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Old February 29, 2008, 06:27 AM   #1
evan1293
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Moving off the X

I've heard some very different things from different people on this subject, and Im wondering what you guys think. In a reactionary gunfight, the type a civillian is most likely going to face, is it all important to move off the X and then engage? If so, assuming all directions are available, what seems to be the best direction to move in? Does the distance you find yourself from the adversary at the start of the conflict affect if,when, and how you move in the fight?

I've heard some of the more older school guys preach gaining distance as a number one priority. Others, particularly from competition circles, have said to just plant your self and shoot first and fast. I watched Gabe Suarez's latest video, which I thought was great by the way, and he says its best to move towards the back of the assailants gun hand (so that they have to sweep to their outside to hit you.) This makes sense to me, especially if the fight is an upclose one, as it most likely will be.

Moving off the X seems important especially in the light of Col. Boyd's OODA loop and resetting your opponent. What do you guys think on this subject?
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Old February 29, 2008, 09:29 AM   #2
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Kinda depends on how you've trained. If you haven't trained to hit while moving, your fire may be ineffective. However, one of the more respected resources (Farnam? Smith?) avers that moving laterally gives your opponent a sufficiently more difficult problem that his hit probability goes waaay down.

Dunno what your state laws require, but here in Ohio our first duty is to run away. Moving laterally certainly satisfies that requirement whilst giving the bad guy a more elusive (literally) target. If you've trained to hit while moving, then that's the cherry on the whipped cream.

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Old February 29, 2008, 10:28 AM   #3
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You can debate whether it's effective or not until the cows come home. The reality is that it usually doesn't happen (by design) in civilian gunfights. It's far more important to hit your target than it is to move off of the X. It's also better to shoot then move than it is to try to shoot while moving. If you can't/don't hit your target, nothing else matters since in the majority of cases the person who hits their target first finishes the fight in better shape.
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Old February 29, 2008, 10:34 AM   #4
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Evan, if you've seen the DVD, take the next step: the Force on Force class (from Suarez or anyone else teaching this for that matter). This process, directions, and how well some things work or don't work will be quite graphically shown to you (and your body).

Short answer: everything is situationally dependant on any number of things. Things such as obstacles in your way (cars/bushes/buildings/other people, etc.) will limit your directions. Are you in a hallway of some kind? A large limitation. Does the goblin have a friend-or several? More limitations. Does he initially present himself behind your field of vision? Etc. It's even possible that things happen so quickly one might not be able to move much at all; that's possible.

I believe that just gaining distance for distance sake isn't enough here to be the overriding concern. What if that means you running directly away from the goblin? That isn't too much different than just standing there for the first precious few seconds, and doesn't make him change his OODA loop much (read aim). Running to your 9:30 (and he is at your 12) certainly will: you move in some lateral fashion, and he must change his OODA. The more lateral, the more he'll have to change.

The point here isn't to say you do this and you won't get hurt. The point here is to do what it takes to improve the odds. And doing this in a FoF class against live folks will definitely show you that standing there trying to out draw a bad guy is a virtually assured recipie for getting shot (or cut/stabbed if thay are attacking you). Yes, you might be the fastest shot in your state and you may even shoot the bad guy, but if they shoot/stab you at the same time (perhaps in multiples), is that winning?

IMO, YMMV, blah, blah.

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Old February 29, 2008, 10:38 AM   #5
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Marty Hayes, at the Firearms Academy of Seattle, is fond of telling his students that the thing to remember is that every gunfight has two targets. It is not enough to hit your own target -- you need to stop the other guy from hitting his.

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Old February 29, 2008, 12:31 PM   #6
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If 'getting off the X' is so important, why are bullet proof vest not emphasized?

Plenty of videos on the net of real shootings show shop keepers and the like not jumping off the 'X'.

There are some very light and very easy to conceal vest made nowdays.

What? You mean it makes trainers more money if they can get you to a dynamic class to show you how to hit while moving instead of simply buying a vest? Say it ain't so, Joe.
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Old February 29, 2008, 12:59 PM   #7
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I always kinda figured it's best to move to your left if you need to get off the 'x'. Posts way back talked about diving that direction if you ever needed to dive out of gunfire, because that would force the shooter to start spinning to his right. Assuming he's right handed (for the sake of argument, most people shoot pistols righty) with a two handed grip, he can swing to his left and across his body much easier than swinging out of his platform of stability by swinging right.


As far as real world application of this theory, it's probably not as drastic of a change up as we need, but it's just something to consider. Overall, I'll probably be running to the closest cover or in front of my loved ones.
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Old February 29, 2008, 01:02 PM   #8
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Quote:
Plenty of videos on the net of real shootings show shop keepers and the like not jumping off the 'X'.
They do that for the same reason that drivers in a skid turn the wheel in the wrong direction in a vain effort to get control. They don't know any better. Hunching over is a natural human reaction to stress. It doesn't make it the optimum reaction.

Quote:
What? You mean it makes trainers more money if they can get you to a dynamic class to show you how to hit while moving instead of simply buying a vest? Say it ain't so, Joe.
That vest covers a relatively small portion of your body. Unless you are wearing armor that covers your head, brachial complex, femoral artery, groin, etc., not being shot is preferable and moving assists that.
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Old February 29, 2008, 02:54 PM   #9
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Anybody else noticed that sideways-from-incoming-fire movements are easier from a Weaver hold versus Isosceles?
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Old February 29, 2008, 03:00 PM   #10
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Anybody else noticed that sideways-from-incoming-fire movements are easier from a Weaver hold versus Isosceles?
Depends on which way you are going and what else you are doing. When doing movement drills, I find myself using multiple stances as necessary to keep the target in the sights.
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Old February 29, 2008, 03:38 PM   #11
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Oh, no...

... this sounds like yet another reason to plug at least rudimentary martial arts training.

Learn to move, and not be a target.

No, you won't block bullets.

But if you are used to moving laterally, backwards, even dropping under an attack, it should translate well to other encounters, such as gunfights.

As far as gaining distance, that tactic favors the better shot. Wild Bill Hickock used to get as close as possible, in order to unnerve his assailants. That worked better for him.

Situationally and individually dependent.
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Old February 29, 2008, 04:50 PM   #12
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M.O.V.E.

I have a saying in my school that I learned from a very experienced Instructor.

When in a gun fight you must do (3) things.............

1. Move
2. Shoot
3. Communicate


Why Move?........Because:

M=motionless

O=operators

V= ventilate

E=easily

I would suggest moving to cover, however if cover is not available just move or
GET OFF THE X. While shooting. This if nothing else will disrupt your opponents OODA loop and serve to put you in a better position tactically.

Just my $0.02

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Old February 29, 2008, 06:45 PM   #13
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Moving off the X

So many things to think about, in such a short time.

The average defensive gun fight is:

at close range 0-10 ft
is over in less that 3 seconds
is in less that good lighting conditions
our enemy is generally moving toward us
WE are under stress!

MOVING FORWARD DOES NOT SEEM THE RIGHT THING TO DO.

MOVING FAST AND SHOOTING ACTURATLY SEEMS RIGHT.

IF YOU CAN SAFELY MOVE AWAY, WHY NOT?

I think all issues must be judged on " will this help me win this fight, and how long with it take me to stop this attack.


first, with the most, WINS Scattergun Bob
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Old February 29, 2008, 07:10 PM   #14
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They do that for the same reason that drivers in a skid turn the wheel in the wrong direction in a vain effort to get control. They don't know any better. Hunching over is a natural human reaction to stress. It doesn't make it the optimum reaction.
Well if that the case, then let's turn this into a pointshooting thread. After all, it's a natural human reaction and why...they don't know any better.

I'd like to see some documented evidence from actual shootings that moving off the 'X' is actually any better than other alternatives. Especially since most people havn't trained to hit moving targets, nor hit while moving, and especially not hitting moving targets while they are moving themselves.

See, the bullet proof vest option isn't so bad, is it? There is pleny of documented cases where it worked quite well.
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Old February 29, 2008, 07:29 PM   #15
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Moving AND shooting at the same time is a very difficult thing to master.

Moving makes its difficult (we hope) for someone to hit you, however it also makes it equally difficult for you to hit them. And if they are also moving....the difficulty is multiplied.

You have three options on moving; before, during or after the shot.

Moving forward, among other things, makes you a bigger (growing) target.

Moving backward is slow, especially if the attacker is coming towards you. You cannot go back faster than he can go forward. Also moving backward can cause you to trip and fall, thereby becoming for all intents and purposes, a stationary target.

Moving to the side, or off-line from the threat is generally the prefered course of action. If you can't shoot & move at the same time, the best course of action is to move, stop, fire......move.

It all depends on your level of training.
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Old February 29, 2008, 07:42 PM   #16
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I practice moving and shooting and close range shooting more than anything else. One thing I've noticed more than anything else is, its very easy to hit what your looking at while you are moving. I practice with both a live P229 in 357SIG and a P229 Airsoft at home in the yard and in the house.

With the Airsoft in the yard by myself, I often practice using a 4x4 clothes pole as my opponent. From a contact distance to about 5 yards, I have no troubles hitting that post as I draw and move off line. Even the few misses are very close to the edges as you can see them go by. The post itself is dimpled from the pellets.

I have very similar results at the range with live ammo. Even at 10 to 15 yards, its pretty simple to rapidly put and keep all rounds in the COM of a IPSC type target.


At close range, I cant see doing anything but moving while drawing and shooting, especially if there is more than one target. If you stand still and try to draw and shoot, especially against multiple targets, your dead, or at least that is what seems to happen the most when your "targets" are actually trying to shoot you back.

At the very least, when you move, your forcing your opponent(s) to deal with a rapidly changing situation and moving target. Your forcing him/them to the back side of the curve and having to react to your action.

I think MLeake is on point about the martial arts thing. One thing I've noticed since I started working on doing this is, I seem less worried about form, or technique, this stance or that, and I just let go and do it as it comes without thinking about it. I'm less concerned with trying to shoot "groups" and more comfortable with good, fast, multiple hits, any way I can deliver them. So far, its not hard at all to do just that, and the results have been good.
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Old February 29, 2008, 07:43 PM   #17
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Bulletproof vests

Granted, these could be nice to have at times. However, look at the number of incidents where LE types, who are provided with vests, have opted not to wear them due to comfort and temperature issues, or at detectives who can't conceal them adequately with plain clothes, and then try to argue that regular, civilian CCW types will regularly be willing to wear vests...

The reality is that people most likely won't. Even though vests would offer protection against torso hits (though not in the armpits or neck... or groin... hmm...)

OTOH, if you aren't crippled with injuries or slowed drastically by old age, you can always move. Therefore, it would seem prudent to learn how to move during stress situations.

Then again, there are times when it is illegal to carry a weapon. This is one of the other reasons why I advocate physical training. You always have brain, hands, feet....
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Old February 29, 2008, 08:06 PM   #18
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Handgun bullets rarely drop a threat instantaneously. It takes a few deadly seconds for an adrenaline charged aggressor to react to their wounds or to bleed out.

Times and self defense training have changed....remarkably.

For the average Joe, stand and deliver is rarely the wise thing to do in a deadly encounter because the odds of mutual death or injury are so high. That is classic old school training.

At close range and with ambush on the BG's side, the best tactic is to 'not' get shot....that means 'move' first!

So the drill is 'move' off the X as you draw your weapon and shoot. Miss or not, just shoot.

Anyone who has been in firefights or shootouts knows that the whole idea of surviving a deadly encounter is to 'survive'....not bullet placement or hitting the threat first.
In a real life encounter one has only seconds to react and those few seconds are best used to move first, draw then shoot.
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Old February 29, 2008, 08:18 PM   #19
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You can create all the acronyms you want for military and LE engagements, but they don't apply to civilians. Here's some of the many reasons why:
In the military and LE confrontations, you are in some way shape or form expecting some sort of trouble. You have different equipment, tactics, mindset and environment. You should rarely be in condition white (or yellow depending on the environment). Usually you will face more than one attacker and it will usually be at a much greater range. Your adversaries typically have decided to kill you before the confrontation starts.

Civilian encounters typically occur one of two ways: one minute you're minding your own business, the next minute, guns are out or you're alerted (or awakened) to a problem and you act accordingly. The latter case is where tactics are applicable. The former case, doing anything but shooting will probably get you shot. Most of the time, the intended victims are in condition white. The engagement distance is much closer. More often than not, cover is not available. It is more often than not one on one or two on one and the number of rounds fired is much smaller. Also, your adversaries have not made up thier mind(s) to kill you before the encounter - if they had they would have just walked in and shot you. Additionally, most of the time the desire for self-preservation overrides the desire to kill and the assailants will run away (sometimes while shooting, sometimes not). Most of the time the determining factor in who comes out of the fight in the best shape is who hits their target first. Ergo; hitting the target first is the most important skill to develop. Everything else is secondary. The only way to ensure your safety is to remove the threat.

It's kind of pointless to argue that shooting while moving is as efficient or effective as shooting when not moving. It isn't. Additionally, the wild card is the skill (or luck) of your opponent. Given the choice of getting the first shot off or moving off of the X and being the second one to fire the shot should be a no brainer. I'll take being first to hit the target every time hands down.
Show me the evidence that moving off the X is more important than hitting the target and I'll gladly embrace the idea. But, you can't because the evidence doesn't exist. There is plenty of evidence that shows that he who hits his target first wins.
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Old February 29, 2008, 08:29 PM   #20
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Why is it a matter of which is first?

If my gun isn't in my hand, I need to draw. I can step forward, left, right, or back and still draw simultaneously. Depending on how the holster is rigged, some directions of travel may be easier for drawing purposes, but that's situation dependent.

If his gun is already in his hand, I definitely need to move while drawing. That move could be behind cover, off to the side (and moving to the back side of his weapon hand probably is best, if no cover is available), or I may even be best served by stepping in on an angle and trying to deflect his shooting arm and therefore his muzzle as I draw.

There is absolutely nothing gained by standing still as I draw, aside from the gain to the other guy of giving him a mostly stationary target.

If you can't draw while moving, then practice it. Practice changing facing. Practice drawing while changing facing. If you want to make it really challenging, practice muzzle awareness while drawing and changing facing.

I frankly don't understand the rationale for just standing there to draw and fire, unless somebody is a phenomenal quickdraw artist. Even then, moving is a better idea.

A compromise might be step and draw. Stop for an instant and fire. Move again. Stop and fire.

A better idea would be to find an outdoor range where you can move and fire. You probably won't be able to change facings, but you should be able to move laterally and engage multiple targets downrange.

After reading about guys in Iraq and Afghanistan putting up to 8 rounds of pistol ammo into bad guy torsos, and still having those guys fight or run until they died, I wouldn't be too sanguine about thinking my first or second shot will decisively end the threat.

My $.02
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Old February 29, 2008, 09:45 PM   #21
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It's kind of pointless to argue that shooting while moving is as efficient or effective as shooting when not moving. It isn't. Additionally, the wild card is the skill (or luck) of your opponent. Given the choice of getting the first shot off or moving off of the X and being the second one to fire the shot should be a no brainer. I'll take being first to hit the target every time hands down.
I dont understand why you cant do both at the same time? Are you saying its not possible to shoot and shoot well while you move?

If your slow and standing there you will be shot. If there are more than one and you stand there, you will be shot. Even if its a draw, your probably going to be shot if you are where you were when the whole thing starts, as thats where their rounds will be going. At least if you move, you force them to deal with that while your shooting them. If they remain still, they become the easier target.
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Old February 29, 2008, 10:12 PM   #22
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You are absolutely correct. If you can move without it costing you time then it is wise. More often than not though, it doesn't work that way.

Quote:
If his gun is already in his hand, I definitely need to move while drawing.
Based on the data I've studied, you don't. In fact doing so could get you shot. In the incidents I have studied, even though it is a small number (around 10%), it is remarkable how often someone who is facing a gun already, pulls their own and shoots (often killing) their attacker. This is where human nature flys in the face of theory and why comparing military and LE confrontations is apples to oranges. Most of the time, the badguy wants your money, car, etc. He doesn't enter into the confrontation intent on killing you. When suddenly faced with someone not following his script, he has to react as opposed to act. I was also amazed at the number of times (again a small percentage) that the assailants ran away as soon as the victim opened fire even though they outnumbered the victim 2, 3 4 or in one case 7 to 1! I wouldn't stake my life on it, but more often than not, hitting one assailant causes the other(s) to flee.

Quote:
There is absolutely nothing gained by standing still as I draw
That sentence in that context is true. As long as you stop moving by the time you pull the trigger. My argument is that there really is no advantage to moving. Particularly while shooting. Moving involves inherent risk as well. Unless you are acutely aware of your surroundings you may stumble over something, you may see something (like a bystander) that draws your attention. So moving is not without a downside. Again, it's better to shoot then move rather than shoot while moving.

It's not a question of skill or training. I am a world class shooter. I shot professionally for Springfield Armory,Safariland and others. I practice more in a year than most people do in a lifetime - multiple targets, varying distances, different positions, while moving, crouching, kneeling, just about anything you can think of. So for me the answer is easy. But it is even more important for someone less skilled. Not only that, but as I mentioned, the common thread in all of the information available is the the person who hits their target first comes out on top.
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Old February 29, 2008, 10:22 PM   #23
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I dont understand why you cant do both at the same time? Are you saying its not possible to shoot and shoot well while you move?
No, what I am saying is that for most people the trade off isn't worth it. Very few people (even the top shooters) can shoot as well when moving as when not. If you can shoot 20% faster stationary than moving and you are 35% less accurate while moving, it is smarter to shoot while stationary then move.
Your average CCW is probably 50% or more less accurate while moving, so why would anyone advocate that they move when doing so doubles the odds of them missing the target?


Quote:
If your slow and standing there you will be shot. If there are more than one and you stand there, you will be shot. Even if its a draw, your probably going to be shot if you are where you were when the whole thing starts, as thats where their rounds will be going.
The information available on civilian shootings doesn't support any of those contentions. I can cite hundreds of instances where the victim pulled their gun and fired without moving and came out on top (whether they were already facing a gun, multiple assailants or not). I'll probably go through another sixty shootings tonight and don't expect I'll see a change in trends.
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Old March 1, 2008, 01:00 AM   #24
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I am a world class shooter. I shot professionally for Springfield Armory,Safariland and others.
Since you brought it up, I'm a former world class shooter, too.

I shot professionally for the US Army 173rd AB in vietnam central highlands, et al. We fought the NVA in operation Junction City, operation MacArthur, charlie in many encounters and firefights and hill 875 near Dak To (my Purple Heart). I also shot on the job professionally for the Cook County Sheriff's gang unit.

It may not be the same as studying data or shooting at unarmed stationary paper targets or gun games, but incoming bullets do have a special way of convincing you to 'move'.
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Old March 1, 2008, 01:33 AM   #25
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Again, it's apples and oranges. Civilian shooting confrontations have very little in common with military or LE ones.
It's not so much a question of move or not. It's question of what is more effective: hitting your target first or moving. Based on the information I have seen, my own experience and those who I have interviewed, the biggest determining factor in coming out on top is hitting the target first - not moving. If you can move without it costing you any time, then move. But to trade a second (or even half of one) for a few feet isn't wise.
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