Movement with a Pistol


For Manual Monday, we are beginning our discussion on movement and the pistol. Specifically, we will address what the various movement techniques are 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.

The movement functional element is 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.


As a refresher, tactical movement of the Soldier is classified in two ways: vertical and horizontal. Each requires specific considerations to maintain and adequately apply the other functional elements during the shot process.

Soldiers use vertical movements to change firing posture or negotiate terrain or obstacles while actively seeking, orienting on, or engaging threats. We discussed vertical movements in our posts about stability. Vertical movements include actions taken to—

Change between any of the primary firing positions; standing, kneeling, or prone.

Negotiate stairwells in urban environments.

Travel across sloping surfaces, obstacles, or terrain.

Soldiers use horizontal movements to negotiate the battlefield while actively seeking, orienting on, or engaging threats. The Soldier can use one or all of the horizontal movement techniques listed below while keeping the weapon oriented on the threat.

Forward – movement in a direction directly toward the adversary.

Retrograde – movement rearward, in a direction away from the threat while maintaining weapon orientation on the threat.

Lateral left or right – lateral, diagonal, forward, or retrograde movement to the right or left.

Turning left, right, or about – actions taken by the Soldier to change the weapon orientation left, right, or to the rear. (Soldier reorients weapon first, then self).

If you have to run, stop, and shoot, holster the pistol before taking off.

Then, when you begin to slow down, you can redraw and present the pistol, resume a stable position, and reenter a controlled movement.

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 discussed malfunctions. We’ve discussed the different types of malfunctions with the appropriate actions for each. Next week, we will continue our discussion on the functional element of Control as we discuss how to train our Paratroopers on the functional element of control.

#weaponsmastery #shotprocess


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