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Featured Article:  02-2005



Move and Shoot, Shoot to Live

By:  Richard Wright



Note:  The author is a long-time NTI practitioner and law enforcement officer.  A firearms trainer himself, he has studied with many of the most respected names in the industry & has contributed several articles to ATSA.



After numerous trips to the National Tactical Invitational (NTI) it has become apparent to me that movement is an essential survival skill for today’s gunfighters.  It is most obvious when watching today’s professional Boxers and Martial arts experts.  You don’t see them standing still and trading punches and kicks with their opponent, so why would we?  Plainly stated, a moving target is harder to hit.  Therefore it is to our advantage to move off the line of attack.  Notice I said “off the line of attack,” not just movement.  Not all movement is the same.  Sure, circumstances may dictate where you can move, but most of the time, it is up to us to choose.  Moving forward and back, may provide a brief diversion as the assailant must react to your sudden movement, but in reality, all it does is give him a larger or smaller target to hit.  Now smaller is better than larger, so moving back would be the better choice between the two.  The problem with moving backwards is obvious.  You do not know what you are stepping into.  Today’s urban environment offers an ever changing landscape from curbs, to trash, to traffic, in which to trip and fall-- you name it.


Of course there are ways to step backwards that will reduce your chances of tripping and falling, but fortunately, there are better options.


Remember, I said “Move off the line of attack,” By that, I mean move to a 45* angle laterally!  Which direction really doesn’t matter as much as the fact that you move.  Move at least one step, explosively, and two steps would even be better.  This will cause your opponent to have to pause in his action while he re-acquires you, adjusts his aim, and then fires.  This delay affords you an opportunity to succeed in this lethal force encounter.


Of course we are taking advantage of our movement by drawing our gun (if it is not already drawn), and engaging the target.  Moving while drawing adds no real time to your draw yet offers you a tremendous tactical advantage.  Depending upon the distances involved, some may move then shoot, while others may move while shooting.  Circumstances along with training and your own pistol skill will determine what is right for you.


Remember, Movement does not stop after the shooting.  We must continue to move, scan, assess and reload.  Movement to cover is a great idea, if you are not already behind it.  Please remember to scan a full 360* then check yourself for injuries.  It is not uncommon for those shot to not be aware of it till after the shooting stops and things start to return to normal.


There are other advantages to movement besides not getting hit (although that is the big one!), and that is to insure that there are no friendlies behind your target that may inadvertently get hit.  Remember Rule 4?  Know what your target is and what is behind it.


This is especially true in a building with standard wall board construction.  Almost any full powered commercial grade ammo will penetrate the walls in your house.  So what is behind the assailant?  Your child’s room?


How about if you are in the city when this happens?  Are there people behind the perpetrator who may get hit?  As good as you are, Mr. Murphy is guaranteed to be at your next gunfight, and he will insure that you will buy everything that any errant bullet hits, be that a car, a bike, or a bus load of Nuns!  Think you are too good for that to happen?  Want to bet your life and everything you own on it?  Moving laterally allows you to see your target and what is behind him better that non-movement.


In addition to the lateral movement, I believe that there might be times to kneel after moving to take your shot.  If there are innocents down range, shooting in an upward trajectory decreases your odds of hitting someone directly behind the attacker.


Is this a perfect answer?  No.  But circumstances will dictate your response, while training will dictate how you react.  To learn the difference, come train with us.