The Tueller Drill
A common test of handgun skill is to start with one’s hands at shoulder level with a holstered gun and place two shots on a target 21 feet away within 1.5 seconds. Typically, those well trained with handguns can complete the drill in about one and a half seconds, although a select few can place the two shots on target in under one second.
Over two decades ago, Sgt. Tueller wondered how quickly an attacker with a knife could cover those same 21 feet. So he measured as volunteers raced to stab a target. He determined that the distance could easily be crossed in 1.5 seconds. These results were first published as an article in S.W.A.T. Magazine in 1983 and in a police training video by the same title, “How Close is Too Close?”.
A person armed with a holstered handgun has a dilemma. If he shoots too early, he risks being charged with murder. If he waits until the attacker is definitely within striking range so there is no question about motives, he risks injury and even death. The Tueller experiments quantified a “danger zone” where an attacker presented a clear threat.
The Tueller Drill combines both parts of the original experiments by Sgt. Tueller. There are several ways it can be conducted.
The “attacker” and shooter are positioned back-to-back. At the signal, the “attacker” sprints away from the shooter, and the shooter unholsters his gun and shoots at the target 21 feet in front of him. The “attacker” stops as soon as the shot is fired. The shooter is successful only if his shot is good and if the runner did not cover 21 feet.
A more stressful arrangement is to have the “attacker” begin 21 feet behind the shooter and run towards the shooter. The shooter is successful only if he was able take a good shot before he is tapped on the back by the “attacker”.
If the “shooter” is armed with only an ASP Red Gun, a full-contact drill may be done with the “attacker” running towards the “shooter”. In this variation, the “shooter” should practice side-stepping the attacker while he is drawing the gun.
If you are unfamiliar with the Tueller Drill, but carry a gun, become familiar quickly. Do not educate yourself at the school of fast slashes like this officer did.