Tueller Drill In Action is An Eye Opener – Practical Pistol for Personal Defense


The Tueller Drill is one of those famous drills in self defense, gunfighter and shooting lore.  Basically the premise is that an assailant armed with a knife can cover a 21 foot distance faster than you can draw your pistol to defend yourself.  This study was originally performed by Sergeant Dennis Tueller and published in SWAT Magazine in 1983.  With the rise of concealed carry in America, the Tueller Drill has experienced a resurgence and was even featured on the popular television shows The Best Defense and Myth Busters.


Ben G., the Match Director of the Friday Practical Pistol Match at my local range, built a sled and engineered a simple method to activate the sled with a rope and a runner.  It is pretty interesting to watch this video compilation that I put together.  Even though each of us knows that the sled is coming many of us are startled or hesitate and many guys can’t get a lot of shots off in the time necessary.  It is important to note that this experiment consists of a guy towing a sled behind him and not just running.  In real life the assailant would cover the ground far quicker.  To switch things up in subsequent rounds Ben G. added a second target, a third and then cover while slowing the sled down to a walk or jog.


Deescalate – If you can, always deescalate the situation. Tell the aggressor anything he wants to hear to get out of the situation.

Cheat The Draw – If you can’t deescalate and things are getting worse, get your hand on your weapon at minimum. If things have gotten very bad, get your weapon out of the holster.

Get Off The “X” – Move! Get out of the way of the aggressor to buy yourself time on the draw.

Find Cover – Place anything you can between you and the aggressor to slow his progress. Cars, light post, trash can, etc. Any fraction of a second counts.

The Other Side – If you are ever caught in an active-killer, mass-shooting in progress and for some reason you don’t have your CCW, you CAN do something about it.  From this drill I’ve learned that rushing a person can catch them off guard and cause them to hesitate even if they are anticipating the attack.