I stabbed you! You’re DEAD!!!

The Tueller Drill is what it is. And the Tueller Drill is ONLY what it is. It is to show how quickly someone can close 21 feet and attack you.

Notice I wrote “attack” and not “kill” for a very important reason. And that reason is that knife attacks are very, very, very, rarely lethal on first contact. Don’t believe me? Go look it up.

But we’ve run into the condition where “everyone knows” you need to be able to draw and shoot inside X number of seconds to stop an attacker. Every instructor I’ve ever talked to believes this. Especially the ones who have never been attacked by a knife wielder (which is ALL of them).

That’s bullshit. If your handgun misfires, or you were just slow that day, or heaven forbid you aren’t wearing the exact same cover garment that you wore when you practice your Iado, I mean rapid pistol deployment?

What if the bad guy gets to you with the knife? Are you going to die on the first thrust or slash? No. But if you don’t train to figure out how to respond when your ultimate gun school kata fails you, then you’ll be like all those other unprepared police officers in the Tueller videos. For those who haven’t watched the videos, imagine formerly confident and powerful police officers reduced to impotent victims receiving defensive wounds to their forearms because their brain couldn’t process the situation and they froze.

The other point is that pistol shots are also very rarely lethal on the first hit, unless the shooter gets lucky and hits a CNS point. So bad dude with a knife or blunt impact weapon is still going to come at you and still try to perforate your hide with a sharp or blunt instrument (anyone crazy enough to attack you that way without drugs is going to have a LOT of adrenaline pumping through their system) . What do you do when the vaunted premium brand hollowpoints don’t instantly incapacitate the attacker?

This is why if you haven’t spent time in a training area where you get hit, you need to get to some training area where you get hit. Boxing, kickboxing, full contact karate, jiu jitsu, hell even HEMA, but you need to start figuring out how you react when you get your bell rung.

The next time someone rushes you with a blue foam knife and you don’t get your pistol out in time, so what? Continue the drill and see if you can transition into a position of control and then to a position of dominance and end the engagement. Sure you might come away bloody in real life, but you’ll have that tactical aid kit that all the cool kids have, and you’ll be able to get medical attention in time. Seriously the death by knife wounds in the developed world is way less than accidental poisoning or medical malpractice.

If I were a teacher, I don’t want to teach people that if they don’t get their draw and fire down to a certain time standard they are going to die and might as not even carry a gun, or if they don’t carry “round in the chamber, no safety” they might as not carry a pistol. I want to teach people to fight, to not freeze, to understand that the pistol is just a tool, but so is a beer bottle or pool cue. The Tueller Drill doesn’t tell you anything about someone carrying a Starbucks to go cup walking up nonchalant and then throwing scalding coffee into your face and then attacking you with a knife or brass knuckles.

Getting your bell rung, learning to fight back even when you don’t have a weapon in your hand, that’s the important part. Understanding that there is no magic gun kata that will win in every scenario is even more important. Understanding that if someone wants to kill you, they can do it with a little planning, is probably the most important lesson.

Don’t feel bad about practicing your fast draw and shoot. Just don’t make it the only tool in your toolbox.


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