Framing the Gunfight-Movement

In Part I we talked about the gunfight. I would like to expand on movement during a lethal force encounter. Over the years anecdotal evidence showed us that using the martial arts idea of moving off-line can save us from being hit by a punch, kick, bat and bullet. Thousands of anecdotal stories at some point became scientific evidence. It just works in a high percentage of the shootings officers investigate. A simple sidestep allows you to gain time and space, to operate.

A simple sidestep is not perfect and does not gain you a lot of time. If you fumble the draw or the bad guy is expecting you to run and is ready for you the amount of time you gain is even shorter than usual. You then might become the small percentage of people who it doesn’t work for.

In Part I, I talked about continuing to increase your draw speed and shooting speed while maintaining accuracy is a way to increase the effectiveness of the sidestep’s success. Another way to gain a bit more time is to draw while continuing to move. Don’t just sidestep but move using continuing steps while drawing and shooting the bad guy. But how much time does more movement give you?

This is where I often disagree with the dynamic movement school of thought. I have a list of things that I believe affect a person’s success in a gunfight. These are a few about movement:

  1. A sidestep usually works.
  2. Continuing movement stops working after the bad guy shoots at you a few times. Even people who have never shot at a moving target usually walk the bullets into the target with two or three shots at the range of 5 to 15 yards.
  3. The only thing you can effectively control about ending the gunfight is to use force against the bad guy. Often in a gunfight that means putting bullets in the bad guy.
  4. Because of the above, just running from the target leaves your survival up to chance.  Experiments from Force Science Institute showed that even people who have never shot can hit their target with at least 1 of 3 rounds at 7 yards.
  5. Because of #3 above, any movement that slows down the draw might be counter productive.  You will be effectively allowing the bad guy to shoot or continue to shoot at you.
  6. Because of #3 above, any movement that slows down the effective firing of rounds into the bad guy might be counter productive. You will be effectively allowing the bad guy to shoot or continue to shoot at you.
  7. Taking three steps while putting three rounds in the bad guy is better than taking 7 steps and then putting three rounds in him. Why? The bad guys bullets come your way in the second scenario, not as much in the first. It’s not how far you got away from the bad guy. Massive distance is not the point of the movement. It’s how long it took you to stop him that is the key.
  8. All out running from a bad guy is not always a bad idea. But it is usually a bad idea if the bad guy has a gun.
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