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SPEAR System Applications for the Gunfight

By On September 22, 2008 · 11 Comments · In Videos


11 Responses to SPEAR System Applications for the Gunfight

  1. J. B. Duke says:


    I have a query in regard to the rifle technique shown at 2:40 of this clip. During the initial target approach, instead of using a non master hand SPEAR to fend off the suspect, the operator could strike the suspect with the barrel of the rifle in the chest. The force generated by an advancing assaulter concentrated at the flash suppressor, would increase the likelyhood of a single hit neutralisation. If the operator and suspect get tangled up after this strike then SPEAR is perfect to either make space to allow for engagemant with either primary or secondary firearm, or set up for a takedown and restrain. It is obvious from the video that the technique shown works, I am just curious as to why the operator goes “hands on” first when he can maintain distance by using the rifle that he is carrying.


  2. J.B. Duke says:


    Thanks for the feedback. I do, however, have another question on the same topic. I would like your advice in regards to SPEAR vs straight arm fend (football style palm strike) for use in a close quarter environment. The SPEAR offers a larger contact surface, but the fend offers a little more range. Could you explain for me why it is that the SPEAR is a more effective tool than the straight arm fend when dealing with a non-compliant suspect. The videos here explain biomechanical advantage of having the elbow outside 90 and open hand, fingers splayed but a common theme I hear at work (LEO / MIL) is a locked elbow is stronger than a bent elbow and enables a harder strike ( I think its just an invite for an arm bar ). Sometimes where I work its harder to let go of an established idea than introduce a new one. Any assistance you can provide would be appreciated.

    On a side note I think that your work is excellent. From the examination of human physiology and nervous response to inter personal aggression to harnessing the flinch response you have revolutionised the study of close quarter combat. I look forward to the evolution of SPEAR,


  3. J.D.,
    As a member of the BTS Combatives Training Team I have been asked this question so I will chime in here. Having a straight arm can invite the big murphy moment of having your arm slide past your opponent, allowing him to wrap you up. Also we have an “elasticity” principle which we use to stay in contact with the opponent should he suddenly change directions or levels. Lastly straight arming an opponent could put your elbow joint in danger. The SPEAR is not only safer but it brings your hand and forearm into play giving you a bigger weapon to utilize (BTS MAXIM: Small weapon, large margin for error; Big Weapon, Small margin for error.) Hope this helps.

  4. J.B. Duke says:

    Thanks for the reply Omari,

    The points that you bring up are very helpful, I hadn’t considered the benefit of bent arm over straight arm if your opponent moves.

    A work colleague of mine when watching the video did query how do you mitigate against the risk of broken fingers with your lead hand when applying SPEAR, especially in low light conditions? A fully laden assaulter crashing into an opponent can generate a lot of force, so would instead of having fully extended fingers, having a slight bend at the finger tips (sort of like a claw) be beneficial as the hand could close into a fist if you misjudge your SPEAR instead of hyper extending them if they get caught on clothing or equipment? I don’t know if extensor strength decreases by not fully extending the fingers or if the BTS team already has a solution to this. Any advice on this would be appreciated,
    Thanks again,


  5. Omari says:

    We get that question alot. remember the system is based off what the body does naturally before any training. In this case physiology shows us that when people “push away” danger (arms extended straight out) the fingers are splayed. When we use this in a tactical situation (full SPEAR or half SPEAR) we are not spearing the suspect with our fingers, we are actually utilizing our forearms. so if you can visualize hitting an opponent center mass with your forearm. If a fully laden assaulter came at you full speed to hit you, naturally you would bring your hands up to protect your head and following you hands would be you forearms creating a natural shield. its hard to articulate these concepts via the internet, but view the videos located here really look at how the SPEAR is applied. I hope this helps. You should really look into attending our SPEAR Instructor course so you could experience the rationale and utilizing the SPEAR against a moving training partner. Also on you can order DVDs where Coach breaks it down.

  6. J.B. Duke says:

    Thanks Omari,

    I followed the link and after watching the videos with the High Gear being used in scenario demos I can see what you mean in regards to how your forearms and hands are being used. I have asked quite a few questions and I thank you for your professional advice. I’ll also be checking out the SPEAR DVDs. In regard to course attendance is there a BTS representative for Australia?


  7. J.B. Duke says:

    G’Day Tony,

    Have been AFK for a while. I am in the Sydney region of NSW. Is there a BTS rep that services this area?


    • Tony Blauer says:

      We used to have a couple of guys there and they’ve since moved to different countries and continue to teach abroad. Please email [email protected] to share your interest and we’ll also have you on a list for future training opportunities

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