Walking and shooting is an incredibly simple task that is often made unnecessarily complicated by instructors and the general shooting community. For instructional purposes, this article will be targeting beginners — but you paper-slayers out there might learn a thing or two as well. There are a great deal of practical uses for shooting while on the move, anything from competitions to creating your own base of fire while maneuvering on a threat in a gunfight. However, to attain any level of competence at this skill, you should know how to shoot standing still first; learn the fundamentals and master them, then move on to more complex things.
The good news is that you already know how to walk, hopefully. Walking while shooting is pretty much the same thing with some minor changes. The most noticeable change is that you will be wielding a firearm, but let’s forget about that for a minute. To get started let’s imagine walking in a normal fashion down a sidewalk. Now we modify it starting from the ground up — and remember to relax a bit, don’t walk like a robot.
Beginning with the feet, you should roll from the heel to the toes with each step. Lower your center of gravity slightly by bending the knees and leaning forward a bit at the waist. This is often referred to as the combat glide, duck walk, or Groucho walk because of its similarity to how Groucho Marx would walk around with a cigar in films or how a duck heel-toes when it waddles on land. The idea here is to create a steady stride that is smooth and has as little bounce in the step as possible. The smoother, flatter the walk is, the less vertical sway there will be when a firearm is introduced into the mix.
Now that a technique has been introduced we need to establish a tempo. Many people try to time their shots between or during steps and this is a poor way to do things because it is forcing you to focus on way too many things at once. Instead pick a pace and stick to it, then take shots accordingly. Much like a tank turret, the upper body should function separately from the legs here; the upper body pivots at the waist to engage targets. Stride length can also be a factor here, shorter steps equal more stability because larger steps can create increased vertical sway of the weapon. Your stride length should be a balance and entirely dependent of the individual shooter’s body type.
Now we sling lead; simply apply the technique and practice keeping your sights on target in a steady fashion. Terrain can make things difficult depending on how uneven it is, so it’s best to practice on a flat surface first. Avoid sidestepping when possible here, keep your momentum going in the direction your toes are pointed. Just remember that this is an advanced skill and will require a good deal of practice to master. Work on doing it dry (with an unloaded firearm) and then if you can practice it somewhere safely, move on to live fire.
Featured image: U.S. Marines and Sailors perform “combat glides” while shooting during combat marksmanship training at Melissatika training area near Volos, Greece, June 10, 2009. The Marines and sailors are assigned to the 22nd Marine Expeditionary Unit. By English: Cpl. Theodore W. Ritchie [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons