Well, here’s one more. Watch your footing.
The range where I shoot most is pretty primitive, just an old covered area with some cement tables and beat up chairs. The indoor range in the back is very nice, but I much prefer to shoot outside, weather permitting.
The ground is rough, and it isn’t always mowed this close, so footing can be very tricky even in good, dry weather. That range becomes a sea of mud after a long rain, or when the snow starts to melt. But then, that’s why we built the indoor range.
This is actually the rifle range, of course, but there is no outdoor pistol range now. We simply walk up to the target stands as close as we need to get, and shoot from there. Any props we want have to be taken out and brought back in each time. One of these days I’ll make some small target stands we can use closer to the covered area, but so far it hasn’t happened.
The challenge is to move around and shoot without falling down. And yes, I’ve fallen down more than once out there. This would be very inconvenient if I was also in some sort of emergency situation that required my full attention. What to do?
You are obviously not always (almost never?) going to have a perfectly flat and clean floor or other surface to walk on while you shoot, let alone while you are furiously defending yourself. I’m sure you already know that you won’t be standing out there in your precise “Weaver” or other “stance,” shooting at a static target in that latter situation. You are going to be ducking, running, crawling to get under cover as fast as you can. If you can get off a shot or more, you’ll be lucky. Falling flat on your face because you tripped on something would not be a good thing right then.
Here are some drills from my book, “I Am NOT A Victim.”
Defensive Movement Between Shots
It is almost impossible to make accurate, safe shots WHILE actually moving. Learning to pause and reposition will make your defensive shooting much more effective. Move only if the threat is not immediate and no shots are being fired. Otherwise, you should be shooting from behind cover! During an ACTUAL emergency situation, you will be far LESS aware of your surroundings and much more apt to trip over some small object or uneven part of the floor or ground.
This is an advanced drill and should only be attempted after mastering the earlier skills. Use only your hands or a simulator “gun” for this exercise until you are comfortable enough to take it to the range. You are practicing movement and position here first, not just gun handling. You may incorporate this drill into the “Cover and Concealment” drill above once it is familiar. Add both drills to the Home Defense plan exercise once all are well established. Again, drill with an actual gun only if other people are not involved.
Moving backwards – if you need to retreat or find better cover.
First establish where you need to go and why. [In a real attack, If your life doesn’t depend on it, don’t move away from cover!]
Keep your eyes on the threat. Simulate holding a gun, keeping it at guard (or low ready) position.
Rock the leading foot to the toes and drag it back a short pace. This allows you to feel for any obstructions or objects on the floor that might trip you. Do not put your weight on the foot until you are sure the space is clear. Only then lift the heel of the other foot and slide it backward. Depending on the surface, you may do this quickly or slowly.
Get behind cover quickly.
Moving forward – do this ONLY to reach a MUCH safer place. Remember that if the “bad guy” is retreating, you no longer have any legitimate reason to shoot and you may provoke him to attack again if you pursue him. This is discussed at length in the Personal Protection in the Home class and book.
First establish EXACTLY where you need to go and why. If your life does not depend on it, you would not move forward.
Keep your eyes on the threat. Gun at guard position.
Slightly bend both knees.
Assume slightly forward posture, but remain balanced.
Rock the foot to place most of the weight on the outer edge/heel and lift the toes.
Slide the foot forward, making sure there is nothing under it before placing your weight on it. Then lift the toes of the other foot and slide it forward.
Get behind cover before you shoot, if possible.
Moving sideways – going between one item of cover to another or retreating.
Make sure of where you are going first, and why.
Keep your eyes on the threat, gun in guard position
Rock foot to place weight on the INNER edge of the leading foot.
Slide leading foot out, making sure ground/floor is clear before trusting weight to it.
Slide the other foot up to balanced stance and repeat as needed to reach objective.
NEVER cross one foot over the other. This is almost a guarantee for disaster.
When you can move easily and smoothly, add obstacles such as spent casings, magazines or speed loaders, toys or other objects to maneuver around.
Crawling – You may have an injury (even a gunshot) to a leg or the body and be unable to stand or walk, so this should remain an option always. This is an advanced skill exercise when holding a gun and must be practiced very carefully with a simulator until there is no hesitation or awkwardness from not having both hands free.
First practice dropping down to hands/elbows and knees holding a safe object that fills your strong hand. You must be aware of the object in your hands at all times. Practice with a squirt gun or simulated handgun and use safe trigger discipline always.
Know where you need to go and WHY before you start moving.
Keep your eyes on the threat as much as possible.
If possible, hold the “gun” with one hand, slightly in front of you.
Use your free arm and the other elbow to reach forward, then bring your knees up to push against the floor to advance. Only practice will teach you the best way to do this for your particular body and level of fitness. It may be nearly impossible for some people, if you have been badly injured or are exhausted. A good defense plan and situation may make this maneuver unnecessary, but it is certainly something to plan for and practice.
Practice with an unloaded gun only when you are very comfortable with the exercise using the simulation. Again, this is a movement exercise primarily. The gun handling skills are much the same as in any other situation. Only experienced students should attempt this with live ammunition on the range, under supervision.