A few weeks ago I watched a YouTube video about disarming someone holding a pistol and decided to give the technique a try with my sparring partner.

The technique was the most common we see in movies, if the opponent holds a gun with his right arm, you place your right arm on the outer side of your opponents arm and using your left arm you grab the gun.

So for a few weeks me and my partner were trying to learn this with some toy pistol, we followed the instructions precisely and having about four years experience in martial arts, we expected to be able to do this, but the truth is that it wasn't possible.

The ones suggesting the technique assumed that the opponent will hold the pistol extremely lightly, this was the only case the technique worked, generally with a more natural grip it was just impossible to get the gun out of the opponent's arm no matter how hard we tried (it is worth mentioning that my sparring partner has been a powerlifter for quite some time and he still wasn't able to get the gun out of my hand despite being way stronger than me), in fact I believe attempting the technique in a real situation could get you killed and I would never recommend it, the best thing one should do if someone is trying to rob him is cooperate since your life is worth more than a few bucks.

Anyway, my question is, is this technique useless or it was our fault that we couldn't make it work (perhaps due to lack of experience)?

  • 2
    It would help greatly if you provided a link to the video. Generally, they do work, yes. But only if you smack their face, groin, or something equally distracting so that focus and grip are weaker. Therefore, again, no meaningful answer possible without seeing that technique. May 22, 2021 at 10:11
  • 1
    I think it's too risky to smack their face or kick their groin.
    – Mason_dns
    May 22, 2021 at 10:20
  • 1
    It is actually more risky to allow them to focus on their weapon. May 23, 2021 at 11:41
  • 1
    Generally, if you try to disarm a pistol from someone by grabbing the pistol or the hand holding it then you should expect the pistol to discharge (because even a reflexive tightening of the holder's hand could cause enough pressure to be applied to the trigger). You could grab it to force it to point in a different direction, but still expect it to go off. Me, I'd hit the hand arm to point in a different direction, while continuing to hit them multiple times to force them to drop it.
    – slugster
    May 23, 2021 at 12:01
  • 1
    There are ways/places to strike to cause someone's hand to open up (note that they still might not drop it). But I wouldn't wrestle it directly except as a last resort.
    – slugster
    May 23, 2021 at 12:02

3 Answers 3


Only military and police trainers can likely comment on the utility of such techniques—my guess is that they are not focused on due to the low probability of success, and that strategy with firearms is to fell the opponent from a distance, ideally from cover.

However these techniques are a major part of serious contemporary "gun fu" choreography, which is a thriving art form.

  • Do gun disarming techniques work on camera. Hard yes!

Do gun disarming techniques work in real life—the best answer would likely come from Vegas bookmakers. (Odds on the unarmed individual will be astronomical, but still almost certainly a losing bet.)

I don't even know how such an opportunity would come into play outside of a movie, tbh.


Gun Fu workes only on camera.

Gun disable works in life, if you are near enough.

Grab the pistol slide, pull it back, never let it go. Better to point the gun away from you, if in any case the chambered projectile is fired.

The one who wins the grappling, that one has the gun.


First, if someone has a handgun pointed at you and they are close enough that you can reach the firearm you are in a heap of do do, probably less than 50-50. We train Krav style and on the street it could go something like this. Once I am convinced this guy is seriously going to harm me. First, act frightened, shouldn't be to hard, say things like "Please don't shoot me" and "I'll give you my money, keys..". My hands would be moving like I'm freaking out terrified. The attack would be something like this, get off the line, block the weapon then attack the gun. Once the gun is in my control I DO NOT release it. Then Eyes, Nuts, Nose, Knees, did I say Nuts. Once the gun is no longer in the attacker hands and you miraculously survived the ordeal, run like hell.

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.