Track-before-detect (TBD) based target detection involves a hypothesis test of merit functions which measure each track as a possible target track. Its accuracy depends on the precision of the distribution of merit functions, which determines the threshold for a test. Generally, merit functions are regarded Gaussian, and on this basis the distribution is estimated, which is true for most methods such as the multiple hypothesis tracking (MHT). However, merit functions for some other methods such as the dynamic programming algorithm (DPA) are non-Guassian and cross-correlated. Since existing methods cannot reasonably measure the correlation, the exact distribution can hardly be estimated. If merit functions are assumed Guassian and independent, the error between an actual distribution and its approximation may occasionally over 30 percent, and is divergent by propagation. Hence, in this paper, we propose a novel estimation of distribution method based on Copulas, by which the distribution can be estimated precisely, where the error is less than 1 percent without propagation. Moreover, the estimation merely depends on the form of merit functions and the structure of a tracking algorithm, and is invariant to measurements. Thus, the distribution can be estimated in advance, greatly reducing the demand for real-time calculation of distribution functions.