Opinion: One Handed Weapon Disassembly Beneficial?

Coming across this video of female Indian Army soldiers making excellent time with disassembling their INSAS rifles better with one hand than I could with two was very exciting to watch. I’m not a stranger to seeing or attempting a one-handed weapon disassembly, probably the most impressive demonstration I’ve seen was with a Marine Machine Gun Instructor who took apart a Browning M2 single-handedly to show that it could be done with some practice. Looking up on Youtube you’ll find a number of videos of the practice, many of which I’ll share below.

However, it brings me to a central point in that is single-handedly disassembling a weapon, especially a primary weapon system such as a rifle or machine gun simply a party trick or can we use it to our advantage in a worst case scenario? Maybe we’re hunting or in a terrible jam, have lost control of an arm for whatever reason and need to fully field strip our rifle to fix a malfunction beyond fixing at the disassembled level.To illustrate this point, I’ll share a video of a British volunteer with the Kurds who suffered a broken case rim malfunction, so he couldn’t extract the fired round from the chamber. He had to field strip his rifle in an active firefight, get the case out with a Gerber, and get his weapon back into action, and himself back into the fight.

Of course one could argue that maybe he had a lower quality Kalashnikov variant, maybe he didn’t clean his weapon because he might have never served in the first place, or even if you have an injury, you should probably be attending that injury before manipulating your weapon system. Either way, I would argue that much more than being a simple party trick, having the capability to field strip a weapon system single-handedly could possibly pay dividends in the future, similar to learning how to fire a weapon from one’s non-dominant hand in order to make maximum use of cover.

So this is essentially the same demonstration I saw with an instructor in person, this one also with a Marine and a .50 BMG M2.

Mark 19

Glock 17

Instructor Zero with a Glock 19, of course. But notice the use of his legs by squeezing the handgun underneath his knee, then using his shoe heel to cock it.

This guy must spend an unhealthy amount of time with his Makarov in order to achieve this…


Infantry Marine, based in the Midwest. Specifically interested in small arms history, development, and usage within the MENA region and Central Asia. To that end, I run Silah Report, a website dedicated to analyzing small arms history and news out of MENA and Central Asia.

Please feel free to get in touch with me about something I can add to a post, an error I’ve made, or if you just want to talk guns. I can be reached at miles@tfb.tv


  • The only benefit I see to one handed assembly/disassembly is that you need to understand more efficient ways to do it in order to be able to do it one handed. Which makes it easier to do it two handed. Beyond that, it is a party trick.

    • Dr. Longfellow Buchenrad

      Party Trick is the exact phrase I cam here to use.

    • Nicks87

      Just like incapacitation drills. Are they good to know? Yes. But are you ever going to actually do it in a real life situation? Probably not. I was at a firearms instructor recertification class recently and the instructor spent about 4 hours having us practice and talk about incapacitation drills. I almost walked out of class it was so ridiculous.

      • Meh I don’t even think it is that important to know. How many stoppages require you to completely strip down the rifle to fix? And how many of those are fixable in the field in under say 30 seconds?

        Now add in the chances of incapacitation you start getting to lottery jackpot odds.

  • USMC03Vet

    Oh, so now we just gonna appropriate disability culture by ableists? You monsters!

  • Giolli Joker

    With the INSAS, after it blows up maiming your hand, you may try to reassemble it with the other to keep fighting.

  • Rick O’Shay

    If I’m hunting, no, there’s no reason for me to need to know how to disassemble and clear and reassemble my hunting rifle one-handed. If I’m down to one hand, I’ve clearly got bigger issues than whether or not that sweet, sweet buck gets away.
    If I’m military or have realistic expectation of being in a firefight where I might be wounded but still need to engage with a functioning weapon? Absolutely, that might be a skill worth training for.
    It’s just a gimmicky party trick to me.

    • Thomas S

      If you’re in the military and the situation has gone so far South that you have a completely useless arm, your weapon has malfunctioned to the point of needing to be torn down, you needing the weapon right this moment, have nothing else you can switch to instead, and your buddies aren’t getting your/themselves out of there…. Yeah, you’re pretty much done at that point.

      It requires a situation that isn’t even worth training for.

  • Jeff Smith

    Beneficial? Hell, how else am I going to win bets with my friends?

  • mechamaster

    Umm… Something like “Gross-Motor Skill Reload ?”

    • Nicks87

      No. but that’s why this is stupid. In a stressful situation, like combat, you probably wont have the fine motor skills required for disassembly of your weapon with both hands, let alone one handed. Reloads are a little different, most modern weapons can be manipulated with only the use of gross motor skills, you just have to be creative.

      • Rogertc1

        What war are you fighting Nick?

  • Don Ward

    Pssshhhh. What a bunch of scrubs.

    Unless you are able to duel wield and disassemble two weapons at the same time with either hand, you’re not a real snake-eating, door-kicking, velcro patch-wearing, get-paid-for-shooting-people-in-the-face… job…having… ummm…

    You get where I’m going.

  • Palmier

    I do it all the time with handguns, but its just a fidget kind of thing, not something I seriously think I could need. I just like to play with things like that it.

  • Edeco

    Dipstick test for adeptness, like making a french omelette is to cooking.

    Maybe residue control if one had a fancy system of lubes and film thicknesses and wanted to do it quickly.

    • noob

      and it would help keep bored troops out of trouble in garrison

  • Bill

    I’ll use my one hand to bring my backup into play, if things get that funky.

  • nonobaddog

    Of course this is an important drill. Why else would they make a video of it for the internet?

  • blueblood88

    Ladies in the first video most likely belong to the Border Security Force and not the Indian Army.

  • iksnilol

    Considering it is an INSAS, I’d wager it is safest to not reassemble it

  • jerry young

    I’ve been around firearms most of my life and my last year in the Army was spent working in the armory, I’m still a two handed struggle with taking guns apart and fumble my way through putting them back together kind of guy, I could see myself in battle just when I need my gun most I’d take off the safety only to hit the take down lever and have a pile of parts, It is amazing to watch some one that’s able to take down and reassemble a firearm one handed it just won’t be me unless you have a lot of time on your hands to wait while I fumble through and need a good laugh!

  • Diver6106

    I’m more concerned that weapons have ambidextrous levers and controls. Not just for right/left handed people, but also if one arm or hand gets shot or blown off and a soldier can still pick up his firearm and defend himself until relieved!

  • Samar

    It seems the female personnel are either from police or NCC and definitely not from Indian army.Indian army does not use khaki uniform.