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While trying to disarm an attacker with a gun is always a dicey business, sometimes it’s the only option. But as this story from Henderson Co.’s shows, it should never be undertaken lightly. “Henderson Police say the suspect tried to rob the victim at gunpoint, but the victim fought back and tried to get the gun. Police say the gun went off during the struggle and the victim was shot in the foot.” Of course, it’s possible that being shot in the foot was an acceptable trade-off . . .

There isn’t enough in the story to determine if that were so. The general advise is, if you’re unarmed, within five feet and believe that you are going to be shot in any case, look for your chance to disarm your attacker. Practice is very much advised. If you think that all he wants is money, most would judge that trying to disarm the guy holding a gun on you isn’t worth the risk.

From personal experience, practicing disarming techniques in and of itself carries some risk. One friend suffered a nasty cut (not knife-related), an old girlfriend ended up with a strained, but not broken finger. Use mock guns for these exercises (of course), and gloves.

It’s harder to do a successful disarming on a small gun than it is a large gun. It’s just easier to apply more leverage on a bigger gun. If you must do it, act fast and ruthlessly. Concentrate on the weapon and realize that you may take some punishment in the process.

Another useful old adage: rush a gun, run from a knife.

If you’re on the other side of the equation, don’t let your adversary get too close, and do not hold the gun out there where they can grab it easily. If you have a pistol, hold it in close to the body and use your off hand to ward off an attempt to disarm you.

©2014 by Dean Weingarten: Permission to share is granted when this notice is included.
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  1. If I was being robbed by a person armed with a Webley RIC revolver I would offer to buy it off them.

      • It is a Tranter .442 rimfire. It is a British precursor of the Webley. The .442 rimfire was only made for a few years in the 1860’s.

        How it ended up in a Yuma, Arizona flea market is beyond me. Maybe this is one of the guns that Col. Custer was rumored to be carrying….

        • You sure that’s a Tranter? If it’s a .442 rimfire it’s the 1863 model and the barrel to frame hookup on the gun pictured doesn’t look as slab sided as a Tranter. That looks like a standard RIC extractor rod set up also. The Tranter had a beefier extracter set up.

        • Yes, it is a Tranter. It is clearly marked. There was a fair amount of variation on a lot of those older guns. Many of them were essentially hand made, so they are not as standardized as modern production models.

          I would gladly trade it for a .380 centerfire version. I believe I have worked out a method to make ammuntion for those…

          I saw a nice one available at an Ohio auction house a couple of months ago. I was tempted, but their shipment policies did much to discourage my bidding.

      • Only on TTAG can a post about disarming criminals turn into a discussion of old firearms in the opening comments. One of the reasons I guess I check this page three or four times a day.

      • I know a house down the street from me with a safe. Trade me the gun for the address and a 2 day head start.

  2. I’m guessing that’s a French Model 1873 11mm military service revolver. Anyone know what it is?
    OOPS, looks like someone answered while I was writing this up– thanks–

    • The French 1873 is a robust and well made gun. Brendan Frasier used 2 thru out the mummy movie. Reloading kits are available for them also. Webley has a stronger following, but the French gun is their equal.

      I love this shit.

      • Yup, at first I thought an 11mm Reichsrevolver, so I googled it and looked at the images. The German ones all had fluted cylinders, but the French 11 mm didn’t. Really should have recognized the Webley tho I guess.

        • I clicked to see what she was holding, assuming the discussion would be mostly about that. I am not disappointed.

  3. Jwm wins the interwebz.

    Im fairly certain I’d lose in a wrestling match for control of a gun. I’m 130 lbs and 5’6. I don’t have a lot going for me lmao.
    That’s why I wanted a gun to begin with! If it gets to where physical strength plays any sort of part, I’m already fighting uphill.

    • It’s not about size of strength, though they’re not harmful. It’s about quickness and determination.

      It sounds as if you might have quickness on your side. Just research the rest. I’d imagine some training would be really useful.

    • No excuses. Have you heard of Bruce Lee or the Gracie family? Get in shape and look into Brazilian Jiu Jitsu or Aikido. Being physically smaller does not have to equal weak and defenseless.

    • Krav Maga disarm. Control the barrel, twist the whole gun up. Its a nice giant lever with tons of leverage. If his finger is in the trigger guard it will possibly fire, but you will also likely break his finger.

  4. You seriously expect me to read this article? The photo is mesmerizing for some reason. Must be the revolver.

      • I think that’s in her left hand. Her right hand is pretty much out of the picture, but from what I can see I’m guessing another revolver. Looks like a piece of hammer spur above the root of her thumb, and a red fingernail resting on a handle.

    • Your cannot really see the right hand, but it has a broomhandle Mauser in it. Notice that her finger is not on the trigger, and the hammer is down on the Tranter revolver?

      That is the type of thing you would hope to notice on a disarm.

  5. “off hand to ward off an attempt to disarm you.”
    Careful not to shoot your off hand off.

  6. @ benny
    Its not about a wrestling match to disarm an aggressor, its about speed and leverage.
    The “simple” explanation is that you should turn the barrel of the aggressors firearm towards the outside of the trigger finger, which breaks not only the aggressors grip on said firearm but breaks/dislocates the trigger finger on the trigger guard.
    There is much much more to consider, speed, timing, moving away from the muzzle, footwork, much more.
    Try holding a blue/red gun with your finger inside the guard while your buddy EXTREMELY slowly disarms you, you will find out what pain is and how impossible it is to retain your weapon.


    Seriously, if it goes to grappling this is not the UFC its the eastern front. Groin shots, head butts, all is fair when the other guy has a gun.

    • “There is no fair fighting in a fight for your life or limbs.”

      Head butts, groin jabs, elbow in the face, eye gouges, broken fingers or wrists, etc. All of those should be used when repelling a lethal attack. Fight vicious, fight dirty, fight fast and win at any cost! If you happen to kill him while fighting him off, so be it. What’s the Krav Maga mantra?

  8. Not that it matters to the story, but this T.V. news report isn’t from Houston. It’s in Evansville, IN and the “HPD” referenced in the story isn’t Houston Police Department, but apparently refers to those of the city of Henderson, in Henderson County, in neighboring Kentucky. I saw that “Houston’s” and thought “What?”

    Good article and good advice. I think I recall reading years ago that it’s best to rush the gun, especially if you’re a woman, because supposedly the statistics are that a man accosting a woman with a gun is most likely to end up killing her anyway. As I recall, this goes even more so if he’s trying to take you to some secondary crime scene. So it’s best to take your chances early when you might be able to catch him somewhat off guard. I don’t know how true it all might be, just something interesting I read and noted.

    • Or, as “Ed McBain” used to put it, “Things don’t get better, they always get worse.”

  9. No joke, the first like 10 comments on this post had me laughing.
    You know you’re surrounded by hard core gun lovers when…

  10. Disarming techniques are… fun to say the least, I however, would rather be stabbed than shot. (Been stabbed by a crazy ex girlfriend, getting shot just sounds shitty.)

  11. So…..all this talk of disarming maneuvers are pretty much squat when she has a gun in each hand. Shot by girl!?! DOH!!!!!

  12. “The general advise is, if you’re unarmed, within five feet and believe that you are going to be shot in any case, look for your chance to disarm your attacker. Practice is very much advised. If you think that all he wants is money, most would judge that trying to disarm the guy holding a gun on you isn’t worth the risk.”

    Anybody here a mindreader? No way of knowing what the person has in mind-

  13. Yeah, read somewhere- maybe it was a youtube vid, where the author said most people trying one of these fancy disarms is going to end up with a hole in their forehead- as the time to pull trigger is about 1/3rd the time to close and grab gun.

    Me, I’m saying-
    “here’s my wallet, here’s my phone, here’s my car keys, take it, you’re the boss”

  14. Basic principles of countering weapons: RCAT
    Redirect away from yourself
    Control the weapon
    Attack the wielder
    Takeaway the weapon.

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