Learn How to Shoot on the Move One Step at a Time
Have you ever seen a defensive gun use where both parties just stood there shooting at each other? No? Then learn how to shoot on the move!
Shooting on the move is quite possibly the most important shooting skill after trigger pull and recoil control. Unfortunately, shooting on the move can’t be practiced on most ranges, despite it being such an important shooting skill. Let’s take a look at how to shoot on the move, and then review how we can practice without violating range rules.
Todd Jarrett is an extremely skilled shooter, holding four world titles, nine national titles, and many other titles. He definitely knows what he is doing and his advice for shooting on the move is spot on.
How to shoot on the move
Footwork is critical when shooting on the move. Smooth, consistent steps will reduce muzzle bounce and sway – making it easier to keep the sights on target. Use your legs as shock absorbers to keep your torso from moving up and down. Timing the trigger pull with your steps can aid in accurate shot placement.
Moving crossways to the target is definitely more difficult than moving straight on towards or away from the target. Don’t bother with any weird criss-cross stepping. That’s a good way to trip, and it’s slow. Just walk like you have been walking all your life, one foot in front of the other, and twist your torso to square off with the target. If you pass the target and cannot twist your body any further, rotate your legs 180 degrees and walk backwards. That will still be smoother and easier than any criss-cross stuff.
Practice shooting on the move through dry fire
Whether or not your local shooting range has shooting bays, practicing at home through dry fire practice is the best (and cheapest) way to get better at shooting on the move. Put a target on the wall or pick a target sized object already on the wall, acquire a sight picture, and move towards, away, and crossways from that target.
Start slowly – very slowly. Do what it takes to keep your sights lined up and pointing at the target. Work in some dry fire trigger pulls when you feel you have a good sight picture. Watch your sights closely to see if they jump around when the shot breaks.
When you get to the point where your sights stay on target at that walking speed, pick it up a little bit until your sights start bouncing out of the target. Work on controlling the gun and your steps and trying to achieve a new base speed for shooting on the move.
Practice shooting on the move through shooting competitions
Most firearms enthusiasts don’t have access to ranges with shooting bays that allow for shooting on the move, engaging multiple targets, and similar dynamic shooting techniques. I highly encourage you to find a range, be it public or private, that allows shooters to practice these things.
If you can’t (or even if you can), consider trying out a local shooting competition, such as USPSA, IDPA, or 2 Gun. These shooting competitions will put you in dynamic shooting situations that require you to engage multiple targets while moving from position to position as quickly as you can.
Shooting competitions are an excellent way to practice and measure your shooting on the move skills.
Written by Brian Purkiss - always a student, sometimes a teacher.
I don't consider myself a competition shooter - I think of myself as a performance pistol shooter. I am all about performing at as high of a level as possible. Towards that end, I am obsessive about learning how to perform. I spend a lot of my life learning from the best across the entire firearms world and even into other areas of performance and other sports. I am a USPSA Carry Optics Grandmaster, currently working towards my second GM title in the Open division.