When do we shoot on the move?
This is both a complex and simple question to answer, but first we need to divest the reality from the confusion:
The confusion comes in when we take CQB techniques designed for use inside structures, where walls create limited fields of fire, and take them outside into the open where we face the 360 degree battlefield. I have commented about this before. For example, if we are conducting CQB, we may be advancing along a corridor, and if faced with a threat we will engage as we move forwards, or perhaps stop temporarily to shoot, or a mix of both. In that environment, you are faced with the option of shooting the enemy before he shoots you. As such, cover is not your primary consideration, if there even is any, but getting rounds into the enemy to stop the threat is. As such, you may remain standing and/or moving.
That’s all very well, but the battlefield is not exclusively CQB. This is where the problem starts. How do we train to advance along a corridor engaging threats? Well, we advance in the open on a square range, engaging targets. We are doing it in the open, as a training progression towards moving it inside the shoot house. And that is where the problem occurs, when we do these techniques designed for inside during CQB, and take them outside. And then pretend they are legitimate tactics. You see this all the time with square range training, shooting at ranges of about 3 inches from the target, where no one ever takes cover. Weapon stoppage? I’ll do it standing, thank you very much. Who needs to take cover anyway?
As such, advancing on the enemy slowly in the crouch/groucho walk, as you might inside a structure during CQB, is not appropriate. Why? Because you are outside and face the 360 degree threat.
This is why we do the RTR drill and we fire and move.
The RTR drill gives you an opportunity, if needed, to take care of immediate threats before moving to cover and following up. This is your individual reaction drill and covers any need for immediate reflexive fire.
Fire and movement allows for suppression of the enemy from cover, while all movement is covered by fire generated by buddies who are in cover. Therefore, if you were all to get up and walk towards the enemy shooting, you would be missing the cover part. That is a meme you see all the time in movies, whether by military or SWAT actors. It looks good though, right? But not to me, because I know what right looks like.
So when do we shoot on the move when in the open?
You shoot when you have no choice. If you are fire and moving forwards onto an enemy position, and as you are doing your rush, you come across an enemy in front of you, then you shoot on the move. This is instinctive shooting at the run, not the CQB type of slow move. You do this because you don’t leave a live enemy behind you, and if you come across bodies, alive or dead, they get a couple of rounds as you fight through. MVT doesn’t give legal advice, but that’s OK as far as the law of armed conflict goes – it’s when you come back to clear the position, and find them laying there wounded, that you can’t finish them off.
This is fairly nuanced, and if you haven’t done any professional tactical/combat training, you may not appreciate the differences here. There is shooting on the move as a technique used for standing/walking shooting in a CQB environment. Then there is shooting on the run as you run through an enemy position, as part of your rush from one piece of cover to the next. Don’t confuse the two, because if you do, you will be stalking forward slowly keeping your barrel level, in the open, and victim to any number of enemy who may have you in their sights.
The video below is a demonstration from some time last year (still rocking the DPM before the move to MTP). It shows me demonstrating fire and movement basics. At the end, I shoot on the move as I make the final bound onto the enemy position. This simulates me covering the enemy position with my barrel as I run past it (a vertical version of ‘slicing the pie’) and putting rounds into the enemy that I see laying there. That clears the position and allows me to announce “position clear” to my buddy.
Max Velocity Tactical is on the leading edge of immersive, scenario based, tactical live fire and force on force training. Teaching combat proven, adapted, Special Operations / light infantry tactics.