How to Disarm Someone

One of the biggest fears many people face in dangerous urban environments is the threat of someone attacking them with a firearm. While handguns are meant primarily as defensive or control weapons, all too often they are used offensively by assailants due to their lethality and ease of concealment. While any situation involving a firearm is inherently dangerous, let’s take a look at how to disarm someone in as safe a manner as possible before transitioning to our Krav Maga takedown techniques.

The Assailant

For a basic gun defense, we’ll start with an all too common scenario. Walking home down a familiar sidewalk you pass everyday, your progress is interrupted by a someone stepping out directly into your path. In his hands, he is holding a semi-automatic handgun forward toward your centerline. The gun is pointed toward your chest, but could just as easily be aimed at your head, abdomen, or groin. He is angry, covered in sweat, and has a wild, crazy look in his eyes.

What Not To Do!

The first thing we want you to understand when learning how to disarm someone, is that you need to forget martial artists superstars like Bruce Lee or Jackie Chan. While they’re amazing actors and stuntmen, movie techniques will, more often than not, get you shot. While some of the fancy hands-only disarms will work when done correctly, if you miss the opponent's arm, you’ve left yourself open as a target. Worse, some rely on you directing the weapon in such a way that its arc of fire tracks further into your body or head.

What Do You Do?

We’ll take this in 4 steps:

  • Redirect
  • Control
  • Attack
  • Take Away


The point of learning how to disarm someone is to not get shot. You must either move the gun’s barrel away from you, or yourself out of the path of the gun. To do this, we’re going to shoot an arm forward to push the gun hand off the centerline. This will also naturally pull your body the opposite way, out of the line of fire.


Now, you want your forward hand to control the firearm. Either directly, by grasping the firearm, or indirectly, at the very least grasping your assailant’s wrist or forearm to control the direction of fire.


After you’ve gained control of the weapon, you can now use your Krav Maga takedown techniques or strikes to disrupt the gunman’s focus or hurt him enough to take him out of the action.

Take Away

If you haven’t managed to subdue your assailant at this point, it’s time to wrench the firearm away and get to a safe distance.

Training Matters

Remember that tactical situations are often both dangerous and dynamic. Training for real-world situations will give you better results if they’re ever needed. To learn how to disarm someone or brush up on your self-defense skills, stop by a Krav Maga Worldwide location today.

For the next part of our disarming series, take a look at Part 2 for more disarming techniques.


Today's tip is an extrapolation of an excerpt from Black Belt Krav Maga, co-authored by Darren Levine and Ryan Hoover. Available on Amazon now.

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