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Move your feet!

by Kevin Michalowski

I like the idea of having a good, firm shooting platform — IF you are shooting a rifle … at a target somewhere way over there. Such a shooting platform also works well for shooting a pistol in competition or at extended ranges. By extended ranges, I mean 15 to 25 yards.

In a gunfight, or while training for a gunfight, foot position and shooting stance fall pretty far down on the list of important things. It is true that you need support and mobility during a gunfight, but that really just means you need to remain upright so that you can keep moving. It is more important that you not trip and fall than it is that you have your feet precisely shoulder-width apart with your strong-side foot slightly behind your support-side foot with toes slightly … whatever! Someone is trying to kill you! MOVE!

You have heard us say it before: Get off the X. The attack is coming to the X. You don’t want to be there when it arrives. That means you need to be moving as soon as you realize an attack is coming your way. Typically the realization is what takes the longest. Most people either don’t realize the attack is coming or there is an element of denial when they say, “This can’t be happening.” Fight through that and get moving.

How you get moving is pretty important, too. Don’t cross your feet. Move forward or backward. Pivot if you need to so you can move effectively. Crossing your feet is a recipe for tripping. Trying to do the “step, drag” will really slow you down. Turn your body the way you want to move and move that direction. Ideally, you will be moving to cover (or better cover). But even so, moving at all is better than not moving.

The most important element when you incorporate movement into your defensive action is maintaining accuracy when you decide to shoot on the move. Remember, you are responsible for every round you send downrange. That means you only want to hit the bad guys … and bullets can’t tell the difference between bad guys and good guys. This means muzzle management and trigger-finger discipline are paramount. You need to keep the muzzle pointed at the bad guy at all times and this can be very difficult while you are moving.

So, shooting on the move should be done only at distances where you are certain of your ability to hit the target — likely contact to 5 feet for starters. I suggest limiting distance to 5 feet for a couple reasons. First and foremost is your ability to control the firearm under intense stress and rapid movement.

Consider this: You may be able to keep rounds on target as you slowly walk forward or backward firing at a fairly slow pace as you move. We could call this “shooting on the move” but it is not really the way you will be moving when you are under severe stress. You’ll be moving dynamically — hopefully explosively. Your movements will not be smooth and your ability to keep the muzzle on target will be compromised.

So, consider shooting on the move only from close range, then stop firing and get to cover. At that point, you can use a supported shooting platform to accurately put rounds on target from behind solid cover if you need to.

The first step is to get moving. Don’t stand still. Your shooting stance is not so important that it should put you in jeopardy.

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