A Cruel Blow

A Cruel Blow

Using a gun as a club doesn't work--and it can hurt the gun!

Author's S&W Model 19, shown with an early aluminum flashlight. Both are excellent tools for their original purpose, but only the light is good as an improvised club.

Thanks to being exposed to thousands of hours of video and film violence where firearms--particularly handguns--have been misused, I'm certain many believe someone shot with a shotgun always flies backwards, often coupled with other acrobatics, before falling to the floor in a heap. Folks shot with handguns don't fare much better, particularly if the protagonist's handgun has been identified as "powerful."

Similarly, when firearms--particularly handguns--are used as bludgeons, good and bad guys alike are shown to react similarly: immediately dropping to the floor, insentient, with nary a drop of blood in sight.



To read the latest from Dave Spaulding on non-gun confrontation, pick up a copy of the June/July 2009 issue of Handguns at a newsstand near you.
 

When they do regain consciousness, their only reaction is holding a hand to the location of the hit (ice bag optional). The guns used to deliver these devastating blows always remain operable.


Believe me, this does not happen in real life. I've witnessed any number of such misuses of a handgun during my tenure in law enforcement, years in which, by and large, most all of us were armed with revolvers, big and small. We used S&W K-frame models 10, 15 and 19, as well as J frames, both all steel and Airweight, and Colt Detective Specials.

We also had the service semiautos of the time--the 1911, the Sig Sauer, the Browning Hi Power and S&W Model 39s and 59s, along with their downsized variants.


In more recent years, I've had fewer opportunities to observe the results of using polymer handguns as bludgeons, but those I did see had similar results.


I misused my handgun in such a manner only twice, once with a J frame and once with a 1911. The others I observed during or after "application." None worked effectively as a club.

Revolvers, if used to whack someone or something with their side surface, disassemble and unload themselves or become jammed, rendering them inoperable.

Hitting with the right side of the revolver drives the cylinder out and the rounds self-extract. Hitting from the left, the cylinder jams itself further into the frame and then cannot rotate, thus jamming the gun.

Striking with the barrel forward not only bends the barrel but most often also bends the trigger guard such that you cannot cycle the action.

Semiautos fare a bit better. It is harder to injure the smaller trigger guards, which by and large are sturdier than a revolver trigger guard. Also, while rare, slide assemblies (which are more resistant to bending, but it can be done) dislodge from the frame after a very severe blow or two.

The semiauto does, however, tend to eject its magazine if used as a club. The gun is still operable and the chambered round can be fired, depending on whether or not the gun has a magazine safety. Of course, this assumes the gun was not stabbed into the object, causing the slide to partially extract and then fail to rechamber the round.

With either revolver or semiauto, both would, after the strike, possibly now have blood and flesh on them, adding to the possibility of malfunctions.Western Style
Curiously, I've never seen or know of anyone reversing their handgun ala Hollywood Westerns and hitting someone with the gun butt. (One associate did make up and hang his own "Wanted" posters and said he sometimes drove the tacks in with his revolver's gun butt--an incredibly stupid thing to do.)

I've also been told and have read of instruction courses that teach how to use firearms as striking or stabbing tools. This makes sense only if you're out of ammo and have to work with what you have.

I suspect lots of guns get broken in such training. I also would think none of this is done with loaded guns, to avoid the possibility of the arm discharging when, say, butt-stroking someone.

Your handgun (indeed all firearms) are built to do one primary task: launch projectiles. None are made to sustain the abuses we've talked about and still function.

There is also the very real possibility of an accidental discharge if you try using the gun this way. Therefore, I suggest you leave the bulldogging to Wyatt Earp and his Colt Buntline revolver.

GET THE NEWSLETTER Join the List and Never Miss a Thing.

Recommended Articles

See More Recommendations

Popular Videos

Going To The Range

Going To The Range

Jim and Scott show you how to make each trip to the shooting range a quality experience.

Dealing with Subcompacts

Dealing with Subcompacts

Jim and Rich cover the benefits and the challenges presented by very small pistols.

All About Handgun Ammo

All About Handgun Ammo

Rich and Jim get into the nitty gritty of the FBI ammo protocol, firing into various barriers to illustrate what can happen to a bullet.

Teaching New Shooters

Teaching New Shooters

Julie Golob of Team Smith & Wesson guest stars, joining Jim and Scott for a discussion of how best to introduce new shooters to the sport.

Trending Articles

The SIG SAUER P365 (model # 365-9-BXR3) may just be the subcompact 9mm against which all others will be judged. Compact

SIG P365 Review

James Tarr - October 31, 2018

The SIG SAUER P365 (model # 365-9-BXR3) may just be the subcompact 9mm against which all...

As you will learn in this detailed review, the Smith & Wesson M&P Shield EZ 380 (manufacturer SKU # 180023) is an easy-racking, soft-shooting pistol. Compact

Smith & Wesson M&P Shield EZ 380 Review

James Tarr - November 06, 2018

As you will learn in this detailed review, the Smith & Wesson M&P Shield EZ 380 (manufacturer...

Do you remember the first time you fired a gun? If you're like most, you were somewhat Training

Pro Tips For Controlling Recoil

Richard Nance - April 11, 2017

Do you remember the first time you fired a gun? If you're like most, you were somewhat

Eliphalet Remington's world initially revolved around flintlock rifles at the time, and while early 1911

Remington Timeline: 2011 - R1 Pistol Is Introduced

Handguns Online Staff - September 09, 2016

Eliphalet Remington's world initially revolved around flintlock rifles at the time, and while...

See More Trending Articles

More Training

Learn the keys to a successful one-handed draw. Training

Perfecting the One-Handed Draw

Richard Nance - July 02, 2019

Learn the keys to a successful one-handed draw.

Defensive pistol experts constantly preach “getting off the X,” and what they mean is you don't want to just stand in one spot when engaging a threat. This simple drill teaches you to get off that X, and the more you do it, the more instinctive and easy the actions become. Training

Shooting Drills – Getting off the X

J. Scott Rupp - April 01, 2020

Defensive pistol experts constantly preach “getting off the X,” and what they mean is you...

In this article, Richard Nance examines multiple shooting positions for when an assailant is close enough to reach your gun and you can't use your sights. Training

When You Can't Use Your Sights, Aim With Your Body

Richard Nance - February 14, 2018

In this article, Richard Nance examines multiple shooting positions for when an assailant is...

Vicker's Leatham Drill is great for good shooters to do after some time away from the range or from a particular gun to reacquaint themselves with the trigger. Training

Handgun Skill Drill: Vicker's Leatham Drill

Eve Flanigan - July 19, 2018

Vicker's Leatham Drill is great for good shooters to do after some time away from the range or...

See More Training

GET THE MAGAZINE Subscribe & Save

Digital Now Included!

SUBSCRIBE NOW

Give a Gift   |   Subscriber Services

PREVIEW THIS MONTH'S ISSUE

GET THE NEWSLETTER Join the List and Never Miss a Thing.