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Handling the Bludgeon Attack
                                           Updated: April 17th, 2006 06:26 PM EDT

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Closing the gap to negate the attack
Wrapping the arms to control the weapon
Defensive Tactics Contributor

Cops don’t fight fair. We can’t afford to.
After all, being defeated is not an option.
Our lives or more importantly, the lives of
our fellow officers and innocent citizens,
depend on us winning—every time. To
keep the odds tilted in our favor, we
prefer to engage a suspect with a force
option superior to the weapon he is armed

If we were to face a suspect wielding a
baseball bat or similar object, we would
likely draw our firearm and maintain
sufficient distance while giving verbal
commands to the suspect. Sounds like a
plan, right? Well, we all know that Mr.
Murphy tends to visit us at the most
inopportune time. So how do we respond
to the “gangbanger” who suddenly steps
from behind a parked van swinging a
baseball bat wildly at us at close range?
Read on and learn how to not get the
Louisville Slugger logo tattooed on the
side of your head.

What to expect
                                              Striking with personal body weapons to gain
                                              control of the suspect
Although bludgeons can definitely injure
or even kill, they are generally easier to
defend against than, say, a knife attack.
This is because a bludgeon is much harder
to conceal than a knife. The bludgeon is also more difficult and slower to wield. In other
words, you’ll have more time to respond to the attack because you will perceive it sooner.
Bludgeon attacks are also relatively predictable.

In all likelihood, a bludgeon attack will come in the form of a horizontal swing. The attack
might arc slightly upward or downward but it would be very unusual for someone to swing in a
purely vertical manner. Similarly, it would be ridiculous for someone to “jab” a bludgeon at
you, particularly one of considerable weight. Odds are, he’ll “swing for the fence.”

Keep in mind the longer and heavier the bludgeon, the slower the swing. The size of the
weapon will also dictate the manner in which it is held. For instance, the vast majority of
people wielding a baseball bat are going to use a two-handed grip. This is a more natural grip,
which enables the person to better control the weapon and deliver a more powerful swing.

Against any type of bludgeon attack (i.e. baseball bat, 2X4, metal pipe, etc) the safest place
to be is either completely out of range (not always an option) or inside the arc of the weapon.
This requires getting as close to the suspect as possible.

One thing is for certain, the place you don’t want to be is caught in the middle. By that, I
mean at a distance where the last few inches of the weapon can reach you. This portion of the
weapon is referred to as the “sweet spot,” but if it were to connect with your body, you
probably wouldn’t call it that!
So how do you avoid being struck with the full force of the weapon? Here are two legitimate

Get out of range

If you perceive the attack early enough, your best bet would be to evade the initial swing and
intercept the attack on the “back swing.” Drive your forearms into the suspect’s nearest arm
(above the elbow on the triceps). The idea is to jam the attack before it develops any real
power. From there, you could execute a cross face takedown or disengage, create distance
and draw your firearm.

Get inside the arc

If you were too close to the suspect to move out of the way of the attack, your best option
would likely be to lunge toward him (inside the arc of the weapon) and shoot your arm out at
about a 45-degree angle upward. This would redirect the swing and allow you to safely close
the gap. At that point, you could use your arm to wrap both of the suspect’s arms, locking
them in place. A logical counter would then be to strike the suspect with your elbow
(repeatedly if needed) and then grab the suspect’s head and forcefully direct him to the

Now what?

In either case, once you have negated the initial attack, you will have gained a tremendous
advantage. Not only is the bludgeon virtually useless to the suspect at this close quarter
range, but it also occupies both of his hands (assuming he was wielding the weapon with two
hands initially).

What not to do

A tactic to avoid would be to stand your ground while attempting to draw your firearm. You
must address the initial attack before going for your firearm. Otherwise, there is a good
chance you will absorb the full impact of the blow. Remember the “sweet spot” we talked
about? Ouch!

Even if you were “lucky” enough to be struck on the arm rather than the head, you would
likely have a hard time bringing your firearm into play afterward. This would also make it
more difficult for you to protect yourself from subsequent attacks.


The worst time to consider how to respond to a bludgeon attack is when you’re facing
someone armed with a bludgeon! Find a training partner and something to simulate a baseball
bat. Have your partner swing the simulated bat at you from various angles. Start out slowly
and increase the speed as you become more comfortable evading the weapon.

Once you’re able to avoid being struck, work on the various counterattacks presented in this
article or develop others that might work better for you based on your physical characteristics,
prior training, and personal preference.


By employing the tactics outlined above, you can significantly reduce your chances of being
injured when facing a suspect armed with a bludgeon.
Remember that the preferred response is to keep the suspect at bay while giving verbal
commands with your firearm drawn. However, like anything else, you’ve got to have a “Plan

If you’re caught off guard, get in, be aggressive and take care of business! After all, nobody
looks good with the words “Louisville Slugger” tattooed on the side of their head

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