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Preview – Weapon Strikes

Photos by Corey Lack

Pistol Punching 101

Safety Disclaimer: The techniques shown are for illustrative purposes only. When handling firearms and training tools, always observe all firearm safety rules. Seek professional instruction before attempting any techniques discussed or shown in this story.

Using a loaded firearm, in this case a handgun, to punch someone might seem a bit rude. But sometimes life calls for outside-the-box thinking, and in this article, I hope to demonstrate that weapon strikes are both effective and warranted in some cases.

I also want to pass on information gleaned from a live-fire test where I tested “muzzle punching” someone by hitting my strike dummy, BOB (Body Opponent Bag). It taught me a thing or two, and I’ll relay the firsthand experience, as well as offer a few drills for you to develop your own skills when it comes to this self-defense technique.

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For those of you who don’t know the definition of the term “weapon strike,” let’s define it before we go any further: Using a loaded (or in some cases unloaded) firearm to strike someone with the intent of incapacitating or disrupting them in some way other than by shooting them.
The intent is to create a broad understanding of the technique, including when it might be used, what level of force it would fall under, how to apply it, and some data on live-fire testing of strikes in order to assess their effect on functioning of the firearm.

The Legal Stuff: This is a key concept in a situation where you might use a weapon strike against someone. The general rule is that if you have to access your loaded firearm and point it at someone, then strike him or her with it, then the situation should be one where lethal force is legally justified. Simply pistol whipping someone into line is not a realistic or warranted use of force considering the risk of the firearm negligently discharging and killing the person (or someone else in the area), even if that wasn’t your intent. Such a use of force, even accidentally, would at a minimum qualify as gross negligence and would be problematic in court, to say the least. The main thing to keep in mind is that your gun should never be used as a striking object unless you believe lethal force is legal and justified.

Why We Would Use a Weapon Strike
In every class I teach I always be sure to focus on the why behind what I teach. This is critical for student buy-in and full understanding of the technique. So, why would we use a weapon strike at all against someone if lethal force is justified? Why not just shoot them? The simple answer is that you can’t always do this. This may be caused by the dynamics of the situation — the shooting and fighting may have devolved to the point where you’re not 100 percent positive of what’s in front of your muzzle. In other words, your own body parts or even your family or team members might be in jeopardy when the fight occurs. Things get messy when you go hands on.

Due to the dynamics of what the bad guy is doing, it might be very likely that you’ve changed angles, or that someone you don’t want to shoot has moved into the line of fire. I, for one, often have my family with me. If we were violently attacked, then it’s entirely possible that one of my kids may move into the line of fire during the chaos. If I’m not 100 percent sure of where my bullet will go, I’m not going to pull the trigger. Once I’m in a position where I can’t shoot, yet still have a gun in my hand, I’m left with the choice of fighting with one hand and trying to protect the gun with the other, or possibly using the gun as a striking object. In more than one situation I would pick the latter, in an attempt to gain distance and/or have some sort of effect on the threat.

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