21 Foot Rule – Tueller Distance Legal Strategy for a Self Defense Shooting
Have you heard of the “21 foot rule” ? “At what distance is an impact weapon an imminent threat?” asked Dennis Tueller, a now retired Salt Lake City police officer. Is it 5 feet? 10 feet? 15? More?
In other words, at what distance will someone handling a weapon such as a baseball bat or knife (for example) become a potential threat to you?
The 21 Foot Rule – Tueller Distance – And WHY You Need To Know About It
Tueller, also a firearms instructor, proceeded to run a lot of drills on this subject. He wanted to determine how long it takes to get one’s pistol out of a holster to engage a threat. More specifically center-mass hits versus the time it takes for an imminent threat with an impact weapon to get to you.
If you carry a handgun, you need to understand this, for several reasons. One of which is for your own personal self defense. Another, for your legal defense should you ever be involved in a self defense shooting. Here’s why…
The fact is, if you did not know about the 21 foot rule prior to a self defense shooting (sometimes referred as the Tueller rule or distance), the use of this aspect of your defense will NOT be admissible in court. In fact, even if you did know about it, you will likely need to prove that you knew about it (I’ll explain in a moment).
Why is it important to cite the 21 foot rule as part of your defense? Because depending on the incident, it may help prove that there was ‘imminence’ and an imminent threat to your life. This will be one part of your overall defense strategy.
The time it takes to engage with a handgun
Tueller discovered that most police officers are able to get their pistol out of their holster and engage within 1.5 seconds.
The approximate distance of an imminent threat with an impact weapon
Tueller also drilled the distance at which a person can run from a standing start for 1.5 seconds to be about 21 feet.
21 feet became the 21 foot rule, or Tueller distance. That is, the threat (with an impact weapon such as a knife) — their approximate maximum distance away from a police officer for engagement.
Note: If the threat has a gun, then the Tueller distance does not apply, because the threat can shoot you from a much further distance!
The Importance of the 21 Foot Rule for a Legal Defense
Of course there is much more to a valid self defense shooting! And more importantly a self defense shooting that you can survive through the legal system.
However the 21 foot rule is well cited in case law. It is an important distinction to understand and to integrate into one’s defense (and prior actions!).
Following a self defense shooting during the legal process, you (your attorney) will need to prove that you were an innocent party in the confrontation. For example, that you were not the aggressor, or escalated the confrontation.
The next aspect of your defense will be proving there was an imminent threat. If that threat did not have a gun (instead an ‘impact weapon’), it will be exceedingly important to be able to cite the 21 foot rule – Tueller distance. AND to have previously acted in accordance with that rule as part of your defense.
In other words, if you shot someone who you believed to be a threat to your life who had an ‘impact weapon’ from 40 feet away, it will be much, much more difficult if not impossible to prove imminence in court. If you cannot prove imminence, you lose.
On the other hand, if that same threat to your life was coming at you in the vicinity of approximately 21 feet or less, AND you were able to cite the 21 foot rule – Tueller distance – as prior knowledge in your defense, then the knowledge and facts of the Tueller distance will very likely be admissible to the jury. This will help them to understand, and will greatly help your overall defense (although there is much more to your defense than just this).
Proof that you knew about the Tueller Distance BEFORE the event happened
Earlier I said that you might have to prove that you had prior knowledge of the 21 foot rule – Tueller distance. Yes, that will probably be required (you can’t say afterwards that you knew about it). So how can you prove that you knew? And where did you get that information and knowledge?
I very much recommend that anyone who ever carries a handgun to read this book! I have read it, and it is VERY eye-opening and helpful to understand what will happen following a self defense shooting. You should absolutely read and understand the information within the following book written by Attorney Andrew Branca, an internationally recognized expert on self-defense law (the best I’ve ever read on the subject)…
>> The Law of Self Defense: The Indispensable Guide to the Armed Citizen
(view on amzn)
Attorney Branca advises a way to prove that you knew about the 21 foot rule – Tueller distance… Print the receipt, which includes the date, and tuck it in the book. Highlight the section within the book that talks about this rule, and understanding the rest too!
So, you don’t want to spend the money to buy this book for your self defense strategy in the event of a self defense shooting. Then find this information (about the 21 foot rule – Tueller distance – somewhere else, and similarly document that you read about it.
Two more excellent reads if you carry:
(view on amzn)
>> Deadly Force: Understanding Your Right to Self Defense
>> Traveler’s Guide to the Firearm Laws of the Fifty States
I originally published this article several years ago after having read the book. I recently came across it again and will read it again. So I clarified some of the information above and re-posted for your potential interest, should you be one who “carries”.
I have read this information before, but I never thought about documenting that I’d read it. Maybe posting on this site would be proof enough in court? It would actually take me longer than 1.5 seconds to pull out my gun and shoot. You say above that that is the average time for a police officer–someone who wears his gun unhindered on his hip (which I don’t) and has practiced many, many more times than I have. That means that 21 feet isn’t really far enough away for me! (Yes, it also means that I should practice more.)
At a Tac-1 class I can draw and hit paper in under a second. My wife takes over 2 seconds. This is in a controlled environment with easy access to our firearms, not a real world situation. How much more time do you think would be added to a “imminent threat” situation? My opinion is that classes with a knowledgeable instructor is well worth the added cost over range time.
Post it on your social media, then it’s forever….
and so is every other “stupid” thing you have posted and or shared and if you are conservative, that’s what you be tried on, not the fact you feared for your life…
So says the progressive tool, knowledge is power, but I understand why you don’t comprehend that!
I am so glad I read about the Tueller Distance. Very informative article. I never thought about how much time I had to protect myself before.
Any good concealed carry class should cover this material. When i took my concealed carry class over 20 years ago this info was a major part of the class. My class instructor was a SGT with the Phoenix police dept. He even had his students run drills to prove that someone can cross the 21 foot Tueller distance in around 1.5 seconds. Those drill are something that have stuck with me to this day. If you have never practice any 21 foot drills, you should, they’ll be a real eye opener.
I served 1985 to 1988, 1/7 Air Cav Ft Hood TX. GarryOwen!
21′ rule makes sense. Need to practice and run those drills.
One more reason to keep a round chambered. IDF can draw from concealed, chamber, and hit target in 1.5 secs. Most of us are probably not quite that good.
Punk got what he deserved,,,
This is something that I always told my guys when I was still in the military. Whenever we drilled urban operations I always asked them why they let people get so close to them and then I told them about this rule. Glad to see that others understand the importance of this as well.
Folks, don’t equate the 1.5 seconds/21 foot rule with at what point you can “legally” draw your concealed weapon. The knife wielding aggressor is a threat at 50 foot, if moving in your direction. It is incumbent on you to attempt to keep that distance from decreasing, unless you are not the target and you’re coming to the defense of a third party, but once a viable threat is identified, revealing your weapon is ok. Twenty one feet is the engagement distance, not just the threat distance.
There is no time/distance requirement as to when to prepare for an identifiable threat. The Tueller was not developed to put a defender into a “can I draw faster than he can traverse 21 feet?” quick draw competition. Rather, it is meant to educate the potential victim at what point their non-violent response options are gone.
As a side note, one of my ex-partners was no billed by a grand jury, after shooting a knife wielding attacker in the mid-80’s. The defense lawyer flew Tueller in to testify for my partner before the grand jury. (politically sensitive case, white officer/black suspect, much media drama)
Remember folks, EVERY STATE has their own laws surrounding this general subject. The book does an excellent job citing the laws for each state on various legal issues in this regard.
Additionally, the Tueller distance is a guideline. It is not absolute. It is just one aspect of which the legal system (and the jury) may look at.
After reading this book I was quite surprised as to how many things need to be done ‘right’ in a self defense shooting. One thing wrong, and you might be going to jail, even if the shooting was justified in your mind.
The attitudes of many people are such that they feel it will be an open and shut case if they were to be involved in a self defense shooting. I have discovered that this may likely NOT be the case, which is why I am going to read this book yet again – to ingrain the legal issues in my mind versus the state that I live in.
There are intricacies that vary from state to state, some QUITE LEGALLY SIGNIFICANT. For example, you may be able to ‘show’ your gun in one state, but NOT the next. If you run after the aggressor you yourself may become the aggressor and be charged, some states require that you attempt to ‘retreat’ if possible whereas others don’t, etc… Too much to explain in this comment thread ;) but I will be posting additional articles based on this book’s information.
I think we may be missing the point on Tueller Distance (“Dt”). His calculation was based on an average police officer drawing and getting off a CoM shot of 1.5 seconds. That is with a holster worn on the waist (not concealed).
I would guess that a good percentage of the concealed carry civilians can’t draw and get off a shot in that time frame. So your Dt would be further out that 21 feet. If your draw and shoot time is 2 seconds then your Dt is 28 feet.
It would make an interesting drill with your range buddy to measure and record your draw and shoot times using your concealed carry rig. This would be under ready conditions without a lot of distractions, close to an ideal scenario. I suspect draw and shoot from concealed will be much longer that 2 seconds. A written record of a number of test runs might well come in handy should one ever draw your weapon on a guy out at say 25’.
Tueller deals with the time needed to draw and fire your weapon. Obviously, if you draw on bad guy at 25’ that doesn’t give you the right to fire under Tueller’s analysis unless he has moved to close the distance between you in the period of time between draw and shoot. With a drawn and aimed weapon your shoot time is in the .5 second range. This would put your fire distance at less than 10’.
Clarification of first comment, lest the implication should be misconstrued. Intended meaning was that Ken`s article is another good reason to carry chambered. Saves time which could mean the difference between walking away versus being carried away.
A fine example of concealed carry draw, for unchambered carry, is IDF. Most would hope to be that good/fast with concealed chambered carry. Stats show that the average distance that LEO discharges a weapon at a perp is between 0(body contact)and 3 feet away. I think that it was Ken who made a good suggestion in a previous article by stating to, if possible, if the need so requires, have your gun in one hand and your cell phone video recording the situation on the other.
Good info. This rule has been in every CCL I have taken.
The Tueller rule only works if you remain static. This was proven to me time and time again in drills with the attacker coming from an unknown direction at closer distance. Your moves disrupts the attacker’s OODA loop, buys you time to draw and fire. If you don’t have cover and are shooting you should be moving. Try it, you may be surprised. But if you don’t learn to shoot while you are moving you are not trained.
Thanks for the mention!
–Attorney Andrew Branca
Law of Self Defense
Thanks for commenting here… Your book is excellent.
My aim is to hopefully inspire others ‘who carry’ to read it. It was eye-opening for me, and I had no idea regarding all of the implications once you ‘enter the legal system’ following a self defense shooting.
I especially appreciate all of the references to various state law so that I know where I stand in my own state in this regard. I look forward to sketching a few additional articles surrounding the information in your book.
Thank you very much for writing this informative article about the Tueller Rule. I have heard of it before, but appreciate your concise summary, which is easily digestible and timely.
Sorry folks, but 21 feet is the MINIMUM I would allow for someone who is threatening me with an impact or edged weapon to approach me. Keep in mind when thinking of the article, those reaction times are for trained police officers, on high alert and expecting a possible issue. It takes the average human .75 seconds to recognize the immediate threat (that guy drew a knife) and then another .75 seconds to respond to that threat (your mind and body respond, and you START to draw your weapon.
OK, so you are young, have great reaction/perception time and can can draw/fire like Wayatt Earp… but now that angry, possibly hopped up person wishing to do you harm is within a few feet of you…. as we all know, even if you have the “best” caliber and “best” defensive load, it still takes time for the body to react when struck (yes even by 45 hardball). So even if you put 2-3 rounds in center mass (can you do that in 1.5 seconds with your EDC carry? and in this case, a brain or spinal shot to instantly drop them?) the attackers momentum and Adrenalin are going to carry them into you!!! They will still likely have the ability to take several strikes at you with whatever they are carrying…
During the old “Street Survival” seminars I attended as an LEO (now retired for a…few years) in the 80’s and 90’s, they had a trained officer out of the audience come up on stage and do a demo. The officer would stand with a revolver (blank with foam over wad) IN HAND and POINTING at another officer 21 feet away (with protective gear). They would tell the the other officer who was the “suspect” (they had discretely given him a rubber practice knife that is concealed in their waistband). The officer standing with the gun would be told that the other person is a threat, and will attack them at some point, and to take appropriate action when needed. At some point during a “heated discussion” between the two, the “aggressor” would suddenly rush the officer and draw the knife….. 9 of 10 times the aggressor will get to the officer before he could fire or even if not, close enough to make contact within less than 1 second. This when a trained officer, gun in hand, knowing the person is going to attack, but just not knowing with what…
Try it yourself sometime with a paintball gun (using appropriate protective gear). It is also a GREAT way to win an argument with someone who challenges the reasoning of an officer who fires on someone still a number of feet from them (done it myself and changed a few minds on the subject).
Don’t forget, knives can be effective throwing weapons as well, with range and accuracy being based on the throwers skill. Something you won’t be able to assess until it’s too late. Throwing ranges can easily reach 60 ft. with reasonable practice and I see no reason to not assume someone with a knife is practiced and has more than one.
Throwing a knife in combat is something I never advise. If you must throw something sharp, throw a “star,” which can be made from old skill saw blades. They will always stick, no matter the skill, no matter the distance you chuck them. I carry between four and five throwing stars, or diamonds, as standard equipment. Rub the metal with wax, so they cling together and do not make noise, as they bump each other in your pocket.
Throw the pointed stars overhand, and the diamonds side hand, like you might fling a playing card. Stars to maim and kill, diamonds to hinder and cripple. Make them dull, so they will not reflect light and become invisible in low light. Carry a star between your fingers, the points overlapping the web above and below the star. When carried this way, you can keep a star ready to use at all times, yet your hand can be relaxed and open…the star just a black line between your fingers..and hard to see.
I practiced throwing stars, which I carried between my fingers, making it appear my hands were moving in “frightened surprise” while my face and body language indicated my being startled…and afraid. This bought time for the star I had just thrown to sink home somewhere on the enemy’s body…less than a second…and, then, I would follow up as the enemy realized something was wrong.
Keep the knife, throw the star.
Thank you for the information on the Tueller “21 foot” imminent danger rule.
Glad that it helped someone!
Ken, thanks for re-posting this! Our department had training on this as well, and it’s interesting how close undesirables can get to you if your awareness slips…in many situations.
On a related note, I was recently giving a short class to a group of preppers (like us) regarding shooting situations. One resource I was using is information from the US Concealed Carry Association. To my surprise, while I was reading their wallet membership card, I came across this…”Post incident instructions- Call 911-explain ‘I was attacked, feared for my life and had to defend myself'” Farther down the card it says “When responding officers arrive-‘I will cooperate 100 percent, but first I need my attorney.'” I wrote them a polite e-mail stating my disagreement on the first instruction. What good is clamming up when officers arrive if they have a RECORDED confession from the 911 call? Instead, my suggestion when calling 911 is give your location, your first name and physical description, description of any suspects that may have left the scene, and that there has been a shooting. Request officer and medical….then hang up.
It’s amazing how many spontaneous utterances or background comments are heard while the operator keeps you on the line. Other obvious suggestions were also given, such as not having your firearm in your hand or on your person when officers arrive. Secure it well away from your person,, in a drawer or whatever. Some of you other LE (retired or not) have thoughts on this?
P.S.: I did receive a nice reply from USCCA saying they would look into this.
When I took my gun safety course, one of the exercises we did was to put the target 21 feet back. The instructor would operate the button to move the target forward and we were to unholster our weapon and fire at the target.
I swear it seamed the target was moving at super human speed! It was walking speed. WALKING! This was an area I needed more practice.
One factor that a lot of people don’t consider with the 21 ft rule that is brought up in a lot of LEO training is the issue of obstacles. The 21 foot rule will not be considered a justification if there is some type of barrier between the parties. Examples that were used in my training were being in the kitchen with a table or counter between the LEO and the armed suspect and standing behind a vehicle with the suspect on the other side. It pretty much has to be a straight line, open path.
This is a subject that reams could be written. I’ll respond by saying this…in my experience, if you were righteous in taking someone’s life, that will come out in the investigation.
If you took a life thinking they were “armed”, justifiable homicide only requires that a reasonable and prudent person seeing the same scenario unfold would come to that same conclusion….or agree that circumstances dictated that you could not wait to find out.
Interestingly enough, an incident occurred less that 5 miles from my homeplace a few years back that contained some of those elements, but resulted in a justifiably face to face homicide as the scenario unfolded…
Two rural neighbors, one a lifelong member of the mountain “community” with a sketchy reputation, but one of the locals, the other a retired out of state highway patrolman. There was a dispute over the placement of a barbed wire fence.
The dispute simmered for months, till one day the local boy puts up a target on the disputed ground for some target practice, knowing, or should have known, the retired LEO’s home was some 100 yards behind and in line with the target. At least three rounds hit the retired LEO’s home. He calls the sheriff and shouts for the neighbor to stop his shooting. Neighbor responds that it’s his property….he can do as he pleased.
Retired LEO, knowing that it will take over an hour for sheriff to arrive, makes the decision to confront the neighbor before he or his family is hit. He get’s to his pick up, heads toward neighbors place, only to meet neighbor driving towards his home. They stop, vehicles side by side facing opposite directions.
Verbal altercation ensues….shots are exchanged, each still sitting in their respective vehicles. Local boy is killed instantly with the shot fired by the retired LEO.
Locals demanded the retired LEO, an outsider (only having lived there for 10 years), be arrested for murder.
Only witnesses other than two involved were a couple of folks who heard the fatal shot and swore there was only one shot, the one fired by the retired out of state LEO.
Retired LEO told investigators that he had only fired after being fired upon at near point blank range.
What do you think was the final ruling by authorities?
The former LEO was not charged. He had told the truth, and it was proven by the evidence.
Slugs from the neighbor’s rifle were recovered from the front walls of the retired LEO’s home. The face to face occurred on the county road between each other’s homes.
Retired LEO said neighbor fired first, but neighbor’s friends said they heard only one shot, but slug from neighbor’s handgun was recovered from 3 inches below the window opening of the driver’s door of retired LEO’s pickup.
Medical Examiner said that retired LEO’s one and only shot severed the neighbors spinal column after passing through his larynx, making it impossible for the neighbor to have fired a shot after suffering that wound….proving that the neighbor fired his shot before the retired LEO fired.
Lesson? He told the truth. He didn’t try to shade the facts. He was able to justify each and every action he took, and the physical evidence backed his recollection and telling of the events.
Thank you for sharing this. I’m wondering in the coming days if trust in the justice system will be an issue. The retired LEO told the truth, and didn’t try to manipulate anything or hide any evidence. That should always be enough for an innocent man to rely on; I’ve not lived anywhere where that was not the case. There may be places, or come a time, when honest investigating gives way to politically motivated injustice. When people speak about keeping quiet, or hiding evidence, I’m assuming they’re thinking of those WROL situations.
Yes, I share your concerns for folks living in jurisdictions controlled by socialists…..but truth and facts usually (not always, but usually) prevail.
All the highly publicized cases of the last year….where socialist D.A.’s brought questionable charges against police officers and civilians defending themselves….are slowly coming before unbiased grand juries….and are being no-billed, or quietly dismissed for lack of prosecutable evidence. Truth….most of the time…will prevail. It may be costly to the person being persecuted for politically motivated reasons…but most times, it will prevail.
I don’t…and I would not live in such a place….I feel for those that do…I can’t change their lot…that’s up to them. They can put up with the stench of the bed they lie in, or change the sheets, throw the bed out, burn it, or find a new house.
This applies to me and my house too. Funny thing….when I retired and moved here, even though the overwhelming majority of my new neighbors were conservative, gun totin’ Christians….they were lifelong democrat voters. In the last 16 short years…the entire state has become overwhelmingly republican.
I take full credit…
It already is. The last year has cemented the idea in many heads (mine included) that truth means nothing if someone has a political ax to grind.
The problem with that, as pointed out by Dennis, is that one person’s decisions do not necessarily mean those decisions are shared by the other dozens of people who need to be involved in a successful prosecution, including the “peers” that will be on the jury.
My own concern is actually the “court of public opinion” that seems to be deciding many of the cases. Truth means absolutely nothing to that court, and you can lose more than just your freedom if that court decides to hound your employer, your neighbors, your children’s school.
I agree, there are plenty abusers of the truth, but has been my experience that the truth, most times, wins out.
For me….I’d rather be persecuted for telling the truth than spend the rest of my life waiting for a lie to catch up with me.
Ever noticed that folks that play fast and loose with truth and fact seem to always be pointing accusations and innuendo at others? Speaks volumes about them and their character….but they are too busy tootin’ their horn to notice the disdain of others…and quickest to squall when confronted.
Good point, Lauren,—Even if one is cleared of wrongdoing legally, life can be made very difficult by the communist minions out there. It’s easy to understand why the 3S strategy is espoused by some. Not saying I presently agree with it, just that I understand the thought process.
Good to know.
many years ago I was sitting in my home on the couch, counting my money from a paycheck I cashed and some guy I had briefly met the day before, opened my front door and came barging in. I grabbed my throwing tomahawk on the coffee table and threatened to hit him with it and told him to get out. I almost threw it at him and at 21 feet I can split the card on a stump. He gasped in horror (heh, heh) turned around and flew out the door, and never saw him again.
The 21 feet rule reminded me of that incident. That distance is what I trained at for distance throwing. Gads, I was relieved he didn’t challenge me, but I could be a bad A** when it comes to defending myself.
Ken, great article. I knew about the 21 foot rule, but this adds more information for us.
A controversial article at best. It was interesting to read some of the responses here on this website to the topic of preparedness for the aftermath of a legal shoot. It was apparent that Ken thought about this a great deal and Dennis added good advice as well. There comes a point where you have to lay down your weapon to be tagged and bagged into evidence and you have to keep quiet until you are able to talk to your attorney and .( if you are sworn ) your union rep.
The aftermath of a justified shoot is life-changing in many ways you may not have ever thought about: Do you have children in local schools? Where does your spouse work? Do they work with the public for a city or municipal agency. All members of a family will be affected in the aftermath of a shooting because all can face reprisals at the school, market, post office, place of work unrelated to a public safety agency that employs/employed the officer involved in the shooting. Most often, I have seen and helped many such families relocate to a new area much as I had to do on 3 separate occasions. This may not have been addressed in any book.
Both Dennis and Lauren mentioned that the loser of a gunfight often has friends and family. In my case, several of the shootings had gang ties so today, I am the old guy cutting my grass and looking real hard at the patches on the jackets and vests of the motorcycles cruising by. I also take an interest in reading the graffiti that is plastered on the sides of buildings and bridge supports in the bad area of town. Winning a gunfight will not make you a hero…just a survivor.
I owe my survival to the sad old guys that taught me back in Academy and my mentors that are all gone these days. They also warned me that if I volunteered for the hazardous jobs, I would get involved in more gunfights and I would have a short career/never make my 20 ( 20 years on the job such to draw full pension). They were right. I was young and I wanted the travel and adventure at that time. I was also single at the time and I discovered that being the officer that shoots people in the department is a very lonely job. I never got invited to picnics or volleyball games after that.
These days, I shop in town and travel mostly with no weapon on me. I keep several within my vehicle when I am out and about. I have done some private security work and I have had a chance to meet other security pros out there. I spend a lot of time alone because I do not like hanging out with young men that have big mouths and they stink of aggression. Some young guys out there are looking for a reason to draw their weapon.
If you like to have a beer with your lunch or a drink with your dinner, Think about this: Do you think the jury would be sympathetic to you if you engaged in a gunfight in the parking lot with a blood alcohol level above 0.0? Packing a weapon these days is too much like work. (gotta enjoy life away from work.). If you are out drinking with buddies, you should/had better place your CCW gun in the glovebox of your vehicle. I hope i gave you all some things to think about before you strap on your CCW and go into town.
I have video evidence of myself training and training others with this rule (I am a defensive firearms trainer). My draw time is sub second open carry, concealed carry goes up past 2 seconds.. And know this, you better mag/cylinder dump to stay alive. It’s an easy drill to practice if you have the proper training facility/location and are able to 1. draw from your holster and 2. be able to move while shooting. Most ranges are static and also don’t allow drawing from a holster. Moving is Critical because that “fright train” coming at you with a knife will still move forward even after the first shot.. Draw, shoot, move, while continuing your shoots and keeping up with proper follow through!
Be Safe, Be Well, Stay on Target.
This is why you MUST train as you would fight. AND, perishable skill, so you MUST train, train and train some more. I can present my weapon FROM concealed in under .8 seconds (that includes two rounds released and ON target). I am NOT bragging,,,,,but encouraging EVERYONE that truly wants to carry to TRAIN and not just regular range activity, but get advanced scenario training, active shooter training, whatever you can. FRONTSIGHT provides most excellent training to civilians and leos alike. Try it! you will be amazed. My favorite vacation!
Have always LOVED my FrontSight training sessions. Great place, trainers and students too! Just wish we had more time for it. LOL
Last night, I commented how I travel in the community usually unarmed. This is not true. I can always be found with either a knife within my reach and/or a knife with a can of pepper spray on my person when out in public. The worse the neighborhood, the more defensive tools I have on my person in places I can access with right or left hand.
Firearms training can transfer nicely to using pepper spray. They both have the same caveats: The person that is shot or sprayed will not be stopped by the chemical or the bullet. The chemical or the bullet may simply enrage the attacker. Spray the chemical then move or move before you spray the chemical.
Training with a knife can be done in the form of small workshops. I was introduced to knife fighting techniques in West Los Angeles, Ca. decades ago. There were many LASO officers from the Phillipines and they still practiced many forms of Kali or fighting with sticks, edged weapons and impact weapons. These were our instructors.
Self defense in a time of no bullets to be found: Start by looking up the name Dan Inosanto on Utube. Self defense beyond firearms. Think of the many times you must turn in or surrender your weapons prior to travel or access: courthouses, hospitals, airports, concerts, access to VIPs.
Start to think about improvised weapons or weaponizing common household chemicals or tools. I once took a report of a guy who was attacked while riding his bicycle on a bike path. The attacker was found crying due to pepper spray, knee injured permanently by impact from a bike lock. Some fool attacked a spandex clad bicycle rider who happened to be an off duty corrections officer who practiced and taught martial arts. Bike riding was his aerobic training component and form of relaxation.
The thug attacked the wrong dude that day.
Just FYI FrontSight also offers edged weapons and empty hand defense classes. fun for the whole family
Calirefugee, years back I was asked to teach improvised weapons for women. Amazing how many things women carry in purses that can seriously hurt you. Most of their shoes they wear especially the flats can put a hurt on ya.
I carry a cane all the time and have for years. A very effective weapon in plain site. When I had that crack head attack me in the parking lot I used my cane to put him down. He had a big screw driver in his hand demanding my wallet.I hit him in the left side of his chest below the heart and about 3″ away from the solar plexus. I hit him with the small end of a wood cane. He went down screaming that I shot him. The amount of force that is generated on the end is alot. The round head carriage bolt that I put in helped.
When the paramedics cut his shirt open the bruising looked like what you would see under a vest that stopped a bullet.
I was concealed carrying at the time as well. I’m pretty sure I couldn’t of cleared leather before he stabbed me with the screw driver. The cane was right there fortunately or I might not be here.
So yeah, folks should think about and train with improvised weapons…
Thanks for this comment. I have been thinking about starting to carry/train with a cane or short staff. Sounds like they can be very effective in the hands of a properly trained person.
I practice alot with it. Its a regular wood cane. I have large hands so I wrapped the crook to make it bigger around. I wrapped 1/4″ soft copper around it. Then taped it . Then I wrapped it with parachord to cushion it. Real comfortable and added a little “weight to it. I took the brass cup off the small end. Drilled a hole and epoxied a carriage bolt in to protect the wood tip. Its just a cane until it isn’t.
With all our disabled veterans now its not unusual to see a younger guy with a cane. People normally won’t give it a second look so its a potential 3′ force multiplier for ya…
Have a book, “Stick Fighting” by Hatsumi. Describes 3 lengths of sticks the Japanese use, basically 3′, 4′, and 5′. Hard to learn a physical art like stick fighting from a book, by guess I gotta start someplace, and there is no one near me to teach a class. Thinking of making my cane outta gamble oak. Like your ideas for “upgrades”, which I will borrow, thank you.
I have that book as well. If you can find it “Basic stick fighting for combat” by Michael Echanis.
I am fortunate to have an instructor. But you still need to practice by yourself. Just a couple suggestions of what I do.
First,a couple full length mirrors (or bigger) so you can check your stance/movements as you practice.It helps to have something to strike. A heavy bag or maybe a duffle bag full of old clothes/newspapers/magazines. You need to know how the stick feels in your hands when it strikes something solid. If you have a way to record your practice so you can critique your movements/strikes.
You need to set time aside to practice. You need to acquire the muscle memory much like running firearm drills.
Oh,and make sure you have a clear place to practice so you don’t break stuff…LOL
(What an idiot)
Or a young female veteran with a cane…
Thought exercise: Where you are now, discount anything INTENDED as a weapon. Someone attacks you, what is within arms length that you can use as a weapon? How could it be used? How close would an attacker have to be to make it effective?
“Officer! Thank you for getting here(sic) as soon as you could. This man(woman, binary) tried to murder me. I was in fear of my life and I defended myself. I will be happy to cooperate and give you the truth as soon as I consult with my attorney.” Burn this into your brain and remember: NEVER TALK TO THE POLICE! The only time you are legally required to give information to the authorities is when you are in a traffic accident where there are injuries, or if you are a child care provider, teacher, school nurse, etc. and you suspect child abuse. FWIW, try to find and watch the video: SURVIVING EDGE WEAPONS. That will explain the Tueller Drill.
When I left work as an LEO, I gave my copy of Street Survival ( author named Adams. Black cover with a one eyed stare looking at you. I think it may have been Paladin Press.) to a rookie officer that I helped get on the department he wanted to join. He made it to retirement several years ago and he passed on this book to another young cadet.
Teaching the survival mindset is paying it forward.
Look up: Cane Fu on the internet. This came out years ago and it is a cane defense class that is taught to seniors taking into account a possible lack of flexibility and possible mobility issues. Stick fighting got a big exposure in the #7 or 8 season of the Walking Dead when the character Morgan learns Aikido techniques from a cheese maker.
If you have to hit a person or one of Gods creatures to get their attention, I like a solid piece of hardwood. I had a walking stick of white oak that I passed on to a girlfriend. I used to put new handles on axes and pulaski heads. You do not get more redneck than hitting somebody with an axe handle and it works.
Just watched an enlightening video about the speed of a knife attack. Crowds? Stay away from everyone. twitter.com/OntWtf/status/1446508235519893508?s=20