Friday, December 6, 2019

New Weekend Knowledge Dump...

... from Active Response Training. A few articles especially jumped out to me. One was an article from CCW Safe with the title "Don't Let Your Attire Get You Killed In The Streets," discussing the 'grey man' concept and wearing decent shoes.

     Another was on the topic of 'Five Weird Recurring Dreams That Gun Owners Have'. Unfortunately, the author does not attempt to offer an interpretation of dreams. However, Greg Ellifritz comments: "In my experience, they are your brain’s way of telling you that you don’t feel comfortable with your skills or equipment.  Whenever I get one of these dreams, I go to the range and train the next day.  The dreams go away."

    The third article was "When You Can't Pull The Trigger." Both the article and Ellifritz's comments note that a semi-auto firearm could be put out of action by the slide being pushed slightly back so that the weapon is no longer in battery, and go on to discuss the need to learn weapon retention techniques. The article also notes that by grabbing the weapon, the crook may have also pushed the weapon so its facing in the wrong direction. Another issue, and one you may have noticed in training, is that it is easy for either party in a scuffle for the gun to trigger the magazine release. On most firearms that may still leave one in the chamber to shoot, but there are those with magazine disconnects that won't fire at all if the magazine is missing.

    But what about when you can pull the trigger? The author of Schafer's Self-Defense Corner has looked into the situation when an attacker has hold of your firearm but you are still able to fire and has this to report:
       An important lesson that I learned many years ago came from a defensive shooting instructor who gave me some lessons in his backyard shooting range.  As we shot I started looking at how the weapons operated when we fired them and I couldn’t help but think back to the disarming techniques I practiced.  Finally, I brought the subject up and we discussed it at length.  One thing I’m convinced of is that most instructors spend so much time training with plastic, rubber, wooden, or inert firearms that they forget that if the gun goes off when you’re disarming your attacker your hands are going to be right next to an explosion being contained in a moving weapon. 

      Ever since that day I teach all my students to never grab the gun.  If someone shoves a semiautomatic handgun in your face and you manage to grab a hold of it then you might be able to pin the slide and keep it from firing, and if it does fire while your hand encircles it you may in fact be able to maintain your grip and control of the weapon.  However, if they shove a revolver in your face and you grab around it and it goes off you won’t be able to hold onto it.  The force of the blast and the gases escaping from the cylinder will blow your grip off, burn your hand, and could even blow the tips of your fingers off.  We experimented with both a .38 and a .357 by placing gloves over the weapon and then grabbing around the gloves and it didn’t matter how we grabbed we could not hold onto the gun while it went off.   We suffered burns and we both experienced pain in our hands for days.  Since you need to react fast during a violent situation, you have to assume the gun will go off, and you won’t be able to maintain your grip on a revolver I believe it is best to make it a rule not to wrap your hands around any handgun.
        You also need to get realistic gun disarm and retention training that matches up with the real world. From the same article:
       I was training with another instructor years back and he wanted to show me his favorite disarming technique (the one where you slap the gun and his wrist to make the gun fly across the room).  I held the gun out for him several times while he demonstrated and then he asked me to try to shoot him before he moved and sure enough he was so fast he disarmed me every time.  I then asked him if we could go a turn where I acted like a real criminal; after he said he was ready I stepped in between his legs, grabbed him by the throat with my left hand, pressed the gun into his left temple, drove him backwards and screamed “GIVE ME YOUR…(you can probably guess)!”

       Needless to say not only was he not able to do the technique but he nearly defecated himself.  Static training where you just stand there is all fine and dandy but a criminal just doesn’t appear out of thin air ready to shoot you if you breathe wrong; something always leads up to it and happens after it.  It also doesn’t teach you to deal with what I call the “Oh Shit Factor” where your brain suddenly falls out your butt when surprised with sudden violence. 
       Sure, the criminal may be standing there just holding out the gun and not moving, it happens all the time; but he also might be pushing, punching, choking, or grabbing you with his free hand while he screams and the gun could be held back, shoved right in your eyes, or who knows what else.  The point is after you have the technique down you should simulate a real robbery while you have to do your disarming technique in that fast and dynamic situation.

       The last thing I’ll touch on is the one that bothers me the most.  I see this all the time; an instructor demonstrates a technique by having a partner point a gun at him and then then he takes the gun away, maybe he strikes the attacker or maybe not, and then he steps back and points the gun at the attacker…and then calls “scene!”  I just don’t understand how taking the gun away and pointing it back at your attacker is where the scenario stops…you still have a perfectly good attacker who could have other weapons and you have no idea if the gun is even loaded.

       The idea that you can take a gun away and turn it on your attacker is very dubious.  90% of people shot in their own homes are shot with their own guns, either because of negligence or because the intruder took the gun away and used it themselves.  If you point his gun back at him and tell him to get down on this stomach maybe he’ll just walk over to you and take his gun back, or maybe he’ll pull out a knife or another gun.

      What if the gun isn’t even loaded or functional?  Unfortunately there really aren’t any wide studies done but from what I could find one study [ed: by Greg Ellifritz] showed that out of 85 firearms one midwestern police department seized after they were used to commit a crime during a particular period:

-24 were not loaded
-2 were not loaded with the correct ammunition
-9 were broken and unable to fire

Astonishingly 41% of the weapons used in these crimes were not able to actually shoot anyone. 

       What about toy guns?  Many criminals know that in certain areas committing a robbery with a toy gun carries far less severe charges if they were to be caught and they know as long as they act scary enough their victim will comply anyway out of fear. 

       Again, real numbers showing how many crimes are committed with toy, or imitation, guns is hard to come by because it is not information that police departments actively collect.  In what little information I could find, the Bureau of Justice Statistics published a report in 1990 called: “Toy Guns Involvement in Crime Encounters with the Police.”  This report concluded that as many as 20% of robberies are committed with “imitations guns” (toy guns, bb guns, etc.).  This study is from 1990 and with more access today the numbers are most likely even higher.

       To put everything together, if you disarm a criminal and point their gun back at them with the intention of using it against them, there is as much as a 20% chance that when you pull the trigger you’ll find out it is a squirt gun!  Even if it is a real firearm there is perhaps as much as a 41% chance won’t fire because it is unloaded or broken!
Read the whole thing. Here are some other articles from the same author on the subject of firearm disarms:

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