Driving the gun. A lot of people use the phrase but what does it mean? Well, lucky you, we’re going to tell you. Note: it has nothing to do with Grand Theft Auto, nor with midget strippers who carry a grease gun. We’re talking about a method of weapon handling that incorporates stance, visual acuity, proper movement and shooting fundamentals…so yeah, pretty much everyone ought to understand the phrase “driving the gun.”
Driving the Gun
Driving the gun is a concept that, when used, will increase the speed and accuracy of your shooting. With that, I mean speed with aiming every shot, 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.
It all starts with your eyes. From the time you were born, something caught your eye and you looked at it. Then you turned your head. Your body followed. Why try and change what works? We have all seen the movies where a person is clearing a room or facing a threat. They will walk or move with the gun locked straight out. They move as if, from the waist up, everything is one solid piece. Head, arms, gun, eyes: all are fixed and move together. This Hollywood crap has led to countless bad habits.
When you shoot, you should do the same thing you have done your whole life. You ID a threat and you look with your eyes. Then you turn your head to the threat. Then you aggressively move or drive the gun to aim and eliminate the threat. The RTG1 target was designed with this type of training in mind.
It is easy to fake this when you work with only one target. To make sure you are getting it, you need to work with multiple targets.
Moving the gun past a threat, or ‘overshooting the target,’ and needing to bring your sights back to it is a common mistake. This is 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. Once you have locked onto a threat with your eyes, then comes the time for aggression. You move your head and then drive the weapon on to the target. It should be noted that after you have moved your head toward the target, you move the gun to you. There should be no more need to move or drop your head to get a good sight picture.
Ok, enough with the eyes. The next key to driving the gun is to have a good, aggressive shooting stance. 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 slightly bent legs. As you ID 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.
Another thing that that should be remember (it will discussedbe at a different time) 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. There is still the necessity of using all 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.
Let’s give you an example of a drill to help you drive the gun. Place 3 RTG1 targets up (you can get them here, or spraypaint your own). Vary the distance between them anywhere from 3 to 7 feet. Your distance to the targets is up to you. Get that good aggressive stance. The drill starts when someone yells threat. ID the middle target with your eyes. ID the chest/center of mass first with your eyes, then head, then body as you drive the gun to acquire a good sight picture. Shoot 2 rounds. That should have been 3 different sight pictures. Locate the head with your eyes. Move your head slightly up if you need to. Drive your gun to the target, sight picture 1, shoot, sight picture 2. ID the pelvis with your eyes, move your head down, drive the gun to target and engage with 1 shot. 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 chest, 1 head, 1 groin. Then 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.
ID the threat with eyes
Move your head to threat
Move body, if needed, using legs
Drive gun to target
Use basic principles of shooting
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 you 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.
About the author: Jared Ross has spent about a decade as an 18B Green Beret Weapons Sergeant. A former 82nd ABN 11 Bravo, he has done multiple combat tours in Iraq, Afghanistan and assorted other shitholes. He spent several years with one of the active duty SFGs, is now with one of the reserve SFGs. Jared is a well rounded soldier and inspired, methodical and instructor, and (contrary to RUMINT) has never actually been convicted of a “Forcible Sodomy of a Non-Game Animal” charge. If you’re interested in training with Jared and his crew, check them out at Rockwell Tactical Group. There is actually a pistol course coming up quick if you’re interested: