Monday, November 14, 2011

Back Up Weapons: Useful or Useless?

Hi everyone,

In today’s post I would like to discuss the topic of back up or secondary weapons and how useful they actually are for people that carry one in an event that their primary weapon has been disarmed from them.

I would first like to discuss the reality of how accessible it is to obtain your “primary weapon” during an adrenaline dump/rush situation. Many people assume that if they have a weapon on themselves and if crap hits the fan then it will be easy to deploy and use on their attacker. The fact is that this is far from the actual truth.

When your body is affected by adrenaline the simplest of tasks are extremely difficult to perform especially tasks that are based around fine motor skill which weapons deployment falls under this category.

You can put this theory to the test by striking a punching dummy/bag at full speed and power or spar with a training partner. As you are executing your hand to hand skills have someone yell out “deploy” at any given moment. When they do see how fast you can actually deploy your “primary weapon” of choice. The odds will be that you are slow, sloppy and will fumble around trying to get to your weapon as you’re being attacked. You usually will not be able to deploy it or if you do the reality is that if it were in a real violent situation you would be severely injured to get to it and use it in time.

Now think in terms of trying to obtain your “secondary/back up weapon” in the same given scenario but instead of deploying your weapon from an obtainable area such a belt (primary weapon is usually a folding or fixed blade clip knife etc) this time from an area such as a boot (boot knives are usually back up weapons of choice). What you’re going to find that this is going to be even more complicated and difficult to deploy your weapon during an adrenalized state. You are now going to have to lower yourself down to the ground to reach your boot knife while trying to raise your pant leg as you’re fighting someone off. This position makes you extremely vulnerable to attack.

Many of men have had themselves assaulted without having a fighting chance to deploy their primary let alone their secondary weapon. The only way you are actually going to have success in deploying your weapon is if it is deployed before the physical altercation has taken place (this is where situational awareness is vital) and not during and if it is during the odds of success have been drastically lowered.

Now don’t get me wrong weapons are good to carry but don’t be overconfident with them especially with back up weapons. Bottom line they are only obtainable if you have time to get to them but during the heat of the moment it’s easier said then done.

So the next time your training in weapons deployment try what I have previously suggested but add a twist to it. Wear a pair of gloves preferably Kevlar gloves when practicing drawing and retaining your weapon that way you prevent your hand from being cut. This will give you a realistic feel on how it actually feels when you’re trying to deploy and retain your weapon when under the stress of adrenaline. This will also condition your hands to have better grip strength when using a weapon under stressful situations.

There’s no such thing as a dirty fighter only an educated one.

Norm Bettencourt


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Norm Bettencourt is the Creator/President of Tactical Self Defense which specializes in personal protection tactics against modern day threats of violence. For more information visit