Close Quarters Combat // Tzviel (BK) BlankchteinTactical weapon retention

Published 12 December 2008

A police officer or soldier approaching a criminal or a terrorist would be in dire straits if the bad guy were to grab the officer’s weapon, thus leaving him defenseless; retaining one’s weapon is thus key, and here is a discussion of how to do it

Tactical Weapon Retention refers to a situation in which an assailant grabs a hold of the operator’s (military, police officer, or other) weapon while out of the holster and during a tactical scenario.

Take, for example, a single file formation, as in when police is raiding a house, and the officer in Position Two has a suspect come out of a room and grab his drawn handgun (note: for purposes of this scenario, we will assume the point man missed the suspect and moved right on). Analyzing the situation presents a few tactical quandaries: the officer has to deal with a suspect holding his weapon which may present a life threatening situation for him; being second in the line means others are behind him and need to continue into the house to maintain the tactical advantage gained by surprise and force (which stopping to address one suspect may eliminate); and the point man, usually the bunker man, is moving forward leaving the rest without sufficient cover.

What should you do?

Weapon retention out of the holster
In a situation as described above the initial reaction should be to regain control of the handgun. Two possible scenarios: live side and dead side. Live side refers to when the suspect holds the handgun from officer’s trigger hand side. Dead side refers to when the suspect holds the handgun from the officer’s support side.

Dead side weapon retention
As the officer moves down the hallway the suspect comes out and grabs a hold of the officer’s handgun. Since the officer is right handed and the suspect is to his left, the suspect is to the officer’s dead side.

The officer uses and explosive rotational movement and drives his shoulder toward the suspect’s wrists. As the officer’s body moves forward the officer pulls the handgun toward his chest.

The officer’s main concern now is to gain control of the suspect and move out of the way, especially if a file is formed behind him. An elbow strike will initiate the attack, as the officer will turn toward the suspect.

The officer can not waste time slowing his team down. In addition, the structural element (a corridor) may make fighting a challenge. Driving the suspect into the room from which he came out of will facilitate the apprehension process. The officer may use his handgun to strike straight forward, or even engaging with higher force option if needed: firing his handgun.