Driving the Gun
'Driving the Gun' is a term that is often used in RTG classes. To help clear up any confusion caused by others using the term but meaning something different, I thought I’d write this to help explain what we mean. It is a technique that, when used properly, will increase the speed and accuracy of your shooting. With that, I mean speed while aiming every shot and none of this slapping-the-trigger-as-fast-as-you-can or doing 'double taps'. You, as the one pulling the trigger, are responsible for every bullet that leaves the barrel. With 'double taps' the first shot is aimed and who knows where the second will go.
Driving the gun all starts with your eyes. From the time you were born, when something caught your eye, you focused on it. If it was out of your peripheral vision, you turned your head to get a better view. Your body followed suit. Why try and change the way we are designed? We have all seen the movies where someone is clearing a room or facing a threat. They will walk or move with the gun locked straight out in front of them. They move as if from their waist up, every part of their body is one solid piece of iron. Head, arms, gun, eyes: all are fixed and move together. This Hollywood crap has led to countless bad habits!
Your upper body needs to become unlocked. When you shoot, you should do the same thing as you have done your whole life. You identify a threat and you look with your eyes. Then you turn your head to the threat. If necessary, you move your body towards it. Then you aggressively move or 'drive' the gun to aim and eliminate the threat. The Rockwell Tactical RTG1-3 targets were designed with this type of training in mind. Unless you are using multiple targets, it is easy to fake yourself into thinking you’ve mastered this. That’s one of the training scars you can build by just doing “Ready up” drills. Just like the ones that are all over YouTube and Instagram with their pro timers. To make sure you are REALLY getting it, you need to work with multiple targets.
A common mistake many make is moving the gun past a threat (a.k.a. 'overshooting the target') and needing to bring your sights back on target. This action is usually caused by being aggressive and fast but acting like a tank turret. You are moving your upper body as a unit and not leading with your eyes. So, in your haste, you are actually SLOWER getting on target. Only after you have locked onto a threat with your eyes, then comes the time for aggression. Always move your head first, and then drive the weapon on to the target. It should be noted that after you have moved your head toward the target, there should be no more need to move or drop your head to get a good sight picture as you are driving the gun. Your eyes have already locked onto the threat/target. Move the gun to create your sight picture, not the other way around.
Ok, enough with the eyes. The next key to driving the gun is to have a good, aggressive shooting stance. We have covered this in detail in our Shooting Stance tip. With this aggressive and bladed stance you can move your body faster to face new threats. The weight of your body should be on the balls of your feet with your legs slightly bent. As you identify a threat, you lead with your eyes, then your head, then move your body. This movement should be in your legs and hips not your abdomen. Your legs are stronger and faster and can be more effective than trying to do it with your waist. If your targets are spaced far apart, it may be necessary for you to readjust your feet between each one. This is more of an exception than the rule though.
Another topic that is discussed in a different tip page is Trigger Reset. You MUST have good trigger control, as you have no idea how many threats there are and how many shots it will take to eliminate them. This all comes down to following the basic principles of shooting. Just because you are trying to go faster, it is not an excuse to omit the basics. You should always be trying to build upon what you have learned, not look for ways to cut corners. As you master the basics, speed will come naturally.
Enough with the lecture, let's give you an example of a drill to help you 'Drive the Gun':
1. Place 3 RTG1 targets up. Vary the distance between them: anywhere from 3 to 7 feet.
2. Position yourself somewhere in front of the targets: the distance is up to you.
3. Get that good aggressive stance. The drill starts when someone yells: THREAT!
4. ID the middle target with your eyes. ID the chest/center of mass first with your eyes, then move your head, then move your body as you drive the gun to acquire a good sight picture. Shoot 2 rounds. ID the head with your eyes. Move your head slightly up if you need to. Drive your gun to the target and shoot 1 round. ID the pelvis with your eyes, move your head down, drive the gun to target and engage with 1 shot.
5. Now, you move your eyes to the next threat; either the one to the left or to the right. Look at the center of mass, the chest. Move your head, then body if you need to, driving the gun to the target. Repeat what you did with the first target: 2 shots to the chest, 1 to the head, 1 to the groin.
6. Repeat with the last target. You can use this drill as a base and make any kind of change to it as you like. Make sure you time yourself. Strive to get faster without sacrificing accuracy. Let's review the steps: Start with a good stance. ID the threat with your eyes. Move your head to the threat. Move your body using your legs. Drive your gun to the target. Use basic principles of shooting.
I can see by reviewing this that I have left so much out. But there is only so much you can write in one post. I haven’t explained the differences between pushing out with a pistol and slightly dipping a rifle. One of the reasons we lead with our eyes and not our whole body as a unit is to make positive identification of the threat before we engage it. It doesn't matter who you are: military, law enforcement, recreational shooter, or a mother at home defending her children from an intruder. YOU are responsible for those rounds leaving your gun. If you lead with your eyes first, you will have a lesser chance of flagging someone or accidentally shooting someone or something unintentionally.
Thanks for reading,