You have very likely heard of the “Tueller Drill” when discussing your self-defense training. If you have not, here it is in a nutshell: Sgt. Dennis Tueller of the Salt Lake City Police Department wanted to know how fast someone could cover 21 feet and attack a person with a holstered handgun. The time turned out to be about 1.5 seconds. That is the amount of time you have to draw and fire accurately in an effort to stop a charging attacker who may be armed with a knife or a club.

This is not the “21-Foot Rule,” as some people have called it. This drill simply quantifies the danger zone that a person armed with a holstered pistol must deal with when confronted by someone armed with a knife or club. It may take you longer to get to your gun under a cover garment. That would mean a person 25 feet or even 30 feet away could pose a real danger.

What we know for sure is that, at less than 20 feet, a charging attacker is always able to strike the gun-toting defender before he or she can get an accurate shot on target.

Why the Tueller Drill Matters

We have a dilemma. If we shoot a person who is “too far” away, we can be charged with a crime. But if we allow a person to get too close, we risk being injured or killed. For many people, that answer may be as simple as the bumper sticker: “I’d rather be judged by 12 than carried by six.” But I prefer to deal in realistic training rather than catchy slogans.

Part of your training should include efforts to evade any such attack. This is as simple as taking a big step sideways as you draw your gun. The attacker is planning the attack on the place where you are standing. When you move, he has to recalculate and adjust his attack. This may only take a short time, but any amount of time is valuable in a deadly force encounter.

Practice Moving As You Draw

Practice moving to the side as you draw your gun in every dry-fire training session. Do it every time. Burn that movement into your memory. It should be second nature that if you are drawing, you should be moving out of the way of the person attacking you. You deserve every advantage you can get.

About Kevin Michalowski

Concealed Carry Magazine Executive Editor Kevin Michalowski is a fully certified law enforcement officer, patrolling the mean streets of rural Wisconsin in his spare time. A Certified Trainer through the USCCA and the NRA, he has attended training across the U.S. as both a student and an instructor. Kevin is passionate about the concealed carry lifestyle, studying the legal, ethical and moral aspects of the use of force in self-defense.