Police Arm Bar Techniques

The arm bar technique is taught in a police officer's primary training program.

Police officers and security personnel must use special handhold and takedown techniques to subdue agitated or violent suspects. The arm bar technique, also called the straight arm bar technique consists of a series of moves designed to control and bring a suspect down to the ground with the least amount of force, and injury to the arresting officer and the suspect. The arm bar technique employs physics and momentum to accomplish the maneuver.

1 The Approach

An officer confronted by an agitated or violent suspect makes a rearward approach to the suspects left shoulder, slightly behind and at an angle. The approach maneuver from behind keeps the officer out of the suspect’s direct line-of-sight, so a surprise contact can be initiated.

2 The Hand Grip

The officer looks for the position of the suspect’s left arm and hand. Once he sees the suspect’s hand is free, the officer uses his left hand to quickly grip the top portion of the suspect’s left wrist. The officer brings the suspect’s left palm down and toward the officer’s left thigh, as closely as possible, which requires a twisting motion.

3 The Forearm Fulcrum

While the officer pulls the suspect’s left arm down, he brings up his right forearm in a bent position to place it against the backside of the suspect’s left arm using it as a fulcrum. He then pushes his forearm to push the suspect’s elbow into a straight and locked position.

4 The Takedown

As the officer shoves his forearm down on the suspect's back left arm, the suspect yields by moving in a downward direction. The officer increases the force of the downward push and pulls his left leg backward, while pivoting on his right foot. The single step back allows the suspect clearance to fall to the ground. One variation of the step involves the officer planting both feet a shoulder's breadth apart and forcing the suspect down -- this works in confined areas where movement might be blocked on either side.

5 The Blade Hand Movement

Instead of the officer using his forearm on the backside of the suspect’s arm to start the momentum downward, he places the heel of his right hand on the elbow joint on the triceps extender ligament just on the upper side of the elbow. The heel-blade placement inflicts a certain amount of pain, causing the suspect to submit more readily. The suspect responds in the same fashion as the forearm fulcrum method, but sometimes quicker.

Chris Stevenson has been writing since 1988. His automotive vocation has spanned more than 35 years and he authored the auto repair manual "Auto Repair Shams and Scams" in 1990. Stevenson holds a P.D.S Toyota certificate, ASE brake certification, Clean Air Act certification and a California smog license.