Movement And The Pistol, Part Two: Lateral and Turning Movement

For Manual Monday, we are continuing our discussion on Movement and the pistol. Specifically, we will begin to address what lateral and turning 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.


Lateral movement is moving at an angle to the left or right. During lateral movement— 1. Roll the foot heel to toe to best provide a stable firing platform.
2. Shoot while maintaining your natural walking gait.
3. Keep the weapon ready.
4. Maintain situational awareness.
5. When moving, bring the weapon back slightly toward your body to aid in recoil and control.
6. Maintain an aggressive posture.
7. Walk in a straight line, keeping your center of gravity low (drop your hips).

8. Keep the muzzle of the weapon downrange toward the target.
9. Use the upper body as a turret.

10. Twist at the waist.

11. Maintain proper posture.

12. Do not overstep or cross your feet, because this can decrease your balance and center of gravity.


Turning movement is used to engage widely dispersed targets in the oblique and on the flanks. Turning skills are just as valuable in a rapidly changing combat environment as firing on the move (such as lateral movement) skills are and should only be used with the alert carry. Note. It does not matter which direction you are turning or which side is your strong side. You must maintain the weapon at an exaggerated low-alert carry for the duration of the turn.

When executing a turn to either side, the Soldier will—

1. Look first. Turn head into the direction of the turn first.
2. Orient the hips to the target as soon as possible.
3. Once you have a clear path to the target, draw and present your weapon smoothly.
4. Follow with your body.
5. Maintain situational awareness.
6. Maintain proper posture. Note that  pivoting may lead to over or under rotation toward the target, lengthening the process.

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 execute retrograde and turning movement … 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 finished our discussion on the various types of movement, talking about retrograde and turning movement. We also discussed a method of training to be proficient at this. Next week, we will refresh our memory as we discuss the rifle shot process.

#weaponsmastery #shotprocess


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