Walking & Shooting: Challenging the Misapplication
January 11, 2017 at 4:49 pm #95363
All the time I see shooting videos of people misapplying walking and shooting i.e. shooting on the move. This is not limited to amateur videos, but seems to be embedded in the shooting / training culture. It is prevalent in law enforcement shooting videos, or more accurately, commercials created that aim to sell to the LEO/SOF community, or to civilians who fall victim to the ‘cool culture’ that is portrayed.
Because, we must admit, shooting on the move looks cool. I am talking about shooting while walking. And thus those aiming to sell product or services will show it. They will also teach it, because it is what the market wants. I have no issue with the teaching of shooting on the move, but I consider its misapplication to be dangerous.
I have a pet theory that due to the GWOT focus on CQB-type activities and training, this has led to dangerous lessons learned by those not fully grounded in infantry training. What do I mean by this? Well, shooting on the move is a valuable skill for CQB. However, if you do not understand context, and do not have well rounded tactical understanding, this gets used at inappropriate times. To make it more confusing, there is a also a mix up between SWAT-style training, and the military application of structure entry and clearance.
Often, a SWAT-style police action is focused, in simple terms, on the interior of the house i.e. the team will roll up in a vehicle, dismount, stack, and enter. In a military environment (read any combat/tactical environment) a structure entry and clearance takes place within the tactical whole. The whole is effectively a squad operation where the entirety of the objective must be considered, including support by fire positions, approaches, entry points, and clearance priorities. Thus it is like any squad attack, but with the additional dimension of a structures(s) on the objective. Support by fire, covered approaches, must be considered and utilized.
What kicked this post off for me was two recent videos that I watched. No names. One was of two guys exiting a vehicle, and attacking targets in another vehicle. Each man approached from his side of the car, executing shooting on the move perfectly. Great demonstration of the skill. But real world application? They were both focused through their sights on the other vehicle, walking slowly to steady their aim, letting rip at the targets. There was no consideration for the enemy having a vote, for use of cover, for the enemy not being where they thought they were (i.e. all behind the vehicle). They would have been better off suppressing the enemy, then moving in bounds covered by the other. It is called fire and movement.
This is why the 3 second rush was invented. You cannot expect to locate and suppress all the enemy all the time, hence you move in short rushes covered by a buddy. It is infantry basics.
The other video was an expensive commercial for the SHOT Show made by a well known company featuring LEO landing by helicopter and approaching a structure, all moving at the same time at the walk, all shooting. Then some footage of clearing the building, but plenty more footage of guys just shooting on the move outside. Looked really cool. One unlocated / unsuppressed enemy in cover would have wreaked havok.
It hurts my head that I actually have to make these points, but this has become part of the training culture.
Now, please don’t misunderstand me (but this is the internet so how can I expect that!) Shooting on the move is a very valuable skill. It must be practiced on the square range and got right so that you can apply it to where it is needed – for CQB. Thus, it is designed to be used within structures where your primary firing position will be standing and where you may not be able to take cover. If you are moving down a corridor or into a room, you must be able to engage targets and shoot on the move. The problem comes when that square range training, for CQB, is taken and misapplied by utilizing it out in the open.
What is also a problem is when CQB drills are applied to moving out in the open or between buildings, where the teaching is for a bunched up ‘stack’ moving across open ground. Open areas in urban combat are kill zones and you either have to pick a covered route, move through the buildings., or have suppressive fire to get across. Thus, moving in a tight stack, slowly, is not the ideal. You need to run across, with dispersal (or fast as a group), in most cases. Trying to move slowly all tight together is going to get you killed in a burst. But again, it’s the prevalent training culture.
The prevalent training culture does not take account of competent unsuppressed enemy that you may not have located. It assumes that you are bullet proof as you move forward at a slow walk in the open, hammering the known target i.e. it assumes dominance on the battlefield and that you are bullet proof.
This is why we teach the RTR drill as the individual react to contact drill anywhere in the open (CQB is different, and is taught separately). What does the RTR drill effectively mean?
- Return Fire (as necessary) – this is your immediate reflexive fire response to a sudden threat.
- Take Cover
- Return Fire (as appropriate to the situation).
What this comes down to is the ability to return immediate fire as appropriate from the standing position. This is to try to stop the immediate threat, or at least put the enemy off his aim if you don’t actually hit, with a view to allow your buddies and you to get to cover. Once in cover you are locating the enemy, engaging, and communicating. After that, you do whatever drill you are going to do.
One other thing that I disagree with, in relation to this, is the standard FM teaching that if a team is assaulting (in the open) by fire and movement, that when they get to grenade range they should all get up and ‘assault through’ together. At MVT classes we teach a better technique than this. The assault through together technique works fine if you are sure all the enemy are in one place and you have them suppressed or killed, then you are simply moving through to mop up. Granted, it is also supposed to be conducted within a squad attack scenario where there is another team providing support by fire from a flank as you assault on to the objective. But the serious weakness is the potential presence of enemy in depth or mutually supporting. Also, you may have to assault through an area across which enemy are spread out, or have crawled to if wounded, and thus it might not be easily defined. Thus, we teach to continue the fire and movement through the objective, actually breaking down into smaller buddy groups as you assault through. Because remember, this is why the 3 second rush was invented. If you are moving through in short rushes from cover to cover, whether firing or simply doing overwatch for your buddies, you are harder to hit from another enemy position than a line of guys assaulting through on line.
What I see as missing on these cool-guy square range classes (other than genuine infantry tactics) is any realistic teaching about taking cover. I see a focus on carbine skills that do not fully take account of rounds coming back at you. We are seeing carbine drills, not basic tactics. Also, much of the stuff that is genuine and very relevant to CQB training is misappropriated to what people think is appropriate tactical behavior in the open. It is not.
On other thing to consider, and this is going to be heresy against the current thinking, is that if you do happen to be shooting on the move in the open, not in a CQB environment, then you may be applying a very different technique. This is something that I learned ‘back in the day.’ Shooting on the move in a CQB environment is a specific technique where you are trying to move while maintaining accuracy to engage targets. If you are in the open and dashing from cover to cover, or through the enemy position, and you get a threat, you may want to simply engage on the run, stream firing as you run through. This is fast and aggressive but mitigates against dying if you move slowly at a steady smooth CQB pace. It is less accurate and more instinctive, but you make up for that by stream firing.
I’ll put a video below to show some of what I mean by that. Please don’t read too much into the video itself, it is just something I made and given that I am alone, I cannot fire and move with a buddy. I would most likely break contact, particularly given the volume of incoming fire we put in the video! But there are some examples of movement techniques in there. Again, watch but don’t read too much tactical into it. Camera is on top of my head. The key point is that I am not advancing up the valley, bullet proof, at a smooth walk!
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January 11, 2017 at 9:20 pm #95364hellokittyParticipant
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January 11, 2017 at 10:06 pm #95365ThomasParticipant
I miss your videos, Max! Thank you for posting this one.
January 12, 2017 at 3:23 am #95366BrothersKeeperParticipant
Reading this reminded me of the scene early in Patriot Dawn when the Berengers were still at home and the Regime soldiers were killing the neighbors and Jack opened fire. The Regime soldiers advanced on his house too bunched up and Jack took them out from the back to the front. I was envisioning that scenario as Max was describing the bunched up stack walking in the open with no fire and movement. I sure am glad I started training with Max before I got corrupted by the rest of these yahoos.
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January 12, 2017 at 8:17 am #95367
I also posted this on the blog. I have to keep the blog going with a little more than just class schedule announcements! But no names, no pack drill on the blog. Here, I’ll give you a little more info. I’m going to post the first video I am referring to, if I can get it to do so becasue it is on Instagram. This video is by ‘Courses of Action,’ a training company run by a SOF veteran. This is the vehicle / walking scene I was referring to:
Update: click on the text belwo and it seems to take you to the video. Looks really cool right? How about left guy (Primo) stays in cover by the vehicle doing SBF while the other guy flanks on the far side of the target vehicle? Basics. Both walking slowly forward like that, any enemy unsuppressed can tag them.
Doing a quick demo of one option with @guerrilla_approach for students on two man drills incorporating a flank etc. A motivated person can do a lot of damage, two motivated people is even worse. If you're not following him then you should be. #soflete #hiphop #gunfighter101 #vanillaharambe #oda #sof ? @muzzleflashmedia
A video posted by Johnny Primo (@courses_of_action) on
January 12, 2017 at 8:23 am #95368
This is not a personal attack on Primo, but why? Cool?:
Starting from around 25 yards and walking in. Just walk, tighten your core , get your sight picture and press the trigger. This is uneven terrain and as you see nothing really changes with posture etc from walking the way I normally do. #gunfighter101 #sof #oda #murderyassfriends
A video posted by Johnny Primo (@courses_of_action) on
” target=”_blank”>Walking Video
January 12, 2017 at 8:27 am #95369
Here is the Daniel Defense video I referred to. So, If I’m the bad guy in the building I’m taking down the helicopter and all of the guys, and coming out to steal their cool guy gear. It’s a cool guy training curse on the whole industry. It has become cultural:
January 12, 2017 at 8:49 am #95370
So, this points to another of my issues. I am talking now about legitimate SOF/combat veteran instructors out there, not the junk like Yeager and Tactical Response and all the rest of the bullshit. These are legitimate trained and experienced soldiers. But what are they teaching? Many seemed to have moved past the ‘only teaching LEO’ thing and will teach civilians. But they are not teaching real SUT like we are here at MVT. Here at MVT of course we run square range classes, because they are essential, but they are part of a necessary progression if you are to become competently trained.
So, for example, looking at Primo and Course of Action, for example. He runs one ‘SUT’ class. 3 days for $1,200. Wow, I’m missing something here at MVT, need to hike up the prices!
This is his SUT class:
This is a 3-day course developed to teach students basic Small Unit Tactics or how to move / “patrol” as a team, through both rural and urban environments. This is a rolling class meaning there will be lunch and dinner breaks however, no hotels and minimal sleep. We will be rehearsing, patrolling and reacting to contact as a team. For the final exercise students will receive a mission, come up with and execute their plan. They will infil, patrol, meet resistance through out the movement, execute operation and exfil as a team.
The curriculum that will be taught is the following but not limited to, survival, combat medicine, patrolling, planning, land navigation, react to contact, basic CQB (Close Quarters Battle), and much, much more.
Upon enrollment of the course you will be emailed both a required and recommended packing list.
Oh fucking really? In three days? Is this live for or something else? As a professional tactical course designer I can tell you that is a BS curriculum.
January 12, 2017 at 9:03 am #95371
And not to focus on Courses of Action, because I have no personal beef, just using it as an example after I saw some of his videos.
You have a lot of ‘gunfighter’ style classes out there that seem to get stuck on the square range, or they may do a bit of CQB, or they focus square range training on CQB TTPs as I previously mention and thus give no grounding on how to operate in a non-CQB environments. These classes are often focused on high quality carbine and handgun handling but include no real tactical sense.
My point is that there may be nothing intrinsically wrong with what they teach, but the failure to teach real SUT is letting students down. It used to be that well known trainers would refuse to teach SUT to civilians, but now it is more like they just don’t have the facility, the training plan, or juts offer something half assed.
But hey, this may be good for MVT, because we have a niche? Bu what we do is nothing more than professional combat training on a progression. There is something in the training culture that misses this.
For example I was looking into Northern Red after Diz started bumping his gums about them ‘cuz his buddy is an instructor. These are legitimate guys with a similar specific (SF) pedigree to some of the MVT instructors. Combat proven guys, just like MVT. But form all I can find, they teach carbine/handgun classes, and some UTM CQB. This is ‘gunfighter’ stuff and stops short of what civilian need to learn to be tactically competent. Why? I don’t know. It could be a facility thing – MVT has invested in the facility and the right equipment for run real SUT, better than is available to SOF units at Bragg. We can also go mobile with it. If you are stuck with a square range, then that is all you can do. Perhaps this is really at the heart of it? Northern Red want to come and run a guest class at the MVT facility, using our equipment (I’ll be button pusher if they wnat)?
January 12, 2017 at 9:15 am #95372
Yeah this concept of SUT in a box that is being taught around the country is pretty sketchy at best. I mean I spent 6 months learning how to lead a platoon, and then did 6 years practical application and really just barely scratched the surface.
The guys that do the follow-on training, by coming back to the VTC on a regular basis are the ones really serious about the trade.
January 12, 2017 at 9:30 am #95373
The prime mission of Northern Red right now is disseminating the lessons learned throughout 10 years of warfare to update and improve the skillsets of law enforcement personnel. Most of their classes are closed to us these days, unfortunately.
I could ask if they’re interested, but I know they’re pretty fucking busy these days. My buddy is out of town 3 weeks out of 4. All across the country.
January 12, 2017 at 10:48 am #95374
This is not intended to become about Northern Red, and I know you are paid up fan due to your buddy Diz, but that is by the by. I think what you just said about Northern Red’s elected mission pretty much says it all – they have an LEO focus. So they will not be running SUT for civilians. They are also not the only ones involved in the last 15 years of the GWOT, and in fact MVT was created to primarily train civilians in combat proven tactics, and has evolved to also training SOF (the amount of training we actually give them depends on what they want, from a full training package, scenarios and missions with observer controllers, to run of the facility for missions). I am sure Northern Red are too busy with LEO to want to run an SUT class for civilians or military at the MVT site, and it doesn’t really matter anyway.
This isn’t about Northern Red, nothing derogatory has been said about them (only positive) and it is just a further example of trainers not really teaching SUT classes, particuallry to civilians.
January 12, 2017 at 10:53 am #95375RRSParticipant
Those hero videos embarrass the hell out of me, as to what we (Americans) have devolved to, LARPers. In 4 days those kind of videos will be playing non-stop to the drunks in Vegas.
January 12, 2017 at 10:59 am #95376Short StrokeParticipant
Thanks for sharing this, Max. But let’s spread these videos to our enemies so they can train to be as ineffective as possible. Reminds me of my grandfather talking about the Chinese he fought in Korea, walking in a line in the woods with full auto rifles blasting away from their hips.
January 12, 2017 at 11:04 am #95377
And when I say combat proven tactics, I am also including combat proven skills and weapon manipulation. MVT is not just about the SUT, but it is about the skills at an individual level that lead you up to being combat effective. So what we teach on the square range, for example in CRS or RS or the Friday of CTT, is the essence of good, combat effective, carbine skills.
It all comes down to the basics in the end, so long as your basics are the right ones. There is no one out there teaching ninja carbine skills. They are either teaching good solid, safe, skills and drills or they are not.
It would be wrong to denigrate MVT on the square range side, and promote it only on the SUT side. The carbine and manipulation skills that we teach are second to none. To say otherwise simply buys into the ‘gunfighter’ fakery, where people go down a rabbit hole on the square range because they have nothing to progress to, such as SUT. This is in fact the drive of this article, where people start to misapply things such as CQB drills because they don’t know any better and they have no tactical sense.
Carbine skills are not actually that complex. It is just a case of being taught right and mastering the basics. Brilliance in the basics so that you can perform them fast and well, and get your head out of the weapon to focus on the situation. Anyone that wants to tell you that it is secret squirrel stuff is a snake oil salesman, taking you down a rabbit hole. You would be better to progress with situational awareness, scanning, decision making and communication, all things that come out of live fire and FoF SUT training. Skills that teach tunnel vision on square ranges are not good.
Even the MVT CQBC is going to be a ‘holistic’ class not just focusing on kicking doors and entering rooms. The whole of the objective and situation must be considered. Good CQB is a subset of SUT, Will great carbine skills be taught? Oh fuck yeah. But will that be it? Fuck no.
January 12, 2017 at 11:08 am #95378
Reminds me of my grandfather talking about the Chinese he fought in Korea, walking in a line in the woods with full auto rifles blasting away from their hips.
WTF? That is modern tactical training in America, and how they do it in all the Hollywood Movies! Maybe weapons in the shoulder is the only difference…..
January 12, 2017 at 11:25 am #95379BrothersKeeperParticipant
Dang, that DD video is awesome. Makes me feel really good about purchasing one of their rifles. I hope we get to incorporate helicopter insertions and extractions in the combat leader course.
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January 12, 2017 at 12:28 pm #95380
Yeah that’s very true. Northern Red has a mission to train the LEO’s in this country to handle all the new threats coming their way. And yeah as it relates to us or this discussion they are pretty much irrelevant to the conversation. So yeah I am a “fan boy” as you say, and for very good reason, but that is neither here nor there.
The issue at hand is whether the technique of moving while shooting is being mis-used by various training groups. I think the answer is an obvious yes.
January 12, 2017 at 2:44 pm #95381wesmcParticipant
Man, lots of good shit in this thread! Worth the yearly price admission in itself! One entry in my notebook from CCT in March last year, at VTC — “There is no secret squirrel shit…there’s just not.” – Max
The vast majority of the gun-toting, patriotic crowd LOVE theatrics, and they want to believe in “secret squirrel shit”. I’m still battling ignorance on the local level, here, and trying to get people to train. It seems everyone has their own personal secret-squirrel-shit guy, and I’m the biggest asshole in town for trying to dispel bullshit. Fuck…
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January 12, 2017 at 3:01 pm #95382SeanTKeymaster
Here is the Daniel Defense video I referred to.
Who the hell are they shooting AT when they land?? At least at 1:04 the guy gets off his sight and looks. Then they hop the cab back to never never land???
January 12, 2017 at 4:49 pm #95383
There is no tacti-crap suicide walk and shoot here.
There is one guy the pirouettes on a break content peel though. Wanker.
January 12, 2017 at 4:55 pm #95384Joe (G.W.N.S.)Moderator
They are giving people what they want.
The problem is what people want, is seldom what they need.
They just don’t know any better and most trainers either lack the motivation or the character to put it in proper context.
Many of these so-called trainers lack maturity and their level of experience is nowhere near what it is portrayed as.
They did maybe a couple of enlistments and bunch of deployments and are now accepted as experts, when in reality they hadn’t peaked professionally before leaving military.
It should be obvious I am not aware of every trainer out there and I hope there are plenty of good ones.
January 12, 2017 at 5:42 pm #95385ChrisModerator
Well I Watched the DD video, its Hollywood fluff
Meant to sell a product. Looks cool wedge formation silently pew-ing and such but getting off the x and consolidating before doing either a deliberate or systematic clear would be the priority. Flinging rounds into windows at a trot gets holes in brick, pissed off opfor and an empty mag at the breach (btw, the breach after shooting up the building???)
So the car assault video, If it’s an ambush and you’re on the X,yeah get out and get fire superiority but if they are doing the take down you need SBF for squirters and an assaulter. Even if it’s only a buddy pair
January 12, 2017 at 6:00 pm #95386CorvetteParticipant
As a consumer / victim of this type of training, I have given this subject a lot of thought. It’s cool guy for sure, it’s fun to do also, but it just didn’t feel right. I know a lot has changed since my time in the game in the 90’s, and I try to keep an open mind to learn the new way, but I still question everything before adopting.
Doing the cool guy walk with guns up is very tiring and it just cannot be done for very long, athlete or not. Not being a Tier 1 shooter, I sure missed a lot also.
My theory I have come up with is that IF, you have Rangers doing security, and your sole focus is a rehearsed cqb raid, and your team are all Olympic class athletes that shoot 10k rounds a month in work up training, this may very well be how to skin the cat.
For normal guy, it was pretty obvious to me that the cool guy with walk guns up wasn’t the plan. I absolutely believe that RTR is the plan.
I still plan on taking classes from some of the very popular Delta trainers, but am focusing on classes that are more defensive handgun based. The 2017 training plan is still coming together.
January 12, 2017 at 6:56 pm #95387
January 12, 2017 at 7:33 pm #95388wheelseeParticipant
Thanks Max for posting.
Looking back to the 90s, I remember ZERO pre-op briefings that included external threats…..we focused on who the target was and what the inside of the house looked like. Usually patrol deputies provided an external security, then we had an entry team and an immediate perimeter team. We wore Level IV assault vests with ballistic helmets an polycarb face shields. As soon as the initial security was complete, and the narcotic guys started their stuff, we had already stripped most of our equipment off and just wore basic kit……looking back, we were just targets but at that time, the atmosphere/culture was so different.
We did what we did because that’s the way it was done, and it worked. And us younger folks didn’t know any difference. As Max, Diz, and so many others state – mission drives TTPs.
I’ve learned to ask why. Why do we do it this way?? Why don’t we do it that way??
Looking forward to TX.
January 14, 2017 at 10:33 am #95389RRSParticipant
Just throwing this out there, but wouldn’t the RTR drill be the first drill from where others derive from?
I watched the SF shoot video above and from cover he shoots from C or C, walks, stops and shoots which tells me it is RTR after the noise has begun.
How much are those mechanical Ivans?
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