Knife vs Gun

Lets Revisit the 21 Foot Rule Concept

The 21 foot rule drill is well known within the law enforcement and personal defense circle. This defensive drill was patterned after a Salt Lake City Police Sergeant Dennis Tueller experimentation.

The Tueller drill is all about “reactionary gap” through training. Other trainers have come up with the distances associated it to the Tueller drill. This experimentation, determined that the average healthy adult male can cover a distance of seven yards (21 feet) in about 1.5 seconds.

The significance of the time factor is based on the reasonable standard that a person who’s trained in proper pistolcraft (gun fighting) should be able to draw a handgun and place two centered hits on a life-size silhouette at seven yards in about 1.5 seconds.
Its important to point out that both the distance of 21 feet and the time factor as addressed in Tueller’s drill, were both approximations based on training experience is all.

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Training Scar
According to Force Science Research Center the old way of training was to stop the scenario when the defender gets off the first shot at the perpetrator. This type of training and mentality of “bang you’re dead” leads to a false sense of safety, this is a “training scar“. A training scar is a negative trait that’s come as a result of bad training practices. See video below.

Another training scar that is common in shooting is how we are all conditioned to stand on the firing line and shoot at a static target. For this reason, most Law Enforcement Officers and civilian gun owners step in concrete the minute their gun leaves the holster.

Safety was the primary motive to reinforce training with firearm. If there were any movement implemented into the training. It was limited to movements to perpendicular or lateral movements in relations to the target.

Alternative Solutions
Force Science Research Center provides an alternative way is to turn the “Tueller concept” into an actual drill as a force on force exercise. Basically, the drill extends to another 10-15 seconds, rather than stopping on the first bang you’re dead. We have to get rid of the “Bang! You’re dead” mentality. This gives the participants a chance to utilize any tactics (techniques) to survive.

Armed with this method, put in the flight time, re-create the environment settings. In the long run, participants can better prepare themselves when faced with similar situation as the Tueller drill depicted.

The takeaways will be from the experience that you gain while training. The neutralizer will be distance and mobility are your biggest allies.
You may need to get back to the basics and re-learn to run, get off the X-mark quickly.

Other consideration, training partners that you train with all moves differently. So it would be nice to have the sherman tanks and the speedy agile person coming at you. Their speed and aggression will dictate how you will handle the melee. In the end, there is no magic bullet, just train, train, in order to fill in those real life survival gaps.
Here’s some thoughts from Brian Pincus of Personal Defense Network addressing the issue of don’t just think of practice deliberate steps then shoot.
Because in real life it doesn’t work that way. Your adrenalin is kicking in and you’re moving at a hundred miles within a half a second. You gotta..
Put in those stress and shoot while getting off the mark. (Get to the meat at 9:50 below)

Without all the defensive buzzwords from Brian, its about:

  • Get the hell off line
  • Draw your weapon (you’ll be holding the pistol one handed)
  • Side step either to the right or leftFire a couple of quick shots as you move laterally

Yeh, thats right you’ll be practicing a Gang Banger one handed style of shooting.

Here’s another tactic that you can use and that is your legs and then the gun. So if you have fast feet or better get fit into the mode. Evade by running and using the environment (car in this scenario) as a shield then draw your gun.

How do you train for this type of defense? Or how would you re-wire your training? Here’s another quick drill that was captured by Funkertactical that can be expanded to 20 seconds. Go to 5:10 in the video below.

If you like to see some of the best knives for personal defense, you check it out here from Reviews Insider.

Sources: Force Science Research Center,, Photos by Bill Bahmer, Chad McBroom, Full Assault Tactical Youtube, Brian Pincus Personal Defense Network, Best Defense, Michael Janich, Gn_FunkerTactical

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