One question that always comes up whenever we get ready to teach gun disarms is, “Can I get shot?” The answer is yes. The next question that comes up then is, “Why would I do something that could get me shot?” The answer to this is, if you know someone is going to shoot you, do you want to just stand there and let him put a bullet right through your heart? The next question I, “How do I know when someone is going to shoot me?” My answer is; I don’t know.
Every single situation is different and unique. The dynamics of every armed encounter carry with them a unique set of circumstances. Some of these are the circumstances leading up to the encounter, the state of mind of the attacker, the personality of the attacker, the purpose of the attack, the events taking place around and during the attack, and how your reaction to the attack. These are just some of the most obvious. There are a myriad of other complexities that are involved and each one adds to your reaction, “your gut feel” and ultimately your decision to take action or not. For example, if a bad guy shoots the guy standing next to you and then points the gun at you, there is a high probability you’re going to get shot. You’re going to need to do something.
Before I go any further, let me briefly touch on one point. Very few people are ready for the extreme level of physical violence that is perpetrated during a violent armed attack. This is a good thing for all of us in general. But this is a bad thing if it happens to you. The bad guy uses it to his advantage, knowing from experience that most people go into a state of denial, shock or a sort of mind numbness when confronted with extreme physical violence, whether to themselves or someone in close proximity to them. I’m not going to go into all of the psychological and physiological details as to why, but suffice it to say that many people end up like the “deer in the headlights.” That’s not what you want to have happen to you.
The bottom line is simply this: if you are confronted with a gun-wielding attacker, you are going to have to make a decision. That decision is going to be based on your overall “take” of the situation and all of the dynamics involved. No one can ever tell you what to do in any of these situations since no two are ever alike. It will be your decision and yours alone if it ever comes down to this moment.
But if you do make the decision to act, what are some of the options that you have available. Bear in mind though, that yes, you can still get shot. However, if I believe that a bad guy is going to shoot me, or one of my loved ones, then I’m going to act. Perfect techniques are only perfect in training. In reality things are always a little bit off, out of balance or harder to execute. But if you follow the principles of the technique and act decisively, you should be able to make it work. The main thing especially when dealing with a gun disarming technique is that if it doesn’t work at first, you cannot stop trying. Once you have grabbed the gun, you cannot let go.
Since there are many different scenarios that can manifest in a confrontation against a gun, we’ll just discuss several of the more statistically common situations that you may face. In addition these techniques are chosen because they best illustrate the principles that may be applied to most other similar positions that you may encounter.
Beware of a couple of extremely important points.
The first point is this:
The gun will probably fire during the disarm. Due to a reflexive reaction by the bad guy, his finger will probably pull the trigger. That is why it is so important to angle, (move) out of the line of fire while also pushing the gun away from your body. However, in the case of a semi-auto pistol, (not a revolver), by grabbing the barrel and slide during the discharge of the gun, you will prevent the pistol from cycling. This will prevent the casing from ejecting and chambering the next round, effectively jamming the gun. This is why you must perform the tap and rack, when and if you wrest the gun away from the bad guy. Remember, you want to be able to fire the gun if you have to.
The second and perhaps the most important point is:
Getting shot does not mean you are going to die. Statistically, a rather small percentage of people shot with pistols actually die. FBI statistics prove that you are far more likely to die if you are stabbed with a knife than if you are shot. If you are wounded, you can still fight and you can still win. You must be aware of this because most people, as a result of being conditioned by movies and T.V., are likely to “give up” assuming that all gunshot wounds are fatal. This is not the case. In the end you are going to be in a fight for your survival and once this struggle has begun, you have to fight as ferociously and as ruthlessly as you can, until you are no longer in danger. In a life or death struggle, your will to live will be as valuable a tool as any of the fighting skills you possess.
There are many disarming techniques that you can use and hopefully if you will experiment with them and apply the principles that I’ve discussed, you’ll discover that there are many more that you can develop and you will find out what works and what does not.
So, in conclusion, even though being faced with a gun may appear to be a no-win situation, it is not. You still have options, many more than you may realize. We all hope never to have to use these skills, but if you ever have to, you’ll be thankful to have them in your arsenal.
Ernest R. Emerson is a knife-maker and personal combat instructor. Visit his site – click here to visit EmersonKnives.com