DYNAMIC MARKMANSHIP - Moving Out of the Kill Zone
by The Bunker

We have all heard the story, Cop gets into a gunfight at arms reach and misses his opponent. Not too long ago 3 members of a multi-agency SWAT team emptied a 15 shot pistol, a 5 shot shotgun and a 30 round MP-5 magazine into a small room occupied by one suspect bystander (who emptied a 15 shot pistol also) and NO ONE WAS HIT! Does this mean that the parties concerned were absolute neophytes at shooting? I doubt it. What it means is that the training they had received did not prepare them for what they encountered. Does that mean that the majority of training programs are "all wet" - not at all. However it is clear that we need to supplement these programs with additional training to cover the real eventualities of lethal confrontations. It is also clear that, while we need to be grounded in the fundamentals, that this "missing link" in the SURVIVAL CHAIN is a vital one. Let's take a look at what is missing in normal training, which in some cases may even mention the points but in actuality do not address them, let alone STRESS them.


1. Threats are not "static" - they are dynamic, they move quickly.

2. The most effective response to a threat is most often not static - the defender must make himself a difficult target by moving. For maximum effectiveness you must learn to hit and hit well while moving.

3. Good guys start from behind - frequently the presentation and first shot must be delivered while moving to cover.

4. Multiple dynamic targets are as common as single targets - you must move while engaging them effectively in order to avoid being seriously killed.

5. Real people are seldom INSTANTLY incapacitated even with good hits - if you are stationary and exposed AFTER you have scored good hits you may still be in grave danger.

6. You fight EXACTLY as you train and practice. If you fail to practice movement before, during or after engaging the threat you will fail to do it on the street.

7. "You will not rise to the occasion, you will default to the level of your training." - Barrett Tillman.

The goal of DYNAMIC MARKSMANSHIP training is to equip the students with superb marksmanship ability WHILE simultaneously employing dynamic movement and tactical techniques.


1. Shooting on the move - and actually hitting.
2. Shooting moving targets.
3. Shooting moving targets while moving yourself.
4. Shooting bobbing and weaving targets.
5. Shooting while moving to and arriving at cover.
6. Shooting from cover.
7. Shooting with minimum exposure time.
8. Programming an aversion to repetitive exposure at the same place.
9. Programming the reflex to move immediately after shooting.

While there are trends, no one can predict the exact way a lethal confrontation will unfold. You cannot guarantee the outcome. You can enhance your odds of survival by having a fully developed "tool bag" of survival skills. DYNAMIC MARKSMANSHIP is one of the tools that could save your life.

With these thoughts in mind, I developed a simple and short test designed to help the shooter gauge his progress at developing adequate Dynamic Marksmanship skills called — what else — the Dynamic Marksmanship Index. It comes complete with a par factor so that you may assess not only how you have improved — the most important use of scored drills — but, if you are curious, how you stack up against more experienced shooters. No doubt there are many who can far exceed the Expert rating on this but, like most of the drills I design, this is for the truly practical gunman not the competitor.

An even simpler measure is to set up a practical silhouette — an IPSC or IDPA target for instance. Start at about three yards, holstered (concealed). At the start signal begin moving rearward (at the oblique if you can do it safely on the range) and drawing at the same time. Fire 5 rounds at the one target while moving rearward. Now, we might not fire 5 rounds at one target in the real world but this is a marksmanship drill to help you learn to shoot on the move. Not everyone shoots at the same skill level but we are looking for a total elapsed time of about 2 to 3 seconds for this drill and you should cover at least 3 to 4 yards in your travel. Any slower and you will not be reducing your odds of getting hit by an assailant very much. If you are not comfortable trying to draw and move then you may try the drill starting at about 4 yards from the low ready position. A word to the wise; check out the surface you are backing up on and eliminate all tripping hazards (one good reason to alternately practice the "shuffle" or "two-step" backwards movement which is less prone to tripping). Naturally you want to fire in the 1 to 2 second range for 5 rounds while moving when the gun is already out. The times are just a general guide. The important thing is that you record them (remember to add .5 seconds for anything outside the A-zone) and improve on them with each range session.

The accompanying illustrations — apologies for the lack of a more photogenic subject — and times were shot "just fooling around" in the back yard. For those interested in such matters the gun is a standard Kimber and the ammo was Winchester 230 gr. Hardball (except for the 5 shot group, which was accidentally shot with +P Ranger Talons — oops).

OK, let’s move out.