Shooting While Moving

Dear Fellow Survivalist;

We all go to the range to practice our shooting. But just how accurate is that practice? For the most part, we shoot at a static target, whether that target is a round dot or a silhouette; and we do so from a static position. You try moving while shooting or shooting while moving at most shooting ranges and they’ll throw you out.

But as I mentioned last week, moving is an essential part of staying alive when you are in an active shooter situation. Hitting a moving target is much harder than hitting a stationary one, so unless you are behind cover, you’re better off moving. If you’re not sure just how much harder it is to hit a moving target, go skeet shooting sometime. Unless you lead those clay pigeons just right, you’re not going to hit anything but air… and that’s with a shotgun. It’s a lot harder with a pistol.

There’s two or three parts to this movement thing. First, you might very well be dealing with a moving target. You can’t really count on the bad guys standing still and being nice pretty targets. They’ll be moving, even if it isn’t tactical movement. They could be moving to get near a potential hostage, to get to where the money is, or just to get away. Regardless, as long as they are moving, you’ve got to lead the target and lead it the right amount, in order to have a chance at hitting them.

There’s some real danger inherent in this, as a moving target could very well be crossing past innocent bystanders. Considering just how much harder it is to hit that moving target, the chance of hitting one of those innocents goes up exponentially when they are moving. You need to remain extremely conscious of the target background, not only for innocent bystanders who you can see, but for places where they might be behind a wall. The fact that you can’t see them is no legal protection if you end up hitting them.

The second part of this is moving yourself. If you’re going to move and shoot, you’ll quickly discover that your gun doesn’t stay level while you are walking. We all have a natural up and down movement inherent in the process of walking and that movement is amplified by the lever of our arms. It can be easy to see your front sight post move up and down by six or more inches while you walk.

Most firearms instructors who deal with this issue recommend walking in a heel to toe manner. If you’re not familiar with that term, it refers to slowly and deliberately setting your heel on the floor, then lowering the front of your foot down, in a way that is intended to reduce the amount of jarring impact from your heel hitting the floor.

I’ve found something that works better, stealing it from dancing, of all places. In most types of dance, the idea is to dance on the balls of the foot, not the heels. In fact, the heels should never touch the floor, unless it is to act as a brake, stopping a spin for example. To walk like this, the ball of the active foot is almost slid across the floor, only being lifted a tiny amount, like a quarter of an inch. With only the ball of the foot touching the floor, the up and down movement and especially the jarring is all but eliminated.

Have you ever seen ballerinas glide across the floor, almost seeming like they’re floating? This comes from walking in this manner. It’s not hard to learn and will provide a very smooth way of walking. It is also extremely silent, which can be useful when trying to outflank an adversary. Shooting while gliding across the floor like this is much easier, because the sights of your gun will stay closer to level. It still won’t be perfect, but it won’t be vacillating between the floor and the ceiling.

Another option to consider is stopping when you need to shoot. In other words, move across the floor as needed, stop briefly to get your sight picture and squeeze off the shot, and then start moving again. While you become a stationary target for that moment you’ve stopped. Hopefully you’ll be able to get your shot off and start moving again, before they realize it. The element of surprise helps you here, at least for the first time or two that you try it.

Whatever you do, find a way to practice moving and shooting, even if that just means putting a laser on your favorite gun and moving around the house, without any ammo in the gun of course. Get a rhythm going, so that you can shoot at the moment in time when your arm is suffering the least movement, regardless of what your body is doing. That one moment is all you need to get a good shot off.

Practicing shooting while moving will give you a big advantage over the other guy; one that might be decisive in an engagement. It’s those sorts of details that make all the difference; just like keeping your powder dry and your survival gear close at hand.

Dr. Rich

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