Jeff Anderson

Timing Your Handgun Disarm Technique!

Ok, you’ve practiced how to disarm a handgun a few thousand times and you’ve reached the level of expertise where you can rip anything short of a howitzer out of your training partner’s hands.

But a handgun disarm technique requires much more than just nimble fingers and a willing partner. For your disarm to truly be ready for a “gun in your face” encounter, your timing must be dead on.

Unfortunately, while handgun disarm techniques are a dime a dozen in close combat DVD’s these days, one crucial element is often ignored…

…and it’s perhaps the most important step in your disarm technique.

I’m talking about proper TIMING of your disarm of the handgun!

You see, your attacker is already adrenalized when he has the gun aimed on you and 90% of the time, his brain is focused on his weapon and you as the “target”. In this state of mind, one stupid move from you can mean a quick pull on the trigger, either on purpose or as a flinch response to your sudden movement.

Sure it helps to be quick and get your body out of the line of fire. But to effectively pull off a handgun disarm, you MUST time your movement when his brain is NOT focused on the trigger.

To accomplish this, your attacker’s brain must be disengaged from his trigger finger. In psychological terms, it’s called a “break state”, a momentary mental “hiccup” that happens when his brain is subconsciously distracted.

For you in your disarm attempt, there are two very prominent times when your attacker is in a break state during a holdup or hostage encounter…

…but only ONE of these offers you a critical opportunity to disarm his handgun and turn the tables.

Here are your options…and the winner:

Handgun Disarm “Break State” #1:
When He’s Giving You Orders

When your attacker is giving you an order to do something, his brain is momentarily focused on communicating those directions.

At that point, he is much less likely to pull the trigger because his brain must first re-engage with the intention of shooting. This may only take a fraction of a second, but in a handgun disarm, fractions of seconds can mean life or death!

However, this break state is NOT the best opportunity to disarm a man with a pistol.


Because many people, and especially a nervous thug armed with a gun, give directions with their hands. So even though he’s in a break state when motioning you to move from one location to the other, he may be using the gun to point you in the direction he wants you to move.

If you were to make your disarm attempt while he’s giving you directions, it’s probable that the gun will be in motion and you’re more likely to miss your target when you reach out to disarm the pistol.

However, there IS a better option…

Handgun Disarm “Break State” #2:
AFTER He’s Given You Orders

When your attacker has given you an order or asked you to move, his brain is even MORE focused on making sure that you’re following directions. This is an even more powerful break state because your movement is something only you control so his brain has to process your response, whether it’s the one he wanted you to make, and whether he needs to give you further orders.

THIS is the most opportune time for you to make your move and snatch the gun away!

Here’s why…

1. Since your attacker isn’t the one giving direction, he’s instead focused on your own movement, he’s less likely to have the gun in motion.

A stable handgun gives you a static “target” to aim for in your disarm move and increases your probability of success.

2. If you’re asked to move, he’s EXPECTING your body to be in motion. Therefore, your lightening quick disarm is more likely to catch him off guard because your movement was actually something he asked you to do in the first place.

3. It allows you the opportunity to TALK to your attacker. When you’re communicating with him, his brain’s focus is again taken off of the trigger and your disarm is much harder to detect. This is even more likely if you’re in movement and talking at the same time, like asking, “You mean move over here?”

So in your handgun disarm training, don’t just practice the disarm move itself. Train with realistic hostage-like scenarios to also practice creating mental break states in your attacker to perfect the entire handgun disarm technique.

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