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  • Robert Farago

How to Fight an Armed Attacker

The answer may surprise you

Wild video shows a female University of Chicago student fighting back against an armed robber, amazingly yanking the magazine out of her attacker’s firearm — as a man sitting feet away watches without helping.”

Yay for her, brickbats for the bad guy and an immediate course of testosterone shots for the bystander.

Meanwhile, I have no idea how “Madelyn” knew to remove a magazine from a gun.

Strike that. Anyone familiar with pistols knows there’s a little button on the side that makes the gun shit the mag (to use the technical term).

Barely an Inconvenience!

I’ve done it tens of thousands of times. Hit the mag release I mean. Under normal circumstances, it’s a feature not a bug. Makes reloading a fresh magazine super easy. Barely an inconvenience!

BUT if you asked me to push the magazine release button on a gun held by someone in the midst of robbing me I’d say GTFO. Every gun guy on Earth knows when adrenaline flows your fine motor skills blow.

I’m not talking about adjusting a carburetor. I can only hear the words “OK Boomer” so many times before pointing out that our beloved country’s defense against nuclear annihilation (and yes our ability to inflict it) resides in gigantic nuclear submarines called Boomers. So there.

I’m talking about losing your ability to do needlework and other activities requiring precise hand-eye coordination.

Like pushing a tiny little button on the side of a small metal object while wrestling with a grown ass man holding said object, who doesn’t want you to press the button.

The Truth About Madelyn’s Gun Disarm?

Odds are the gentleman seeking reparations from young Madelyn didn’t seat the mag properly. Jostling dislodged it.

The fact that Madelyn picked up the bullet holder and threw it in the bushes deserves unquestioning kudos.

The mag denial demonstrated some basic knowledge of firearms and, more importantly, the right attitude.

One way or another it was a “fuck you” to her attacker. You want your bullets? There they are motherfucker.

Carry On My Israeli Friend


If the bad guy wasn’t practicing Israeli carry - keeping the chamber unloaded until go-time - removing the mag still left a bullet in a place where a single trigger press could send it on its not-so-merry way.

Bottom line? Going for the mag release button on your attacker’s firearm isn’t a recommended self-defense technique.

Maybe it’s the Hemingway daiquiri talking, but I forgot to mention that reaching for a pistol’s tiny magazine release button runs the risk of someone pulling the trigger on a gun that’s pointed God knows where.

Gun Disarm!

There are almost as many styles of gun disarm techniques as there are self-defense instructors making cool-looking, rep-building gun disarm videos.

As you can see, success depends on speed, surprise and violence of action.

Speed you can do - provided you don’t do what most people do in a life-or-death situation: freeze.

Surprise? As the whole point of pointing a gun at someone is to make them do what you tell them to do - or shoot them - attacking your attacker is generally surprising.

Violence of action? What action? Aye there’s the rub. Have you practiced and mastered the fine art of kicking the shit out of someone?

In a sitch like Madelyn’s, not having that skill can be a real disadvantage. Especially if the bad guy has some experience giving and receiving violence.

Note: it’s a good idea to have at least one go-to violent move. A strong, swift kick to the balls can be a real show stopper. An elbow to the head is also fun. I mean effective. (Krav Maga FTW)

Speed Equals Distance Over Time

Thank you Tony. One for the road! What’s that? Proximity?

Well spotted! Gun disarm videos show the bad guy aiming a gun within striking distance. If an attacker’s gun is outside your reach, nope. You’re SOL.

Let’s say you manage to somehow take control – or at least deflect – your attacker’s firearm. Maybe even drive his testicles back into his body. What’s next?

Run? If you can, sure! If the bad guy still has or regains control of his gun, bullets travel at thousands of feet per second. Just sayin’.

Again, incapacitating your attacker to the point where you can run away safely is the money move.

Hoping he doesn’t get ahold of his weapon. Or counter-attack some other way that leaves you bruised and/or bleeding and/or damaging your face or internal organs.

Not to mention the possibility of a colleague’s intervention.

Just five minutes before Madelyn was robbed, two other students walking on opposite sides of the street were confronted by four armed suspects who robbed them before driving away in a black Infiniti, the University of Chicago Police Department said.

Assuming the two robbed students weren’t assaulted, they experienced the best possible outcome: emerging from the experience physically unscathed.

Not The Nuclear Football!

So what is the appropriate response for a one-on-one confrontation with an armed robber?

Avoid the situation in the first place. Be aware of your surroundings. Be ready to run. If you can’t avoid or run from an armed attacker, give them what they want.

Unless you’re schlepping the nuclear football in a fully-restored Mercedes Gullwing, nothing on your person, in your house or in your climate and humidity controlled garage is worth grievous bodily harm or death.

Rape! What if the attacker doesn’t want your money or your phone? What if they’re bound and determined to rape, hurt or murder you (and not necessarily in that order)?

Then you have but one choice…


Starting from the perspective that a gun that isn’t aimed at you can’t hurt you - unless it’s being used as a blunt instrument.

Do whatever you can to move the barrel away as you attack. Be violent AF.

One More Thing (And It Ain’t Pretty)

Despite what you see on TV and in movies, a gunshot isn’t an instant, automatic death sentence. It takes a while for someone to bleed out. That said, one head shot can ruin your whole day. Anyway….

A 2018 study in the Journal of the American Medical Association concludes that five out of six gunshot victims live to see another day. How reassuring is that?

Adapt, Improvise, Survive

As for carrying a defensive weapon – such as a gun, taser, pepper spray, knife or high-powered flashlight – why not?

If a gun is pointed at you before you can bring your weapon to bear, your options are limited. But not none.

Regardless, you should have one goal when facing an armed attacker: survive!

Whether that means cooperating, attacking or running - or cooperating then attacking then running - depends on your skills, your circumstances and your mindset.

If you don’t want to learn and master self-defense skills, at least have Madelyn’s mindset. Don’t necessarily say or show it, but the correct attitude is simple.

Fuck you.”


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