Movement and the Pistol: A Technique for Training Moving Forward


For Manual Monday, we are continuing our discussion on Movement and the pistol. Specifically, we will begin to address what forward movement means for the pistol. Learning all elements of the shot process for the pistol is vital, as the M17 will be fielded to elements of the 82nd within the near future. The M17 will also be going to more people than it is currently. So all of us need to improve our shot process with the pistol. The reference for this discussion is TC 3-23.35 dated May 2017.

To refresh our memory, Movement is defined by the TC as: “The process of the Soldier moving tactically during the engagement process. It includes the Soldier’s ability to move laterally, forward, diagonally, and in a retrograde manner while maintaining stabilization, appropriate aim, and control of the weapon.” In other words, moving as a stabilized firing platform, as opposed to just getting there and then shooting.




Forward movement is continued progress in a direction toward the threat or route of march. This is the most basic form of movement during an engagement. During forward movement, the Paratrooper does the following:

  1. Rolls the foot heel to toe to best provide a stable firing platform.
  2. Shoots while maintaining their natural walking gait.
  3. Keeps the weapon ready.
  4. Maintains situational awareness.
  5. When moving, brings the weapon back slightly toward their body to aid in recoil and control.
  6. Maintains an aggressive posture.
  7. Walks in a straight line, keeping their center of gravity low (drop their hips).
  8. Keeps the muzzle of the weapon downrange toward the target.
  9. Uses the upper body as a turret.
  10. Twists at the waist.
  11. Maintains proper posture.


This covers all the basics for how to do this, but how to we train this so that our Soldiers understand what is the appropriate speed to move at? The answer lies in dry-fire drills. Ash Hess has a great technique that illustrates this perfectly. Place a PEQ-14 (illustrated in the picture above) on an M9, and turn the visible laser on. This illustrates how much vertical and horizontal movement there is in the Soldier’s firing platform while moving.

Once this is done, give the Soldier a cup of water that is full to the top, and have them walk with it… without spilling any water. They will naturally stabilize their movement to accomplish this. Have them practice this several times, then go back to the weapon.

When they go back to the weapon with the laser mounted, they should considerably more stable in their movement. This takes little time our resources to train, and gets after the ‘advanced marksmanship’ skillset of moving and shooting.

Keep in mind, the pistol is the most perishable skillset for any Paratrooper to learn. The best combat shooters in the Army will devote the majority of their training time to this weapons system, even though it might be utilized in less than one percent of the engagements they encounter. The reason being when they need that pistol, they need to be fast and accurate.

So to sum up, we’ve begun our discussion on the various types of movement, starting with forward movement. We also discussed a method of training to be proficient at this. Next week, we will continue our discussion on movement as we address retrograde movement.

#weaponsmastery #shotprocess


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