Countering the Draw
By RICHARD NANCE
Defensive Tactics Instructor
Every police & security officer knows that the waistband is one of the preferred locations for suspects to conceal weapons. In my own experience, I've encountered suspects with screw drivers, fixed blade knives, disguised belt buckle knives, and firearms carried somewhere along the waistband of their pants. This area makes for a relatively comfortable carry and a lightning fast draw. It's also very easy to conceal the waistband with a shirt worn un-tucked (especially when the shirt is a size 4X worn by a suspect who should wear a size medium).
For these reasons, we have to assume that a suspect may be armed until we have determined otherwise. Any "furtive" gesture toward the waistband during an encounter with a suspect calls for you to take immediate action. However, simply drawing your firearm, baton, etc. might not be the best response. After all, the odds of you beating the suspect to the draw are not good. Remember the action versus reaction concept?
Let's discuss our tactical options for dealing with a suspect who quickly and aggressively reaches toward his waistband.
"I'll just shoot 'em"
If you seriously believe you can draw your firearm and fire accurate rounds to stop a suspect who is already reaching for a knife or a firearm from a common interview distance, you need to watch Surviving Edged Weapons by Calibre Press, Inc. In that video, a "suspect" was able close a distance of 21 feet before the officer was able to draw and fire two accurate rounds. Good luck trying to pull that off from a distance of three to five feet!
Close distance and grab the arm
Some defensive tactics instructors advocate moving toward the suspect and attempting to grab the arm that's reaching for the weapon. While, with sufficient training, this tactic can be accomplished, it requires perfect timing on your part. If you're a fraction of a second too late, you will be standing in the worst possible location--directly in front of the weapon.
Angle, block, and create distance (A.B.C.)
Adhering to the K.I.S.S. principle, my training partner and I developed what we refer to as the ABCs of weapon defense. By incorporating this tactic into your training regimen, you take all of the guesswork out of the equation. It doesn't require you to have perfect timing or ninja-like reflexes. Best of all, this tactic places you in the best possible position from which to defend. Let's see how it works.
When the suspect reaches for his waistband...
When a suspect makes a furtive movement toward his waistband, simply angle your body away from the threat by stepping forward at about 45 degrees. Make sure to keep your hands up. Not only does this afford you a degree of protection, but it also places your hands in the perfect position for the next technique. Even if you screw up the rest of the tactic, you have made it more difficult for the suspect to injure you because he now has to re-orient the weapon to you. This buys you precious time to complete the tactic.
...angle your body away from the weapon.
As soon as you lead foot hits the ground, pivot on the balls of your feet to "square" yourself to the suspect. Thrust both of your palms against the suspect's near side shoulder to block the attack. Keep your chin tucked to your chest while keeping your eyes on the suspect. This action alone will provide a degree of protection to your head and neck.
Block the near side shoulder...
It's important to note that you want to strike the suspect's shoulder at a perpendicular angle or even slightly from the rear. Striking the front of the near side shoulder could cause the suspect to spin to face you. This could place you directly in line with his weapon.
If the suspect has already begun to face you when you block, simply strike the shoulder of the weapon-bearing limb. This will disrupt the fluidity of the attack and enable you to finish the technique.
...create distance, draw your firearm and assess
Create distance by combining rearward and lateral movement while drawing your firearm and assessing the situation. Moving straight back is not recommended for a couple of reasons. First of all, if the suspect had a firearm and you moved straight back, he does not have to re-align the sights to shoot you. If he can shoot you at a distance of five feet, he can probably still shoot you from ten feet. Secondly, if the suspect runs at you with an edged weapon, he will likely be able to move forward faster than you could move rearward. Even if you shoot the suspect, his forward momentum might enable him to stab you. By moving laterally, the suspect would have to change direction in mid-stride.
When a suspect is running toward you with a weapon, consider delivering a well-placed shot to the head or pelvic region. The "failure drill" or "body armor drill" where two rounds to the body are followed by one round to the head or pelvic area (below body armor) is another valid option.
Remember a suspect might absorb several rounds to the torso and still be able to fight. This is probably not the case for a suspect who sustains a well-placed headshot.
The ABC tactic can be put to the test using an airsoft-type gun and an inert training knife. Have the "suspect" try to draw the knife from his waistband while the officer is completing a field interview card. The officer can throw the card and/or pen toward the suspect's face as a distraction prior to executing the ABCs.
Training should include scenarios where the officer is required to use simulated "deadly force" as well as scenarios where the officer's commands result in the suspect's compliance.
To add an element of realism to the training, have the suspect wear appropriate protection and allow the officer to fire airsoft rounds at him. Of course, to make things "fair", the suspect should be given a marking blade so that any "cuts" the officer sustains are apparent.
Train hard. Stay safe.
The author, Rich Nance is a police defensive tactics instructor, firearms instructor, S.W.A.T. team member and karate blackbelt with over twenty years experience training in and teaching self-defense. Rich is the co-founder of Weapon Acquisition & Retention Tactics (WARTAC), a company that provides counter weapon and weapon retention training to law enforcement, military, and civilians.
Origionaly posted @ officer.com (Sorry I don't have the exact URL)
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Thread: Countering the Draw
11-03-2006, 12:49 AM #1
Countering the Draw
Last edited by Special Investigator; 11-09-2006 at 07:15 PM.
11-05-2006, 01:37 PM #2Junior Member
- Join Date
- Oct 2006
I love these posts. Thanks for sharing them with us. Keep them coming please!
11-05-2006, 10:35 PM #3Originally Posted by rentacop
Thanks rentacop. As long as folks enjoy & learn something from them, and hopefuly partisipate in discussion, I'm more than happy to post them. A lot of this information is available on the net. Just gotta do a little research to find 'em.
11-05-2006, 11:36 PM #4
You know, I've never had to search anyone. The only arrests I've had to make is when they person has become really violent & it could not wait until the police arrived. In these cases the person is restrained & tightly held until the police arrive. They do the searching. Arresting people means having to go to court. My job is to save the hotel money. Paying me to go to court cost the hotel. In my work it is perferable to wait for the police to arrive or chase the person off of the property. (We don't have a trespass to property act anyway).
11-07-2006, 01:34 AM #5Member
- Join Date
- Oct 2006
- Northeast Alabama
Here is a good technique for when someone has their hands near the wasteband isn't following the comands you are giving them. Of course, this was a Vegas police officer but the technique is known by many. There are variations of it like using the face or forehead instead of the neck but the way this cop does it is more defendable in court I would think.
Here are some similar techniques.
Last edited by Dam Guard; 11-07-2006 at 06:13 AM.
11-07-2006, 03:37 AM #6
Interesting.. I found that kinda cute..LOL! It works,
as long as you have the element of surprise.
We use a similiar tehcnique of Arm barring drops,
where you approach as if walking directly towards the
subject, then off to the side, of your dominate arm.
As you close in, you can bring your dominate arm up
and forward, slightly bent, and catch them in the
upper chest or neck area, while using your other hand
and arm to grasp the subjects arm closest to you, then
sweeping downward with your dominate arm, pulling
upward with your clenched hand on the subjects arm,
and moving across your force set leg closest to the
subject, in an almost leg sweeping motion. This also
alows countering if you are thrown off balance by a
heavier subject, where you can pivot behind the
subject for safety and lock controls.
Its just a matter of getting the right timing and
situation to use these nifty controls.. LOL.. But when
is it ever simple and situationaly ideal?Deputy Sheriff
11-08-2006, 03:38 AM #7
This method of "angle, block, create resistance" is sound. I have heard it referred to as "bridging the reactionary gap". The emphasis here should be placed not only on proper facing , but fast mobile footwork and balance .
In order to be able to palm press your opponent with one or both hands successfully you need to be able to maintain a good 50/50% balance on your feet or 60/40% with the emphasis on your front foot. The footwork required in order to move forward and to the angle outside the assailant's unarmed lead hand is compound, meaning in order to maintain your bladed stance you will have to have some sort of stepping method such as stepping forward with your lead foot to the point where your lead is outside the opponent's lead, then before your rear foot follows to complete the step, pivot on your lead, which brings your rear foot to the front and on the opponent's blind side. Then it will be possible to deploy palm presses or joint locks when your body is in an advantageous position.
It should be remembered as well that only an off-balanced assailant will fall backwards. Without that edge you'll inadvertently find yourself in a wrestling match with somebody who won't fall down."We appreciate all the hard work you've done, the dedicated hours you have worked, and the lives you have saved. However, since this is your third time being late to work, we are terminating your employment here."
11-08-2006, 03:49 AM #8Originally Posted by Dam Guard"We appreciate all the hard work you've done, the dedicated hours you have worked, and the lives you have saved. However, since this is your third time being late to work, we are terminating your employment here."
11-12-2006, 09:28 PM #9Originally Posted by HotelSecuritySecurity: Freedom from fear; danger; safe; a feeling of well-being. (Webster's)