Position Sul

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Position Sul

You are moving through your home or business responding to a threat. In narrow hallways and doorframes, you pass through with your handgun in a low ready position. Where is your muzzle? Remember on the range that you always keep your handgun in a safe direction downrange. However what is 'down range' in a personal defense situation? Do you have the muzzle pointed to the sky in the old-school Cagnie and Lacy/TJ Hooker imitation? Do you have it pointed out directly in front? What if the bad guy is waiting just on the other side of the doorframe to make a grab for your pistol?

In handgun positions for defensive shooting, there are more flavors than basin robin's ice cream. However, while keeping the weapon close to the body and the muzzle in a safe direction while still being ready for rapid action, the field narrows rapidly. As far as ready positions go for fast, accurate handgun techniques that encompass good retention, Position Sul is the most well-known.

Position Sul - christophereger - pm-378.jpg
Position Sul - christophereger - 12095212-377.jpeg
Brazilian Polcia Militar on the world's toughest beats using Sul in both handguns (above) and patrol rifles (below)

Named for the Portuguese word for South, Position Sul was invented by Max Joseph & Alan Brosnan extremely well known trainers for Tactical Energetic Entry Systems in the mid-1990s while training the 400,000-strong Brazilian Military Police (Polcia Militar), although rumor has it that SAS tactical teams had a very similar version of it as far back as the 1960s. The basic backstory is that Joseph and Brosnan were on ride-alongs with their PM students in the extremely violent Mad Max-style slums of Rio and found that their pupils often tended to flash their muzzles in every which way there was. Immediately the two introduced Position Sul. The rest is history. It is widely taught and used by gunfighters around the world.

What is the position?

The number one caveat in the position is that you keep the muzzle of the firearm trained at the empty zone to the ground, due 'south' (or sul, in Portuguese.) With the palm of your offhand resting on your sternum, your elbows tucked in close, and the weapon hand resting on the back of your offhand with the trigger finger indexed along the slide, you have the basic position.

Position Sul - christophereger - dscf1019-373.jpg
Note- with weapon, thumbtips touching in triangle, palm of offhand on chest, weapon hand with muzzle to ground, finger off trigger. The pivot point is the thumbs, as your push the weapon forward and to the threat, the thumbs rotate to the side of the slide together.

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- Note the position without the gun.

Often advised to be in the middle knuckle of the shooting hand with the first knuckle of the non-shooting hand. A lot of instructors will harp on making triangles, keeping the thumb tips touching and other minor tips while teaching Sul. While these are important, as long as you are comfortable, the muzzle is directly down towards the ground in the strong hand with the trigger finger indexed and the offhand flat on the chest, the position will work as intended.

The Advantages of Position Sul

It is safe if used properly. That is the bottom line. If you have your muzzle due south, and the trigger guard is clear, I cannot fathom what would have to happen for that firearm to go off. The basic fact that your off-hand in palm down between your weapons hand and any chest rig/vest etc. you are wearing keeps the trigger guard from being caught by accident. Sure you can just go into a low-ready while keeping your trigger finger indexed, however you are still flashing your muzzle and presenting your weapon out of silhouette to your body, thus offering it out to be snatched or caught while moving.

Sul keeps your weapon in your core workspace of your body and helps maintain proper control and the most strength if you encounter a bad guy physically assaulting you. You can duck, crouch, and stoop while keeping your hands and elbows in the same near-ready position.

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When you push out from your chest in a Sul position, your eye acquires the front site first leading to a nice rapid shot at extended ranges as soon as you align your rear sight. You can effectively transition to a high ready or low ready from Sul

One handed Sul

The Sul Position need not be two-hands only. It can very well be used single-handedly. This still keeps the weapon close to your body and compact in your line of motion. Furthermore it allows your offhand to be used for blocks, flashlights, cellphones, holding a dog back, or shielding a child from a threat.

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- The one handed Sul high-five. Remember to keep your elbows tucked in as shown to avoid a badguy coming up from your flank and pulling a chicken wing on you.

While not everything in Brazil is better, some things are worth looking into. This includes Position Sul. See, you now know at least one word in Portuguese.

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April 11, 2012  •  08:17 AM
I personnaly feel that there are better positions out there than SUL but it has it's merits (no agressive)
But you must make a BIG difference in patroling through a rough neigbourhood in this position (so not as to be percieved as too agressive and pointing you weapon at innocent bystanders...) and clearing your hallway or other situations where there is certainty of a threat. This would never be my prefered position to use because of the reaction time between encountering the threat and dealing effectively with it. I prefer clearing a building in a ready position (maybe high ready)so as I can deal with a threat in the absolute minimum time needed. As for the grabbing of a weapon when passing a doorframe this has more to do with way you pass this door and the weapon retension you know. In close quaters I choose to work with the S.I.D.E.C.A.R. methode, where you have an integrated weapon stance and weapon retention in one position...
The advice you give as to pass In this SUL position through a doorway is even more dangerous when the badguy wants to grab your weapon (in reality all he has to do is pin you to a wall and your weapon will be pounting in a useless direction)...
April 16, 2012  •  03:56 PM
I agree with you Winston. The SUL is not practical in your home when things are dark, and a flashlight is used. In combat situations when innocents are nearby, then SUL is perfect. Every defense position has pro's and con's.
June 13, 2012  •  12:03 AM
when innocents are nearby SUL is perfect!
May 6, 2014  •  04:16 PM
There's few absolutes...this is A way for certain conditions, and for those conditions it's good.
May 6, 2014  •  04:18 PM
@winston Anymore info on the S.I.D.E.C.A.R. method? I can't seem to find anything online...Unless you speak of the Center Axis Relock?