We’ve all seen it. The guy on the flat range with the 3XL DTOM shirt usually speaking loud to anyone who’ll listen. He’s a badass, just ask him. He’ll tell you.

And for whatever reason, that guy always wants to come talk to me. Being the nice guy I am, I normally give them the benefit of the doubt and never one to tell people to piss off…well, until they’ve earned it. This guy in particular dialed in on a painted rifle on the firing line, talking all sorts of boogaloo nonsense and then telling me how he was a ‘contractor down south’ and reciting the whole Bridge of the Americas scene from Sicario as if its his own experience. Naturally I wasn’t sold and walked away, only after casually letting him know I was unimpressed with a smirk.

Point is, these are the same people who’ll be the first to tell you why they carry a gun. Their justification, as if any were needed, is that they can end a physical fight by whippin’ out muh Glock. As if that matters at all.

The reality is this: fights happen fast, and don’t usually begin with the introduction of lethal force. If they do, that’s usually called an ambush. Far more often in the defensive world there’s gonna be a physical fight, the necessity of movement and skill in combatives. The defensive firearm is the last resort tool. And as I tell students in the Fighting Carbine and Kalashnikov courses I teach, your ability to move is the critical difference maker.

Shooting is a natural extension of martial arts. The stances, the footwork, the same gross motor manipulation is the exact same whether its practicing striking and grappling or training with small arms. If you stand still in a fight you’re going to get your ass kicked and the exact same is true of a gunfight- the flat range / static range might be great for training for the economy of motion (accomplishing the motion in the fewest movements) of an action, but its utility in training for a fight is limited. Its akin to never evolving past Kiba-Daichi in Shotokan Karate. Its mastery is important, but it is a starting point. Nothing more, nothing less.

With that said its a natural jumping off point to introduce movement drills into range sessions, and unfortunately this is verboten in a lot of places. That said, there’s a couple of drills and exercises I recommend and cover in class that you can replicate at home with no ammo.

The first is a dry fire and step drill. We’ve all seen the range theatrics of draw n’ fire, only to look side to side while keeping the weapon aimed forward. I understand the logic, somewhat (defeating tunnel vision after the shot), but the reality is that you just took a shot on an adversary and unless you busted his brain box, people don’t die instantly. You need to move. Draw, dry fire, then take a lateral step in one direction. Practice it going forward, to the side, or to the lateral rear (never take a step directly forward or backward- its the natural line of fire). I cover this in class through Pikiti Tersia but regardless of what you want to call it, it embeds the necessity of movement into your defensive drills.

The second is working your way to your feet from laying on your back and dryfiring in a mirror. More often that not in a defensive handgun context you’ve been knocked on your ass and have to fight to your feet against at least one assailant. We’ve seen this in multiple defensive incidents over the past few years, including Kyle Rittenhouse’s visceral demonstration of what 55gr Wolf can do. Throw a kettlebell into the mix if you really want to spice it up and add some stress. You’ll be happy you did.

Overall, understand that while shooting is fun, your training with a weapon is a martial art. A weapon is nothing more than an extension of your body’s natural capability. You have to train to fight with a weapon, not simply shoot it. Its called a gun fight for a reason. And for the love of all that’s Holy, don’t be that 300lb blowhard telling me why you carry a gun, knowing damn well you can’t fight your way out of a paper bag.

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