There’s some debate rumbling ’round the Internet about moving and shooting. Some gun gurus say move then shoot; make sure you have a stable platform before you send rounds towards a person or persons posing a lethal threat. Other say move and shoot; get your rounds on target as you’re moving towards cover or concealment (or just running away). Then get to a stable platform, if you need it. Others say it depends. Right answer! Of course it depends. A defensive gun use has enough variables to make meteorology look like basic math. But the question is: how should you train for this whole movement misegos? Well . . .
If you think your default option should be to move then shoot, train yourself to do it. Move then shoot – making sure you’re moving somewhere sensible. Yes, there is that. Even when you leave a square range behind, most shooting takes place in a fairly sterile environment. Unless you’ve set up cover and/or concealment, it’s going to be a bit of a hike to get to it. Then do it.
Equally, change it up. Moving sideways a step or two to get away from, say, a direct knife assault is all well and good, but what about forwards or backwards? You don’t have to watch The Wrath of Khan to know that 3D thinking gives you a strategic advantage. You only get access to that advantage through carefully considered training. Again, do it. Because . . .
Every time you don’t get to proper cover or concealment when you move then shoot, you’re training yourself not to get to cover or concealment. Call it “muscle memory” or “subconscious programming.” No matter what you call it, repetitious training creates reflexive action. One-step-left-and-shoot your go-to firing sequence? That’s what you’ll do under stress. Take a knee? Same deal.
If you think you should move and shoot at the same time – gun guru Rob Pincus’ preferred plan – that’s gonna take some serious practice. Shooting while moving is obviously and inherently less accurate than stand-still shooting. And even though the first person to get lead on target usually wins a gunfight, and there’s something to be said for suppressive fire, you don’t really want to shoot bullets that miss their mark. Training hard lowers the odds of collateral damage.
But here’s the hardest firearms feat of all: training yourself to be able to choose whether to move then shoot, or move and shoot, or not move and shoot (not to mention moving and not shooting and not moving and not shooting). To do that – to be able to select from a range of possible reactions to a lethal threat depending on the situation – you have to vary the exercises as much as possible and slow your training way, way down.
Every exercise should be non-reflexive. In other words, decide what you’re going to do before you do it – remembering that endless repetition is not your friend. It makes you faster but it also makes you stupider. As Rudyard Kipling wrote, “If you can keep your wits about you while all others are losing theirs and blaming you, the world will be yours and everything in it.” OK, maybe not everything . . .
The best way to avoid potentially lethal training habits: force-on-force training. FoF challenges you to react appropriately to an unpredictable scenario. One five-minute session is worth hundreds of hours of square range training. By the same token, practicing moving about with a laser training gun in your own home is more valuable than just about anything you can do at a range.
All of this is just one more reminder – if a reminder be needed – that we are our own worst enemies.