VI – Self-Defense

Self-Defense Tactical Driving Tips

Image of two hands on a car steering wheelSince the early 1960s the phrase “Drive Defensively” has been taught in driver education courses across America. It means the skill to drive a vehicle safely despite any conditions you encounter and the actions of others. In a typical defensive driving course, students learn crucial crash prevention techniques that include:

  • Scanning the roadway ahead and adapting accordingly to your surroundings
  • Expecting the unexpected
  • Being alert and distraction free
  • Employing the two-second rule for following distances
  • Knowing your vehicle’s stopping distance
  • Being aware of reaction distance
  • Looking through a turn to know what you’ll encounter
  • Preparing for environment hazards and vehicle emergencies
  • Driving with the commitment to be the safest driver on the road

[ Read the SemperVerus article, A Simple Chart for Situational Awareness ]

Self-defense tactical driving takes the concept further, putting a motor behind the everyday proficiency of situational awareness. As always, distance is your self-defense friend. The greater the distance from a threat, the more time you have to avoid or prepare for it. Here are a few practical ways to defend yourself in your vehicle:

Ammo Price Trends: Cost Per Round Chart

Chart of ammunition prices per round by month
Source: Visualizing Ammo Cost Trends Across Nine Popular Calibers on The Firearm Blog.

Ammunition Search Engines:

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



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8.3% of USA Adults Are Licensed to Concealed Carry Handguns

During the Coronavirus pandemic, the number of concealed handgun permits soared to over 21.52 million—a 48% increase since 2016, according to the Concealed Carry Permit Holders Across the United States: 2021 report from the Crime Prevention Research Center. It’s also a 10.5% increase over the number of permits counted a year ago in 2020.

[ Read the SemperVerus article, Concealed Carry Daily Prayer ]

Unlike gun ownership surveys that may be affected by people’s unwillingness to answer personal questions, concealed handgun permit data is the only really “hard data” available. This increase occurred despite 21 Constitutional Carry states (AK, AR, AZ, IA, ID, KS, KY, ME, MO, MS, MT, ND, NH, OK, SD, TN, TX, UT, VT, WV, WY) that no longer provide data on all those legally carrying a concealed handgun because people in those states no longer need a permit to carry. All states now allow concealed carry, although permit rules vary widely between states.

Map showing how different states of America regulate concealed carry as of 2021
Read the Concealed Carry Permit Holders Across the United States: 2021 report

[ Read the SemperVerus article, 7.6% of USA Adults Are Licensed to Concealed Carry Handguns ]

Among the findings of the report:

  • Last year, the number of permit holders grew by a record 2 million. This is more than the previous record increase of 1.8 million in 2017. Part of that is due to many states reopening concealed carry applications after the pause due to COVID-19.
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  • 8.3% of American adults have permits. Outside of the restrictive states of California and New York, about 10.0% of adults have a permit.
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  • In 15 states, more than 10% of adults have permits. Since 2019, Arkansas and Oklahoma have fallen below 10%, but they’re now all Constitutional Carry states, meaning people no longer need a permit to carry. Virginia’s concealed carry rate has risen to above 10%.
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  • Alabama has the highest concealed carry rate—32.1%. Indiana is second with 21.6%, and Iowa is third with 16.5%.

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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