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The US Army hand-to-hand combat manual, often part of the field manual series (for example, FM 3-25.150 or FM 21-150), provides comprehensive instructions on close combat techniques and strategies. This manual is designed for training soldiers in the effective use of unarmed fighting, as well as fighting with handheld weapons like knives and bayonets. While the content and emphasis can vary with updates and revisions to the manual, key topics typically covered include:


  • Basic Principles of Hand-to-Hand Combat - Fundamental concepts, including the mental and physical aspects of close combat. This might cover the warrior ethos, mindset, and the psychological conditioning necessary for effective hand-to-hand combat.

  • Striking Techniques - Instruction on various striking methods using different parts of the body, such as punches, kicks, elbows, and knee strikes. This section aims to teach soldiers how to deliver effective and powerful strikes against an adversary.

  • Grappling Techniques - Techniques for controlling or disabling an opponent through holds, throws, and submissions. This includes training on how to gain a tactical advantage in a close fight through grappling.

  • Restraints and Breakaways - Methods for restraining an opponent or breaking free from an adversary's grasp. This is crucial for situations where a soldier needs to capture an enemy or escape from capture.

  • Ground Fighting - Tactics and techniques for combat situations that have transitioned to the ground. This includes how to defend oneself, gain control over an opponent, and apply submission holds while on the ground.

  • Defenses Against Handheld Weapons - Techniques for defending against attacks with knives, clubs, and other handheld weapons. This includes disarming maneuvers and neutralizing threats from such weapons.

  • Use of Improvised Weapons - Guidance on using everyday objects as weapons in hand-to-hand combat situations, enhancing a soldier's ability to adapt to various combat scenarios.

  • Conditioning - Physical training and conditioning exercises designed to improve strength, endurance, and flexibility, which are essential for hand-to-hand combat effectiveness.

  • Combatives Training - A systematic approach to training soldiers in hand-to-hand combat, including drills, sparring, and scenario-based exercises to build skill and confidence in close combat situations.


The manual emphasizes the importance of close combat skills for soldiers, particularly for situations where they may be separated from their primary weapons or in confined spaces where traditional weapons are less effective. The aim is to ensure that soldiers are prepared to defend themselves and incapacitate enemies in hand-to-hand combat, using both unarmed techniques and improvised weapons.

Hand To Hand Combat Manual

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