draw.

    Alternately, the "omoto"or "direct" aikidomove is to grab his hand with either the same hand he's using (right-right or left-left; it will look opposite since he's facing you), twist his hand to the inside (towards his body and then past it), while you step past himtohis outside. Turn 90 degrees away from him, bringing the hand with you, and he's on his back. If you still have his hand you can pull him over on his stomach for the same submission hold, but it's easier to let go and retreat.

    The second range is from behind, 4:00 to 7:00. The basic retention move here is more violent; as before, you secure your weapon with one hand and turn to face the threat, but the other arm is either giving an elbow strike or coming around like a baseball bat. What you do depends on which hand you use to secure. If you use your weak hand, your strongarm should elbow the grabber in the face as you turn to your strong side; if you use your strong hand to cover, turn to your weak side while swinging your arm in a haymaker. Once you've followed through either way, you'll be facing the attacker and you can put distance between the two of you, attack, or draw.

    You can also use either aikido move described above, but when your attacker is behind you, you will have to spin 360* to use the first moveand it is more difficult tolock the wrist properly. The second method is faster and simpler but requires reversing your turn once you've faced him, and so takes practice to do very quickly.

    After drawing:

    There are two main grabs once you have drawn. The first is from your target, who lunges for the gun. The second is from the side by someone you are not as focused on. A mistake has been made if you find yourself caught in the second scenario, but I digress. In both cases, the same basic moves are employed but varied based on the angle of approach.

    Push, pull, pry is a good method; turn to present your weak side to the attacker (thus increasing the distance between his shoulders and those of your gun arm) and use your weak arm to push down on your attacker's forearms while pulling the gun away from him, either straight back towards you or upward. Twist the gun in towards you (but don't sweep yourself) as mentioned in the OP.

    Aikido offers another method, similar to the first described method for retaining a holstered weapon. If he has hold of your gun, simply step toward him andto his outside while turning into him to face the same way, then twist the gun to point the top of it towards him and continue spinning, in effect twisting it out of his hands while you end up behind him, with your momentum putting distance between the two of you.

    Now, none of you should expect to be an immediate expert after just reading these half-assed descriptions. These take practice, and for brevity :P I am omitting detailssuch as how to gripthe hand in order to lock the wrist properly, or how to plant your feet. Those details, and indeed the moves themselves, are best learned through practice in a controlled setting. A couple months of aikido or krav maga will result in you being able to execute these moves quickly and without thinking.


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    There is one HUGE difference between me drawing my gun and a LEO drawing his gun.

    He will draw in an attempt to contain/arrest the suspect/threat, as well as draw to stop a threat.

    I will only draw my weapon to stop a threat. I will draw and shoot, in one practiced motion. I will continue to shoot until the threat stops. I am not LEO and I am not trying to arrest or contain anyone. I am only stopping a threat to life or limb and that will be the only time my weapon is drawn.

    I do need to be continually vigilant and practice situation awayness to maintain control of my gun, but the scenario as outlined will not apply to me.



    Tarzan

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