Holding a gun to someone at close range means things can get very complicated very quickly. Within arm’s reach usually isn’t a good range.
This video demonstrates some of the lesser-known mechanics of close-range combat between knife and gun.
Sergeant Dennis Tueller of the Salt Lake City Police Department wondered how quickly an attacker with a knife could cover 21 feet (6.4 m), so he timed volunteers as they raced to stab the target. He determined that it could be done in 1.5 seconds. These results were first published as an article in SWAT magazine in 1983 and in a police training video by the same title, “How Close Is Too Close?”
A defender with a gun has a dilemma. If he shoots too early, he risks being accused of murder. If he waits until the attacker is definitely within striking range so there is no question about motives, he risks injury and even death. The Tueller experiments quantified a “danger zone” where an attacker presented a clear threat.
The Tueller Drill combines both parts of the original time trials by Tueller. There are several ways it can be conducted:
- The (simulated) attacker and shooter are positioned back-to-back. At the signal, the “attacker” sprints away from the shooter, and the shooter unholsters his gun and shoots at the target 21 feet (6.4 m) in front of him. The attacker stops as soon as the shot is fired. The shooter is successful only if his shot is good and if the runner did not cover 21 feet (6.4 m).
- A more stressful arrangement is to have the attacker begin 21 feet (6.4 m) behind the shooter and run towards the shooter. The shooter is successful only if he was able take a good shot before he is tapped on the back by the attacker.
- If the shooter is armed with only a training replica gun, a full-contact drill may be done with the attacker running towards the shooter. In this variation, the shooter should practice side-stepping the attacker while he is drawing the gun.
MythBusters covered the drill in the 2012 episode “Duel Dilemmas”. At 20 ft (6.1 m), the gun-wielder was able to shoot the charging knife attacker just as he reached the shooter. At shorter distances the knife wielder was always able to stab prior to being shot.
Robber reaches to hold victim in an effort to control him which creates and is related to further problems:
- No reactionary gap
- Reaches with left arm, helping conceal the draw of the victim’s right arm
- Wearing a hoodie which limits peripheral vision
The victim/victor then immediately transitions to the second robber.
This fighter simply holds his AK at about chest height and marches, firing, through a door with enemy inside. Perhaps inspired by movies or video games, who knows.
A police officer draws her weapon and covers the suspect within arm’s reach on a bus. A struggle for the gun ensues before a second officer assists.
- A suspect may not comply even with a gun drawn on them
- Maintaining a safe distance is necessary even if the suspect is unarmed
- Entering the bus was completely unnecessary in the first instance as it only created more risk due to the confined space
- Grappling and ground fighting skills are still required even if guns are available