Rob Pincus

Stopping an Armed Threat Using Unarmed Tactics

Rob Pincus
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Duration:   5  mins

A PDN member recently sent Rob Pincus a link to a video to review and share his thoughts. Did the actions of the good guy as he attempted to stop an armed robbery of a convenience store actually put himself and others in more danger?

Rob’s first point is that as soon as a weapon is being waved around threatening people, everyone in the vicinity is in danger. The question is, are the good guy’s actions reducing the danger? Rob wouldn’t say this man creates a more dangerous situation, but his actions are not optimal.


The real threat in this situation is not the bad guy per se but the bad guy’s gun. The gun is what can potentially wound or kill people and is what needs to be controlled. The Three Cs apply here: Clear, Control, Counter. If a bad guy is pointing a gun at you and you can knock it away from pointing at you, you have cleared it. But you must go beyond clear—you must control the gun to stop it being a threat. Instead of just knocking it aside, grab hold of it. Then you can start to deal with the bad guy himself.

For more on a better way to do this, Rob has a video dedicated to this topic: Clear, Control, Counter in an Armed Environment.


In the security-cam footage, a bad guy comes into a convenience store and waves a gun around, then a man in the store comes up behind him and grabs his torso. But controlling the torso leaves the gun completely uncontrolled and indeed the bad guy continues to wave the gun around, leaving the store clerk and even the good guy doing the grab still at risk of being shot.

As the good guy pushes the threat out onto the sidewalk, everyone in the environment is now at risk—people walking on the sidewalk and those in cars driving by. The gun is pointing high into the air. Another point now that they are outside the store is that no one knows who the bad guy or good guy is—neither wears any kind of identifying clothing.

If you’re going to try to stop an armed person using unarmed self-defense tactics, remember: clear and control first, then counter, i.e. take action against the bad guy after the gun is controlled.

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