How to get better at shooting while moving (realistic self-defense training)


Shooting and Moving, an Important Combination 

The type of shooting that most of us do at our local shooting range isn’t really all that useful.

Oh, it’s fine for teaching the fundamentals of shooting and in fact every shooter needs to be proficient at shooting at a stationary target, before moving on to other, more complex types of shooting, but if that’s all the shooting you ever do, you’re going to be in a world of hurt if you ever have to defend yourself.

To start with, the bad guys aren’t going to stand still at just the right distance, waiting for you to shoot them. They’re going to be moving and they might be shooting at you. They’ll be moving to try and prevent you from shooting them.


They might move towards you, they might move sideways or they might run away; but you can be sure that they won’t be holding still — looking like the classic silhouette target — especially when they see a gun in your hand.

Shooting a moving target is much harder than shooting a stationary one. 

You have to lead the target, actually shooting at where they are going to be, rather than where they are. Actually, within the confines of your home they won’t move all that far in the time it takes for the bullet to travel from your gun to their body, but the principle still holds. You have to be moving that gun, panning it as you take aim.

Even stopping the movement of your gun for a moment will guarantee a miss. About the only way you can hold a gun steady and hit a moving target is to target on somewhere that they are moving towards, and then pulling the trigger just before they get there.

If they are moving so that you can’t hit them, then it would be a good idea for you to be moving, so that you can make it harder for them to hit you. The last thing you want to do is to be standing still, making a good target out of yourself. If you do, it’ll probably be the last thing that you do.

Once you start moving, you make it much harder for yourself to shoot as well. One of the fundamentals of shooting is your stance, after all. That’s important, so that you can hold your gun steady. When you start moving, you find out instantly that you can’t hold your gun steady. Your gun will be bobbing all over the place.

The trick is to move as smoothly as possible. 

When moving forwards or backwards, take a smooth, even heel to toe step. That will provide your gun with a much more stable base under it, even if it is a moving one. By smoothing out your step as a heel to toe step, you’ll reduce the shaking and make it much easier to aim.

You actually already know how to do this … picture yourself picking up an almost full glass of water and moving as quickly as possible across the room … you’ll bend your knees, and walk in a crouching manner, using your legs like suspension technology to eliminate the bumps, and going heel to to smoothly, trying not to spill the water as you move as quickly as possible. Same thing! Don’t over complicate it trying to be “super tactical”.

For moving sideways, use a sliding step where you move the foot in the direction you want to move to the side and then slide the other foot to meet it instead of crossing your feet. By keeping both feet in light contact with the floor, you can eliminate the bouncing, giving your gun that stable platform it needs.

Don’t expect this to be easy or to get it the first time you try it. 

This is one of the hardest ways of shooting there is. You’ll need a lot of practice, before you can become proficient in shooting while moving.

Practice in your dry fire time, concentrating on keeping the sights on target, even while you are moving.

When you practice drawing from your concealed carry holster, practice taking a “draw-with-a-sideways-step” before your first shot.

That will go a long way towards helping you to develop the ability to shoot while moving.




  1. Might help to carry a galss of water or cup that is filled to the very top to start with. When stepping out with the over full cup or glass and not spilling it would smooth outn your movements. Then go to draw and point using the same steping movements. Dry fire and then live fire will bring things together.

  2. Mr Caleb! IREAD youre-mail,and signed your request for some changes regarding guns use.i had for many years one

    for target shooting with my son.i was in the army officer for 2 years.Recently it was stolen by a group of workers
    whom were doing some job in the house,i reported to the police!!whice one you recomed to get one,that not to expensive.
    Thank you for your help.

  3. Caleb
    I have a question relating to NICS I hope you can advise me on. I have been advised by my attorney in the past in relation to my rights to gun ownership. I was charged with 5 counts of medicaid fraud back in 95 in the state of Louisiana. My attorney’s told me with white collar crimes after the five years passed ie. 2000 I would be able to purchase and own hand guns or guns in general. Just today I was flagged denied and would need to appeal to NICS. What’s the best way to get this resolved?



    • Dealer where you filled out your 4473 should have given you pamphlet on how to appeal. It also has the contact information in order to know why you were denied. Could be as simple as courts didn’t file paperwork correctly.

  4. Most people step away opposite from their draw side so practice both directions and you will be less predicable and with this knowledge you might know where the other guy is going to be and end things quickly.

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