C-Clamp For ARs…Good For Sport, Not For Defense


In recent decades, sport shooting has dramatically raised the bar on performance expectations and best practices in the shooting world.  More shooters are shooting faster and more accurately than ever before.

The lessons learned in competition have carried over to the battlefield and made troops more combat effective.

They’ve carried over to the home and street and increased the survivability of law enforcement and concealed carry holders.

But today we’re going to talk about one technique in particular where an over-emphasis on speed has caused people to adopt the fastest competition technique rather than the best all-around fighting technique.

Check out this video from retired Navy SEAL, Larry Yatch…

You might wonder why Larry focuses so much on gunfights turning into face-to-face hand-to-hand fights, even when you have a gun in your hand.

Larry had an *interesting* career as a SEAL.  When Saddam was desperately trying to sell off oil before the Iraq invasion, Larry’s team was one of the teams responsible for making sure he didn’t.

He pioneered a method of taking over Saddam’s ships before they could get back into Iraqi water.

Basically, the Iraqis had started welding the doors to the control towers shut on the ships.

So our SEALs would climb the towers and rappel in the windows and take over the pilot house…

in the middle of the night…

in the middle of the open ocean…

when the captain of the ship was swerving as best he could to throw the SEALs off the ship.

As if that wasn’t fun enough, the Iraqis began welding big sheets of steel over the windows.

They had us stumped for awhile.

Until Larry got the brilliant idea to rappel down from the top of the control tower and use a gas powered cutting saw (40+ pounds) to cut open a hole in the steel, swing through the window, and take over the ship.  (yes…this is real life and not a comic book superhero story, and a great example of out-of-the-box thinking that our special operations personnel are famous for.)

The holes didn’t ever form instantly.  And they were never big enough for multiple people.

So when the steel would finally fall and Larry was still hanging there in mid-air holding a saw, night vision gone from seeing showers of sparks as he cut through the steel, he never knew whether he’d be facing an empty pilot house, a compliant crew, or bullets.

The nature of war meant that sometimes, Larry was the only guy on-rope when he got a hole opened up.  Sometimes the other rappeller had to do something else.  Sometimes he had problems with his ropes.

In any case, there were several times where Larry had to fight multiple armed hostile crew in tight, cramped quarters on his own…and take control of the ship, before any other SEALs were able to join him.

Going through this, night after night, drove home a few lessons, including…

  1. You can’t always get to your gun.
  2. Your gun won’t always work…and the bad guy doesn’t care, so you better have an instant response, and if he’s close enough, using your gun as an impact weapon may be the best one.
  3. Guns make great impact weapons, and can oftentimes finish a fight as fast as a bullet.

It’s real life experiences like these that form the DNA of Home Defense Rifle.

They fuel the attitude that techniques are only useful if they happen to be the most effective one available.  It doesn’t matter where they come from, or whether they’re popular…only that they are the most effective ones available.

And if you want the most effective techniques available for not only shooting an AR-15 with speed, control, and precision, but defending your house with it too, go over to HomeDefenseRifle.com now.

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  • Jacob Jackson

    Reply Reply January 19, 2017

    I have a couple thoughts about that video.
    1. If you are defending a room in your home and you stand there without shooting the intruder to let them take your rifle then what is the point of even having it?

    2. I very strongly disagree with practicing defensive tactics with fully compliant subjects. That demo was the victim giving his rifle to the instructor. It’s a lot harder to take a gun in real life regardless of position.

    3. I do agree that you need to have practiced tactics to retain your weapon. My favorite for a rifle grab is dropping to a knee and shooting the subject. Or if you don’t want to shoot the subject..muzzle punch them with the rifle as they pull it towards themselves.

    I did not find this video convincing.

    • Ox

      Reply Reply January 19, 2017

      Hey Jacob, all good points, but they apply a lens to the video that isn’t really constructive…here’s what I mean.

      1. I agree. But it’s a video designed to demonstrate and illustrate specific things. If they got all geared up to shoot the video and went full speed, there would be so much going on that it would be impossible to see the specific point that they’re trying to make. In their facility, they’re running 100+ force on force classes per month. These isolated snippets show what they’ve seen repeated ad-nauseam at their facility, in LE/MIL training, and in combat.

      2. I agree. That being said, you DO need to start learning techniques with compliant training partners so that you get your technique down…you just also need to ramp things up for the technique to have any value in the real world. In this case, the video is not training. The video is illustrating a point…the c-clamp hold puts you at a mechanical disadvantage compared to a push-pull hold. This fundamental is true with a stationary training partner and it’s true with a non-compliant training partner. Try the drill. The victim was not giving his rifle to the instructor. I’ve had beefcakes holding ARs in a c-clamp grip and I’ve broken their grip by only using 1 finger on each hand (I’m NOT a beefcake). Would it be that easy if they were being non-compliant? Of course not. But the point remains that the c-clamp hold has mechanical disadvantages compared to a push-pull hold. Again, the limitations of filming mean that the more depth you add, the harder it is to focus on a single message.

      3. Yes.

      It’s OK if it’s not convincing…that could actually be a really good thing if it gets you to do testing on your own. What I’d ask you to do is test the 2 holds in various retention scenarios and muzzle striking scenarios and see which works best for you. Let me know. I’m not dogmatic. Larry & Beau aren’t dogmatic. We only care about what works and have/will test new ideas & change what we do/teach if something potentially better comes along. I encourage you to do the same.

      • Jacob Jackson

        Reply Reply January 30, 2017

        Thanks for the thoughtful response. I agree that during practice compliance is required, but my point is that once you apply any amount of resistance this changes. I don’t think this necessarily scales to real world.

        I think your priorities with a weapon have to be what allows you to shoot first then retain next, and modifying your shooting for a little better retention seems a little backwards. That being said C clamp won’t work for everyone even if it does work for many. Keep up the good work.

  • Colin

    Reply Reply October 19, 2016

    Refreshing! I’m an old POG but went through the MOUT school (when it existed) at Hood, the Vietnam Vets that were instructing at the time would have had a conniption if anyone used the C-Clamp in the MOUT. You would have quickly lost your weapon coming around the corner with that technique.

  • Bruce Alger

    Reply Reply October 1, 2016

    The short Clip was vary informational. I have forgot some of my pass training. Thanks

  • Gabby

    Reply Reply October 1, 2016

    One question to ask the guys using the “C” clamp method….How long can you hold it up in a security over watch? With the standard grip I can hold the weapon up securing a long hall or street for quite a while using my elbows and equipment pouches on my vest/bodyarmor.

    Yes a barrel strike, sometimes works better then a bullet, with less of a chance of going to jail…

    Good job Larry.

  • Aaron

    Reply Reply October 1, 2016

    Finally!! Somebody agrees with me! As a 25 year retired Spec Ops soldier, I am so glad a former Seal puts this “C” clamp discussion to bed! Sure it has its place in competition, might make you look cool at the local range, but as a combat vet, I never had a use for this grip. I’ve always kept myself close, elbows in, and compact! Thank you!!!

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