Move then Shoot vs. Move and Shoot

Today on the training ground, we’re going to take a quick look at an interesting fundamental split in the shooting community: moving then shooting vs. moving while shooting.

Move then Shoot – Upon recognizing a lethal threat, step out of the line of attack or “get off the X”, and begin to fire on the threat.

Move and Shoot – After recognizing and deciding to engage, step out of the of attack, and continue to move in a given direction while firing.

I recently spoke with a former Army Ranger who told me he struggled to adapt in some civilian training courses with standing still and shooting. He said he always “felt weird”, and felt like he should be engaging the targets while moving. I attribute this to two things: military training and military engagements. I can speak from experience that the military puts a weird amount of focus on shooting while moving, sometimes without the context of when or why to do it (moving to cover or advantage). Secondly, military engagements don’t often have the same level of accountability and legal responsibility compared to civilian or police engagements. Stray rounds in Fallujah are hardly given a second thought when your homie next to you is burning down belts from a 240G. But sling a stray one while CONUS, and be prepared for Ferguson 2.0 regardless of your justification or not.

In pretty much every regard, shooting while moving is less accurate than shooting from a stationary position. But staying fixed means you’re also a fixed target. Let’s take a look at this recent Police shooting in Alamogordo, NM.


At about the :40 second mark, the officer catches up to the shitbag, I mean suspect, after a pretty significant foot chase. For context, the subject was known to have outstanding warrants and believed to have been armed. Excellent control and verbal commands are displayed between :43 and nearly the 1:00 mark exactly.

In literally one second, at 1:03-1:04, the suspect draws a revolver and points it at the officer and his partner immediately behind him. The officer delivers two rounds, one of which hits the suspect in the hip, driving him to the ground. Note that the officer has both hands on his service weapon and is able to deliver precise, accurate fire.

At 1:05, the suspect then fires several rounds at the officers while on the ground, one of which ultimately strikes one of the officers in the arm/chest area; later killing him. During this volley of fire, the officer in the video can be seen firing with only his primary hand, while the camera angle seems to shift a little to the side. This is consistent with the officer blading his body towards the threat, in a subconscious attempt to both point the weapon at the threat and avoid incoming rounds. This one-handed, reflexive shooting is seen time and time again in law enforcement shootings. It’s the body’s natural response to an actual deadly threat: avoid it. The officer also takes several steps backward away from the suspect at a sort of oblique angle.

Between 1:10 and 1:14, the suspect flees and the officer steps toward him firing his service weapon. At approx. 1:15-1:18, the officer stops moving, and engages with a full, two-handed grip. This is when the officer delivers the finishing blow: one of his rounds strikes the suspect in the head; killing him. From the video, it seems that the range is at least 30+ yards.

So what can we learn? Despite your training, it might not be possible to completely overcome human nature. While shooting after moving is much more accurate, but with fire incoming your body might not allow you to actually do it. The solution is to train for both, but under realistic conditions. Simply walking around the range shooting isn’t going to improve your ability. Add some context: move quickly to cover or advantage while shooting or shoot on the move while simulating some sort of incoming threat. Better yet: Force on Force training. Seeing that gun come out and start pointing at you might elicit some surprising responses, despite whatever training you have. When I’ve had the opportunity to conduct Force on Force training, I’ve always been surprised at my body’s own natural response. I can still think and shoot, but I tend to move and twist in unusual ways when under a perceived lethal threat and find myself shooting primary hand only more often than not, particularly in close ranges and during surprise events. Be honest with yourself. Get exposure to more realistic training to gauge your body’s natural response vs your trained and conditioned response. If it’s not what you wanted, either get more training to fix it, or find a logical and efficient way to incorporate your natural response into your combat skill set.

Train hard and train with purpose. 

Until Victory.



The M27 IAR RFI – Thoughts and Analysis

Recently Soldier Systems and reported on two separate equipment events within the United States Marine Corps that may signal a monumental shift in the institutional thinking of The Corps: the request for more M27 IARs and the expanded use of suppressors among several tests battalions.

Approximately three days ago, Soldier Systems and TFB reported that the Marines “…Begin Process to Issue M27 IAR to every Rifleman” and that that “USMC Releases RFI for 11,000 more IARs”. Far from being baseless claims, the news from Soldier Systems and TFB was directly sourced from an industry request for information (RFI) that the Marine Corps put out seeking the feasibility of actually getting the rifles and their related accessories, including slings, maintenance kits, spare parts, etc. Interestingly enough, the optics were specifically left out of the RFI, which would signal to me that the Corps intends on sticking with their Trijicon RCOs and Squad Day Optics (SDOs), which are battle proven and universally well liked by their users. Although the initial RFI sought figures for 11,000 new IARs, the actual production number once in progress would probably be much higher if the running theory is correct: replacing every M4 and M16A4 in the infantry battalions with the IAR.


(Photo: SADefense)

The idea that the Marine Corps would issue a fully automatic rifle to every Rifleman is certainly a shift from post Vietnam era thinking that focused on individual marksmanship and the conservation of ammunition. The M16A2/A4 were specifically built with the burst receivers, the idea being that this would prevent the average grunt from panic dumping all of their ammunition. It seems that the Marine Corps is coming to a new realization that that modern warfare is heavily dependent on rapidly establishing fire superiority. However, one of the reasons the Marine Corps has become so fond of the M27 is that it’s a fantastically accurate weapon and also excels in the Squad Designated Marksman role. Now that’s the Marine Corps that I know… one that still focuses on individual marksmanship. So it would seem on the one hand the Marine Corps is actually changing its views on modern combat doctrine (in an institution that usually throws out common sense and change) and better adopting itself to the “three block war” while simultaneously embracing their heritage: exceptional shooting.

Interesting to note that although H&K recently announced a big expansion of its production facilities in the US, they’re not specifically named in the RFI. Could the production of the M27 be licensed out to other big contractors? Personally, I’d buy an FN IAR…



Further more, reported in November of 2016 about the wide spread use of suppressors battalion wide in a few “experimental” battalions. The primary argument for their use, as supported by the Gunners (Infantry Warrant Officers) of their respective battalions, is that quieter weapons make it easier to communicate during a firefight.Logistics aside, quieting the standard infantry weapons in the fleet might actually prove cheaper than providing individual comms and electronic ear pro for every grunt. Although to my knowledge no manufacturer has been specifically mentioned, I would bet money on KAC or GemTech providing a reasonable solution based on their long history of government contracts and their ability to produce a can that mounts to the standard A2 flash hider.

Will these changes role out as requested? Only time will tell. At the beginning of his time as Commandant, Gen. Neller at one point spoke out against the further issue of equipment among Marines, saying that the Corps had turned to “Gucci gear” and was losing touch with its fighting spirit. However, both of these proposed changes could lead to a drastically more efficient fighting force that fundamentally improves the Marine Corps ability to do what its always been best at: kill America’s enemies. 

Semper Fidelis. I hope you guys get hooked up.


Lt. Gen. Hal Moore (Feb. 13, 1922 – Feb. 10, 2017)


Today at BSO Tactical, we stop and remember a great American, Lt. Gen. Hal Moore. Born on Feb. 13, 1922, in Bardstown, KY, Lt. Gen. Moore was a 1945 graduate from West Point.

Most famous for his command of 1st Battalion, 7th Cav., then Lt. Col. Moore led his battalion from the front during the Battle of Ia Drang in 1965. Known for his motto of “there is always one more thing you can do to increase your odds of success”, Lt. Col. Moore defeated the NVA while outnumbered approximately 5 to 1 and trapped in a valley with no escape routes. After the famous encounter, Lt. Gen. Moore would go on to continue his faithful service to the United States Army, eventually retiring August 1st, 1977 after 32 years of service.

Lt. Gen. Moore became a household name after the release of the movie “We Were Soldiers” and was portrayed by Mel Gibson.

He passed on Feb. 10th, 2017, just days before his 95th birthday, following complications from a stroke he had suffered several days prior, according to family.

Rest easy, Sir. Thank you for your exceptional service and demonstration of patriotism and fidelity to the United States.