Reminder: Knife Beats Gun Inside 21 Feet. Sometimes

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A Long Island man decided to pay a 4:00 a.m. visit to his ex-girlfriend’s house yesterday, and he brought his gun along for the trip. Unfortunately for 48-year-old Norman Shields, he forgot (or never learned) the 21-foot rule and failed to check his six. So instead of celebrating an early Father’s Day by murdering his ex-girlfriend, his young daughter and everyone else in the house, Mr. Shields bled to death with a kitchen knife stuck in his chest…courtesy of his ex-girlfriend’s 13 year-old son.

Jump over to The Truth About Knives for the full story . . .


  1. avatar Paul says:

    The link appears to be broken. Then again, it could be me…

    1. avatar Mark N. says:

      No, it’s me too.

  2. avatar Chris Dumm says:

    Link fixed!

    1. avatar Jusgart says:

      Came up 404 page not found for me

  3. avatar BlinkyPete says:

    Sometimes could be the times when someone doesn’t know how to properly handle a firearm. And in this case, thank god.

  4. avatar USMCVeteran says:

    I just love happy endings.

  5. avatar JimInCO says:

    So the woman’s teenaged SON attacked the bad guy.
    What was the woman’s current boyfriend doing? Cowering in the corner?
    Her taste in men is questionable;
    the ex is a nut, the current is a pussy.

  6. avatar Ralph says:

    Knife beats gun, gun beats rock, rock breaks knife?

    1. avatar AlphaGeek says:

      I like playing rock-paper-shotgun, personally.

      (Insider tip: always pick shotgun…)

  7. avatar Peter says:

    What is up with the link?

  8. avatar RickP says:

    Not trying to be a smart-ass but I never learned the 21-foot rule as a principle being taught in the training classes I’ve taken. That implies that anyone outside 21 feet are “harmless”. As you’re referenced, it is best known as the Tueller Drill or Tueller Principle where there is no defined exact distance when one can be in danger. I believe it was either Marty Hayes, or Mas Ayoob, who made the distinction where if you had to defend yourself in court, you say you used the 21-foot rule as a basis to shoot, and the slime you shot was 24 ft. away, the jury may not like your story.

  9. avatar Hasdrubal says:

    On a more serious note, the 21 ft rule is very poorly understood. It’s not really a rule, but an arbitrary number generated by a limited scope training exercise.

    In real life, some people can run faster, some can take more than a few rounds before they stop, and some can even throw knives.

    1. avatar Gyufygy says:

      Beware the man armed with a tactical tomahawk!

    2. avatar CyborgCowboy says:

      A very small number may be capable of shooting eye-lasers.

  10. avatar Lt. Sam says:

    Never believe what you hear or read, no matter who proposed it without thoroughly testing it out yourself. Some examples: Don’t believe what is written on grenades regarding fuse timing. And don’t believe what is written about the methods used for “less lethal” hard rubber multiple baton shells or rubber bullets. When the 21 foot rule came out we decided to run situations involving being attacked by a perp with a knife. Some conditions allowed an officer to be cut when the attack started 36 feet away. Way too many variables to get absolutes. Of course, for self defense, if you know how to carry a folded knife, and back hand it with authority, maggots will generally leave you alone. And a knife in hand can still be used if you get grabbed or bear hugged. May be kinda hard to get to your gun. Trying to carry a gun in hand will most likely bring the local boys to your location. In most jurisdictions, this is a crime.

  11. avatar Russ Bixby says:

    To whom it might concern, the backend code over at TTAK is broken.

  12. avatar Crunkleross says:

    “Originating from research by Salt Lake City trainer Dennis Tueller and popularized by the Street Survival Seminar and the seminal instructional video “Surviving Edged Weapons,” the “rule” states that in the time it takes the average officer to recognize a threat, draw his sidearm and fire 2 rounds at center mass, an average subject charging at the officer with a knife or other cutting or stabbing weapon can cover a distance of 21 feet. source.

    Charles Remsberg, Dennis Tueller, and others were pioneers in officer survival training. Their Street Survival seminars forced many officers to realize how vunerable they really are on the street. Before that many officers thought they were pretty much invincible just because of the badge, sadly some still do and use that as an excuse not to train. Of course there can be no absolute distance any person with a knife could cover before you could draw and put two rounds into them, way too many variables. We taught this at the Officer Survival Seminars at the Chapman Academy back in the 80’s when I worked there most of the info is still valid but new information and techniques should always be considered. I’ve never heard of the 21ft rule equating to the distance that would be considered as acceptable for legal self defense and would disagree with that concept.

  13. avatar RLC says:

    ThanksCrunk for that post- looks like the Chapman Academy is back in business.

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