We tested gun disarms – didn’t go so well

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We got shot – a lot.


I saw a YouTube video on some guys tests gun disarms with simunition. And the guy kept getting shot during the gun-to-chest disarm. But you see! He was twisting so slowly. I, yes even I, shall be able to twist faster than he.


And there was another guy that had the same idea we had:

So we tested it. We took a CO2 BB pistol, checked there was plenty of gas and no BB’s (those steel BB’s suck to get shot with), and tested a shitload of disarms.

And by “we” I mean myself and a training partner (and friend … although we all know that “friend” so takes second place to “training partner” in the hierarchy of who you’d rather have in your life).


The results?

Turns out, gun-to-chest, the staple diet of gun disarming practice, sucks. We reliably shot each other somewhere between the heart and the shoulder, no matter what the other person tried.

And strangely enough, trigger action really made a huge difference. The BB gun we were using had a solidly long trigger pull. When using a long pull, we cleared the gun quite often. But if we staged the trigger somewhat, then we got shot. If not every time, then close to it. (Caveat: this was a week or 3 ago, so the statistical details of our success ration is getting blurry).


When you and your partner try other … “positions”

Gun-to-head? Gun-to-back? Mostly fine (i.e. very little getting shot).

Heck we even did a bunch of mugger/hostage stuff. We grabbed the testee around the neck, from behind, put the pistol against the kidney or the head, and the guy could almost always get away unshot. In fact, as soon as the “mugger” grabbed you around the neck, it got easier (because not his body was closer, so you could use the mugger’s body to help trap the gun arm).

It was when the mugger grabbed you from behind and held you at arm’s length that things got a bit more difficult. E.g. if he grabbed your shirt collar, not only did that often prevent you from turning one of the directions, but now you couldn’t use the mugger’s body to trap the gun arm, you had to control that arm entirely with your own body mechanics.


The thing that bothers me

Why does disarming gun-to-back work so much better than gun-to-chest. Why isn’t it the same motion? Picture a man with a gun held to his chest, and another one to his back, mirroring the gun to his chest. If he twists, it should be fairly symmetrical. Both guns should clear his body at roughly the same time (your body shape may dictate otherwise). So why did we get shot in the chest, but not in the back?

the closest I can come up with is body mechanics of the elbow. Gun-to-chest requires you to use your lower arm to start moving the gun away from you. But gun-to back you can use your upper arm down to your elbow (you can’t use anything above you elbow in front of you because your elbow only bends backwards).

However, that alone doesn’t fully explain the mystery. My next suspicion is to do with body mechanics during the twist. More specifically twisting while moving forwards vs twisting while moving backwards. But I need to play with that concept and a training partner some more before I can better understand it.


Bad habits

As much fun as we had, I mostly dislike training gun disarms. There are too many training scars you can build.

Firstly, you’re doing repetitions of allowing someone to walk up to you, gun in hand. And then letting them grab you. (the gun-to-back stuff is better from this point of view). Not such a good habit.

There are much better responses to train when watching someone pull a gun on you:

Second, while we normally practice without the shooting bit (to keep your finger getting torn off), this time we had to keep fingers on triggers. Which meant we half-arsed the disarms (usually aborting the follow-up after gaining control of the weapon/hand/arm).

Thirdly, I’m haunted by the story of the cop who got attacked, disarmed the gunman, and exactly like in his training, proceeded to hand the gun right back to the BG. I read about this so long ago that I don’t remember where the story came from. I do remember that I mostly trusted the source of information, but at this point it might be urban legend. But the moral of the story is the same – you become what you do. Including all the bad stuff.


What I did like

Like a lot of you, I grew up with guns. A part of that upbringing was NEVER EVER, upon penalty of some indescribable suffering, NEVER to point a gun at anyone. Now yes, there were water-gun fights, but I have zero memories of point any realistic looking toy gun at any one. Ever.

So when I pointed a realistic airsoft replica at a training partner the first time (some time ago now), I remember feeling distinctly awkward. Unnatural even. Which is a good response when you’re a 10 year old kid and you go shooting with real guns, and you’re not supposed to truly understand about killing human beings yet. But it’s a bad thing when you have a wife and kids to look after. (I imagine things might be different for a kid that grows up putting meat on the table for his family by hunting small game by himself.)

So I’m very glad I’ve now had many repetitions, over many training days, of putting a pistol against another human’s flesh and dropping the hammer on him.


Are gun disarms are good idea?

I have two responses to this question:

1 – Life is one big grey area.

2 – Context matters (a.k.a. your mileage may vary).

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