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Moving While Shooting

Discussion in 'Education & Training' started by wichaka, Jun 28, 2014.

  1. wichaka

    wichaka Wa State Well-Known Member

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    Within the last week, I put on a basic fundamental rifle class for a few forum members where this subject came up. Yesterday on another thread the subject came up again…moving and shooting. So I thought I would throw out some food for thought on the subject.

    I won’t end it with the usual; “Okay, there’s my thoughts, flame away.” No, this is more of a reality look at the subject from actual incidents, AA reports, and top tier instructors thoughts…as well as my own. I am reporting what I’ve uncovered in my own research, and that of other instructors views.

    Some think that shooting on the move is an advanced firearm skill, but all one needs to do is peruse YouTube and various other like sites to watch videos of LEO’s and the public engage in gunfights and shootings. One is taken back right away when we realize that when the bullets fly, very few are standing still.

    So if this is the norm we come to expect with such incidents, is it really advanced? Or is it something we should come to recognize as a basic skill? Obviously when teaching a new shooter, the basic fundamentals of marksmanship need to be instilled. Kinda like the crawl before you walk, walk before you run type of thing. Understood.

    But this pondering is more geared for those who hopefully aren’t that special kind of idiot who shoots themselves or someone else when trying to do a basic firearm manipulation.

    Having been in a few scrapes on the street over the years, being able to read AA’s and watch exclusive Officer and dash cam video, along with talking with others who have seen the elephant and knows where they deposit their exhaust; one thing has been clear from this person’s side of things; there isn’t a whole lot of moving while shooting going on.

    The most I could come up with is a few Officers moving a few yards and shooting at a suspect that was again, just a few yards away. It appears that more folks will move to the position of cover, set up, acquire the target and go to work.

    In reading many articles over the years, and being able to talk with a few top tier instructors, they all have their own take on the subject…but agree on a few things.

    Their own take; Delta Force veterans Paul Howe and Larry Vickers are at the opposite side of things. Although Vickers doesn’t mention any actual incidents, he thinks that training to shoot on the move is a necessity. While Howe, states clearly in all the combat situations he was ever involved in, he never had to shoot on the move. The research I’ve done with LEO’s as mentioned above, seems to closely mirror Howe’s experiences.

    Then we throw in other instructors views and we possibly start to get a better and clearer picture of the subject at hand.

    From what I’ve gathered, there are more cons than pros. Let’s look at the skill required to do such a thing. Again, different instructors may have a slightly different way of teaching it, but some or all of these skill steps have been taught over the years.

    Lower your body, walk by rolling your feet heel to toe, keeping your feet closer to together, knees take the shock, bend the elbows, stay flexible, allow the joints to take the vibration caused by moving, etc. So far so good?

    All sounds good until we look at what really happens. Accuracy will suffer, no doubt. When I train, my standard is that all my shots go in a 6” circle, try that when moving. As long as the subject is full frontal toward you, you’ll be able to throw some rounds out wider than 6” and still make some hits. But put the target side-ways, or worse yet, have the target moving as well and in some contorted position…where do you think your hit percentage will go?

    The practical distance for moving and shooting, as well as the target moving at the same time is about 15 or so yards for a pistol, and about 20 yards or so with a carbine. Your mileage may vary.

    Add in the factor that when moving while shooting, using the above skills I mentioned, means that one must move at a slower pace to keep the accuracy up. In other words, because of the slower movement required to make your hits, you yourself become an easier target.

    Move much faster while trying to hit a moving target at a longer distance, and you’re pretty much putting suppressive fire down range. As your rounds have a higher likely of missing altogether.

    Now, with all this said I may sound like I’m against moving while shooting. I am not, but I do see a narrow scope for its use. Train for it? By all means, I too believe it’s a necessary skill that needs to be honed. But also realize that there may be times you’ll need to stand face to face and fight it out, as looking for cover will not be an option. There have been too many folks injured or killed looking for cover, because it was so engrained into them to look for cover before they engaged the threat.

    Bottom line? Every incident will demand a different approach to find the answer to the matter at hand. Keep your mind open to the options that are afforded you at the time. Those who think like that will have a better chance of winning. If you have some good solid options in your gray matter, you’ll also stand a better chance of winning, than waiting for your hard drive to search thru the vast amount of files for a plan. Too many intricate options can spell disaster, as from experience…basics win gunfights.

    So the questions that need to be answered when employing shooting while moving;
    1 - How accurate will I be while moving? Remember, you’re responsible for your rounds.
    2 – How fast can I move while still being accurate?
    3 – Can I move fast enough and be accurate, yet at the same time not be a target myself?

    If you can be accurate and make your hits, while not becoming a target, then I would strongly advise shooting on the move, if the incident demands it. If not, stay put, or run to cover first, then set up, acquire your target and go to work.
     
  2. wichaka

    wichaka Wa State Well-Known Member

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    What are the basics of a gunfight? That can be argued, but here's a thought provoking view of it;

    Speed and accuracy work together, which is to get hit(s) as soon as possible.
    Pressing the trigger at the speed needed to control the sights to hit your target is what it's all about.

    If the threat is in anyway difficult to hit, you will need to slow down on the trigger and focus more on sight alignment.
    If the threat is close and easy to hit, then….....this is no time for a bullseye type group, in fact, you need to be pounding shots into the threat as fast as possible and stop the threat NOW!
    Most of the time you will be somewhere between the two above examples.

    My rule of thumb for combat shooting;
    If your threat is larger than your front sight, better get ta shootin'
    If your threat is the same or smaller than your front sight, better get on them sights and fast.

    Practice this process slow at first..........remember, slow is smooth, smooth is fast. Speed will come with practice.

    Your decision on how fast vs. how slow to press the trigger, how much front sight vs. combat look through and/or body index is based on two things, your perception of the threat situation AND your perception of your skill with your equipment.

    If you practice only one trigger press and sight alignment you are a target shooter and not preparing yourself properly for the street, and doing yourself an injustice.
    Recognize the need for different levels of trigger press and sight alignment, practice at those levels and in between. In the fight have the ability to adapt to the situation smoothly not to survive, but to decisively win!
     
  3. natef

    natef Gresham OR Active Member

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    It was my experience (and that by no means makes it gospel) that shooting while moving should only be used for suppresive fire to get into a better position or if you were presented with an oppertunity (somone runs out in front of you from a blind aproach and is obvously a target or a threat).

    I was always instructed that movements should be short fast bursts from cover to cover to either get on target or to a position to provide cover for a team member (bounding)

    I have seen some of the more "trick" shooters do on the move shooting. it looks cool but seems to present yourself as a target. nothing screams "look over here and shoot at me" more than going full Rambo going in guns blazing.....

    what is the LEO SOP on shooting on the move? do they have a standard rule of thumb on it or is it a "as the situation dictates" kind of thing?
     
    decklin likes this.
  4. wichaka

    wichaka Wa State Well-Known Member

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    With LEO, since we are responsible for every round fired, suppressive fire isn't something that is taught outright. But one needs to think outside the box if the need arises.

    So I'm not against it.

    Moving from and to cover is trained as well. Direct movement with the short burst as you described
     
    JustMelissa and Sgt Nambu like this.
  5. RicInOR

    RicInOR Washington County Bronze Supporter Bronze Supporter

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    USPSA / IDPA / 3-GUN / 3-GUN Cowboy and other action sports all use shooting while moving as a part of the competition. While none of these games are training, they all afford an opportunity to practice skills.
     
  6. wichaka

    wichaka Wa State Well-Known Member

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    The problem with most of the competition stuff is the P has long been left behind.

    And one is forced to expose yourself to multiple threats, which is not practical and thus bad training.

    Competition is good for weapon manipulation and learning to move while doing so, but have seen bad habits come from the other parts mentioned above.
     
  7. natef

    natef Gresham OR Active Member

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    I suppose any drills that get your heart rate up and then still require you to be accurate is good and training about being alert on the move is also extreamly benificial. I suppose thats what I see as the biggest positive with those shoots. Conditioning yourself to pay attention while moving is the key.

    I guess my only hang up with those style shoots is that its all pre-planned (3 shots in target 1, egress to barrel, 3 shots in target 2, reload exactly 6 rounds. ect ect). Imagine the how much better it would be with swivel targets. keep the same 2 chest 1 head pattern to move on but have the targets swivel at random or as completion happens. Now that woud be a challenge to get fast times at.
     
  8. natef

    natef Gresham OR Active Member

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    I've often thought of doing some training with the wife that included a door frame and teaching her how to properly take cover at the lowest portion of the door frame from the prone position. When we went through the CCW class for her the instructor was telling people to stand in the doorway and announce yourself. I asked him if i could correct it with the point that by standing there you created an easy target if they have a firearm. get down on the ground, silihoute them and shoot with just your firearm, arm and part of your head out from behind cover. He agreeded that it would be another good option and moved on quickly. We all have enough bad habits, to be preaching more seemed crazy to me.
     
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  9. wichaka

    wichaka Wa State Well-Known Member

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    That's the same problem I see with some parts of competition, forming some bad habits.

    As for announcing, some states allow to do it when feasible, so it may not be mandatory, but each situation dictates the response.

    As for standing in the doorway o_O
     
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  10. natef

    natef Gresham OR Active Member

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    I was thinking about this a little more today and I did come up with a running action that i feel should be practiced often. Keep in mind both of these are probably more .mil than LEO

    1. Reloading while running
    being able to reload on the run is a vital piece of knowledge and having the trained skill to not fumble with the mag (both the spent magazine as you are removing it and putting it into your dump pouch and pulling a new mag out of your gear and locking it in)
    2. Weapon clearing while running
    You cant pick when you are going to have a malfunction but if you can clear it on the move while taking position you can pick up valuable time to be back in the action once you get to your next bounding stop.
     
  11. JB25

    JB25 SW Washington Member

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    Shouldn't proficiency (to the point of second nature) in these while stationary translate to on the move?
    To me it seems time should be spent controlling your round placement (suppressive fire or not) would be more prudent to practice, especially in a le or civilian situation.
     
    ocarolan likes this.
  12. JB25

    JB25 SW Washington Member

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    I say this because civilians or le are gonna be held responsible for each and every round as wichaka stated. And each step is amplified a lot in the 25 to 35 inches from your shoulder to the end of the barrel.
     
  13. beavernation

    beavernation Canby Active Member

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    I had an instructor pose this question to me last summer when I was taking a Rifle Gunfighting class "what's more important.........not getting shot or returning fire?" I am always gonna try and get off the X, make my profile smaller and haul bubblegum to cover before I lay down some suppressive fire. I don't want to get shot!.........;)
     
  14. natef

    natef Gresham OR Active Member

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    Reloading on a full sprint is not an easy task. without practice its near impossible. like I said in my original post shooting while moving (should be a dead sprint run to the next cover location) is not advantageous. Beavernation nailed it on the head. get off the X. get to cover, make your profile small, return fire. I would think it would be better to get to a solid shooting point fast and with a full magazine (that you could account for every round) and take your shots.

    Now once again I have Zero LEO training and would be very surprised if I ever changed my plans in went in to that field so allot of the rules just aren't ones that I think about when it comes to training. train for the worst hope for the best. and lets be honest. if we are talking about bounding and laying cover fire or returning fire in these situation its really hit the fan. there has been a massive breakdown in the system somewhere and we had better ALL be on the same page with knowing how to lay proper cover fire cadence.
     
  15. natef

    natef Gresham OR Active Member

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    so here is the question, you arrive onsite of an active shooter, you can id the shooter but they are out of effective range. are you going to go running up shots blazing until you get in range? or are you going to sprint towards them with utilizing cover until you are sure of your shot distance and then engage? Would it change the situation if the shooter was engaging you? what if you had a partner? this is absolutely a war game it out kind of situation. but stems back to two thought process on movement.
     
  16. wichaka

    wichaka Wa State Well-Known Member

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    Good responses.

    I think it's always best to be loaded and ready to respond before moving.

    Reloading and tending to malfunctions while moving leads me to believe someone didn't think things through.

    I'm always looking at new ways to add to my knowledge, but I think the best way is still doing those manipulations from cover and make sure they are complete and you're ready to go before moving.

    As for active shooter, we are hunters and killers at that point, so whatever gets the job done safely and efficiently is on the table.
     
  17. JB25

    JB25 SW Washington Member

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    Every officer I've known or have ridden with has been loaded before even getting in their car at beginning of shift. Additionally depending on circumstance they'd most likely check their rifle again when arriving on scene.

    As far as your hypothetical their are to many variables. Is this an urban area? Populated, rush hour? only 1 confirmed shooter?
    If you have a partner it seems you'd approach from parralell positions far enough apart that the shooter could only engage one of you.
     
  18. natef

    natef Gresham OR Active Member

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    You cant pick your malfunction time and in a hasty retreat to a RP or sprinting advance to your next cover spot you somtimes need to move RIGHT NOW and that couple of seconds wait time could get your team mate shot or suppresed... topping off from a half full mag to a full mag on the run can put you in a much better situation when you reach your cover position or RP.

    I guess the idea behind the hypothetical was more to get people thinking about cover and moving. I would lean more in that situation to advancing with cover without NOT shooting untill i was in position. the caveat to that being if I/We were taking fire i would do a quick burst to cover and then advance, with a partner you could do a bounding manuever with 1 man covering the other while you worked into position to take the shot. i think once again here we are getting into 2 very differnt worlds of though. 1 military and 1 LEO.
     
  19. etrain16

    etrain16 Oregon Bronze Supporter Bronze Supporter

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    Is that 15 yard distance a standard for training? The reason I ask is that I recently took a Defensive Handgun course at Oregon Firearms Academy. The course included shooting at various distances and behind cover - on the move shooting happens in the 2nd course (I'll plan to take later). During the course of that class, we were required to shoot a 25-round LE 10-yard qualification course. We shot anywhere from about 3 yards up to 10 yards and from cover.

    15 yards (45 feet) just seems to be a long way for a personal defense shooting distance. My range is 50' only and I can say at that distance, I probably wouldn't be shooting yet - I'd probably still be trying to get away, if I can. It just seems to me that getting all your shots in a 6" circle, while moving, at 15 yards would be difficult for all but the best shooters. Am I wrong? We were shooting at a standard LE silhouette, and I didn't see anyone, including the best shooters in the group, stay in a 6" circle.
     
  20. wichaka

    wichaka Wa State Well-Known Member

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    This is not a set in stone distance. It is a distance that I and others find that folks can make hits while moving.

    But the farther away one is from the target, the harder it is to make your hits...the same for standing still and doing the same thing, still harder at longer distances.

    But in general terms, one can pretty much make their hits at the distances given, give or take a few yards either way...and we are not talking about 6" circles while moving at 15 or 20 yards, I am talking about hits on the target.

    I understand there's a lot of folks who think they probably may not shoot at anyone out at 15 yards. But someone can clear that distance in the time you'll need to see, recognize, and get your hard drive in gear to respond...then draw and fire. Usually around the 2 second mark.

    And please, before anyone mentions the 21 Foot Rule thing...it is not, or ever was a rule. Mention that to Dennis Tueller and watch him blow a cork. It was an experiment to let Officers know at what distance can an Officer get a shot on a suspect from a duty holster. One bit of important info., the Officer knew it was coming every time. They did not have to go thru the threat recognition process, it was done for them.