View Full Version : Muzzle when moving in Competition

Glenn E. Meyer
June 26, 2005, 12:14 PM
I was watching Shooting USA today and they had on the USPSA nationals on. Interesting to watch. One thing caught my eye. As the shooters ran from shooting position to shooting position, the muzzles were horizontal to the ground. True, trigger was off the finger and they were keeping the 180 it would seem in the context of the range. The muzzle was bouncing around.

In FOF excercises, I've been chastized and rightly so, for moving with my muzzle being up for possiblities of increasing a friendly fire hit and retention difficulties.

Granted, competitions are a game but it just struck me that if the game has a modicum of tactical value, transitioning from shooting position to shooting position should have some reality to it.

Chris W
June 26, 2005, 03:00 PM
if the game has a modicum of tactical value

USPSA is, by its own definition and admission, a sport--not training. It may be a sport with its roots in training, but it has moved decidedly in the direction of a sport. If you wanted those shooters--the fastest in the world--to do something more or more specific with their muzzles, they could do it--but in the absence of a clear rule stating they should do this or that with their muzzles, they're going to do the fastest thing possible within the constraints of the existing rules.

Not having any tactical training myself, I'm interested; what have you been taught about muzzle direction when moving in different situations?

Glenn E. Meyer
June 27, 2005, 05:13 PM
The muzzle is usually pointed in a downward manner. Most typical is a low ready. There is a current debate about the utility of position SUL. Running with your muzzle up is thought be risky. In a FOF, as the intensity increased, we found ourselves with muzzle up more and more and chastized for it.

I remember having to open a door to look for a BG and crossing my hand with my muzzle. Major mistake that next time around I tried to carefully avoid. Muzzle up leads to a friendly fire mishap if you are startled. I grant you there is a risk of being too slow but in clearing your house or in any situation where there could be friendly folk it is something to think about.

June 27, 2005, 05:21 PM
We always move with weapons up. Whether it's in a house or outside. The weapon is always pointed in the direction of the threat or danger area for the very reason you brought up, a threat presents itself from the danger area.
If you are directly behind another person, then yes, safety would dictate that the weapon be pointed in safe direction to prevent flagging your buddy. Your trainng should encompass startling scenarios that force you to make the shoot/no shoot decision. However, that decision should be made with your weapon indexed to the threat until you decide it is not one.

June 27, 2005, 09:59 PM
If you sweep your off hand in a USPSA/IPSC match opening a door, break the 180, or something like that you go home right then and there. Muzzle discipline is VERY serious, but muzzle level and in a safe direction is not a problem at all. In a match you know where all the insidious targets are and where all the good guy targets are too, no penalty for sweeping the good guy targets since after all they are only cardboard, and in competition excersises only one guy is armed so you don't have to worry about anyone sweeping you with a muzzle.

It is a game, a fantastic way to learn to shoot quickly with great accuracy, but only a game.

June 28, 2005, 02:32 PM
In the context of shooting on a "square range", keeping the muzzle parallel to the ground is the only safe direction. The berms are to the side and downrange, so if you keep the muzzle level, even if you have an AD, there's no harm done (except you will have to go home a little early). During new-shooter orientation sessions, I often have to chastise shooters for handling their guns like they're auditioning for Charlie's Angels, with the muzzle pointed in the air, or sweeping their feet. In talking to a long-time cop and competitive shooter about sul, his comment was, "If you can get away with pointing the gun at the ground, you probably don't need to draw. If you need the gun, your target won't be on the ground at your feet."

June 28, 2005, 03:37 PM
From a safety standpoint having the muzzle parallel and horizontal is the safest way. If it is pointed at the ground then it is closer to your feet. Having it straight out gives you the most room for error in case something happens. It would be vastly different if you were in a group. But that isnt the case. It is also better from a practical reason. You dont have to bring the gun up or down every time and thus it is a lot faster. You can get on target quicker than if it is pointing down. It is also the safest if you have an AD. If your gun is up then it would leave the range.

June 29, 2005, 04:46 AM
In 'front' I keep the muzzle pointed in the 'threat direction'; in 'back' I keep it pointed other-than-at-the-guy-in-front's-back; know what I mean?

In USPSA competition I keep the muzzle pointed at a target. Always.