Did you know that football players and average-fit people can run approximately 20 feet in about 1.5 seconds or slightly less? It seems incredible, but it is a real fact, and you should know that even the attackers can do that.

Some think that the 21-Foot Rule is a sufficient guideline for deciding at what point to draw, and for using your defensive gun before being overcome by the “bad guy”.

There are different opinions. Some consider that it is a safe distance for adequate reaction time to stop the threat, but others think otherwise. Some jurisdictions and people have changed to 30-Foot Rule. This distance is considered safe in Texas, Georgia, Florida, and others.

Time, Distance, And Accuracy Are Crucial Factors When Someone Is Trying to Attack You

Near Atlanta there are some interesting classes for Personal Protection Outside the Home.

Instructors for example train two people in a 7-yard particular drill. They are positioning them back-to-back and then they name the opponents: the bad and good guy. The good-guy is successful only if one of his shots hit someplace in center-mass target and if the bad-gal runner did not cover 21 feet.

An important personal-protection variable is the time. You don’t want to be a tie with the attacker related to the time race. So, you’ll have to be fast if you want to survive.

Even if you try to be quick, the criminal can run about 24 feet before you can fire. Your shot can be on the right target, but it will take you too long to do it. In reality, you could be severely injured or dead, especially if the attacker is lean and in good shape.

You have to practice your skills, shooting accuracy and get rid of the undue stress. You have to be aware in advance that your decision would be to draw and then that you could be forced to fire quickly.

Being assaulted by a quick, onrushing maniac or a crazy with a knife, gun, or another weapon is certainly something real. It is different than practicing range shooting skills on a paper plate from the seven-yard line. Your life is in the game.

Whose rule is accepted?

Sergeant Dennis Tueller developed his 21-Foot Rule in 1983. This distance is still accepted as a safety guideline for assaults.

He set up a piece of training with a police officer armed with a holstered handgun 21 feet away from and a volunteer attacker with an edged weapon.

On the signal established, the attacker ran to stab the officer. In these moments, Tueller timed the attacker over the 21 feet. He determined the assaulter could easily cover the 21 feet and reach the officer in 1.5 seconds.

The first objective was to determine if the police officer could draw and accurately fire upon the aggressor to stop the assault before the villain stabbed him.

There are a lot of variables to consider and many influencing factors, and we can’t say it was the 21 feet an adequate response parameter for deciding when to shoot or not and, if so, to draw and shoot.

It is a highly controversial subject, and states and jurisdictions vary a lot.

However, you should draw your conclusions with care and you should think twice about using the 21-Foot Rule or any other rule for your actions.

There are no such things as mandatory rules, nor they ensure your safety.

Each individual situation must dictate your defensive reaction, safe distance to engage the threat, and your response! Be very careful and don’t react after merely generalized guidelines!

Is 21 Feet enough for you to prepare and defend yourself effectively from the assailant?

Experienced shooters have serious doubts that could be an effective hit when the attacker starts his assault from a distance of seven yards. It is not so in most situations.

Consider if the attack is in your home or on the street.

In a regular home, the rooms are mostly about 21 feet or less. Therefore, because of the furniture, you will probably be even closer inside your home.

Tueller mentioned that sudden action is usually faster than a defensive response or reaction for humans.

So, it is a fact that the closer an attacker is to you, the less time you have to react defensively to any aggressive action the assailant makes. Remember, one shot rarely stops the threat, so accurate hits are also important while you are under the time pressure.

Research and Court Guidance Related to The Rule

Dr. Ron Martinelli, a forensic criminologist, analyzed the 21-Foot Rule related to police officers on 2014. He concluded that all the procedures and maneuvers made by a cop consumed take more time than for the criminal to reach you. You have to have a good shoot to stop him. Another important factor that influences is how the sidearm is secured. Depending on it, it will have a slow draw-to-target acquisition time.

Other critical factors are one’s experience and competency with their holster system and a particular handgun.

Do you think you are competent enough to stop the threat? If the answer is yes, how would you do that if the person is close to you or 21-foot away? Share your thoughts in the comments section below.

Similar Posts
Latest Posts from The Survival Movement


  1. For those that vilify police after shooting VIOLENT CRIMINALS, keep in mind that a thug can cover 21 feet in less than 2 seconds!

  2. Knife attacks are really scarry. I teach true self defense. I can only laugh when someone says you should not bring a knife to a gun fight. They feel real secure until they are cut or stabbed with the knife. I always carry a lot of change in my pocket. If someone comes at me with a knife, I will through a hand full of change into his face as hard as I can. As a reflex they will bring their hands up to block the change hitting their face. They will forget about the knife and stab themselves in the face. That should give you time to run or finish taking your firearm out. A fire arm is fine if you have taken the time to get the training necessary to protect yourself. Without the training you will just be providing the criminal with a firearm. By the way, the 21 foot rule is for dead people. 30 to 40 feet is much better.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *