Dry Fire & Live Exercise Drills for Movement
In our last blog, we covered movement with a handgun. This post will focus on movement while shooting. This is an advanced level skill – not for beginners. You want to start slow; make sure of your target and beyond, and train with a partner or camera so you can see what you are doing so that you can improve. Also, note that many ranges do not allow shooting on the move. So, this is a skill that can be tough to practice on the range. You can however learn some of the fundamentals with dry fire.
One of the biggest issues with shooting on the move is safety. This is part of why in competitions, shooters are allowed to first “walk” stages. They can make note of any tricky areas they have to navigate if they plan to shoot on the move. Some of the basics you can cover with dry-fire are stance for shooting on the move, foot placement and direction, and becoming aware of your steps and what happens in your sights as your feet land. Then do this with live fire, and start slowly.
Next – Set Up
Just like we set up our stance to shoot while static or stationary, we need to consider our stance for shooting on the move. I do not stand tall, in fact, I am probably going to be more crouched (more athletic in my stance) since I have to both move forward AND counter recoil by use of my body. I will still be forward, but if I were to describe what I feel, it’s less weight over the balls of my feet and more weight forward. I keep knees bent to absorb the up and down of moving, and top of my body is what swings to face targets while my legs go in the direction I tell them. If you ski, this is very similar to the upper and lower body separation required in that sport. I start at my feet when it comes to movement. What will they do if I plod through movement
with thumping steps? The answer is that my sights are going to move too. So, I want to roll my steps. I want to think about heel-to-toe movement, and rolling my steps. Movement that is smooth versus aggressive will usually win out in the balance of accuracy for points vs speed.
Third – Be a Tank
I know it sounds funny, but consider your upper body like a tank turret that has to pivot. Your feet are the tracks that keep you moving in the right direction. If your feet face the target during movement, you will tend to move where they are pointed. What gets tricky is that we need to turn to shoot targets and we don’t want to fight our own body. One method of shooting while moving is pointing your foot on the side that has targets on it toward the targets, and your other foot in the direction you want to go. Your gait will be an awkward (duck-walk-ish style) with rolling steps and a crouched stance that looks funny, but it will keep you moving in the right direction and shooting without fighting your body.
Last – Practice
The key to many aspects of shooting well is practice. Understanding what our sights do when we move and what our bodies do while the gun recoils during movement takes experience that comes from just doing it. Start slow. Set up and be a tank…and have fun with it!
Becky Yackley primarily competes in 3 Gun, USPSA, Bianchi pistol, but has competed in shooting since 1989 in disciplines from service-rifle, to NCAA Air Rifle & Smallbore, air pistol, and a little bit of long range rifle.