Brazilian Gun Grapple Analysis

I shared this video on my Facebook page, but I wanted to give it some more attention. I feel like there are layers to this onion that are worth peeling. This short clip is a powerful example of several concepts that we try to convey in the extreme close quarters range and fighting in general. I’ll address it non-contextually, as if we don’t know who the good or bad guy is, since there are lessons on both sides in both cases.

***Graphic Content, Gun Fight, DeATH***

The Monkey Dance

You need to know who you are with your gun on, to paraphrase William Aprill. When good guys put the gun on, we give up the right to get angry in traffic, posture and chest bump someone who we disagree with, yell and scream and poke chests, and generally be an asshole. We strive for avoidance, deterrence, and deescalation. Even if there was no gun on scene before, once we arrive there’s a gun that could be used by anyone around.  Swallow your pride, apologize even if you’re right, walk away, and you’ve won. RedShirt probably isn’t a good guy, and didn’t take the advice.

Avoid the chest thumping monkey dance.

A gun as a talisman/intimidation tool

This being Brazil, there are strict rules on gun possession and carrying outside the home isn’t really allowed for good guys. As a result, the common feeling in Brazil is that carrying guns is something bad guys do. As a result, there is a big stigma on firearms in general. It’s safe to say that RedShirt is a bad guy who regularly uses his pistol as a conversation starter and negotiation tool. He shows the pistol, you do the thing he wants, and everyone can go home. As a result, he didn’t bother handling the gun like he might have to use it, and paid dearly for it.

Luckily, the bad guys in the US tend to feel the same way. It’s merely a tool of convenience to get what they want. We can use this to our advantage.

If we’re the one with the gun, we have to understand the space management and pitfalls of drawing a gun within arms reach.

Decisive action and aggression can make up for lack of skill

BlueShirt’s disarm was sloppy, possibly accidental, but his action was decisive. As soon as he was aware of RedShirt’s gun, he averted the muzzle with his left hand and began landing sloppy punches with his right. RedShirt, realizing he made a bad timing decision, starts to turn away (bad idea) and blades himself to BlueShirt. With a classic (if accidental) boxing  outside position on Redshirt, BlueShirt was able to perform a sloppy trip while holding onto the gun. Redshirt lost control of his gun, and BlueShirt pressed the fight.

There was no technical skill involved here. Since Redshirt wasn’t really ready for a fight, the simple act of immediate retaliation completely overwhelmed his ability to fight back. We can use this to our advantage. I believe this is why it is so common for the average person to win their fight when they simply decide to fight back. I personally don’t want to rely on facing an unskilled opponent, so I continue to improve myself in this area.

Retention gun handling

We’ve covered this before (Here). If you train with a high and tight thumb-pectoral index shooting position built into your drawstroke, or at least get repetitions getting to this position, you’ll be able to avoid the problem that RedShirt had. Floating the gun and over-extension are common in untrained people who are doing this for the first time.

I would argue that the immediate action for RedShirt once the gun was out and BlueShirt had a hand on, was to aggressively draw the elbow back into a thumb-pectoral index, drop his base, and square his hips. None of those things are intuitive when a weapon is in play. We tend to get weapon fixated and think we should try to get the most distance between the weapon and opponent, when recomposing a strong structure and base is priority.

Craig Douglas showing his Thumb-Pectoral Index Photo: Tenicor FB page

Emotional control at the point of victory

While we might be inclined to understand how BlueShirt would mag-dump into RedShirt’s face out of rage, we have to strive for better emotional control. I would say the first several shots could be explained away to a jury. But the coup de grâce mag dump takes it too far in the eyes of the law, to my basic understanding. People have been locked up in the US for similar things. It would be hard to explain 7 head shots on a downed opponent to a group of your peers. We have to be training to stop shooting so we don’t fall victim to this trap.

Fight and use deadly force until you perceive the fight has left your opponents. Then pump the brakes.

Experience in Violence

It is apparent to observers that BlueShirt is experienced in violence.  From his immediate forward drive when he sees the gun, to this ruthless face shooting, to his calm demeanor immediately following. He has done this before.

So, short of getting into gunfights, how can we gain experience and not become completely overwhelmed if we ever find ourselves here? Training and Practice. Learning to manage emotion by inoculating ourselves to the stress of a fight. Familiarity and study of these videos, Force-On-Force training, Shooting Competition, Grappling, and boxing. The formula is simple. You just have to Do The Work.

Put yourself in deep holes in training that you have to dig yourself out of. That way, when it counts, you’ll have the best chance possible.



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