The first thing I want to say about this DVD produced by Paladin Press is that I really like how Paladin uses menus with their DVDs. Paladin has increased their production value as they have learned through experience and customer feedback about what people want with educational DVDs.
Production quality is high with multiple angles, close-ups, good sound, and clear instructions. The menus make it easy to find the sections you want to review and train. So now let’s move on to the material presented on this DVD.
James Miller, a former police officer and SWAT operator spends 75 minutes teaching basic firearm disarmament techniques. They are simple and effective. However, I should point out that no matter how good you are at disarming weapons, you should only resort to them if all other options to avoid, de-escalate, or escape are futile. Empty hand techniques against weapons are clearly last minute options.
Miller starts the program with basic safety protocols. It also shows the training equipment used in the show. I like that Miller included this, because the mark of all good instructors is to train hard, but train hard. This is especially important with any weapons training. I suggest that everyone viewing this video listen and adhere to Miller’s safety tips and protocols.
The next section of the DVD focuses on Principles and Concepts. Here, Miller discusses range and distance, response time, articulation lock directions, and his disarm formula of clear, check, disarm, and defuse. Miller demonstrates these four essentials for every disarm. The principles and concepts included in this section are important, and Miller taught them clearly and succinctly. I also really like that Miller goes over what to do with the gun once you’ve disarmed your attacker. Many programs forget this important part. What do you do with the gun afterwards? Miller tells you.
Miller then comes to the answer section empty-handed. The techniques he covers include disarms for these attacks: one-handed body grab; one-handed head grip, including a horizontal grip; two-handed grip; rear attacks to the body; and rear attacks to the head.
Miller only teaches a few techniques for these attacks. That’s good. Under stress, knowing a few techniques well is better than knowing too many not very well. He also tackles the punt in or out controversy. Miller’s discussion of this makes perfect sense. The direction you clear will be determined by the situation you find yourself in, so he knows techniques for both directions. The techniques were the same or similar to some of the techniques in many Hapkido curricula and therefore were very easy for me to follow. I think anyone with a solid foundation in how joints work and how joint locks work will be at an advantage with this program. If you are new to joint locks, these techniques may not be as easy to learn. However, if you follow Miller with your training partner, you should be able to become proficient. The key is to train realistically and safely with your partner.
In the next section of the show, Miller goes into armed responses. This is where Miller teaches how to disarm your opponent when you’re also armed. He first covers how to disarm your attacker when you’re armed with a knife. He displays these techniques with a tactical folder that he carries on his right side, tucked into the waistband of his jeans, and with a fixed blade that he carries on his strong (right) side. Personally, I think these techniques would be more difficult to execute than empty hand techniques because in addition to knowing the disarm technique, you also need to be good at drawing and using your sword. These techniques will require a lot of practice to become proficient enough to carry them out in a real situation.
Next Miller teaches pistol vs. gun. He cleans the attacker’s weapon and controls it, and then instead of drawing the sword from him, he accesses his own firearm. Like the knife vs. Weapon disarmament, these techniques require him to have proficient training with the firearm he is carrying, as well as the disarmament that Miller teaches. For law enforcement, where officers regularly train and carry weapons, these are most useful. For everyone else, if you carry a weapon, you should also train with it. One must always remember that sometimes you may not have time to draw a weapon that he is carrying, so one must also know empty hand techniques.
After teaching the techniques, Miller’s next section covers the evolutions of training. It starts with using an inert trainer with slower runs, but not by numbers. Move slowly but smoothly, no gaps. Then increase the speed as he becomes more comfortable. Once he is comfortable with the techniques, he increases the stressors to make the training a little more stressful. Next, he shows how to train with different training weapons that actually have a plastic projectile to make training even more realistic, including some training scenarios.
Miller wraps up the show with a short discussion about finding another way to end the confrontation and only using deactivations if there’s no other way. Then he encourages you to train hard and safe.
This is a very good basic program on firearm disassembly. Paladin Press did a very good job filming and editing, and Miller did a solid job with his instruction. Again, I believe that someone who has experience in an art or style that includes joint locks will be able to learn the techniques in this program much more easily than someone without that experience. If you want to incorporate firearms disarmament into your training, get this video and start practicing what Miller teaches with his training partner. The DVD is approximately 75 minutes long and is produced by Paladin Press.