The 21-Foot Rule

This is a discussion on The 21-Foot Rule within the Carry & Defensive Scenarios forums, part of the Defensive Carry Discussions category; The 21 Foot Rule | Brillianter.com That link describes the 21-Foot Rule and some issues regarding it. Please check it out, then come back and ...

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Thread: The 21-Foot Rule

  1. #1
    Ex Member Array MP45CDE's Avatar
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    The 21-Foot Rule

    The 21 Foot Rule | Brillianter.com

    That link describes the 21-Foot Rule and some issues regarding it. Please check it out, then come back and respond to my point below...

    In another thread here, someone was describing an actual incident where a bum had approached his vehicle at a stoplight, if I remember correctly, and started yelling and acting aggressive, moving forward a couple of times quickly as people do who are attempting to provoke you.

    Now, let's talk about the 21-foot Rule in reference to this. I guess I may not have really understood it when it was described in CCW class. I heard the story and that we qualify at 21 ft because that was the farthest distance that someone could get you before you could get them with a CCW. But how does it relate to this situation, legally?

    Using the 21-ft Rule, does this mean that when the aggressive bum got within/crossed the 21 feet line that we can Legally--and really should--draw and set up a possibly-necessary shot? When applying the 21-ft Rule, this seems to be the reason for the 21 feet, right??

    Please opine--and don't be afraid to call me an idiot--I've been called worse...and sometimes I'm an idiot!

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  3. #2
    Senior Member Array Rossman's Avatar
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    not me. I would only draw when I think my life is in imminent danger. I call no names, as any discussion is better than any mistake.

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    Member Array billfromtx's Avatar
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    each situation is different. I would only draw if I felt like me or mine were truly in jeapordy...most pan handlers and bums are only a threat to themselves...good question.
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    VIP Member Array Sheldon J's Avatar
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    Lot's of variables here, the 21' rule is a minimum and written in stone as far as I am concerned. I was taught to be aware of your surroundings, they only stand out in the open and don't aim in the movies.

    In reality you must move, keep your distance, do not back up that will only make you fall and then you are a real easy target. Move at angles to the BG, draw on the move, and shoot on the move, and practices this at the range.
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    I'm only going to draw my weapon if I feel that my life is in danger. The 21 foot rule is not anything that is hard and fast. It is a guideline. I doubt if anywhere in your CWP application, or in your state gun laws even mention it. Why? Because it is a suggested safety zone, not a area that if a person is within it gives you the right to draw your weapon.
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    VIP Member Array MitchellCT's Avatar
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    The 21 foot rule is not a rule, it is a guideline.

    It's primary purpose is not that of a tactic on the street but as a defense in the aftermath to the question of "Why did you deem a person armed with a knife/impact weapon a threat when they were 15 feet away?"

    You can respond with the body of studies on the subject of how people can close distance extremely quickly and become threats even if they appear to be too far away to be of danger, i.e. the 21 foot rule.

    The 21 foot rule is nicely documented, has a lot of studies...its well established as part of the overarching doctrine of "CYA" which we are all intimately familiar with.

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    Ex Member Array MP45CDE's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by MitchellCT View Post
    The 21 foot rule is not a rule, it is a guideline.

    It's primary purpose is not that of a tactic on the street but as a defense in the aftermath to the question of "Why did you deem a person armed with a knife/impact weapon a threat when they were 15 feet away?"

    You can respond with the body of studies on the subject of how people can close distance extremely quickly and become threats even if they appear to be too far away to be of danger, i.e. the 21 foot rule.

    The 21 foot rule is nicely documented, has a lot of studies...its well established as part of the overarching doctrine of "CYA" which we are all intimately familiar with.
    I am in agreement with this post. This really gets at what I was thinking.

    So, in this scenario, with the bum agressively provoking and approaching your vehicle yelling at you, let's say that he crosses the 21-ft mark and continues to come at you doing the same thing he was doing before he crossed the 21-ft mark (life just sucks if he's already within 21 feet and actually has a gun or knife). Now, IMHO, it is prudent to draw down and set up a shot, because if you don't, YOU WON'T HAVE TIME TO AFTER HE CROSSES THE 21-FT MARK.

    GIVEN THIS SCENARIO ONLY, where am I mistaken as far as being able to explain why I drew my weapon--and having the Judge and Jury accept my decision? Where an I wrong? What am I forgetting?

    This is not a test--I'm just trying to understand completely.

  9. #8
    Distinguished Member Array kazzaerexys's Avatar
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    Ditto on MitchellCT.

    The point of the original Tueller drill is to point out the capabilities of a knife-wielding subject. That is, guy with knife can close about seven yards and strike in the same amount of time that the average police trainee could draw from the holster and get off two shots; that time is around 1.5 seconds.

    In the self-defense scenario, that helps you establish the Opportunity in the AOJ (Ability, Opportunity, Jeopardy) calculus of justifiable self-defense. It does not mean that seven yards is your personal interdiction zone and you can gun down anybody whacky inside of that. The bum may be aggressive, but without a weapon he has neither Ability nor Opportunity to inflict deadly harm on you. Only Jeopardy.

    Now, in practice, with you being in the car and, presumably, unable to open the distance, it might mean you pull up your shirt, get your hand on your gun, and get ready to reduce that 1.5 sec response time if he does pull a weapon. If he is inside that zone with a weapon and you can not disengage, then, yes, you probably could argue that the AOJ criteria were met if you end up responding with deadly force.

    In your scenario, with no weapon showing, there is no actual lethal threat to you and you can not shoot. Depending on local laws, you may be able to produce your weapon to try and defuse the situation without firing, or you may go to jail for brandishing if you do that. I'd be very wary of taking that approach...
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    VIP Member Array Janq's Avatar
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    Agreed with MCT and Kazzaer.

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    Ex Member Array MP45CDE's Avatar
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    Brandishing is bad. Got it. ...but how bad?

    In my scenario I suggest brandishing only to set up a shot if the shot is needed--NOT that I think it's OK to gun someone down someone within 21 feet just in case! That said, what's the penalty if it turns out that my decision was, indeed, brandishing, as opposed to just doing what I thought was prudent given my situation? I may rather put up with paying a penalty than, um, die, because I didn't want to get in trouble for brandishing.

    I'm going to study up on AOJ--I think this will clear things up for me.

  12. #11
    VIP Member Array Janq's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by MP45CDE View Post
    I'm going to study up on AOJ--I think this will clear things up for me.
    http://www.defensivecarry.com/vbulle...ard-times.html
    November 27th, 2007, 01:39 AM

    - Janq
    "Killers who are not deterred by laws against murder are not going to be deterred by laws against guns. " - Robert A. Levy

    "A license to carry a concealed weapon does not make you a free-lance policeman." - Florida Div. of Licensing

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    Senior Member Array rolyat63's Avatar
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    My policy is if I'm not ready to kill them I'm not ready to show it, pull it or even talk about.
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    Ex Member Array MP45CDE's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Janq View Post
    http://www.defensivecarry.com/vbulle...ard-times.html
    November 27th, 2007, 01:39 AM

    - Janq

    Great info! ...but that doesn't help my specific situation here:

    Brandishing is bad. Got it. ...but how bad?

    In my scenario I suggest brandishing only to set up a shot if the shot is needed--NOT that I think it's OK to gun someone down someone within 21 feet just in case! That said, what's the penalty if it turns out that my decision was, indeed, brandishing, as opposed to just doing what I thought was prudent given my situation? I may rather put up with paying a penalty than, um, die, because I didn't want to get in trouble for brandishing.


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    Member Array FISTER's Avatar
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    Some places have an actual charge of brandishing. Some places it would be disorderly conduct , or as mentioned in the orginal thread ..... you can be charged with assault even for just pointing the gun at someone. You will have to prove that that person was actually putting your life in imediate grave danger. You also have to realize that the second you introduce deadly force into a situation , the other person will be justified in doing such as well.

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    Ex Member Array MP45CDE's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by FISTER View Post
    Some places have an actual charge of brandishing. Some places it would be disorderly conduct , or as mentioned in the orginal thread ..... you can be charged with assault even for just pointing the gun at someone. You will have to prove that that person was actually putting your life in imediate grave danger. You also have to realize that the second you introduce deadly force into a situation , the other person will be justified in doing such as well.
    Thank you!!

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