Shooting on the move is one of those skills everyone enjoys doing, but doesn’t like the results. It is one of the few core skills we see getting attention, but not much improvement.
It takes a lot of work at the individual level to achieve the requisite skills to be successful in close quarters, now multiple that by the number of members on the team. Quickly you can start to see the complexity of the situation. Any tactic needs to be simple at its core, adaptable so when things go sideways you can quickly regain the initiative. Being simple has the advantage of adapting to an ever changing scenario. There is the best case, what much of our training centers around then there is worse case. It is the worse case that needs more attention. Something as simple as turning off the lights can take all but the very best of teams and bring them down several notches.
The old trick question
You also need to prioritize tasks, you won’t be able to do everything at one time, truly simultaneously. You might think so, but it’s not possible. You can switch tasks, but you can’t really do both at the same time. Which is better? Shooting from a static position or shooting while on the move? It depends, if you are required to neutralize a threat by delivering accurate and effective fire to the target zones would you rather have your feet planted or have them moving? You may not have a choice, but put that aside for now and think of it from which would you prefer.
The bullet doesn’t lie
This may seem an over simplification, but it’s really not. Having been teaching CQB for a long time I recognized shooting skills were subpar for many students. This translated into higher risk during live fire CQB runs and as a result we instituted a safety test we administer to all students prior to any live fire runs in the shoot house. The last thing anyone needs is a student who has to think so much on their shooting, there is not anything left to think their way through the situation. I believed this test was pretty straightforward and within reach, the results paint a different picture and many found themselves on the sidelines of sorts. Did they fail because the test was too hard or because they lacked sufficient skill. As we looked closer, I noticed most missed shots were recorded during the movement stages.
Points of domination
I’m not saying you won’t have to shoot while moving, but there are several opportunities for you to shoot planted and it is ideal you take advantage of them to ensure threat neutralization. The initial entry into a space has you doing both, you may need to shoot while you move to your initial points of domination engage threats on your primary & secondary scan then move to the next threat. Up until the point you have reached your point of domination and a few seconds after is when you can expect the majority of gunfire to occur. You are either engaging threats because you have the element of surprise or you are in a gunfight as they prepared for your entry.
The truth hurts
Either case, most of the business will be done in the first few moments of your entry. From there, you will need to prosecute the remaining threats in the space or adjoining spaces and for that you will need to be able to do it on the move until you reach your point of domination. While I would say yes, you need to be able to engage threats while on the move, the performance we see during the CQB Safety Test identities a deficiency in this skill so we emphasis the importance of engaging threat in the initial moments of the entry from a planted shooting platform versus a mobile one. Is it ideal, not really, but it is realistic.
I may want everyone to be dialed in and execute at a high performance level, but they can only execute off their true skill level. Anything else is wishful thinking.