I have a background mostly in Krav Maga and ICS (Israeli Combat System), and one of the techniques taught for disarming a gun, involves grabbing the barrel of the gun and pushing it to the side before taking it away. They tell you that the gun may end up going off at this point, but since it is no longer pointed at you when it does, this is not a problem. What I am wondering is what kind of damage can be done to your hand through either burns or something happening when the slide of the gun slides back.

  • Why grab the gun, why not just parry it? You don't need to maintain a grip on it when you are quickly following up with more strikes or other techniques. Not holding the gun means you won't get burnt and don't risk your hand being shot if you accidentally slide it over the end of the barrel.
    – slugster
    Feb 2, 2012 at 2:40
  • 9
    He's talking about a disarm technique - the pistol (or other firearm) is taken off the attacker. Difficult without a grip. Feb 2, 2012 at 2:57
  • There are other ways of disarming a gun than grabbing the barrel, but best is to practice different techniques. Try with wooden prop guns then move onto airsoft guns so you can get punished for mistakes. See what works for you.
    – AquaAlex
    Nov 8, 2013 at 13:54
  • 2
    The important thing is i would rather loose a finger than my life :-) (Just remember when trying to disarm a gun to make sure where the barrel is pointing now. I have seen many "good" defenses ending up with gun now pointing at your wife/girlfriend, and this is not acceptable.)
    – AquaAlex
    Nov 8, 2013 at 13:56

5 Answers 5


Assuming your not in the tragectory of the bullet when it's fired, you can obtain the following injuries:

  • Friction injuries
  • Thermal Injuries
  • Lacerations
  • Broken/Avulsed fingers

The first danger, excluding the round, will be the slide. There is considerable amount of force exerted by the gas release and slide recoil. If you finger is trapped inside the ejection opening in the slide it can be cut, broken or suffer an avulsion (separation). Secondly as the slide moves you can get a sliced and/or a friction burn. The barrel of the gun will also be very hot, normally encased inside the slide in most semi-automatic you could come into contact with it and get a thermal burn from it.

If the gun is being fired when you grab it your hand and forearm will be in close contact to the the ignited gun powder and super-heated gases. You can suffer thermal injuries in this case.

Personally I try and attempt wrist control when disarming a gun and get in close. If it goes off and damages my hand, possibly severely, I may not put up much of a fight at that point. You hand position in the gun will be very important to minimize injury, as user249228 showed in his YouTube video link. But you have to understand body and hand positioning at that point, in that video he has his hand clamped on top of the rear sight and the slide moves toward him. If it's someone else holding the gun, you will have an outside grip to get that position and the slide will be moving away from you, both are contention with normal body mechanics.

  • 1
    Is youtube.com/watch?v=upoYtPS_5QQ the YouTube link you're referring to? Jul 7, 2016 at 11:46
  • Will one round from a handgun really cause the barrel to heat up enough to, say, blister your hand? Jan 2, 2019 at 17:55
  • 1
    @AmorphousBlob it won't. In fact, having done this (and other Krav Maga gun disarms) with live firearms, I find this answer exaggerated.
    – Chavez
    Jan 28, 2019 at 21:29

I've personally sliced my finger open from a kick before. If your grip isn't that great, you'll get cut, but a minor laceration is nothing compared to a gunshot would. Also, many external hammer pistols will not go off if the slide is pushed back a little it.

On a side note, if you manage to grab the cylinder of a 6-shooter that hasn't been cocked (hammer still forward as is common in many double action revolvers), then it will not fire.

The technique you mentioned saved the life of one of my buddies who is a sheriff, so it does work... sometimes. We used to train this with airsoft guns and you do get plinked... some people more than others

Therefore, someone wants my wallet, I'll give him that over trying to disarm him. Someone wants to rape my wife, time to try a disarm.

  • +1 good answer, minor injuries over major ones any day of the week
    – AquaAlex
    Nov 8, 2013 at 13:57

This happened to me a few days ago. I grabbed the barrel of a rifle as it was fired. My hand throbbed in pain for several hours. The fingers were bruised, swollen, and stiff. But no severe damage.

  • Anecdotal, but it's some input. Dec 26, 2018 at 13:55

You could burn your skin as the barrel will still be hot. Also the friction created as the gun rubs against your hand can also cause burns and skin tear.

Depending on the power of the gun you could also break some bones in your hand as the jolt impact may cause some weaker bones to easily snap or break.

When defending yourself you are most likely going to obtain some sort of injury’s.

Personally I would rather have these minor injury’s rather than being shot :)


My dad injured his finger while firing from my sig mpx k. His finger accidentally went below the muzzle. It injured his finger and needed stitches. Good thing no tendons or nerves were damaged.

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge that you have read and understand our privacy policy and code of conduct.

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