Requirements: Rifle and or Pistol, glass / cup preferably a mug with a vertical handle, water.
Firing on the move can be broken down into smaller technical sections i.e. target identification, firing, moving, situational awareness, and reloading. Below we will focus on the movement portion of firing on the move.
Movement and firing with a firearm is much different than static firing. Moving and shooting adds in more challenges for the shooter.....
Not only could the target be moving, you are moving as well. You may be moving directly at the target or moving laterally against the target, or some combination in between. Our focus here is to begin to understand how to adapt some of the basic firearms marksmanship fundamentals in such a way as to help offset the movement and the inherently unstable base we have induced by moving our lower legs i.e. walking.
A few things to note about shooting while moving. If you can, don’t shoot on the move. you are always much more stable shooting from a static, supported position, with cover. That being said, when the occasion does arise in which you need to shoot while moving, only shoot and move as fast as you can accurately engage the target. We won't get into suppressive fires here, focus on accuracy for this drill.
When we say shoot and move as fast as you can accurately engage the target we are also talking about the speed at which you are walking or moving. Your speed will be somewhat slower than the usually walking pace. Slower pace based on the environment and the distance of the threat being engaged will all play into the level of accuracy on the target. All of these factors add up to “shooting as fast as you can accurately engage the target while on the move”.
From the feet up. This method (there are lots of them, don’t try just one- try lots of methods and incorporate what works best for you into “your own method”), has been called many different things. I first learned it in the Marine Corps as the “Combat Glide”.
Your feet, when they take a step they hit the deck striking the outer edges of the foot and rolling inward. The stride is much shorter than a normal step, the feet are almost acting as sensors for your body, your sensors are relaying information back to your brain housing group giving you input as to the terrain, traction, and other environmental variables. We are trying to focus our eyes on a target and allow your body to deal with the terrain as you are walking over it.
Your feet are closer together (narrow your stance stance), “Walk-the-tightrope”. This is helping alleviate some of the side to side movement from having too wide of a stance when walking. “walking-the-tightrope” keeps your body movements focused forward rather than side to side.
Next are the knees- I and many others often refer to the knees as the shock absorbers when employing the “Combat Glide”. The knees are bent in such a way as to absorb the up and down movement. imagine yourself trying to act as an auto leveling tank turret. Everything from the waist down is concerned about give your upper body the smoothest most stable ride possible.
The waist (turret of our human tank) allows for firing off the line or direction of travel, again think of a tank, the main gun rotating left or right while the tracks are still moving forward. Turning your upper body while the lower body tracks forward is sometimes an awkward stance which turns into sidestepping. Try lowering or bending at the knees more aggressively in order to allow a few more degrees of angle when turning the trunk of your body toward your dominate firing side, i.e. right handed, while body is movement is tracking forward upper trunk engages targets to the right, lower or bend knees more aggressively to allow for more natural walking gate instead of side stepping.
The upper torso is slightly leaning forward, weight over your knees. We want to be well balanced, we want to be prepared for the recoil impulse from our firearm once it is fired. We don’t want to be leaning back, leaning back will be amplified even more once you start to fire, you will end up looking and feeling somewhat awkward as your center line weight distribution moves back over your butt. lean forward into the firearm system and control the recoil impulse, The stance needs to resemble an athletic or fighting type stance.
Arms are acting as stabilizers, fine-tuning the up and down, left and right to get the point of aim onto the target. We use the upper trunk of our human tank turret to get the rough movement of our weapon on target. The arms will be used to finesse the red dot or cross hair onto our point of aim. I remember being taught to only shoot when one of your feet was in mid step - in the air. I was never that coordinated. The best way for me is to just focus on the target, when I see the red dot fall on the point of aim I press the trigger as the dot is as close to or on the point of aim as I can get it (same for irons as well). Waiting for the stars to align isn’t a good method, when the eye see’s a properly aligned target- we take the shot- no matter what position our feet might be in at that moment.
Now to the movement drill-
With a glass or mug filled with water, Take up an athletic firing stance, arms extended, holding the mug filled near to the top with water. Now walk, walk across your living room. The water in the mug is going to tell you how stable you are ( i’m not responsible for cleaning up the mess).
Repeat this drill utilizing some of the tips we talked about above until the water is no longer sloshing out. A little water movement in the mug will happen, we are trying to avoid the big, sloshing movements of water. Once you have gotten the feedback you need from the mug and water technique, move to the rifle.
Safety is a must. No ammunition in the firearm, physically and visually clear the firearm.
If you have access to a laser aiming device it to give feedback on how stable the muzzle is during the drill. Observe the laser on the wall and make your own changes in stance, gate, and other body positions in order to get the most stable feedback as possible.
With the rifle mounted in your shoulder and an aiming point across the room. conduct a movement drill toward the aiming point. Conduct a movement drill back to your start position. This is one complete set.
Once you are finished with 10 movement drill sets return to the mug with water and run a diagnostic test. The very first time using the mug and water drill you should not slosh any water out. If you did, return and do 10 more movement drills sets .
If the firearm is getting heavy...do 10 more movement drills sets. This set will be for strength building, continue to attempt to keep point of aim on your aiming point but understand that your arms may be getting burnt so this is more for the reps than anything.
As you progress through this movement drill you should add in dry firing as well. (refer to safety admonishment above). We are building our base, starting off with a small portion of the movement skill then building upon it as we master each portion.
Additional step to add in
dry firing “snapping-in”
Firearm reload - speed / emergency reload
Snapping-in is bringing in trigger work to the training equation. We are observing our point of aim hovering on the target area and when the trigger is pressed we should not see the aiming point take a huge departure from the target area. The trigger press should not disturb our sight picture.
Firearm reloads on the move is something you have to train for, reloading on the move is not ideal, but stuff happens and you must deal with it. I recommend you are in as stable a position as possible in order to as quickly as possible get a fresh magazine inserted back into your firearm. Often times we don’t always have the luxury of doing what is the most stable or the most recommended method, so we train for all possibilities.
You might be in the middle of a movement technique and stopping is not a viable option. You should have practice reloading on the move prior to actually needing it during a competition or during a defensive situation.
I use a method of bringing the firearm up close into an area almost directly in front of me this allows my vision to continue to focus on the target as my peripheral vision guides my hands, my feet, and my direction of travel.
My recommendation for reloading on the move is for an Emergency / Speed reload. If you have the time for a tactical reload or reload with retention, you probably have the time to stop and get a stable position in order to quickly reload your firearm from behind cover or concealment.