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Old November 9, 2008, 12:15 AM   #1
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Position SUL

Position SUL

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.
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Old November 9, 2008, 08:29 AM   #2
matthew temkin
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SUL is a wonderful concept, especially when working in a group.
Phil Singleton of the SAS taught it--albeit one handed---in a room combat class that I took with him in 2007, and it is the only technique that forces one to keep his finger off the trigger.
Good article.
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Old November 9, 2008, 09:16 AM   #3
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I like this and have been working it in with my drills. It is actually easy to step any direction, even using the Shotokan turns and coordinate rapid hand movement as your turn.
It is also easy to slightly modify this by turning the muzzle 5 degrees or so in a turn. I'm teaching a class of M I Basic Officers Course today and will include this as a way to exit a Humvee if necessary.
Have you shared this with Ed Stock, or Mas Ayoob?
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Old November 9, 2008, 09:43 AM   #4
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Threefeathers,

I did not invent this I simply teach it!

I am sure Ed and Mas know about "SUL" but I am not sure how they feel about it or even if they teach it.

Tom
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Old November 9, 2008, 10:22 AM   #5
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Couple photos would be great?

Tom – Am wondering if there are any step-by-step photos somewhere (or maybe a short video feed?) The Sul position you describe is second nature to me now. I have no idea where I was taught this, but it is my ready & rest position -- nearly as comfortable as in holster and hugely more available should action be needed.
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Old November 9, 2008, 10:23 AM   #6
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How about some pictures? I learn things like this better visually, and I'm interested.
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Old November 9, 2008, 10:56 AM   #7
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I'll see Mas later this week and will ask. But this is perfect for young second Lieutenants to know. If you were ever a 19D or Mech 11X you'll have gone through enough near disasters to turn your hair gray. (or lose it)
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Old November 9, 2008, 11:54 AM   #8
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Mas doesn't like it and doesn't teach it, IIRC.

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Old November 9, 2008, 12:16 PM   #9
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Rampage: I did a web-search and came up with THIS . Hope it helps to explain it visually.
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Old November 9, 2008, 12:19 PM   #10
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Position SUL.




Last edited by Creature; November 9, 2008 at 12:30 PM.
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Old November 9, 2008, 05:06 PM   #11
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I just got back from the Ft. H range and I made a slight change with the young Lieutenants, I moved the muzzle of the M-9's a fist length forward, that put it so no one could shoot themselves but would not shoot anyone else either. Great technique that can be modified to the tactical situation.
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Old November 9, 2008, 05:47 PM   #12
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Personally, I use is different to the PUL position, but some what similar to the "standard ready" position. The position that I use is more like a "modified ready" position.

This is the "standard ready" position:

Note that the barrel of the pistol is nearly horizontal.

The position I use is different from the standard ready position in that I keep my pistol pointing straight down (or very nearly straight down) but I keep my free hand wrapped around my shooting hand. This is where the "modified ready" position parts ways with the PUL position. The modified ready position is very different from the PUL position because I do not cant my pistol sideways, nor do I break the weld of my off-hand from around my shooting hand.

The PUL position requires an extra bit of maneuvering in order to twist the pistol back to the presentation position and the off hand re-wrapping around the shooting hand. The modified ready position doesn't require this extra motion.

The modified ready position is similar to this position, however my hands are held higher up...very nearly above my navel:

Last edited by Creature; November 9, 2008 at 06:21 PM. Reason: clarity of description..
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Old November 9, 2008, 06:32 PM   #13
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If memory serves, SUL was developed for one purpose: to keep South American cops from shooting each other. The trainers that came up with it were instructing the SA officers on entries. In the stack, the officers tended to point the muzzles in every direction except away from their fellow officers. So, SUL was developed to guarantee the muzzles were down.

For those who like SUL, how does it help retention? I've gone through retention with it and the issue in this position, you don't have much leverage and your weapon/hands are already almost locked up anyway. If someone gets in grab range, they can push with one hand and lock both hands and the weapon against your body. The one officer in that case who used SUL did so only because it was SOP for his dept. and team.
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Old November 9, 2008, 08:06 PM   #14
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For folks not used to firearms especially young second lieutenants the SUL is a good idea. I modified it as needed this afternoon and it worked well. For myself in a CQB situation I'll probably work low ready or if I have a flashlight in the off hand I'll do what Mas taught, pistol in close, elbow in tight, finger off the trigger and grip with a death grip.
I'm going to do a bunch of experiments and get some use of the CQB village at Ft. Huachuca. All in all, for tactical application I like SUL.
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Old November 10, 2008, 02:10 PM   #15
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I view SUL as a good choice in-close with non-targets directly in front of were your muzzle would other wise be. As soon as they aren't where your muzzle should be, it should be moved from so that your muzzle is there. The positions at that point? Well, that's for another thread.
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Last edited by Erik; November 10, 2008 at 02:16 PM.
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Old November 10, 2008, 04:31 PM   #16
matthew temkin
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My friend's Swedish Police SWAT guys were training CQB with Mel Perry of SAS fame a decade ago and were shown SUL, but without the catchy name.
Mel said that it was used by the SAS in N.Ireland when running in public with drawn guns.
They were doing this in the 1970's.
As to the photo ( and is that Kevin Davis of Akron PD?) I would like to see the elbows held in closer to the body.
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Old November 10, 2008, 09:17 PM   #17
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I taught it Saturday with elbows tight, finger off the trigger and held so if it went off the bullet would land a foot in front of the muzzle. I watched very closely and couldn't see anyone unassing a Humvee and putting anyone else in danger.
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