Twenty one feet is way too close!

This is a discussion on Twenty one feet is way too close! within the Carry & Defensive Scenarios forums, part of the Defensive Carry Discussions category; Found this article TWENTY ONE FEET IS WAY TO CLOSE! that I think is worth the read. definitely has me rethinking the 21 foot rule. ...

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Thread: Twenty one feet is way too close!

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    VIP Member Array LongRider's Avatar
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    Twenty one feet is way too close!

    Found this article TWENTY ONE FEET IS WAY TO CLOSE! that I think is worth the read. definitely has me rethinking the 21 foot rule.
    Quote Originally Posted by Frank Borelli

    TWENTY ONE FEET IS WAY TO CLOSE!
    ASLET TRAINER Jul/Aug 2001
    By Frank Borelli
    Borelli Consulting Incorporated (BCI)

    It is common knowledge that a suspect, armed with an edged weapon and within twenty-one feet of a police officer presents a deadly threat. Why? Because the “average” man can run that twenty-one feet in about one-point-five seconds; the same one-point-five seconds it will take that police officer to recognize danger, draw and point his weapon, and then pull the trigger. Even if the officer manages to get the shot off, and even if it hits the suspect; even if it instantly disables the suspect, the blade is going to be so close to the officer that the suspect’s momentum may continue forward with enough force for the edged weapon to end up injuring the officer anyway.

    The information contained in the above paragraph has long been accepted in police and court circles. “If a man has a knife and is within twenty-one feet, he presents a deadly threat and the use of deadly force against him is justified.” Here is the question then: How far away does that suspect, armed with an edged weapon, have to be before he’s not a deadly threat? A gentleman named Magliato shot a “bad guy” who was armed with a baseball bat and standing thirty-two feet away. The courts convicted Magliato claiming that at a distance of thirty-two feet, the suspect with the baseball bat could not present deadly force against Magliato; perhaps they were wrong.
    21 feet - 1.5 seconds - Accepted Standard
    75 feet / 25 yards - less than 5 seconds - common pistol qulification distance
    210 feet / 70 yards - 14 seconds - potential distance average man can travel and function after receiving fatal wonds from officers pistol

    If it takes a man a mere one-point-five seconds to run across twenty-one feet, how long would it take to go thirty-two feet? The simple answer would be to add half, right? If thirty-two feet is about one-and-one-half times twenty-one, then one-and-one-half times the time of one-point-five seconds should be correct. Wrong. That one-point-five seconds for running twenty-one feet is from a dead stop. To assume that thirty-two feet would take fifty percent longer would be a mistake because you would have to assume that the bad guy started, stopped at twenty-one feet, restarted and then reached thirty-two feet. Reality is quite different. If you accepted that logic, the time would be about two-point-two-five seconds. In reality it would be less than two seconds.

    Even if we worked with that two-point-two-five seconds as a realistic number for covering thirty-two feet, how many feet per second is that? It’s an average of fourteen-point-two feet per second. Now accepting that, let’s consider the cop with his gun holstered and the bad guy thirty-two feet away with an edged weapon or other form of lethal force. He starts running at the cop. The cop recognizes the danger, draws, brings the weapon on line and fires. The bullet hits the bad guy when the bad guy has traveled about twenty-two feet or is about ten feet away from the officer. In less about two-thirds of a second after the bullet impact to his body, the bad guy will get to the police officer and begin his attack.

    Two-thirds of a second: Even if the officer fires two shots and gets good hits with both of them, the bad guy may have enough oxygen and adrenaline in his system to keep moving, in complete control of his motions, for another six to fourteen seconds! As mathematics just proved, the bad guy could run well over thirty-two feet in far less than six seconds, and we all know that the officer can’t run backwards even half as fast as the bad guy can run forwards.

    Sure, someone reading this is saying, “That’s why we run in an arc so that as they lose control of their system, their momentum will carry them forward and we’ll no longer be there.” Ask yourself this: Have you tried running backwards, constantly moving in an arc, trying to keep a weapon tracking on someone who is attacking you with a knife or other deadly weapon for more than fifteen or twenty feet? Give it a shot some time. Have a fellow officer run at you hard for fifteen and a half seconds (did you forget the first one-point-five seconds?) while you try to run at an angle backwards. Do this in a soft area so that you don’t hurt yourself when you fall backwards as the “bad guy” plows over you.

    With regard to this issue, there is more thinking and math to do. If you accept that the average man can run more than thirty feet in about two seconds, how far can he run in that fourteen seconds after your bullets have struck him and done serious damage to his vital organs; after he has begun to bleed out? At thirty feet per two seconds, that’s about two-hundred-ten feet: seventy yards! More than two thirds of a football field is how far you would have to run backwards in an arc to consider yourself safely away, and even then you’re assuming an average man with lethal injuries who has not consumed any substances that would affect his performance.

    Obviously some disparity exists here. A man thirty-two feet away, holding a deadly weapon, didn’t present an immediate and deadly threat to Magliato, but a man seventy yards away can present a deadly threat to you, an armed and trained police officer? Think about it for just a moment and consider this: there is certainly no way that a man seventy yards away with a knife, bat or other contact weapon can immediately harm you. However, if that same man starts running at you with the obvious intent of doing you bodily harm, one would think it prudent not to wait for him to reach the twenty-one foot mark before firing your sidearm. It would probably be even more prudent to keep obstacles between yourself and the threat so that the time it takes him to close distance is even greater.

    Finally, we can all foresee the juror who says, “How much damage can an injured man armed with a knife do against an uninjured police officer armed with a gun?” Well, you all know that bullets do not instantly stop anyone unless you achieve the more-than-rare central nervous system hit. As all officers are trained to shoot for “center mass” since it is the largest target and therefore presents the best chance of actually hitting the armed assailant, there is little chance that the rounds, if they hit the assailant, will pass through his body exactly on center to impact his spine and immediately stop his threatening actions. So, excepting that central-nervous-system, you know that the assailant can function as described above, for another six to fourteen seconds or until his system finally runs out of oxygen and adrenaline.

    At contact distance, in a time span of six to fourteen seconds, what can you do as a police officer with a firearm? Shoot him several more times increasing the amount of tissue damage done and reducing the amount of time it will take him to “bleed out”. By the way, you have to do that while fending off whatever attack he presents. What can the assailant, armed with a knife, and within contact distance do to you in that same time span? Common sense suggests that he could stab you anywhere from twelve to twenty-eight times, everywhere he can reach, substituting slashes for stabs as he sees fit. That doesn’t sound like a good time. Further, no where in any cop’s job description does it say you have to fight an assailant with a knife since you are specifically equipped and trained to avoid getting into that situation.

    So, you say to yourself, if there is no specified distance at which you can readily assume an armed assailant is too close and deadly force on your part is justified, how do you know when it’s okay to shoot? Just as with the use of deadly force against any threat, four factors must exist prior to your response with deadly force. 1) Opportunity: your assailant must have the opportunity to bring killing or crippling power to bear. This is the factor that is most affected by distance. A man with a knife can’t do you harm at fifty feet, but at contact distance he definitely can. How quickly he can close that distance and how quickly you can stop him has a direct affect on his opportunity to do you, or others, harm. 2) Ability: the assailant must have the ability to bring killing or crippling power to bear. Ability can exist in a number of forms such as weapons, overwhelming size, physical strength, force of numbers (in the case of more than one assailant) or special knowledge on either part. If the assailant has a gun or knife, that creates his ability. His size and/or strength can also create his ability to do you, or others, harm. If there is more than one assailant, together they stand a better chance of doing harm than when alone. Special knowledge is a two edged sword. You can have special knowledge of the assailant’s proven intent or skill; such as he’s a professional heavyweight boxer. That skill in heavyweight boxing is special knowledge that he possesses that makes him a greater threat. 3) Imminent jeopardy is the third factor and must exist prior to your deployment of deadly force. If the assailant does not present imminent jeopardy to you, or others, you cannot justify the use of deadly force. To some extent, “imminent” is controlled by distance. Again, that guy at fifty feet may not be presenting an imminent threat, but when he starts to move toward you, the threat he produces easily becomes imminent.

    The fourth, and final, factor is preclusion. Any prudent person will normally make an attempt to escape or avoid the situation, which may lead to the use of deadly force. Police officers don’t have a requirement to retreat, and certainly conditions can exist wherein the police officer has no choice but to stand his ground. The duty to protect others may mandate that you face the threat without the option of running from it. The statement “preclusion is the fourth factor” truly means that avoiding the situation has been considered and is not a viable option. The officer must be able to articulate, along with all three other elements, why he didn’t, or couldn’t, avoid this deadly force confrontation. In the case of a man with a knife, bat, or other deadly contact weapon, once he (the bad guy) starts charging you (the police officer), his ability to close distance and deliver a killing or crippling injury is far greater than your ability to escape or stop his attack. If he is within the distance we typically train at with our handguns (twenty-five yards or seventy-five feet is usually the maximum distance), then preclusion is removed as soon as he begins his charge. All the mathematics above should have adequately demonstrated that he can close seventy-five feet in less than six seconds and that, even if you score good disabling shots while he closes, he may still have plenty of operational time remaining in which to do you potentially fatal harm. Therefore, it is maintained that, if he is within trained handgun distance, seventy-five feet or less and is armed with any type of killing or crippling contact weapon, imminent jeopardy exists and preclusion, as an option, has been removed. At that point, all four factors exist for your justified use of deadly force in defense of yourself or others under your protection.

    To review: it’s takes one-point-five seconds or less for an armed bad guy to close twenty-one feet and do you bodily harm. It takes less than two-point-two-five seconds for that same bad guy to close thirty-two feet and do you bodily harm. After you’ve shot the bad guy, he has enough oxygen and adrenaline in his system to close another two-hundred-and-ten feet (seventy yards!) and do you bodily harm. The next time you are in an “Edged Weapons Defense” class, bear this in mind.

    The next time you pull up on the scene of a violent domestic and that guy has a hammer in his hand in his front yard, bear this in mind. The next time you decide to park you cruiser within twenty feet of a vehicle on a traffic stop, and you officers on the street will all have to do exactly that, bear this in mind! You rarely know who the bad guy is, and you never know what the bad guy is bringing to the fight. As an instructor friend of mine is so fond of saying: “You always want to bring a gun to a gun fight. What do you want to bring to a knife fight?” Many of the people in the classes he teach respond with, “A knife.” He smiles a knowing smile and says, “No; a gun.”
    Abort the Obamanation not the Constitution

    Those who would, deny, require permit, license, certification, or authorization for me to bear arms are as vile, dangerous & evil as those who would molest, abuse, assault, rape or murder my family

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  3. #2
    Member Array LethalStang's Avatar
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    VERY interesting read. Makes you think a lot about reaction times.
    Quote Originally Posted by rottkeeper View Post
    If you are living your life worried about being a victim all the time and not enjoying life to the fullest, you are already a victim...
    -You don't know what you don't see-

    1*

    NRA Member

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    Ex Member Array Ram Rod's Avatar
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    Yes, I agree, 21 feet is way too close. I realize this at almost every steel challenge match I've been to. The USPSA minimum distance from shooter to target is 21 feet. I have questioned and even measured some stage set-ups. I've also recently read some statistics for law enforcement. More than 75 percent of officers killed in the line of duty are within 10 feet of their attackers.
    Nice find on the article. Good read.

  5. #4
    VIP Member Array dukalmighty's Avatar
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    We were doing timed draw from concealed OWB holster and shoot at 10 yd targets on Sunday,my best first shots were a little over 2 seconds,my range partners best was a little over 1.5 seconds
    "Outside of the killings, Washington has one of the lowest crime rates in the country,"
    --Mayor Marion Barry, Washington , DC .

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    Member Array jughead2's Avatar
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    try it with mock weapons. my son and i did he got to me twice before i could clear leather and i knew he was coming

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    Distinguished Member Array kelcarry's Avatar
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    Hey Y'all: All of your responses have been very informative and well-worth reading, however I do have a sort of question/statement. If I am out and about and am aware of my surroundings as we all should be, I have doubts that my first inclination of an attack (not the actual presentation of a weapon but just that "feeling") would come at greater than the magic 21 feet in this thread's titile. I would, at a much further distance, already have my hand on my firearm still CC but almost out and about and, in a darkened situation with more of a "feeling", perhaps at my side. I assume the 21 feet is just that distance where obvious open bodily harm is about to intrude on you---my comments would extend your belief at least another 10 or 20 feet and make the situation more in your favor. Just commenting

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    Senior Member Array mercop's Avatar
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    The problem is that this stuff is usually taught as a gun problem or a knife problem. It is a fighting problem. Research shows and and force on force in MCS classes confirms that most people don't even see the edged weapon. To defend against a specific tool you need to identify it as that tool. That requires the being able to identify and respond to the preparatory movements instead of the execution movements as most train.

    And who carries on a conversation at 7 yards? Not me.

    I think a bigger threat is someone charging you with and improvised impact weapon from that distance than an edged weapon. The worst thing you can do even if you think you have time is draw and go two hands on the gun. Once you do you form and "arrow" forward and we have found that people just stand still at that point.- George

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    Senior Member Array paul45's Avatar
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    If a determined BG comes at you within 10 yards, you are most likely going to have a physical encounter unless you know how to move and shoot (plus can see it coming). Learn how to defend yourself up close and personal plus MOVE! Most issues are at BAD BREATH range.
    "Being PARANOID is just plain smart thinking when they are really out to get you!"

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    Member Array steelhawk's Avatar
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    Yes, 21 feet is too close. In Tueller drills we have done, some of the participants don't even get a shot off, and thats with them knowing ahead of time that it is coming.

    If an armed guy with a knife starts running at you, you will need to notice the instant he begins, or you will not have time to draw and fire before he is on you.

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    VIP Member Array TedBeau's Avatar
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    About the reaction time

    The thing that I find most interesting about the standard Tueller drill is that the Officer doing the shooting KNOWS that the guy has a knife and IS going to attack him on the instructors "go".

    We as citizens do NOT have this luxury!
    If someone is walking toward you on a street, and plans on attacking you, even if he starts his attack before the 21 foot distance, you are going to;

    (my best guess of time required in parenthesis)

    1. Notice that he is starting to run toward you. (.25 sec)
    2. question yourself as to why he is doing this (.25 sec)
    3. See that he has a knife (.25 sec)
    4. Decide to take action (.25 sec.)

    Now that you have decided you need to take action you have one second OR LESS to draw and fire.

    Good Luck!

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    Ex Member Array BikerRN's Avatar
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    Very informative and thought provoking thread.

    I've said it before, and I'll say it again, I don't consider anyone closer than 15 Yards to not be a threat if they are armed with a knife. In fact I still consider you a threat at that 15 Yard mark, I'm just a hair more comfortable. The problem is, most of our business with other people is a lot closer than 15 Yards.

    Biker

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    Distinguished Member Array bladenbullet's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by kelcarry View Post
    Hey Y'all: All of your responses have been very informative and well-worth reading, however I do have a sort of question/statement. If I am out and about and am aware of my surroundings as we all should be, I have doubts that my first inclination of an attack (not the actual presentation of a weapon but just that "feeling") would come at greater than the magic 21 feet in this thread's titile. I would, at a much further distance, already have my hand on my firearm still CC but almost out and about and, in a darkened situation with more of a "feeling", perhaps at my side. I assume the 21 feet is just that distance where obvious open bodily harm is about to intrude on you---my comments would extend your belief at least another 10 or 20 feet and make the situation more in your favor. Just commenting
    unless you walk around in an enormous bubble i doubt what you posted is actual...that encounter could come from between 2 cars in a parking lot...from around the edge of a building...from many places where you are within 21 feet....

    measure 21 feet and start paying more attention when you are walking around in public...there are potential threats inside of that area quite a bit....

  14. #13
    VIP Member Array Janq's Avatar
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    This is _exactly_ the point I was making in my thread from several months ago as related to a Tueller Drill run as a stage at an IDPA event.
    See the following thread link which includes video of that stage as from the shooters perception of view...

    ~~~

    September 16th, 2009, 11:23 AM
    http://www.defensivecarry.com/vbulle...dpa-style.html

    ~~~

    Twenty One Foot is _too close_ a distance and small a box, for comfort.
    At _best_ and narrowest of chance for survival 21' is minimal.
    What submariners know as 'maximum operating depth'.

    Get inside of that as being less than M.O.D. and you begin to enter the red zone where there is high potential for your box to _collapse_ around you.
    Also known as 'crush depth'.
    Not absolutely guaranteed but by calculation of odds are extremely high potential for an irreversible catastrophic failure.

    Dennis Tueller did not advocate that 21' (twenty one feet) start/engagement distance is what is safe.
    That is a very common misunderstanding and misinterpretation or even misrepresentation.
    What he did advocate is that 21' is too close for most any functional degree of comfort. Maximum operating depth.

    This article does nothing but reinforce what Dennis Tueller stated as per his famous 'Tueller Drill'.
    There is no debunking done here. Just re-proofing of what has long been a known as even before Tueller published his own same study and findings.



    - Janq

    "We have done some testing along those lines recently and have found that an average healthy adult male can cover the traditional seven yard distance in a time of (you guessed it) about one and one-half seconds. It would be safe to say then that an armed attacker at 21 feet is well within your Danger Zone." - Dennis Tueller, 'How Close Is Too Close', March 1983 issue of SWAT magazine
    The Police Policy Studies Council
    "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

  15. #14
    VIP Member Array Janq's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by bladenbullet View Post
    unless you walk around in an enormous bubble i doubt what you posted is actual...that encounter could come from between 2 cars in a parking lot...from around the edge of a building...from many places where you are within 21 feet....

    measure 21 feet and start paying more attention when you are walking around in public...there are potential threats inside of that area quite a bit....
    Agreed.

    It should be noted that the Tueller Drill as studied specifically involved and required that the GG/victim/cop be in a static position, while the BG/aggresor be moving.

    A worst case scenario as though ones back were literally against a wall, effectively unable to move and _gain_ distance and by that time (!).
    Time to react, escape/flee or even completely remove ourselves from the former point of danger. Red zone.

    This is why it's important to _not_ just train at a range as on a line shooting at moving targets and think okay now I'm 'high speed'. You are not.
    You yourself need to learn and practice moving, too! Knowing when and _how_ to run (a whole lot of people can't run 10 steps without tripping on their own feet...seriously) as well as _where_ to move as in direction with relation to that of the threat.
    Further how to move and run as while at the same time firing your weapon and being functional to score coarse combat hits.

    It's important.

    Very important and key for police and other professionals.
    Same for those of us who are civilians, even as we walk along main Street on what was intended to be a simple milk or beer run.

    Which comes back to how in many threads past persons in this discussion including specifically Mercop and BikerRN as well as myself too have stated that it is not good enough to just be 'handy' enough with a handgun to hit a pumpkin on a fence post at 21' or less.
    Other very vital to your survival skills and abilities are required and this includes being able to quite simply detect distance and movement as per being aware of your surroundings and those as within your 'bubble'.
    Equally important is ones own fitness so as to be able to move their bulk and _gain_ distance which directly equates to time.
    As noted in this threads analysis and my own prior, time is a matter of life/survival or death.

    A few days ago there was a thread in a different area posted by a guy who commented his New Year resolution was to lose weight so as to be better able to carry more comfortably a handgun. I disagree with that sentiment and view.

    Lose weight and by that increases ones fitness and thus _odds_ so as to be better able to gain distance and time should you be run up on and your bubble of space, distance and time begin to collapse as to and hopefully not beyond crush depth.

    Cop (female) Attacked (by visibly large male during a 'routine' traffic stop)
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Z9kculKAm2Q
    "Keeping a safe distance gives you precious seconds to avoid instances like this one..."

    - 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

  16. #15
    Distinguished Member Array bladenbullet's Avatar
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    thats whats been missing in here...a well thought out and long winded post by Janq...howve you been?...good holidays?..

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