VI – Self-Defense

Why 21 Feet Is Not a ‘Safe’ Distance

An article published on Police1.com reports research that confirms 21 feet is not necessarily the magic distance to successfully ward off every deadly threat and that more distance could be more apparently required. While this article contains useful information, it unfortunately includes mischaracterizations that need clarification.

First, it erroneously begins: The 21-foot rule has been a topic of conversation in law enforcement since the 1980s when Salt Lake City Police Department Lieutenant Dennis Tueller developed a training drill for his fellow officers. But it is NOT a “rule” and should never be considered a “rule.” It is a training drill intended to be used as a general standard in practice to hone defensive skills.

Second, it states: In this drill, an officer played the role of a suspect with an edged weapon who would charge another officer who was standing about 21 feet away with a holstered weapon. Properly understood, The Tueller Drill does NOT restrict the threat to only an edged weapon.

Appearing in the March 1983 issue of SWAT magazine, How Close Is Too Close? by Dennis Tueller is the original article credited with first establishing the importance of maintaining a “reactionary gap” in defensive force incidents. It begins with the very clear threat scenario description: The “good guy” with the gun against the “bad guy” with the knife (or machete, axe, club, tire-iron, etc.). You’ll notice police trainer Lt. Tueller did NOT limit the threat to only knives or other edged weapons; he included ANY striking weapon (“club, tire-iron, etc.”) used in a person’s hand that is capable of causing death or great bodily harm. The original article illustration itself shows the threat using a club, not a knife.

[ Read SemperVerus articles A Simple Chart for Situational Awareness ]

Despite the above errors, the current research concludes with helpful information for every defensive situation, whether police action or responsible civilian concealed carrier:

  • On average 21 feet is not a safe enough distance to be able to successfully draw and fire a gun at a charging suspect.
  • There is no officially standardized safe distance when encountering a threat. Use acute situational awareness to give yourself as much time as possible to properly react defensively.
  • Defensive movement decreases the chance of being struck by hand-held edged or impact weapons. It is important to train to create muscle memory for “getting off the X.”
  • When training with movement tactics, also work to increase shooting accuracy.

Also see, Drejka Analysis: When the Tueller Drill’s Corrupted by attorney Andrew Branca.



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Quiz: Test Your Firearms Knowledge

According to Daniel O’Kelly, director of the International Firearm Specialist Academy (IFSA), there are 393 million guns in private hands in the USA. In an article on Police1, he recommends that professionals should be able to accurately identify and classify firearms to ensure, among other matters, safety in handling them. He offers the following quiz. See how well you do.

[ Read the SemperVerus article, The 4 Basic Rules of Gun Safety ]

[ Read the SemperVerus article, A Directory of Firearm Podcasts & Video Channels ]

The IFSA is the first and only company to offer a simplified step-by-step online educational program that takes you from whatever your present firearms knowledge-level to become a safe, accurate, and competent specialist. Specialists are those who devote themselves to the pursuit of excellence and seek to be the best in handling firearms.

[ Read the SemperVerus article, Self-Defense Training Directory ]



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A Directory of Holster Makers

Image of an OWB leather holster by Urban CarryUsing a holster to carry your defensive firearm is necessary to 1) secure the trigger from negligent discharge, 2) consistently position the gun for safe and rapid deployment, and 3) achieve sustainable comfort for long periods of time. John Correia of Active Self Protection identifies the three critical qualities of a holster as: 1)cover the trigger guard completely, 2) hold the firearm securely, and 3) allow access to the firearm reliably. Holsters are generally made of leather, KYDEX® (thermoplastic acrylic-polyvinyl chloride composite), or a combination of both.

[ Read the SemperVerus article, Why Do You Carry a Gun for Self-Defense? ]

Holsters use a variety of methods to secure the handgun until it’s needed. The most common retention method (known as “Level Zero” or “Open Top”) is nothing more than a snug fit to keep the firearm in place as you move about (walking, running, jumping, bending, etc.) while allowing it to be quickly retrieved without an extra step.

Image of an IWB KYDEX® holster by Comp-Tac

[ Read the SemperVerus article, Checklist: Matters to Consider When Deciding on a Handgun ]

For an added level of retention, holsters (“Level 1”) are also available with a top strap or some type of release lever, usually activated with either the index finger or the thumb. These holsters can provide further confidence that your gun, especially when open carried, will remain in the holster until you need it.

[ Read the SemperVerus article, A Directory of Firearm Podcasts & Video Channels ]

The following are the different styles of holsters available to keep your defensive gun readily accessible in a variety of settings and clothing considerations:

Image of the Flanker Shoulder Holster by SwapRig Holsters

  • Inside the Waist Band (IWB)
  • Appendix Inside the Waist Band (AIWB)
  • Outside the Waist Band (OWB)
  • Cross-Draw
  • Shoulder Holster
  • T-Shirt Shoulder Holster
  • Belly Band
  • Pocket
  • Ankle
  • Chest
  • Drop-Leg
  • Thigh
  • Bra
  • Leggings
  • Fanny Pack / Backpack / Sling Pack
  • Off-Body Carry (OBC)

[ Read the SemperVerus article, Self-Defense Training Directory ]

An abundance of holster creators are available online. Here’s a directory of links to a few of them (we highly recommend SwapRig), as well as articles about holsters:

Why Do You Carry a Gun for Self-Defense?

If a family member, friend, or stranger asks why you carry a gun for self-defense, tell them:

[ Read the SemperVerus article, Concealed Carry Daily Prayer ]

I exercise my US Constitutional right to concealed carry a firearm and I diligently train in the civil right of self-defense because I’m pro-life and pro-social justice, since malicious and violent criminals and terrorists don’t have the right to steal a person’s life, liberty, and happiness.

[ Read the SemperVerus article, USA State Constitutions Providing for Armed Self-Defense ]

The civil right of the US Constitution’s 2nd Amendment does not grant me the right to keep and bear arms for self-defense, it precludes the government from infringing on my natural right to do so.

[ Read the SemperVerus article, Worldviews and Emotional Assumptions in the Gun Civil Rights Debate ]

Criminals, terrorists, and the dangerously mentally ill act suddenly and make our nation more violent. Law-abiding, responsibly prepared gun owners save and protect lives.

[ Read the SemperVerus article, 15 Truths About Defensive Gun Use ]



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