OC, pressure points and wirst locks [Archive] - Glock Talk


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04-29-2010, 20:59
Mas, I tried to reply in a post but was unable to do so. I wanted your take on a few things.

First of all I doubt that there is any defensive item that is sold more than OC, but I am unable to find stories of citizens using it during defensive situations. In my LE career (now retired) as far as I know my agency never took one report of anyone ever using it for self-defense. What we did have was a number of robberies where OC was used as the primary weapon. Your thoughts?

When it comes to pressure points and wrist locks my personal feeling is that they are usually used to sell one more DVD or book. If feel they are very dangerous for folks that are not duty bound to bring the bad guy in since they encourage the good guy to hold onto his attacker instead of fighting to get away. The only way to know if a pressure point works is to listen for the bad guy to say "ouch" or he stops doing what he is doing. What I have found more likely is that the pressure point either does not work or after being over stimulated fails to work anymore. Pressure points along with locks only encourage the good guy to stay in front of of their attacker instead of moving to the outside and getting away. Again, you thoughts?- George

Mas Ayoob
04-29-2010, 22:33
George, answering your points in order:

1. I don't know of any central data base that gathers info on OC effectiveness in citizen self-defense scenarios. The individual departments do, of course, and as you and I both know it works reasonably well in that theater. The cops have the advantage of having been trained to move off the line of attack and give it time to work, which gives them an advantage over lay people who haven't had that training. With training, there's no reason OC shouldn't work equally well at the lower threat levels for trained cop and trained "civilian" alike.

2. Like you, I've found pressure point control tactics to be wildly variable, individual to individual. With full power blows to the common peroneal nerve, I've seen some guys drop like rocks and one guy just stand there and smile. Vulnerability to pressure points, in my experience, is HIGHLY variable between individuals.

3. Properly executed joint-locks, including wrist-locks, absolutely do work, but the operative term is "properly executed." The key is getting within range first, and then placing the good guy's total body weight against the bad guy's joint. These elements have been lost in many police academies, which teach simply grabbing the wrist from wherever you are, and trying to bend it; that won't work against a stronger opponent. Joint-locks are very "technique intensive" and don't work very well at arm's length.

The officer who learned a generic technique briefly in the academy may not be able to make it work, especially against a much stronger opponent; the student who learned the wrist-lock takedown from someone like Larry Smith, who left a very long trail of subdued opponents during his tenure on San Diego PD, will probably be quite successful with it.

For those who don't have Mercop's background, keep in mind that OC (pepper spray), and "soft hand techniques" such as subduing wrist-locks, are relatively low on the "force continuum" and are used primarily as responses to non-lethal threats.


04-30-2010, 06:36
Mas, thanks for getting back to me.

Having been involved in dozens of OC deployments it was always done during a stand off or mass chaos situation. Things not often encountered by the citizen. I thought because of your contacts just about everywhere you might know of some civilian OC deployments. I just feel that this police tool is being carried by the citizenry with false confidence.

I certainly agree the joint locks have a place for police since we are in the business of controlling people, putting cuffs, on them and taking them to jail. The problem comes again when self-defense minded citizens who have no obligation to control or hold anyone try to use them instead of using tactics that allow them to escape. Even for police we know that misapplied or ineffectual joint locks occupy both hands, usually above the waist, exposing the weapons band, and lead to task fixation when they fail to work. You have written many times about now goblins come in pairs, anything that would take the lone person to a position of holding on vs stopping the threat and moving onto subsequent threats is a pitfall.

Thanks again- George

Mas Ayoob
04-30-2010, 19:36
Understood, George. However, we both understand that for citizen and cop alike, use of force situations come at different levels on the continuum. If every assault on a cop involved a gun, we could just teach them combat shooting and skip hand to hand. Similarly, if every assault on a citizen was a full-on attempt to batter them into helplessness, we could just teach neck-breaks and skull-busting.

However, the citizens just like the cops will often be in situations where they need to physically control someone but don't want to injure that person. The parent struggling with an adult-size adolescent son who's emotionally out of control...the mentally ill relative who needs to be restrained from harming himself, or forced to let go of someone he has grabbed, but not sent to the Intensive Care Unit..the list is probably endless.

In police work or in private life, we don't know what force level we'll need until the situation presents itself. As you and I both know -- both of us cross-trained in the various levels of the force continuum -- the more tools the involved individual has in the box, the better that individual will be able to handle the given situation.

Thanks for making important points,