Even well-intentioned martial artists and self-defense trainers can wander out of their areas of expertise and draw overly broad conclusions. In the following video, a couple of highly experienced MMA fighters evaluate gun and knife disarm techniques found on the internet. The (correctly) conclude that the techniques they found are, as they say "bollocks." I agree that none of the techniques they attempted are very good, and I generally love their channel. I can't help but love their volleys at Master Wong.
But they go on to (incorrectly) conclude at 6:09 that gun disarms are all a bad idea. If they know of other disarms that might work better, this is the fallacy of enumeration of favorable circumstances. If they don't, this is the fallacy of overgeneralization.
Starting at 3:20, they point out (correctly) that an armed assailant isn't going to stand still while you try and take the gun away from them. And yet, the defender stands with his feet planted and doesn't follow the gunman. Initiating a gun disarm seems like a good time for some forward pressure to me, and because you initiated the disarm, the gunman's retreat is one of only a few likely reactions.
Starting at 5:36, they point out (correctly) that handguns aren't contact weapons, and needn't be employed at arms-length. And yet, in many (most?) cases of robbery, the gun-weilding robber stands within arms length because they want you to hand over your valuables. This obviously isn't true in every case; it might be a pair or team working against you. But in the case of a single robber, they usually need to close to normal conversational distance to get your wallet. If you're worried about assassins, I can't help you. If you're worried about getting mugged, let's stick to the typical context of a mugging: violence threatened at arms-length so you'll hand over your valuables.
At about 3:13, I think he says he'd lose his hand if he grabbed the slide and the gun was fired. These guys live in the UK and probably have very limited access to real firearms, so it's tough for them to test such a claim. Regardless, it's not true. You can easily and without injury prevent the slide of a semiautomatic pistol from reciprocating (cycling). Getting your hand on the slide is exactly what your goal should be if you attempt any such disarm. And even if you can't maintain your grip, just disrupting the firing cycle is a huge win. Now you've bought at least the time it takes to clear the malfunction before you're in a gunfight again. How many robbers are at home practicing tap-rack-bang? I like my chances drawing on a such a malfunction, running away from it, or (last resort) starting a hand-to-hand fight.
At only one point in the video, at 3:02, do they even attempt to simulate an apparently compliant victim attempting a disarm. What's more, in that instance it looks like the muzzle deflection and malfunction creation may have been successful. (It's tough to tell without protective gear and marking cartridges, even in person.) Allowing the assailant to believe that everything is going according to their normal, nefarious plan is a good way to create an opportunity to launch into a disarm attempt, and maximize their reaction time. From the perception of expected stimulus (disarm started) to reaction (shot fired) may be a quarter second or a little less. From unexpected stimulus to reaction can easily be more than three-quarters of a second. A half second is a big difference under those circumstances. It would be nice to have that extra half second even if you're just going to run away.
Finally, throughout the video they seem to assume (although I don't think they explicitly state) that they're considering a mugging with two possible outcomes:
- hand over your wallet, then go home unharmed, or
- risk death attempting a disarm
Those are common scenarios, but they aren't the only ones. Compliance doesn't guarantee your safety. You may be 100% compliant and still get killed or maimed. Your attacker may try to move you to a different location or physically/sexually assault you. If you don't acknowledge these other possible outcomes, fighting back seems like a terrible idea. With them, there are times when a 20% chance at a disarm seems like a great deal.
I love ya, Fight Perfect TV, but as Cecil Burch implores us, please stay in your lane. With respect to interdisciplinary fighting like this, folks like Cecil and the rest of the ShivWorks collective know many of the questions and have some of the answers. It's OK to test and speculate (heck, that's what I'm doing on this blog) but throw some caveats and open questions in there if you know you don't really know.