Fundamentals of Modern Police Impact Weapons


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Erica McClain. Anji Malhotra. Chris Adamczyk. German Lopez. Nguyen Hong Ha. Home Office. Popular in Police Duty Belt. Oga Tatsumi. Interview with Officer Nikos Kastmiler Berkeley Copwatch. WGN Web Desk. In any case, neither this nor the nunchaku nor any other "super weapon" should ever be used against an armed assailant, :;i Modern Police Impact Weapons Figure Overhead bludgeon counter with the Prosecutor.

Held swordlike with the hiltlike handle toward the oncoming club, opponent's weapon is caught at the intersection of the handle. Officer then grabs the long end of bludgeon with weak hand and rams Prosecutor handle down the stick onto suspect's knuckles to break his hold.


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An assailant with a weapon is utilizing deadly force, and you must use your service pistol against such a threat. If you try an impact weapon instead, and fail, and the attacker goes over you and hurts someone else with his weapon, or with a deadlier weapon he has taken from you as you lie unconscious, you are at fatdt. Yawara Stick The yawara is commonly called, in police circles, a "persuader" or a "judo stick. Nature of the Weapons 35 Figure Monadnock yawara stick with aluminum balls on either end, known colloquially to police as "rib separators.

In a forward punch, it has the same effect as the roll of nickels carried by paperboys and street toughs since ; that is, it makes the fist rigid and heavy, and allows it to strike with a force approaching that of brass knuckles. This is the first aspect of the yawara. The second is that it ex- tends the fist one-quarter to three-quarters of an inch above and below, with a hard, focused impact surface. An uppercut with the top edge of the fist, or a hannner-fist strike, now delivers enormously magnified force.

Some models — the cast aluminum "judo stick" marketed by Kel-Lite and others or the Monadnock "persuaders" with metal balls on each end — can easily shatter bones and become deadly weapons. Some jiujitsu students are taught to hook the end of the stick 36 Modern Police Itnpacl Weapons Figure Reinforced fist is basic yawara stick concept. Some local judges have considered their use by police to be a transgression beyond permissible police procedure in non-lethal application of force.

The Kel-Lite style, and one variation of the Monadnock, have sharp edges cut into each end of the sticks. These are supposedly to discourage assailants from tearing them from the officer's hand, but in fact, they also increase the capability of the weapon to severely lacerate flesh. Disadvantages are that the yawara is totally rangeless, and re- quires the officer to close in tightly with his opponent.

The unit is only as good as the officer's ability to throw his fists and coun- terpunch; it will do no good to the officer who can't land a right cross in the first place. Blocking ability, for all but the master martial artists, is absent. Nature of the Weapons 37 Advantages are compactness and element of surprise.

In the "persuader" mode, the officer can use the butt end of the yawara, whether or not it has the metal ball embedded, to dig into pressure points such as those on the back of the hand be- tween the metacarpal bones, when the officer wishes to give a suspect enough pain to forego thoughts of fighting.

Note: A lot of street people are carrying "invisible yawara. Where they are cut at each end, these crude sticks become fear- some flesh-slicers. Due to the transparency of the Acrilan models, the officer may not see the weapon until too late. Interesting as it is, the yawara is little but a more socially ac- ceptable set of brass knuckles. Only the officer who has trained with the weapon and appreciates the subtlety of its application will ever be able to use this tool effectively on the street.

Some homemade and even mail-order yawaras have spikes on either end. Whether or not the officer chooses to carry one of these, they are useful for narcs and for plainclothes officers who want an inconspicuous survival weapon. The yawara is an experts-only instrument. A trained man can be extremely deadly with one. Most officers avoid them, not for any reason except that it is strange, unconventional, and non- American looking, a fact that has allowed many suspects carrying them to go uncharged, since their innocuous little piece of wood or plastic or aluminum simply didn't look like a weapon to the arresting officers or the judge.

Riot Batons The yard-long quarterstaff, or riot baton, is analogous to the bo or jo sticks of the various Oriental martial arts. Many of the techniques taught in karate can be translated effectively into law enforcement applications; others are as useless as tonfa katas to police use of the Prosecutor baton. The long stick is used today primarily in civil disturbance situ- ations. One strikes with it as if using the Kubota or Koga LAPD-style batons two handed, or as if the weapon was a bayonetted rifle.

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Many of our crowd control concepts used in :;s Modern Police Impact Weapons metropolitan America derive from techniques developed by soldiers. The effectiveness of the quarterstaff, or the lack of effective- ness, will be a direct function of the tactics used by the officers who have been sent out to deal with the always-unique problem that caused the riot sticks to be issued in the first place.

Some officers carry quarterstaffs in their vehicles, as well as conventional two-foot batons, but the quarterstaffs should not be employed in one-to-one confrontations because they are too cumbersome. A light, quick stick gives the officer more flexibility and reduces the likelihood of his being disarmed.


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  8. This text will not delve into riot control techniques using the baton. This is the one law enforcement situation where it is proper to use what you're told instead of techniques that are better suited to your physique and skills.

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    Courtesy of Illinois State Police. Nature of the Weapons 39 ment to the rest of the team, or his actions will cause more prob- lems than they will solve. Those who recommend the use of esoteric impact weapons for crowd control — Anderson with the Prosecutor and Phillips with the nunchaku — do so with the caveat that all members of the crowd control team must be experts with those sticks.

    Most won't be, in real life. Nunchuks or Prosecutors swung wildly can injure fellow officers in the heat of a choked-in melee. While the quar- terstaff or riot baton is by no means the best weapon to defend one's self with, it is perhaps the best tool to defend one's team with when you are flailing in close quarters during a mob encoun- ter, and you can't know whether the back next to yours is that of a rioter or a brother officer. Certainly, the martial arts techniques of Bo-kibo or Kobu-do permit a single man with a quarterstaff to defend himself against an encroaching crowd of unarmed belligerents.

    But those techniques — wide sweeps that cut a swatch in front of the de- fender — were never meant for police crowd control problems, nor will they be suitable in an American gang attack on a single officer, who would be better off to draw his gun and give himself the option of either scaring his opponents into retreat or forci- bly defending himself against an organized attack that may end in his death, an attack he is legally permitted to repel by the more efficient deadly force of his handgun.

    In any case, those martial arts techniques of defending yourself alone with the quarterstaff are taught in few if any police academies. The quarterstaff, outside of a well-orchestrated flying wedge of policemen, is an anachronism that the individual officer should not rely upon in a one-on-one situation.


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    While the length and the weight of the stick give him a great capability to defend himself against people he wants to stay away from him, there are few if any situations where the quarterstaff will serve him better than a regular nightstick when he wants to move in on one per- son and effect that person's arrest.

    Though some riot control teams are issued plastic quarterstaffs, most carry wooden sticks that have to be so thick to prevent breakage that they are ungainly to use in one-to-one encounters. The officer who may be assigned to riot control details would do well to study the two-handed strikes and blocks of the Kubota method. These techniques will serve him well in any environ- ment, and many, though by no means all, are as suitable for per- sonal self-defense as for crowd control work as a part of a "protective circle," "flying wedge," or whatever.

    This text will not explore riot control formations. Insofar as the role of impact weapons for such operations, we will say only that the quarterstaff is better suited here than anywhere else, but that the 24 or 26 inch street baton gives the riot control officer more flexibility in protecting himself and gives him a weapon he is better trained with to perform in his dual roles as riot con- troller and police officer. There is little the three-foot quarterstaff can do that the two-foot baton can't, and the fact that the officer has been intensively trained with a single impact weapon bear- ing in mind the fact that the vast majority of police have too little training with the impact weapon in any respect , concen- trated instruction with the standard stick could well eliminate the need for a larger "special occasion" riot stick.

    Look at the experi- ence of Boston, with its heavy crowd-control problems during the busing issue: Boston cops have been able to use effectively a crowd control system revolving around the Lamb baton tech- niques trained to all its officers. In a riot situation, the Boston cops come in swinging their Lamb batons cross-body, emphasizing the effect with stripes of reflector tape on their 24 inch sticks, and swinging them in rhythm as they shout "Move!

    Conventional tactics may work for teams; indeed, they must, for the officer in the middle has little choice.

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    We can say here only that the quarterstaff is not, by any standard, the weapon of choice when the lone officer walks into what may be Nature of the Weapons 41 a "trouble" situation. It is too awkward for a man alone to han- dle unless he has had advanced training in such martial arts as kobu-do, and in any case, such techniques were designed for un- armed men facing deadly attack by a multitude of other un- armed men, when they had no deadlier weapons with which to fend off the attack.

    Policemen have other weapons to deter such overwhelming as- saults and should use them when they're alone. In modern police work, the quarterstaff is a weapon that should be used only by a member of a team in coordinated action, and it is not the place for this author or this book to determine how that team should operate on its own ground. Sap Gloves and Palm Saps The "heavy black gloves" are quite popular among police in some regions and flatly banned by department edict in others be- cause of their connotation of brutality.

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    Essentially, sap gloves are good-quality gloves that have powdered lead sewn into the area of the knuckles and first digits of the fingers, or into the palm to create a sort of reinforced-fist effect. For duty wear, however, this brand makes the hands awkward, and they are too stiff for casual carrying in belt or pocket. In conventional sap gloves, those with the lead sewn into the knuckle area allow the officer to wear them without seriously impairing his ability to drive or handle his weapon.

    Those who prefer the leaded palms say that the best way to use sap gloves is with a slap instead of a punch.

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    This certainly makes a slap in the face feel like a hammer blow. But consider the ramifications. A slap in the face is normally seen by society as a classic chal- lenge to fight. This can bounce back on the officer in the court- Figure In my opinion, however, they are too awkward, stiff, and bulky for routine patrol even when allowed by the department. The length of fingers and the whole back of the hand is protected.

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