Issue 42

Shooting While Moving

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This is one of the 13 skills taught in our new Practical Defensive Pistol course.

First, some important definitions:  Cover is a solid object which provides you protection from your attacker, while also hiding your exact location.  A concrete wall would fit this definition. 

Concealment merely masks your location, but does not provide you with protection.  Hiding behind drapes or a sheetrocked wall in a typical home should be considered Concealment, NOT Cover.

Shooting while moving should be a last-resort option.  It should only be used if the Cover you are using is not providing you with protection, OR if you are surprised by an assailant, and need to get to Cover. 

Remember, this is for defensive purposes.  You're not a SWAT team member clearing a room.  You're protecting your life or the lives of others.  

I don't care how much you practice, the accuracy of your shots will be significantly lower than your accuracy while you are stationary.  The speed of your movement to new cover is the key to keeping you unharmed.  Getting there is more important than putting shots into the "X-ring".  

You never want to move forward.  By moving forward, you are making yourself a bigger, more easily hit, target.  Don't help the Bad Guy improve his accuracy!

You very rarely want to move backwards while shooting.  You don't have eyes in the back of your head, so you can't see where you're going or what you might trip over.  That's not exactly a good thing when you've got a gun in your hand! 

It's better to turn and sprint to your destination.

If at all possible, you want to only move side to side.

In this video, I am moving 15 feet, from left to right, from Cover to Cover.  I "slice the pie" (another technique we teach) and fire one shot at the right-center target.  I then step out from Cover, fire two shots at the left-center target, and one more shot at the right-center target.  

After stepping out from behind Cover, it takes me approximately 4 seconds to move 15 feet.  In a real-life situation, it would be a better decision to take the "slice the pie" shot, then sprint to the second Cover.  That would likely take between 1 and 1 1/2 seconds - much less time to be left exposed to incoming shots.

When moving from side-to-side, you want to lower your center of gravity by bending your knees.  This will help to stabilize your gun.  Try not to cross your feet while moving.  Take a large step with the foot closest to your new cover, and follow with the other foot.

One of the best ways to practice this technique is with Air Soft guns.  You can practice with the harmless pellets (always wear eye protection, though!) in your garage or backyard by setting up a variety of scenarios.

Next Issue:  Handgun Maintenance

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