Law enforcement training almost universally accepts that an attacker with a knife will be able to reach an officer before that officer can draw and fire a holstered handgun, if the distance is less than 21 feet. It’s a lousy standard to bet your life on. Try this test at an outdoor range:
Have a shooter stand on the firing line with the weapon holstered and secure. An additional person (unarmed) should stand back-to-back with the shooter. Without warning, the unarmed person is to run directly away from the shooter (uprange). At the instant the shooter feels the runner depart, the shooter will draw and fire downrange. When the runner hears the sound of the shot, he will immediately stop. The distance between the runner and the shooter is the distance that a knife wielding attacker could cover before the shooter could draw and fire. It is rarely as little as 21 feet. In one case, I witnessed a deputy sheriff mis-grip his revolver and fumble with his clam-shell holster so long that the runner covered a full 50 yards. If you take the same test and conduct it using a reactionary target (read the last post about using balloons), which requires the shooter to actually hit his mark, the distance will get even longer.
The proper distance to draw your handgun when facing a threat is whatever distance you are at when you recognize the threat.
Remember today, while you’re cyber-shopping, everyone would love to have a copy of The Perfect Pistol Shot, and I mean everyone: toddlers, fashion models, the family pet, and of course, you. Enjoy!