I have been talking recently about improving your shooting skills by utilizing targets that are more realistic and targets that are reactive. I next want to address another important skill to master in order to come out on top after a gunfight; that being shooting on the move.
If you are faced with a bad guy with a weapon, any type of weapon, one of the worst things you can do is to remain standing in the same spot for the duration of the encounter. You must be moving as much as possible to make yourself a harder target to hit and to be seeking cover and or concealment. In fact, during a shootout, nobody is likely to be standing still for long.
If you are going to be moving, it might be a good idea to practice doing so while shooting. Better put, you are going to have to practice shooting, while moving. And if you have trouble hitting the target while stationary, hitting the target while moving is gonna be difficult at best, but it’s a skill that is vital to learn and one that can be mastered with some practice.
The most difficult part about moving and shooting is trying to keep the sights aligned to the target. Even if you are moving in a straight line towards or away from the target, you will find your sights will be bouncing up and down in relation to the target because you will be bouncing up and down. There is practically nothing that can be done to stop some movement, either up and down or side to side, but you can reduce it and or compensate for it.
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The first thing to understand is that you cannot take on a rigid profile. Many people who are stationary target shooting try and make themselves as rigid as possible to minimize movement of the sights before the shot and to brace for recoil after the shot. Being rigid while moving and shooting is the wrong approach. As you move, your legs need to be acting as shock absorbers. The knees have to remain bent and the legs flexible as you move. Next, you need to learn to walk heel to toe moving forward, toe to heel moving back and never cross one foot in front of the other as you move side to side. This will help reduce the up and down movement of your upper body and keep you from tripping yourself.
Your upper body, in particular your arms also need to be more flexible while moving and shooting than they are if you are standing still. You cannot reduce all of the sights movements with your lower body alone, your upper body, in particular your arms also have to take on some of the burden. Image that the gun is floating in front of you on a cushion of air as you move. Your elbows should be slightly bent and your shoulders acting as shock absorbers similar to your legs.
Trigger control is absolutely critical while moving and shooting. As you see the target appear in your sights, there will be a tendency to mash the trigger. This will inevitably result in shots low on or missing the target altogether. It is important to practice good trigger control all the time, but while stationary, you can be slightly off with the trigger, while moving you cannot. You should work on developing a rhythm in which you pull the trigger at the same point in your movements. Generally a good rule of thumb is to pull the trigger while the heel of one foot is on the ground and the toe of the other is down. This is usually the most stable portion of your movement.
Keep in mind that even the best shooters accuracy will suffer somewhat when shooting on the move. Your grouping will not be as tight, and you should not expect it to be. But with practice, you will develop enough skill to put rounds on target consistently while moving. The important thing to remember is you have to practice to get there.
Lastly, the best thing you can do in a gun fight is do your best to be stationary when you return fire. As best you can you should try to move in between shots, either to cover or concealment and limit your shooting until after you get there. But as best laid plans of mice and men goes, that aint always gonna happen.
Don’t just survive, thrive!
Carrying a firearm for personal protection brings with it an awesome responsibility. You have the power to change a person’s world forever, and even the power to take their life. It is you duty as a responsible gun owner to always obey the cardinal rules of firearms safety and to understand the laws where you live and travel with your gun. Do your due diligence become educated on the use of force continuum and become proficient with your firearm before you leave home.