Three Seconds Rule Cliche?

Is Three Seconds Rule the norm to Train with a Pistol?

When it comes to gun fighting most gun coaches/teachers will advise the “three shots in three seconds within 3 yards” rule of thumb for gun fight training.
How did these gun trainers come up with this rule of thumb? Some of these gun trainers like Claude Werner and Tom Givens speculate from their deep data diving provided from the LE agencies like the FBI, NYPD and other local agencies.
From the data a certain amount were broken up to display incidents that had occurred at certain ranges. The following images below illustrate this. Now just so everyone understand these data don’t really tell you the whole story (context) or its accuracy. Interpreting the data may be another discussion in itself.


Image from LuckyGunner


LAPD Image from LuckyGunner


NYPD Image from LuckyGunner

Looking at the above charts from the different LE agencies, there is a wide gap when trying to see the common core of the distance within the 3 yard. (9 ft.)
  • FBI – shows it at 25% of the crime
  • LAPD – shows it at 5.5% ” ” “
  • NYPD – shows it at 23% ” “
The data below is from Tom Givens gun trainer guru. This chart is from his book called “Concealed Carry Class”. The incidents from this are from his former students that he had documented. Yes, there isn’t as much incidents compared to the LE agencies, but it might be the most accurate. As you can see his chart really tells you where the range of these incidents had occurred at.

Rangemaster Image from LuckyGunner

Not sure if the Rule of Three term originally came from Tom Givens but the rationale behind this rule of thumb seems to be evident for self-defense with a pistol. This rule of thumb gives you a gauge to work(practice) on increasing your shooting skills for self-defense.
KR Training had a spin off of this training with a full size pistol supplemented with a pocket pistol. They also did their own analysis on this as well. You can read about it below.


Source: Some great reads to check out if you’re into this type of insights. Go to KR Training. As a matter of fact this short article was inspired from the great work that they have put into. Another one to check out is Claude Werner of Tactical Professor, John Correia of Active Self Protection and Chris Baker of Lucky Gunner blog.

Police Survival back in the Day was Different

Lets step back in time and see how our illustrious FBI G-men trained back in the day for survival shooting.
You gotta remember FBI methods were supposed to be the leading edge in gun tactics. These gunfight methods were passed down to the local law enforcement agencies.
For those that have training in LE and military, you’ll noticed the old barricade technique that was taught and toting that .38 Smith & Wesson. (and the old Charger vehicle as police cruiser)
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mRpneRYaRNU
Key Takeaways
-Lectures on ricochets have been going on since those 1974 days for the G-men and good to know. These lessons are still taught today at BLEA (Basic Law Enforcement Academy).
-Hip shooting with a shotgun vs shoulder fired methods for close quarter encounter differ from back in the day to now. Present day utilizes the low to high ready position.
-Overall, its important to note the use of cover has always been the same, just the firing methods and weapon employment are different in modern day. You can also sense a flair of Rex Applegate shooting methods taught from the post WWII era.
These vintage videos gives you new perspective on how gun training has evolved for survival.