Why move and shoot in a close quarters situation?

XD 9mm 10/27

Because if you don't, you may get tattooed like Mr. Orange and die.

Moving won't guarantee survival, but it makes no sense to stand in one spot and let a threat shoot or attack you, when you LITERALLY can step out of the line of fire or attack.

There is a split second time-lag involved in taking an action (between deciding to shoot, and physically doing that for example), and that split second of time is available to you.

A simple step or two, or more, can turn the tables on the threat by forcing him/her to have to react to your action, and taking the time to do that.

The following is from the January 2007 Suarez International Update, which is a Suarez International USA, Inc. publication:

"....In our Close Range Gunfighting Series and its close cousin, the Interactive Gunfighting/Force on Force Classes, we establish early on that you must move off the line of attack. In fact, if you do not move, regardless of how fast your combat master draw is, you will get shot or stabbed by the other man. Remember that gunfights do not happen at ten yards, but rather ten feet and closer, thus the difference between a 1.0 second draw and a 1.5 second draw are not very great. As Lynn Thompson of Cold Steel pointed out a few years ago, "proximity negates skill". At ten feet even a neophyte with a rusty Raven .25 Auto can get lucky, and ten feet is a long distance in true gunfighting. Movement off line is key and mandatory to avoid being shot."

"When we move off line, we prefer to move laterally (3:00 or 9:00) , or at angles such as the 5:00, 7:00, or 2:00 and 10:00. We prefer to walk as God designed us to walk, forward. The popular sideways "crab walk" will not move you off the line fast enough. Similarly, almost never do we want to move backwards. Again, this is shown in force on force drills when every backpedaler gets literally run over by his adversary. ...."


The results of a study of the time it takes to do certain things relative to shooting, was Published in the Police Marksman 11/12/2002. The article by Bill Lewinski PhD, was titled: Biomechanics of Lethal Force Encounters - Officer Movements, by Bill Lewinski PhD.

This is a link to the article in PDF form. And here is the URL: http://www.forcescience.com/articles/biomechanics.pdf

The following is a portion of a chart presented in the article that listed 20 different actions. The numbers are the average time taken to react to a timer, and complete an action.

All of the following data is measured in hundredths of a second.

All of the motions were reactions to a buzzer from a PACT timer.

1. Finger on trigger - simple, unsighted, reaction time - .35

2. Finger on trigger with a sight picture, reaction time - .38

3. Finger on frame simple, unsighted, reaction time - .45

4. Finger on frame with a sight picture, reaction time - .54

5. Time to fire a 2nd round in a series of 3 (with sight picture) - .38

6. Time to fire a 3rd round in a series of 3 (with sight picture) - .36

7. Weapon in low-ready position (45 degree angle) with finger on frame - raise weapon, acquire sight picture, fire one round - .83

8. Weapon in tactical or a high/low-ready position with finger on frame - raise weapon, acquire sight picture, fire one round - .83

....15. Bootleg position to close contact (combat tuck) position and fire - .92....

With a weapon in other drawn positions or holstered, the average time to bring the weapon into action and fire it, was 1 second or more per the chart.

So there can be time to LITERALLY step/move out of the line of fire or attack, as one can move one or more feet in less than a second.

If you plan to stand and deliver, you should also plan on getting tattooed like Mr. Orange above.

And particularly so, if you are facing a party who knows how to Point Shoot, and/or how to move and Point Shoot.


Here are some of the biomechanics study findings used by the Force Science Research Center in an article dealing with their reevaluation of the 21-Foot Rule which deals with edged weapon attacks:

"Once he perceives a signal to do so, the AVERAGE Officer requires 1.5 seconds to draw from a snapped Level II holster and fire one unsighted round at center mass. Add 1/4 of a second for firing a second round, and another 1/10 of a second for obtaining a flash sight picture for the average Officer.

The fastest Officer tested required 1.31 seconds to draw from a Level II holster and get off his first unsighted round. The slowest Officer tested required 2.25 seconds.

For the average Officer to draw and fire an unsighted round from a snapped Level III holster, which is becoming increasingly popular in LE because of its extra security features, takes 1.7 seconds.

Meanwhile, the AVERAGE suspect with an edged weapon raised in the traditional "ice-pick" position can go from a dead stop to 21 feet on a level, unobstructed surface offering good traction in 1.5-1.7 seconds.

The "fastest, most skillful, most powerful" subject FSRC tested "easily" covered that distance in 1.27 seconds. Intense rage, high agitation and/or the influence of stimulants may even shorten that time, Lewinski observes.

Even the slowest subject "lumbered" through this distance in just 2.5 seconds."

So, you better get moving or you likely will get slashed, cut, or stabbed.


If possible move left, and for the following reasons:

1. most people are right handed and it is easier for them to move left and shoot right, and which also allows you to blade to the threat and while keeping your gun "closer' to the threat,

2. per the NYPD's SOP 9 study of some 5000+ Police combat cases: Officers, with an occasional exception, fired with the strong hand,

3. shooters will tend to shoot low and to their left under stress due to gripping the gun hard, which will pull it down and around to the left, and due to the natural rotation of the wrist when the gun is at full extension.


As to how one should move/walk/run, When I have practiced moving and shooting, I did not think about how to move. I just started moving.

I have read that one can plant a foot and use it to spring or explode in one direction or another. I also have read that one may also give away their intention with the planting movement.

Others say that you should shuffle, or step-slide when moving, or you should try and keep your upper body steady like a tank turret, etc..

In my opinion, one should just do what is natural for them, as in a high stress close quarters situation, that is most likely what you will do anyway.

Try moving and dry firing with an EMPTY gun, or even an imaginary gun, and see what feels natural and doable to you. Then do it.


Self Defense wise, if you accept the above, it dictates that you should ALWAYS move when drawing/shooting, and not just stand and deliver.

But that goes against what range lane shooting ingrains in everyone.

Also, most all pics one sees on the web are stand and deliver pics, and not pics showing the shooting position after a step or two has been taken, which would place the shooter to the left or right of the target. And that is the case even in pics taken in "open range" settings.

So, it looks like most all instructors are teaching stand in one spot and get shot shooting.

If you are serious about self defense, you should at a minimum get yourself an airsoft pistol and practice moving and shooting in-house or in your garage if that is "legal" where you live.

This is a link to this article in PDF form. You are welcome to download it and use/share it as you like. I am 80+, so this site may be gone at any time.

Use your go back button to return to the prior page, or click here for the index.