Yes! Finally! SUL is neither tactical nor cool.

I first saw the SUL position around the year 2000 during an advanced handgun class I was attending. (See photo for a visual of SUL.) Alan Brosnan and Max Joseph created SUL, Portuguese for south. They were teaching in Brazil with guys who didn’t have holsters. Once the problem was solved they needed a “safe” position to hold the handgun and the ability to work around others without muzzling anyone. After a short time people began using SUL for a variety of other applications, and this is when things got distorted.

The SUL position is a “safety” position, only to be used once the action was over; it’s basically an administrative position, an option to holstering the weapon. I’ve seen SUL used as a ready position, for clearing corners while searching buildings, for inside vehicles and as a retention position. SUL was never designed to be used for these applications, and in fact can put you at a disadvantage and be downright dangerous.

via Tiger McKee, Skill Set: SUL Position he Tactical Wire.

I remember reading about SUL way back then, (I think it was in SOF magazine) where the author commented that they needed a way to keep the guns pointed safely because the students had a nasty habit of shooting their fellow learners as  they could not stop playing with the guns. Typical of South Of The Border countries, not a whole lot of Gun Safety traditions mixed with unhealthy doses of machismo resulted in extra body holes applied without permission.

That SUL somehow became a tactical darling can only be explained by the stupid urge to look cool and be the kid/instructor with the new toy/tactic that nobody has. As time passes, I am more and more convinced that the Basic Pistolcraft as taught by Col Copper and Clint Smith is the way to go if you wanna have a solid foundation and effective combat skills.

3 Replies to “Yes! Finally! SUL is neither tactical nor cool.”

  1. I’ve never heard of this position before. Of course I haven’t shot competition since the mid 80’s. The first thought I had was the Col. was rotating in his grave. I was always taught that when you aren’t using it, it belongs in it’s holster. The only two positions I ever used was low ready and ready.

    If people can’t stop playing with their deadly weapon, why are the RSO/SO or range officer not sending them packing? If it was my range, they would get one warning and then they would be sent home to practice putting that thing in it’s sausage sack. No questions asked. The rules we lived by were show clear and holster.




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    1. It has its place in other applications. SUL and modified forms thereof come in handy when working in a team environment etc. Or when you need to not be pointing the fun at what’s in front of you. It is faster to get back out on target than a traditional low ready.

      The big problem is a lot of people see it, thinks it looks cool and do it without understanding its applications.




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  2. Well, it certainly looks like a fantastic position if you’re hoping to shoot your nuts off. I doubt most guys out there are eager to shoot their nuts off, and any lady shooters out there don’t have any nuts to shoot off, so I don’t see this position being much tactical use for either group.




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