Saturday, January 30, 2016

Gun Defense: Three Key Elements

Figure 1
Let me make this extremely clear, there is no defense against a bullet. Once the trigger has been pulled and the bullet is moving your best defense is that the shooter has bad aim. This is not considered a good strategy.

Gun defense is based on being close enough to the attacker that you can grab the gun. If you have to step, run, walk, fly, or apparate to reach the weapon, you are back to bullet defense, which is not considered a good strategy.

First, the mechanics of gun defense can be found in any number of websites, YouTube videos, and training halls; but there is also a philosophical / mental element that must be understood. When you are staring down the barrel of a gun, you must either fully commit to a defense or not; there is no middle ground. You cannot hesitate, you cannot back out. Once you have started, you are fully, totally, and absolutely committed; or you are likely dead. Dead is not considered..., well you know.
Figure 2

As a child my brother and I played a game where we tried to slap each other's hands. There are many variation on this theme, the most popular has the 'attacker' holding their hands out in front of them, about waist high, with the palms up. The victim, places their hands palm down on the attacker's palm up hands. The goal is for the attacker to quickly flip their hands over and slap the back of the victims hands before the victim can move away.

Figure 3
As an attacker, the secret is to initiate the attack without telegraphing your actions. I like to express this by saying that the movement of the attack is so spontaneous that even the attacker himself (you) doesn't know it's coming. It's a mental state. Pure conviction with absolutely no forewarning is required to win.

The movements of the gun defense must be of the same mental nature. Fully committed, with no forewarning. Again, there are many approaches and techniques but they all have the mental characteristics I've described here.

Second, you must grab the gun. Period. Not the wrist, not the arm, throat, or groin. The gun. Specifically the barrel. Oh, you can quasi-simultaneously grab, poke, kick, or head butt other areas, but you must grab the barrel of the weapon first. "Oh, its hot", some will say. Possibly, but a bullet hole tends to burn a tad as well.
Figure 4


When I teach my students (using a pellet gun and appropriate safety equipment), you can learn to grab the barrel so quickly (and firmly) that the chamber of the pistol cannot move.
Figure 5
Once you have control of the barrel, you can execute the various techniques you've been taught.

The last element to understand is that bullets travel in straight lines. They do not curve. Therefore, you must move the part of your body that is in peril out of the way. But, but, but ... and this is critical, in the time frame we are talking about, your feet are snails in a land of Road Runners. You cannot move your feet! Moving your feet is a bad strategy.

Figure 6
In Figure 2, note that as the defender grabs the barrel of the gun, the upper torso is moved/twisted such that if the attacker managed to get a round off, the bullet would miss the body. Go back now and compare Figures 1 and 2 to see how the body moves BUT NOT THE FEET. Too many instructors demonstrate by stepping away from the attacker. Stepping towards, or away, may be correct (depending on the particular technique), but the stepping can only be executed after you have secured the weapon, and moved your body/target out of the way.

Here is a video for a gun defense using a technique taught in Krav Maga. Note that the defender does not move his feet until he has control of the weapon and his head, the target, is out of the line of fire.

{Edits for spelling}

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