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.