Q&A: When to use Gun Disarms

So is it better to attempt a (good, learned) disarm or not? Like, if someone’s pointing a gun at you, there’s already a chance you could get shot anyway because gun safety teaches you not to point guns at things you don’t intend to destroy. Or, when writing criminals, should you disregard some gun safety rules because they won’t be following them?

The purpose for gun disarms is when you’re in a situation where someone is going to kill you. The logic is; if you’re going to die anyway, might as well die trying to survive, rather than letting someone else make that decision for you.

I slap some variation of “gun disarms will get you shot” in the tags every time the subject comes up, because it’s true.  Attempting a gun disarm is a very good way to catch a bullet. Thing is, you’re supposed to be using these in situations where that was going to happen anyway, so getting shot isn’t a step down.

You are not supposed to use gun disarms in situations where you probably won’t get killed. This is why any good self defense program will tell you to simply hand over your wallet when someone mugs you at gunpoint. Yeah, you’re losing money, but you’re not going to take a bullet, and the contents of your wallet aren’t worth your life. In a situation like that, attempting a disarm and failing is far worse than the alternative.

Most combat is pretty sloppy. Even for things like grabs, and joint locks, you don’t need to do it exactly, you just need to be, “close enough.” The same is true of firearms, put a couple bullets center mass, and they’re done. Being able to put pinpoint shots into a target at 50 meters with a handgun is impressive, sure, but if you can get two or three hits on a man sized target at that range while struggling through an adrenaline rush, that’s all that matters.

Gun disarms are fairly simple from a mechanical standpoint, but firing a gun at some idiot in close quarters is easier, and far harder to screw up.

Gun safety is very important, but, you’re right, some people just ignore it, and that behavior is not limited to criminals. I’ve seen some egregious mishandling on the range. I still adore this example of cause and effect (warning: mildly graphic.) I have friends (yes, legitimately, friends) who I will not go out on a range with, simply because their weapon handling is just that horrifying.

People do stupid things all the time, and this cuts both ways. People mishandle their guns, and get hurt, sometimes people die. More than a few martial artists have attempted disarms in situations that really didn’t warrant one and took a bullet, with varying survival rates.

There’s also, plenty of mass shooters that were tackled while reloading. Those are, by definition, one of the few times where you have nothing left to lose. If you don’t try, they’ll put a round in you, and anyone in the vicinity, so you might as well, make the attempt.

Yes, there are applications, but the only time you should seriously consider a disarm is when they’re going to kill you anyway. That’s the threshold to aim for.

That’s what that disarm from the knees was about. Someone’s lined you up, on your knees, and they’re going to execute you. That’s also a specific scenario that both of us were taught disarms for. You’re on your knees, they’re going to kill you, “really, what’ve you got to lose if you screw up?”


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