Handgun Defense

If your handgun armed assailant indeed decided to kill you, your only "handgun defense" is to run away and pray he’ll miss.

Fortunately, it’s a rare case: you need to get yourself on a targeted assassination list or to be on a way of a really horrendous crime spray (been immediate witness of other murder or been on a way of fleeing murderer, for example).

More common case of unarmed handgun defense is when you finding yourself at gunpoint because your assailant needs something from you, something other then your life (your money, for example). He doesn’t want to kill you and showing you his weapon just to get your compliance. Technically speaking, he’s not applying force to you, but applying threat-of-use-of-force . Using threat-of-use-of-force is not as simple as it looks. Police and military personal are specially trained in use of such technique. If your assailant skilled in threat-of-use-of-force, you don’t have much options, but to comply and wait for window-of-opportunity if he’ll give you any (in any case it will be his error that you may or may not be able to use). However, not many police or military trained guys are going on a crime sprays against anonymous civilians (I’m not talking about Russia of 1990th when many former professional soldiers, police officers, and combat veterans found themselves thrown out of the failing system without any resources to sustain themselves and without any marketable civilian skills, but even then it was an exception much more then a rule; even nowadays, when military trained guys changing side in places like Mexico or Somali, they getting relatively high criminal hierarchical placement – by virtue of the bargain – and not going for opportunistic street robberies as petite common thugs).

When you under (non-professional) threat of use of force by handgun brandishing thug, first, do all you can to de-escalate situation, keep low profile, hide your combat capacities (what he will not see will “kill” him), play it safe, and wait for a safe exit or an opportunity to take control over.

Common scenarios of handgun defense silently assuming luck of professional training by assailant. So, they defined as four generic situations:

1. Handgun pointing to the front of the head
2. Handgun pointing to the chest
3. Handgun pointing to the back / side of the head
4. Handgun pointing to the back in the spine aria

Also, it’s assuming that handgun touching you (probably to make you more scared) or at hand-length proximity from you. If you indeed found yourself facing such situation, you’re lucky – it’s all indicators of non-professional attack and you may have a chance (I’m not playing scenario when it’s more then one armed assailant, where professional deception involved, and other non-“plain street robbery” situations).

As a general rule, in order to defeat handgun you need to touch it. Even if it’s inch from your chest, it’s too far. You need to close this distance first. Forget about all modern handgun duel tricks with changing your level and running in uneven pace – it may appear to work, if you’re lucky – but it’s not sustainable unarmed handgun defense strategy: to survive you need to take control of your assailant gun and its mean run-to-the-gun not from it.

Create situation when handgun will touch you by covertly (sic!) provoking assailant to push you with it when, and it’s critically important (sic!), not displaying any threat.

When you got the touch, push gun aside by turning your body or head (depends on the touch-point) taking yourself away out of the shooting line (or pushing shooting line away from you), then use the appropriate technique from your dojo training to wrestle control over the gun. If you got the gun, you won. If you failed – I don’t think you’ll have a second chance unless your assailant suffers from short term memory loss.

A couple of handgun disarming techniques against pointing on the upper-chest or face level from non-touching half-arm-reach position, that part of formal Combat SAMBO handgun defense techniques, have been developed with heavy trigger-pull handguns in mind (like, now obsolete, Russian Nagant M1895 revolver). Heavy trigger-pull in the hand of an assailant, who is not yet ready to kill you, may give you a split of second you need. Would it work with modern handguns in double action mode? First, you need to be sure that gun is double-action-only or not yet moved into the single action mode (if someone pointing at you single action M1911 type gun without cocking it first, he’s really not qualified to do what he’s doing, and may not even know how to disengage safety as well; so, he’s at your mercy). Second, if you’re facing such non-qualified assailant that not killing you yet, you’re probably have other, more safe, ways to de-escalate and resolve situation.

I would like to focus a bit more on necessity to “touch the gun”. Besides from changing fight from fire contact range to H2H, it may provide other assumingly small (but may become critical) benefit: most of the modern military or police grade handguns (and almost all in 9mm Para or .45APC calibers with rare exceptions like H&K MP7 or IMI Desert Eagle) are recall operated, so, when you’ll push on a barrel when assailant holding it in ready-to-fire position you may disconnect barrel from the slide, engage automatic safety, and gun won’t fire even if trigger is depressed.

I’m saying it’s a small potential side benefit because it’s too risky to count on it as push should be strong enough to do the trick and, also, you may misidentify type of the gun as it won’t work on any revolvers and blowback or gas-operated guns and some modern recall operated guns with under-barrel "safety" bar (that protrudes beyond length of the barrel) designed to prevent this specific scenario.

You may ask: what are my credentials to talk on this subject, and how many gun assaults I survived? Well, as most of us, I been lucky enough not to test my weapon defense skills in the real fight. But the same would say almost all self-defense experts. Not many people survived armed assault and even less survived it more then ones. So, such specialized skills never really tested (even if you was victorious in defeating armed assault with your bare hands, you never know if it was by sheer luck or by brilliancy of your skills in unarmed handgun defense; also see Training ).

Also, not many specialized unarmed handgun defense training options available. Google search on ' unarmed "handgun defense" training ' yields only classes for using handgun as a defense weapon, but not defense when you’re threaten with it.


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