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Deadeye: How To Become A Super Marksman With ‘Survival’ Gun Drills

dynamic shooting pistol“Dynamic shooting” kind of sounds like something the latest tactical ninja training DVD would be teaching. In reality, it’s really not.

There are different types of shooting, and the two main ones are dynamic and static.

Static shooting is simple target practice, an appropriate application of the fundamentals of marksmanship. Static shooting is what most of us do the majority of the time.

The second type, dynamic shooting, is where skills are sharpened in a variety of different ways. In dynamic shooting you learn to shoot in positions, situations, and utilizing techniques you may face in day-to-day situations. Dynamic shooting isn’t the action movie jumping through the air while simultaneously firing two guns and making cars explode in slow motion.

Think of dynamic shooting as real-world shooting. Unfortunately, most ranges will not allow any kind of dynamic shooting, so a stretch of private land with an appropriate back stop or even access to a special range may be required.

Of course, always take the appropriate safety measures and follow the four golden rules of firearm safety.

Basics of Dynamic Shooting

First off, everyone needs to practice shooting from different and sometimes unusual positions. In the real world you will never know what situation and position you’ll find yourself in. Before you practice any of these techniques live, I suggest a healthy amount of dry fire and dry runs.

Let’s start from the top and work our way down. Obviously, you practiced the standing position in static shooting. So now we’ll focus on the low standing. In my Marine Corps career I found myself in bad places more often than I would like to remember, and got shot at many more time than I cared for. You will have an overwhelming urge to be as small as humanly possible. This means you are going to bend your knees and bend at your waist.

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This isn’t a very comfortable position, but once the bullets are in the air you’ll be in it. You may be required to shoot in this position, so it’s important to get a good feel for it. Start practicing your draw from this position, transition from draw to target acquisition and then pulling the trigger. Remember, start with dry fire and work your way to live fire.

If you feel masterful of this technique, try to dry fire while moving. I don’t suggest live fire and movement until you’ve really mastered it.

Now when you get to cover what do you do? You get behind it. This is where training from a low firing position comes into play. A low position being from the knee, ultimately you should practice firing from both your left and your right knee. Now a simple board can be set up as “cover” for training situations.

Cover needs to vary between short and tall, to let shooters practice different levels of taking a knee. Practice should be done firing, over cover, and to the left and right of it. Always keep in mind that keeping your body behind cover as much as possible. Have a friend observe how much of your body is behind the cover, and refine and retune as necessary.

Firing from cover, especially from lower positions of cover, is an important skill to master. Cover is what saves lives.

Shooting From The Ground

Different situations may occur where you find yourself on the ground. You may be knocked down before you can get your gun out. Practicing drawing from the ground and firing from your back can be an important skill. Trust me: The world looks a lot different from down there.

You can also practice shooting from a traditional prone shooting position, on your right and left side as well. This will build familiarization with a multitude of different angles.

Of course, practicing your draw is important, not only just getting the gun to clear leather, but the sights on target followed shortly by bullets on target. This is probably the most dangerous portion of shooting. That reason alone is why nearly every range bans the practice. So it’s critical to practice drawing dry and dry firing.

Practice in the clothes you wear every day. If you wear a suit to work, practice shooting in a suit. If you don’t want to risk ruining your nice suit, get an old one from a thrift store.

We All Have Unique Dynamics

Now, all of us have unique situations in which we live. Different jobs and different environments are going to place us in different situations. I can’t possibly predict what your situation is. I’m going to use my situation as an example of how I built my training program for my life.

My day-to-day job has me in two different situations daily. I’m either in my office behind a computer or in a vehicle visiting customers, collecting money, and recovering merchandise. I’m armed constantly because I’m usually transporting expensive electronics, jewelry and small amount of cash, usually below a thousand dollars, but enough to be robbed.

I typically carry in an under-the-shoulder holster because it’s very easy to draw when seated, especially in a vehicle. So I train for this. I practice my draw from a seated position. I do practice shooting from a sitting position, and set up an old table and some cardboard boxes to simulate my computer.

I use some engineer tape or the orange tape sold at hardware stores to mark off water and gas lines to simulate the confines of my office, and to keep it as close as possible.

I’m still trying to figure out a way to practice shooting from the confines of a vehicle. Until then I can practice a seated position firing through a narrow opening.  Also, I can practice shooting through a larger opening in front of me and a smaller opening on the opposite side or me.

I practice shooting one handed in case one of my hands is occupied with a piece of merchandise, or the lockbox I store the cash in. I also practice dropping large boxes and making the transition to a handgun. No TV is worth my life, so I’m more than happy to drop it.

Building your dynamic shooting plan takes a careful examination of your life. It’s actually quite fun — when it’s done safely, of course. Always follow the four rules of gun safety and always practice dry before going live. Dry firing and dry training can be just as important as doing it with live rounds. Remember to be safe, and have fun.

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One comment

  1. All in, good advice. I’m a strong proponent of the “train as you fight” mentality. However, I have to get my few cents’ worth in.

    First, dry training is your friend. It takes a minimum of a thousand reps before muscle memory starts building. So work on your draw and present. Speed out of the holster is good, but what is better is a good time to get your first shot on target. After all, you never miss fast enough to come out on top. So don’t just work on the draw, work on getting your gun up and the sights lines up. And then work on your trigger pull. In a hurry, your grip and trigger handling can be less than optimal. A good training tool for this would be a guide rod laser so you can have a clear idea of how your aim wanders when you are working at speed.

    Second, point-shooting. At close ranges, you might not have time to do a full draw and present. And since a lot of these encounters happen at bad-breath range, that is a lifesaving skill. And this is were you definitely want to use a crawl-walk-run training approach, starting slow and dry and speeding up before transitioning to slow and live and eventually working up to live and at speed, because of the proximity to your body you will operate at. And as a part of this, you might also want a training partner to call out the threat as to create a more realistic training scenario. Also, if both you and your partner feel safe doing so, your training partner can be close to you or “in your way” so you can work with having someone to protect or in your way. Once again, you want to use the crawl-walk-run approach as to keep things safe and build muscle memory.

    Also, when you do live practice, you don’t need to warm up with your carry caliber. A .22 is fine just to get warmed up. Ideally, you would want a conversion kit for your carry gun, or it’s .22 variant on hand but neither are crucial. They are in the realm of “nice to have”. And that leads me to the length of a training day. The military is pretty big on the “train til you drop” school of training. It is hardly effective as there will come a point where you’ll just disconnect and go through the motions without any training value. Assuming as much ammo as you want, train until you’ve reached your goal for the day or until you are starting to get frustrated and losing your focus. Otherwise, you might do more harm than good. Or set yourself limits in terms of time and/or ammunition expenditure.

    Oh, and before I forget, taking someone to the range with you can allow for you to work on clearing stoppages, too. So when you are shot dry, have your buddy load up your mags/cylinder and speed loaders for you with the option of inserting Snap Caps as to introduce stoppages and if you can’t just do the tap-rack-go instantly and without thinking, then you need more practice. And that includes reloading as well.

    And one last point: outgoing fire is cover, to some extent. No one who knows has rounds impacting around him will stick their head out to take a shot. So if you are in the open, shoot and get behind something. And should you run dry as you move, don’t bring your gun back to your chest as you reload, do it at arms’ length, the other guy might not know you are empty but he will still see the gun pointed at him and that could buy you enough time to complete your reload and resume shooting before he clues in.

    Just the thoughts of a vet who has done the Gunfighter course and some training with some interesting folks.

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