The expression back against the wall is often used to describe a dire situation with few options. From a tactical standpoint, having your back against a wall presents a unique set of problems. Since your mobility is severely limited, creating distance or accessing your weapons is no easy task. Additionally, the power of any blow the suspect were to land against you would be intensified, since the wall prevents your body from moving back to dissipate the force of the blow. However, with practice you can turn the tables on a suspect who has you pinned against a wall. Let’s consider how to make the wall your "friend".
The wall protects your six!
As previously mentioned, there are certainly drawbacks to being backed against a wall. While intentionally placing your back to a wall might not seem like the brightest idea, it can be beneficial, depending on the circumstances.
For instance, one distinct advantage of having your back to a wall is that you don't have to worry about "checking your six". In other words, no one can attack from your six o'clock position, or directly behind you. This is something to keep in mind when you are dealing with two or more suspects who are trying to flank you.
Braced forearm choke
When a suspect shoves you up against a wall and thrusts his firearm across your trachea, it's "go time!" If you hesitate, one of two things is likely to happen, neither or which are good. You can bet that the suspect will either punch you in the face with his other hand (this would suck because your head has no place to go and would absorb the full force of the blow) or he will continue to apply pressure in attempt to render you unconscious.
The moment you find yourself in this predicament, rather than rely on some complicated technique consisting of several steps, consider this response.
Take advantage of the built in lever created by the configuration of the suspect's arm. Grab the suspect's wrist and pull down while simultaneously thrusting your palm upward to drive his elbow up. This will not only break the hold but will compromise the suspect's balance and place you in an advantageous position, on the outside of the suspect's arm. From there, you could strike the suspect or simply shove him away to achieve a more dominant position and draw a weapon to help tilt the odds in your favor.
From the clinch position
If a suspect grabs hold of you and shoves you against a wall while clinched, you should immediately step to the outside of the suspect's leg and pull him toward you as you step behind yourself to "open the gate" or create a void for the suspect to move into. This will allow you to slam the suspect against the wall. This should disoriented him momentarily, affording you the opportunity to create distance and assess the situation from a position of relative safety.
In-holster gun grab
Too often officers practice gun retention in a very unrealistic manner, with their training partner laxly grabbing hold of the gun with one or both hands. This is in stark contrast to the dynamics of a real disarm attempt, which would involve the suspect latching on to your gun with a "death grip" and trying like hell to remove it from your holster.
Against this type of realistic pressure, you're likely to find yourself with your back to a wall, with the suspect's shoulder tight against your chest. Ironically, many traditional gun retention techniques are rendered useless when the suspect's body is positioned in this manner and your being pressed against a wall. There just isn't enough room to execute many of these techniques from this position.
If the suspect grabs your holstered handgun and drives you into a wall, his body weight would be concentrated on your gun side. This anchors you to the wall and can keep prevent you from moving. This is a potentially deadly situation because when you are still, the suspect has a much better chance of defeating the safety mechanisms on your holster and disarming you.
A viable tactic to use in this scenario is to immediately clamp down on the suspect's wrist and apply downward pressure to keep your gun in the holster. Then you can take advantage of the orientation of the suspect's body by pivoting on the balls of your feet toward your gun and using the exterior of your other arm to pry the suspect off of your gun. At the same time, step behind yourself with your gun side leg. This will probably force the suspect to release his grip on your gun and send him crashing into the wall. Ironically, the fact that the suspect is applying pressure to one side of your body enables you to execute this tactic with relative ease. If the suspect still maintains his grip on your gun, you have at least distracted him and created enough distance to execute a gun retention technique.
Hopefully, you recognize the need to train with your back to a wall. It's not a topic that is addressed nearly enough in most defensive tactics training programs. However, when you consider that there are walls just about everywhere and that any type of realistic attack is going to involve the suspect pressuring you, it's a skill set that you simply must posses.
Find a wall and a willing training partner and experiment with the techniques and tactics advocated in this article. It's important to find what works for you before your back is against the wall!
Always have a plan B. Never give up!