A Nurse with a Gun

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Move to Live

In a recent blog post, Carteach0 discusses the importance of movement in the defensive shooter's repertoire. As usual, Carteach0 does an excellent job of discussing the theory and mechanics of the skill. I hope he does not mind if I toss a few thoughts out there.......

The photo of Carteach0 that I chose to illustrate this post with ironically is one that he uses to illustrate what not to do. Movement and balance are as individual as people. Some shooters will be dangerous as Plaxico if they cross their feet. Others can move with the grace of Marcus and Karen Hilton doing the Tango. I personally do not feel concerned about crossing my feet while moving. Of course, I am not moving and shooting on packed snow and ice like Carteach0. I also have a background in ballroom dance. Oddly, I would advise anyone interested in developing footwork independent of torso movement to take ballroom dancing. I never thought about it before, but there it is. Ballroom dancing is all about complex integrated footwork with control of the torso.

One other thought..... Training to move laterally is good. Diagonally is better. But the best way to train by far is to move towards cover. Handguns do not have an infinite supply of ammunition. When used in self defense, a handgun often expends it's ammunition at an alarming rate. An extra magazine or speedloader is handy, to be sure, but one must remember that it is far better to reload behind cover than reload in the open. We will fight as we train. If we do not train to move towards cover we may very well find ourselves reloading in the open when we least want to.

I suppose I should say it, although it should be apparent without my doing so..... If a shooter decides to train with movement, they should advance slowly, and practice movement while dry firing first. If they have laser grips on their handgun, it can be an effective tool to evaluate exactly how well they are making progress. Safety is paramount.



Anonymous Anonymous said...

Boxing, fencing, as well as many other martial arts that, exhibit finesse over brute force, would also be good ways of learning solid footwork.

Good Post.

2:55 AM  
Blogger Clay said...

Anyone who has participated in high school band and marched has considerable facility in interdependence of torso, hands, and feet. In fact -- it may be one of the best ways, because it focuses on rolling your feet from heel to toe to eliminate extraneous bounce.

7:49 AM  
Blogger the pawnbroker said...

i can see it now...a room full of bubbas awkwardly copying instructor armando's movements as they learn the finer art of the tango, vague bulges at their waists. hope nobody steps on their toes...

xavier, you are a man of many colors...and surprises.


7:54 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...


May I make one more suggestion? Of course, it's not mine, but it comes from noted trainer/LEO/author Ralph Mroz: get in shape! How many times have we seen images in gun rags, blogs, and books of heavy guys and gals going through drills and offering tactical advice? Answer: on a regular basis!

Oh sure, I know some folks are just big-boned or may have thyroid issues, but the fact is many of us (I'm in that group) could be well-served by becoming a little more fit. Doing so will make the footwork exercises easier, plus, as we're more likely to suffer from a stroke or diabetes than a violent criminal, we'll probably live a little longer.

Mike Harbour
Helena, MT

9:32 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Before Clint Smith was teaching it, I had an old Gunner in the Marines teaching us "Shoot, Move OR Communicate". Usually, doing one at a time produces better results.
Learning shooting while moving on a square range can be done with all the pretty heal/toe, duckwalk, type movements. But in reality, life presents us with things like curbs, steps, posts, bumpers and whatnot which are out of our line of sight when trying to shoot and move. If you are stacked up in a team performing a CQB function, shooting while moving can be done as you have multiple sets of eyes and if you trip and fall, there are multiple other weapons to cover you while you recover.
On the street, in a self defensive situation, a person cannot shoot accurately and move accurately at the same time because unfortunately both eyes are on the same side of our noggin.
My advice: address the threat to stop the threat. Once that is done, use the time to create space between you and the threat. Simple.

Remember the Kehoe shootout? Cop #2 actually scored hits while moving to the rear. Just as he is leaving the frame of the dash cam, you can see him falling backwards though. His opponent was wearing body armor and all the hits were stopped. His opponent was also armed with an AK. If the opponent would have advanced instead of retreating the cop would have been a dead man.


10:01 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Xavier - A good example of movement while shooting is illustrated in the video of securtiy guard shooting a robbery suspect in Florida pharmacy - Check: http://www.nsbnews.net/ part way down the page are two videos of it - Good tactics here!

10:41 AM  
Blogger Unknown said...

Even better than martial arts training to work on movement is experience in a marching band. Nothing like doing pivot turns in odd directions while keeping an instrument pointed at the box while on astro-turf. It also helps develop an ability to move while keeping your torso steady. It's very easy for most people in the martial arts to neglect that while training. When marching while playing you soon start to hurt if are not smooth.

11:02 AM  
Blogger Bruce said...

Here's how it looks in real life.

1:11 PM  
Blogger Flo said...

One thing that might be good to supplement your training is using Airsoft pistols. Some trianing houses like Strategos use Airsoft Glocks for all their off range shooting.

You can even get Airsoft M4s that function like real M4s.

1:44 PM  
Blogger TheBronze said...

Looked to me like that guy didn't much of anything he was aiming at.

It doesn't much matter how you moved or how well you shoot your pistol, if you never hit the target...

8:44 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I was starting to think that I was the only one who enjoyed both ballroom and firearms. We all know what you shoot, but what do you dance?

12:29 AM  
Blogger Unknown said...

Good post. Personally I've had some experience with martial arts, ballroom dance and marching bands and they all have certain advantages to keeping proper posture, footwork and balance. In fact, I've found that knowing principals from one has helped in the others. Relating to shooting though, I would have to agree with Reed. Complicated footwork, varying angles and ALWAYS keep your horn to the judges box. This can translate very easily to moving towards cover while keeping your gun on target and not tripping over yourself. I knew I'd be able to use something I learned in high school eventually :)

1:17 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I guess I have a slight advantage. With 8 years of orchestra and 4 years of marching band, I've learned to read and analyze at once with my eyes, have independent movement of my hands, and "crab step" in an insane speed across 50 yards of football field. LoL!

The sad part is, the school district wants to decrease funding into the musical arts (orchestra, band, choir).

11:07 PM  
Blogger Andrew said...

I personally do not feel concerned about crossing my feet while moving.
I also have a background in ballroom dance.

Are you sure? How much of that grace and dexterity will stay with you in the middle of an adrenaline dump?

5:23 PM  

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