Recently it seems there have been a lot of knife “armed” suspect shootings by police. Of course, there are the usual jack-wagons crying about shooting the knife out of their hand, shooting to wound, or that the leo’s were not under “imminent danger” because the suspect was 10 feet away. And he “only had a knife”.
In Sept, 2019 the Ninth Circuit Court reviewed a number of police shootings and at great length, studied the “21 foot rule”. What’s commonly called the 21-foot rule has been “widely explored, discussed, elucidated – and often misunderstood – for decades,” according to the prominent police attorney and use-of-force expert **Michael Brave, Esq. (M.S., C.L.S. , C.L.E.T., C.P.S., C.S.T. **) In reality, it’s not an absolute rule at all, but a rough guideline based on a firearms training exercise conducted over 36 years ago by well-known trainer Dennis Tueller. He found that “the average healthy adult male,” running with a knife or other contact weapon in hand, can cover a distance of seven yards in about 1.5 seconds – the time it takes the “average” officer to draw a sidearm and place two hits center-mass on a man-size target 21 feet away.
It’s been called outdated, simplistic, even dangerous. It’s claimed the “rule” is not based on science or the law. And some national policing leaders argue it shouldn’t be taught to cadets anymore. I will tell you; I’ve practiced it as a firearm drill, a training drill, a competition stage, and even practiced crossing the distance against another shooter. Most regular cops will fail! They don’t get the weapon out, they miss the shot, I’ve even seen them drop the weapon in their haste to get it out. If you add even a small amount of pressure, not even close to what you would experience with a guy charging you with a real blade, many fall completely apart.
So how close is too close. Studies have proven that on average 21 feet is not a safe enough distance for an officer to be able to successfully draw and fire their weapon at a charging suspect with an edged weapon. When interviewing, the other guy is within arms reach of you. Most people will move in close to officer so they don’t have to shout. With “social distancing” only 6 feet, the leo doesn’t have a chance.
This is an armed, uniformed officer, supposedly trained and prepared. What are the chances for a civilian, whose firearm must be “concealed”, and the attack is initiated out of nowhere and completely by surprise. The armed civilian must always be aware of his surroundings, the people and environment, when walking, shopping or even driving.
And train. Train. Train.
**When I worked with Mike at ESI he was just plan Mike Brave. Now, he’s an expert. Me, I’m just Storyteller.)
**Text with my friend John Farnam and suggested he do a DTI Quip on the 21′ Rule and how it applies to the armed civilian. He seems to think it’s a good topic. I’ll post it as soon as it comes up.**