Israeli MythBusters – The 21 Foot Rule

Oh MythBusters…

I guess we have different ideas of what constitutes a “loaded” gun.  He decided to do it the Israeli way for some reason.


Hat tip: Eric


27 responses to “Israeli MythBusters – The 21 Foot Rule”

  1. gun out, safety off, ready to fire, try again Mythbusters. No one under threat of knife is just gunna stand there with the gun holstered. and if it’s a surprise attack, you’re fucked anyway.

    1. dave w Avatar

      isnt that the point of the myth? you need better than 21 feet to recognize, react and stop such an attack?

  2. what if it’s a ballistic knife ??

    1. Quint Young Avatar
      Quint Young

      Then it might as well be a gun
      (also, i think you mean Pilum knife as a Ballistic knife actually fires a bullet)

      1. ah, maybe that’s the correct term (blade launched with a spring mechanism). I think a knife handle looking device that fires a single round are called pen gun / zip gun,,

  3. Clutch Avatar

    Guess ill have to start carrying a desert eagle with an empty chamber in a cowboy rig? How does this prove or disprove an FBI test for agent’s carrying concealed?

  4. Rob C. Avatar

    For those who don’t know, this myth is examining a very famous FBI study that concluded that police officers needed to be at least 21 feet away from their attacker to have a reasonable chance of detecting, deciding to act, drawing and firing against an opponent charging with a knife. The study recommended that at distances less than 21 feet, the officer should use martial arts/open hand tactics rather than attempt to draw his gun. There are several better videos on youtube that illustrate this than this mythbusters video. Just google search “21 foot rule” Remember that the terms of the classic “21 foot” scenario are that the knife wielder has the element of surprise and the police officer must recognize the threat and react. The fact that Adam knows that Jamie is about to charge him gives him a huge advantage, which he largely cancels out with his clumsy draw and condition 3 carry.

    1. Yep. Teuller Drill.

      But you probably knew that.

      1. Oops. T-U-E-ller.

  5. Andrew Avatar

    they have been doing quite a few gun myths and it has been upsetting, this sunday they were running a few full auto guns and watching them fumble to reload was painfull.

  6. I saw that and I thought it was odd that he had to rack the slide but then I realized that he was using a paintball gun and the ball would likely roll out of the barrel if he put it in a holster like that. He either needs a better paintball gun or to do it again with something else.

    1. The PB gun should have a detent to hold the ball in place until you fire. Also dunno why you’d carry w/out one in the chamber. Weird. At least their gun episodes are less nerfed and BS than some other shows.

      1. I think it was actually an airsoft gun loaded with those 6mm paintballs. I don’t think airsoft guns have detents.

  7. JJ Kavanaugh Avatar
    JJ Kavanaugh

    I run this exercise on the police officers I train. Usual scenario is they’re repsponding to a disturbance and I come around a corner or out of a room about 20 feet away. Two reactions I’m trying to get them to show me. First get their training weapon out and up and on target (Once in a while the idiot draws his or her pepper spray or baton – I win). The second reaction is MOVE. Someone comes at you and you can move, do cover is best… even a chair makes it harder to get to you. Back through a door… to the attacker’s weak side… any thing to make them react to you… get inside their OODA loop as it were. I laugh at guys antics and SOMEtimes they’re pretty good… more often it’s waaaay too silly and my misspent youth shows me somethiong they”debunk” do indeed work.

  8. They also aren’t taking into account that even if he gets a shot off at 3 feet or less the attacker will most likely still have the momentum to stick you.

  9. Yeah, why does he just stand there frozen? Even a few side steps will force the attacker to change direction.

  10. MrMaigo Avatar

    The episode was “wild west movie gun myths.” You don’t carry a single action cocked, you’ll blow your foot off. I’m sure they’ll get enough crap on their forums that they’ll really do the 21 foot rule.

    1. lucusloc Avatar

      have to agree with you here, the myth was explicitly stated to be a wild west scenario. they really set themselves up for criticism by not clarifying that it was not the modern 21 foot rule they were testing (and using a modern looking gun substitute didn’t help that perception).

      however i don’t think that excuses the not sidestepping or backpedaling. this was not a quick-draw-with-a-knife, he should have gone for cover.

    2. Unistat76 Avatar

      This. They specifically said in the show that they couldn’t get a single action revolver that fired simunitions so they were making do.

  11. Odds are even though he got a shot off – it’s unlikely (momentum aside) that he’s not going to kill a grown man, or woman straight off with a shot to the torso. If the attacker was intent and the adrenaline was pumping like it obviously would be (not to mention possible drug use) – the shooter would be bleeding out along with the knifer from multiple stab wounds. Anyways, for any one who thinks just because he got a shot off that in a real life scenario you’d be safe (even if you “side-stepped”) … empty the clip, while you side-step. It’s the only way you survive or survive without serious injury.

    1. lucusloc Avatar

      the point of side stepping is to increase the time it takes the baddy to get to you. if you can squeeze out that one extra shot it may be the shot that hits the CNS and stops the guy cold. it is (or should be) a well known fact that pistol caliber rounds are not instantaneously debilitating, even when they hit vital organs. lethal yes, but there is a huge difference between ‘killing power” and “stopping power.”

  12. Being a non-moving target changes the parameters.

    Whenever I hear about the “Tueller Drill” I always think back to the the chunk of “Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid” where Sundance asks “Can I move?” If I see someone coming at me with a weapon, I’m going to be grabbing for my own at the same time I’m trying to not be where they are aiming.

    I disagree with a lot of what Yeager does and think there are probably many better tactical instructors out there, the idea of getting someone into mindset that you may not be able to do the Weaver is good to learn.

  13. Okay, where to start. I’ve always heard of the 21 foot “rule”, but when it comes to knife / gun fights… there are NO rules. Jamie could’ve extended his reach if he was holding the knife thumb-side-up. Adam could’ve extended his time if he shot from the holster. I know the traditional “rule” usually states “the shooter can’t extend the arm and aim before the attacker gets to the shooter,” but like I said, NO rules in a knife / gun fight. The empty chamber thing was dumb too, obviosly he could’ve extended his reaction time by having a round in the chamber.

    I realize I’m nit-picking, but I am glad that the Mythbusters tried it, hopefully the general public will realize just how quick attacks can happen. They should’ve also had Adam go unarmed and try to dial 9-1-1 before Jamie closed the distance… and then still get stabbed.

  14. This clip was full of fail. Not even a second of Kari Byron?!?

  15. DeskJockey Avatar

    The fact that Jaime was starting to slow down instead of running through the other guy would give the shooter a few milliseconds extra. Also, the shooter KNEW that at some point, Jaime was going to be running at him and trying to stab him.
    If he didn’t expect him to run at him with a knife out, and if Jaime would have continued running through the shooter he’d be absolute toast.

  16. They live in California, a mag in the gun is considered loaded.

  17. Jews are getting stabbed left and right in Yerushalayim by so-called “palestinians”.

    Get a gun and get trained (and forget “Israeli carry”).