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We all like to think we could easily defeat a knife attack, especially if we’re carrying a gun. However, it is much harder than many folks realize. There are numerous factors involved that must be continuously reevaluated depending on location and situation.

Some of these factors include having no where to run, having someone to defend and the distance of the attacker. Distance, in fact, is a very important factor that often controls who wins and who loses in a knife vs gun situation.

The Tueller or 21-Foot Drill

Salt Lake City police officer Dennis Tueller started the first real discussion about the realities of knife attacks. He tried to determine how close was too close when it came to a knife attack. It was actually something few understood at the time, including police. Police officers had to be especially careful in these situations, because they have to consider both protecting themselves and a suspect’s rights. In his tests, Tueler determined that at 21 feet, an attacker could reach the shooter before he or she could fire. In fact, he developed a drill that most instructors now call the Tueler or 21-foot drill.

To be successful in this drill, a shooter must be able to draw and fire two rounds in 1.5 seconds, as this is the average distance an attacker can travel 21 feet. Shooters can perform this drill a few different ways. The easiest consists of drawing and firing at a target set at 7 yards using a shot timer to determine speed. This drill shows shooters the skills needed in most attacks, including the need to create distance between you and the attacker.

Reality Check in Knife vs Gun

In the video above, the UF PRO Research Department takes the concept to a new level. Here, they pit two experts against each other to show various real-world situations regarding knife vs gun. In the tests, the group factored in both standing and moving at distances from extremely close out to 21 feet. At close range, the knife attacker was able to stab the defender every time, regardless whether moving or standing.

When conducted at 10 feet, the defender still could not evade the attack when standing, but he was able to put a round on target; both attacker and defender become injured. When movement is added, the defender wins, showing the importance of creating distance in an attack.

At 21 feet, the defender was much more successful. However, the attacker won two of the tests because the defender fumbled the draw. In each of these tests, the defender stood his ground. They concluded that a smooth draw determined success or failure. They also determined that creating distance greatly increases the chances of evading an attack.

A lot can be learned from this video, including the importance of situational awareness. The more time you have provides more options, such as avoidance, retreat and even fighting.

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