Real Life Combat: Gun to the Head

Today my co-worker told me his son, whom we’ll call “Trent,” had a gun pulled on him. His son, a former student of mine, works for a party supply company. He had driven his delivery truck to the docks in Seattle when Trent told the driver of a BMW that he was illegally parked. The driver flipped, began cussing and pulled a gun, which he aimed at the head of my former student,.

You have a gun at your head. What do you do?

Trent turned around and walked to the office, where he called the police. “If he had followed me, I would have stabbed him,” Trent told his dad.

It’s a good idea to sort out ahead of time what you will do when confronted by a gun. I’m a believer in the big stick, but it won’t save you when there’s a gun at your head. I think Trent played it right –keep your cool, don’t escalate the situation, and run if need be.

You must also decide ahead of time that you will not allowed yourself to be tied up, nor will you get into the car. You’re better off taking your chances getting shot on the street.

Get Both Hands on the Gun!

What's Wrong with This Picture?

Explosive Punching, But He Doesn't Maintain Control of the Weapon



5 Responses to “Real Life Combat: Gun to the Head”

  1. It’s important to identify the type of threat. If you confronting the person caused him to pull his gun then maybe walking away will deescalate the situation like your former student did. If it is a mugging, then walking away may be an insult to the mugger and he may shoot anyway to save face; he may expect you to try to run away, but walking away calmly may be translated in his pea size brain that you don’t “respect” who he is and his power. If you are in South America on vacation then the goal of the gunman may be to take you for a hostage.

    Know when to fight, when to walk, and when to run.

    This month we had a young man shot in his home a block from my house, in front of his parents, from a gunman that entered the house and then took off into a waiting van.

    I’ve only had a gun pulled on me twice and I can’t say if my response was right or wrong, it’s just what I did at the time.

    1. I was walking down the street when a car drove by with several guys in it and a guy in the pack seat stuck a rifle barrel out the window, I could not tell is it was a firearm or a pellet gun and since they did not fire I didn’t find out. The only thing I could do (or did) was to turn into a doorway that offered about 50% coverage; there were no alleys or stores to duck into.

    2. I had chased some kids away from my home and most took off but I ended up standing at a corner with a young kid about 15 holding a revolver. I just stood there and he stood there none of us saying anything until he put the gun into his sock and walked off. I watched him walk off in case he doubled back.

    In neither case was I in range to do disarms nor was I in possession of a weapon that could deal with the threat from a far.

  2. I don’t really see anything wrong with the middle picture. He used his closest hand to the gun hand to deflect the gun away from his head and now is will either be doing one of three things (maybe a combo): eye thrust to the eye, palm/punch to the eye, or bend the arm at the elbow as part of his disarm.

    A single photo is just a split second in time and you can’t judge a whole technique on just one second of its movement.

  3. James,

    Scary stuff having a gun pulled on you. I’m glad I never have.

    You’re right that you can’t tell how bad something is from just a single picture. But I wasn’t too happy with the rest of the sequence. What I see in the photo is a gap where the defender isn’t getting that second hand on the gun.

    I know Bruce Lee’s counter to the gun is to grip with one hand and strike to the throat with the other, but I think the priority must be getting both hands on the gun.

  4. Two hands certainly give you more strength but leave no hand to strike with. I will not debate the pros or cons as I am not qualified to; having not made gun disarms a regular part of my training.

    Krav Maga also seems to favor the hold and punch method.

    What I am against (and this is seen a lot with knives, and I’ve seen some do it with guns) is those who deflect the weapon but rather than grab the weapon hand they try to use multiple strikes with both hands…this offers no control over the weapon allowing the attacker to still use it if your strikes didn’t have the desired effects.

    With knives and sticks you may be able to just use kicks from a far, but the multiple hand punches seems to be done with the weapon very close or touching the body.

  5. Two hands grabbing the gun will be better, it gives you more strength with which to control it. You might still get shot anyways. I think it is important to understand that you can and MUST continue to fight even if you have been hit. For me, two handed grab, pull him in close and knee, head-butt, and bite his f*%$ing ear/ nose off or something of that nature. You’re going to have one chance, if he gets loose and still has the ability to do so you will be shot. You might be anyways and maybe you even die, but make it a pyrrhic victory for him, at best.

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