David's Performance and Training Corner
With David Salthouse from APC, Inc.
Associate Director of Training & Program Development
Shoot 'n' Scoot

Most shooters train in static environments only, meaning the only shooting they do is on a stationary firing line. While static training is important, we don’t live in a static world. In a lethal force encounter, failing to move can get you killed. This month we will look at shooting and moving.

 

Why Do We Freeze?

In many cases we are our own worst enemies when it comes to training. We practice our stance, locking in our grips and we become rigid as statues. We go to the range and spend hours and thousands of rounds shooting from a stationary position. Our brain programs itself to understand that when we shoot, we stop. I see this when working with shooter who have never spent time on shooting and moving skills. They can be moving backwards, simulating exiting a hostile area. Their magazine runs dry and slide locks back. Against even common sense, they stop moving and execute a magazine exchange, then continue on their way. I would think when your gun runs out of ammo, it is time to pick up your exit speed, not stop completely, but the truth is we train ourselves to stop because we never practice our weapons handling skills on the move.  The other problem is not having a plan. Where are you going to move to if you don’t know where to go or how to get there? If there is a lack of a plan, your default action will be to freeze in place.

Why Do We Move?

As we go through our day, we are rarely in good defensive positions. You can’t get though your work day working your way down your office hallway tactically using cover. If a threat presents itself, you should immediately look for your options. In most cases the best option is leaving the area. If escape isn’t an option, we need to fight our way to cover/concealment. If there is no cover/concealment available, as crazy as it sounds, the best option is to aggressively close the gap between you and the threat. No matter what you plan of action is, it is hard for your adversary to hit a moving target.

Preplanning Movements

As we go through our day, it is always a good idea to play the “What If?” game. At any point in your day, ask yourself What If an armed person came through that door or out of that car? Take a look at your surroundings and options. What choices do you have and what option gives you the highest chance of success. Use mental imagery to navigate the route and execute your plan. Think about the challenges, stairs, curbs, etc. What is the distance to the place I want to be and how quick can I get there?

How Fast Should You Move?

In any situation, you should move as fast as you can accurately hit your target. The concept of cover/suppressive fire is nice if you have 500 rounds of ammo, but most of us will have a very limited ammo supply accessible and every round counts as it could be the fight stopper.

Training to Shoot and Move

In our Defensive Pistol 2 classes, we spend a great deal of time focusing on shooting and moving. From that point on it is used in every class. Shooting accurately can be difficult. Shooting accurately while you are moving IS VERY DIFFICULT. I highly recommend getting instruction by a qualified instructor before doing anything. The only thing worse than not training is bad training. Our instructors use several controlled, focused and safe techniques and drills to get you comfortable with shooting and moving. Once you are oriented to the basics there are many fun ways to keep your skills sharp. IDPA and other similar competitions involve movements and are an exciting way to get out of the shooting lane. Another way is using airsoft guns and targets. For example, set up a target at the top of the stairs. Get a good sight picture at the bottom of the stairs and start walking up while engaging the target. The most simple way and my preferred method is to get a BLUE GUN of your carry gun and cut the rear sight channel out. Now you have a 100% safe way to practice your moving skills. Pick a target and lock your sights in. The practice forward, lateral and backward movements while keeping your target in your sights. If you are able to keep your sights on, speed the process up a little at a time and you will be surprised how fast you can move while you are able to accurately engage threats.

Add it to Your Toolbox

Shooting and moving is a necessity for you defensive toolbox. It is a fun and challenging skill to learn that can drastically increase your chances of success in a gunfight. As I said, it is important to learn this skill from a qualified instructor because if the training is done wrong, it can get real unsafe and dangerous very quickly. Push yourself and advance your skills, but do it the right and in safe way. Thanks for your time and I look forward to seeing you at some of our advanced training offered at the Bridgeport Shooting Range. As always, stay safe!

Be safe and remember, Failing to Train is Training to Fail!
Email David at with comments, questions, or topics you would like him to cover in a future article.