By: Tom Perroni
According to Max Joseph & Alan Brosnan the inventors of Position “SUL” it is the one “ready position” that ensures team safety & handgun retention, even in CQB! The name Sul is taken from the Portuguese language. It simply means “south” since that’s where the muzzle is directed in this position.
Mr. Alan Brosnan describes this position this way: Position SUL, is not a classic "gun ready" position, but rather a "gun safety" position. It was primarily designed for the Brazilian officers as they poured Out of their SUVs on missions in the slums. Their muzzle control was atrocious, and since Max and I were in the SUVs, it did not take much brain power for us to create a solution to this evident problem -- be it right or wrong for many of the US instructors and critics. I think most of them thought it was a substitute for a classic "gun-ready" position and that is where the confusion came in. The position has taken off among the law enforcement and military training community. After they understand the concept, it's hard for them to disagree with it, especially since it affects safety - predominately their own!
I teach the position because in any firearms class I teach we have a 360° “HOT” range. All too often trainers and students get marred down in the square range mentality, or the idea that threats only comes from in front of them. Now more than ever we need to train our officers, operators and students that threats come from 360°.
“SUL” is an alternative to the ready or low ready position, perhaps better suited to crowded environments. With correct technique, a weapon held in this position is less likely to violate Safety Rule #2 by pointing at people unintentionally. The properly applied SUL also prevents the muzzle from pointing at the shooter’s feet and legs when scanning 360°. It is essential that the following checkpoints are strictly followed:
1. The support hand palm should be flat against the solar plexus, with fingers extended and parallel to the ground. The support hand thumb is pointed towards the shooter’s chin. (Elevation of the support hand may vary but most shooters find that they are able to maintain correct hand position without undo stress on the wrists when the hand is held about naval level.)
2. The strong hand maintains the grip on the handgun. You must also keep the trigger finger of the trigger and on the slide.
3. The muzzle of the weapon is pointed directly at the ground between the shooter’s feet. The slide/barrel of the handgun is held against the back of the knuckles of the support hand. Care must be taken to ensure that the muzzle does not point outward to the front or to the side of the shooter. The muzzle MUST be straight down.
4. The strong hand thumb is extended towards the support hand thumb so that both thumb tips are touching.
5. Elbows should be relaxed against the shooter’s sides.
Should a threat requiring the use of the handgun appear, simply push the handgun out away from the body allowing the hands to pivot at the thumbs as the two hands come together in a firing grip. Trigger finger is straight until the sights are on the target. With practice this becomes extremely smooth as we press the handgun towards the threat.
To return to the SUL position, pivot at the thumbs as the direction of motion is reversed.
When scanning 360° in the SUL position, it is inevitable that the weapon’s muzzle will point at the shooter’s feet if the feet remain stationary. To keep this from occurring, it is necessary for the shooter to step while turning, rather than simply turning at the torso.
Muzzle discipline is of the highest importance on the range or once you have finished the fight so that you can move around other officers, operators or good guys without jeopardizing their safety but still maintaining your combat mindset.
I hope that explains this fantastic retention position. I would love to talk more about Position “SUL” but this is all the room I have. If you want to learn more come to class and I will teach you!
Stay Safe & Shoot Straight!
Remember "Conflict is inevitable; Combat is an option".
I would like to thank the following People who contributed to this article or that I quoted:
Max Joseph, Alan Brosnan, Gun’s & Weapons for Law Enforcement.