The 21 Foot Rule: You Got It All Wrong! - S2 Strategic Defense
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The 21 Foot Rule: You Got It All Wrong!

21 Foot Rule-Tueller Drill

21 Sep The 21 Foot Rule: You Got It All Wrong!

The Myth of the 21′ Rule:

If you are a self defense, firearms, or edged weapons enthusiast you may have heard of the 21 foot rule, also known as the Tueller Drill. Many firearms instructions companies utilize this drill in their courses….and wrongly so. While others relate the Tueller drill with Use of Force Continuum as it relates to law enforcement, also wrong!!!

The Tueller Drill was a simply exercise set up by Dennis Tueller from Salt Lake City, UT as a testing method for “Reactionary Gaps.” It was never meant to be an organized drill or a standardized measure for Use of Force. It was an arbitrary test in order to complete his article titled “How Close Is Too Close” that was featured in SWAT Magazine in 1983.

To relate it to Use of Force or even Defensive Firearms training in civilian or LE is absolutely incorrect!!! Use of deadly force is rarely dictated by distance, and always dictated by circumstances. You can’t go into court and say, “Well that person was less than 21′ from me so I had the right to kill him.” Unless of course you like prison.

Use of deadly force also takes in account aspects such as physical/mental state, gear and competency, accuracy in short distance, perception times, threat assessment, environmental circumstances among a few. It rarely brings out the tape measure! The distance aspect is hardly an issue, and definitely is not a Rule.

The Tueller Drills do provide a great discussion and considerable amounts of reasons to train properly, however take them with a grain of salt. The drills were designed to test action vs reactionary gap vs perception lags. That is as far as they go! Period!

I truly hope this gives you a better understanding of The Tueller Drill (21 Foot Rule). Let it be a method of measure to start from in your training, but don’t think that it has any merit other than that.


Be Safe, Be Well-


Nik Farooqui

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