Thursday, January 22, 2015

Burned Hands from Holding Firing Handguns

     Grabbing the enemy's gun is sometimes an essential, life-saving skill in a close-quarters, survival fight. Hanging on to it through the presentation of the weapon and even its firing is an important part of keeping the barrel off of you and maybe off others and a major step in disarming.

     A counter to this pistol or weapon-bearing limb grab? It has always been one old-school solution to counter a pistol grab by firing the weapon if the pistol will still function under the grip - that is if the slide has not been pushed back far enough or if the revolver cylinder can still turn or the visible hammer's travel can be stopped.

     The explosion may cause the disarmer to let go of their grab-and-disarm attempt from the sheer explosion and shock. Various military and police agencies through the decades have at times introduced a training course where people stand to the side of a pistol and hold on to it as it is fired. Sometimes in the programs, people are allowed to wear thin gloves, sometimes not. I did a course once where we had to wear thin, white gloves. This experience preps you for that possible, future, real moment.

     U.K. war vet Alan Cain gave me these photos from some of his British Army training conducted by an American Green Beret. The purpose of the session was to see if the soldiers could develop the fortitude to hold onto various pistols through firing and to examine what, if any, damage might occur.

     As you can see, the teams used both revolvers and semiautomatics. If you are new to the gun “bidness,” you may not know that the explosion inside a revolver discharges/escapes a great deal more, via the frame openings, than does the more enclosed, semiautomatic pistol. (That's Cain holding the pistol top.)

     Below you can see the long stripped burns on the palms that come from the revolver. Smaller black burns come from the ejection port of the semiautomatic. Keep in mind the troops were not wrestling with these guns in these tests, which might actually move the slide of a semiautomatic or freeze the cylinder and stop a bullet from firing. They were just holding on as in the above photo.

     Also, you can see some cuts from where the semiautomatic slide move cut the flesh. You may also suffer some "erupted skin." They did this for a couple of hours, too, and this is an accumulated damage. The "open" revolvers did more damage. I have seen numerous results from semiautomatic grabs, and no damage was observed.

     Double-action cylinder grab. If a revolver's cylinder area is gripped very tightly, the gripper’s five fingers usually have more strength than the shooter’s one finger pulling the trigger and trying to turn the cylinder of an uncocked revolver into place. Five versus one. It is difficult. (The trigger finger must turn the cylinder in a double-action trigger pull.) The gripper’s five fingers may prevent the cylinder from turning and then the revolver from firing.

     I had my head too close to a revolver discharge years ago. I have written before about one event when I push-pulled a magnum revolver from a guy's hand in a struggle. He fired it in the air to get me and another guy's grip off his gun arm. He instinctively seemed to know about this discharge trick as a counter to a disarm or grab. Like a warning shot. I was charging in from the side and was very close. I grabbed the cylinder and frame with my left hand and pulled inward. I pushed his forearm out with my right hand and got the take-away, all right in the midst of his pulling the trigger and firing into the air.

     After the stupid disturbance and argument was quelled, I stepped into the bathroom of the office building where this happened. I took a look in the mirror. The right side temple area of my head received a reddish "sunburn," but the close blast popped some small blood vessels into small, star-like-burst patterns around my temple, eye, and cheekbone. What?

     My left hand? Nothing! But I am not sure where my left hand was at the exact flashpoint. I apparently closed my eyes at the split second of the explosion, as I remember no flash. A good thing I guess.
      Hearing in my right ear was literally wiped out. Blasted and screeching deeply inside but at the same time it was like like someone stuffed a whole pillow in my ear. This hindered my hearing and concentration at the scene. My ear was jacked up for days. Frankly, my hearing may have been permanently damaged from that, I don't know.

     I do not know the caliber of the bullet.

     Anyway, I thought you'd like to see these Alan Cain pictures. Get on Youtube and look for film clips of people holding firing pistols. You see how scratch and burn-free they are, especially when they are grasping semiautomatic pistols.

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