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Three times during my police career, I had to fight to retain my service weapon. On two occasions it was during a street contact (both arrest situations) and the third was in the back of an ambulance during a probate detail to a mental hospital. What I am about to say will certainly anger a few trainers but it is true. During these attempts I did not use any of the weapon retention techniques that I had been taught.

Does this mean that normally taught techniques are not good? Certainly not! I just used more basic moves than what I had been shown. Early in my police career, I was greatly influenced by an aging World War I veteran. During a discussion about close quarter trench warfare, he told me his instructors once said that during a hand-to-hand fight, “If you can affect their ability to see and or breathe then ye shall win the day!”

I never forgot these words and on several occasions they helped me end confrontations quickly on the job that could have dragged on if I had used conventional joint manipulations for pressure point control tactics. The best thing to do in any fight is to end it quickly.

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Three times during my police career, I had to fight to retain my service weapon.…