Moving With a Firearm

Moving With a Firearm

Posted by Matt Little on 24th May 2022

“The essence of fighting is the art of moving.” - Bruce Lee

One of the biggest technical issues I see with “tactical” shooters isn’t even a shooting issue per se. It’s movement. For some reason most people, even gifted athletes, forget all the rules of athletic performance when you put a gun in their hand. Part of this is the way movement technique is typically taught in military and law enforcement circles, and part of this is how it is typically trained. Movement should be trained athletically, and the movement techniques chosen should be performance based. There are some general principles to follow to make this happen, regardless of the particular movement skill being trained.

Always be aware of muzzle direction at all times. This can be at the subconscious level once sufficient skill is developed, but it always has to be present. This does NOT mean you need to use some artificial and rigid ready positions when you move. I am very much against moving with the pistol “indexed” against the temple or holster, or in any other static ready position, including “sul.” Learn to keep your muzzle pointed where you want without having to resort to over complicated and unnatural techniques.

The essence of movement with a firearm, whether in a gunfight or a match, is the ability to shoot accurately while you are unstable. Practice this thoroughly and extensively, it is absolutely essential for your progress as a shooter.

Movement needs to be relaxed and athletic. This does not mean it isn’t explosive. What it does mean is that it shouldn’t be tense or rigid. Movement is movement, and the principles don’t change from other athletic endeavors just because you are operating a firearm.

Vision drives movement. Even a quick glance at the exact spot you want to set up at will help you be precise with your positioning, even operating at high speed under stress. Much like looking the magazine into the magwell during a reload, this will drastically improve both speed and precision in your technique, and contrary to traditional doctrine will not significantly impair your situational awareness.

The gun needs to be kept high when setting up into position. It does you no good to get into position rapidly if you aren’t ready to shoot when you get there. I see this very commonly in “tactical” shooters, and it’s a major technical deficiency.

Look at top athletes for examples of relevant footwork technique. The best sources for gunfighting footwork are field and court sports. I came to this realization late in my career once I started USPSA competition. This took some adjustment on my part, as my athletic endeavors had always been either endurance or strength based because of the fitness demands of my military and law enforcement careers, or combative sports and martial arts. Martial arts footwork is applicable for using a firearm at contact distance or when entangled, but is not the right way to move in a traditional gunfight.

Don’t train movement as an afterthought. Drill its component skills dry and live, and emphasis its development at a high level. Just like every other type of conflict, movement is essential for victory in gunfighting.