Last night in adult class we worked gun disarms against an attacker holding the gun at you from the front, the side, the back, and with you being held as a hostage, all with the gun at different levels (aimed low, aimed at the chest, aimed at the head, aimed at someone else, etc.), and we ended with working to stop someone as they reach for a gun. The last time I worked gun disarms it was only against someone holding the gun to your head from the front and while the techniques used were not quite the same, the basic concept was–move off-line from the muzzle, control the gun, control the wrist, elevate the muzzle and force it back toward the attacker.
The first disarm that I had learned before was that, with the gun held to your head from the front, you drop into a low stance (and I do mean “drop”–don’t just move to a low stance) and as you do you push the gun up with both of your hands, gaining a grip on the gun and the attacker’s wrist. From there we kicked them in the knee or groin and twisted the gun straight back toward them (the muzzle moving only on the vertical plane–moving it horizontally leaves others in the area in danger) until they lost their grip. This works particularly well if they tell you to raise your hands because they will be expecting you to be moving your hands upward, but when you suddenly drop you are clear of the muzzle and by pushing it up higher you clear anyone who may be behind you.
The method of taking the gun away was the exact same last night in that we gained control of the gun itself and the attacker’s wrist and twisted the gun toward them along the vertical plane to break their grip on it. We also worked twisting on the horizontal plane but with the acknowledgment that it would be something we only did if no one was around and that using the vertical plane was safer. The general method we used was that you should not bring your hands any higher than the gun when told to put your hands up in order to minimize movement, then to move off-line from the muzzle (same concept as dropping below it in the first method I learned), and then disarm.
Doing this from the front was fairly straight-forward, but it became interesting when we moved the attacker to our side or behind us. With the gun stuck in your side you only have to turn a very short distance to clear the gun, at which point you can grab and disarm. With the gun stuck in your back, however, you suddenly cannot see the weapon and have to move much further–this resulted in much clumsier disarms which, of course, equates to a more dangerous situation.
With someone holding you hostage you will have the advantage (as much of an advantage as there can be in that situation) of the fact that the hostage taker will likely point the gun at other people at some point. If they keep the gun pointed to you it actually does not take much movement to move off-line and pin the gun against their body, but be aware that you will be severely burned if the gun goes off. With the gun pointed at someone else, however, you suddenly have the advantage of already being off-line from the muzzle and you can see the condition of the gun; What type of gun is it? Does it have a hammer? Is that hammer forward or locked back? Is there a safety? Is it on? These are things you can consider as you grab control of the weapon because you could turn a safety on, hold a hammer back or forward, or hold a revolver cylinder from turning if the hammer is forward. Another thing to consider is that there are probably a lot of police around in this situation and they are just waiting for their chance to jump in, and the last thing the bad guy expects is for his HOSTAGE to grab the gun. Doing so gives the police a huge opportunity to save you.
With someone who has a gun (or any other weapon) and moves to draw it during an altercation (whether they are walking up to you menacingly and you have no idea why or you are in a fight with them) your biggest concern is stopping them. When they move, you have to move or that gun will be pointed at you and, quite likely, the trigger will be pulled. We worked jamming their arm so that they could not remove the gun from their belt or inside their gi, similar to what we would do against a holster or jacket pocket, and then worked to isolate them and control them with a shoulder lock to keep them from being able to reach the gun again.
The biggest thing to remember with gun defense is that there are no guarantees–you could drill these techniques and others for 20 years and still get shot if you had to use them because you can’t control everything. If someone points a gun at you, they only have to move half an inch to pull the trigger and you have to move at least a foot to disarm them, so the danger is incredibly high. Remember, also, that you do not always have to act–if they really just want your wallet, toss it on the ground and let them have it. Some things aren’t worth the risk.