I’ve been teaching for years at Tom Givens’ Rangemaster Tactical Conference with some world-class instructors including Greg Ellifritz, who recently retired from a distinguished police career and is now teaching full-time.  Nowhere will you find a blog more informative on self-defense topics than his:  It was there that I first spotted this excellent article by another good friend, Chad Winkler, who runs the superb Boondocks Firearms Training Academy in Mississippi where I’ve taught for a couple of years now and will teach MAG-40 and MAG-80 next year. Here is Chad’s solid advice.

You can share more of Chad’s wisdom at .

I’ve learned from Greg and Chad. You will, too.


  1. Good info in Chad’s little piece. I griped about the “shooting while chicken walking” stuff literally for decades. I will note that you can move with surprising speed (at least forwards) using the “Groucho walk” with practice. I expect the oriental martial arts have more dignified terms for walking with flexed knees, but I’ve no idea what they are.

    An elderly oriental gentleman taught me about walking (all the time) with slightly flexed knees something over 50 years ago. I try to pay it forward as it makes an amazing difference in joint health once you build up your quads to carry your weight.

    • WR-on the PD for some reason the instructors liked the way I walked during moving while shooting and it was a flexed knee type movement that they dubbed “ninja stealth walking”, which was funny because I was heavy into ninja movies as a kid. (Hey, it was the 80s!)

  2. The 15 ft and 21 ft “Tueller drill” I think showed how time is not on your side, any preplanned movements can take away weapon handling speed and accuracy. My age is also showing last week when I went to an open gun range with no stress firing involved. Operating a [Revolver or auto] with too much thought process or body movement while attempting to shoot back is taxing my old capabilities. A lot of practice….

  3. Just a headsup, Mas, I think there’s a typo in the URL for Chad’s blog… Boondocks not Bookdocks, right?

  4. Good advice – especially rule #1. His analogy about the special forces soldier is similar to mine. I have said for years that the best trained and experienced soldier in the army can be killed by standing in the wrong place when a mortar round comes down. Your training gives you an edge, but not a guarantee – ask Bill Hickok.

  5. My question is: Does moving while drawing, i.e. the sidestep, do you any good if you are not moving behind concealment/and or cover, especially if it delays your draw & first shot by even a fraction of a second? I ask this after watching hundreds of surveillance videos & body cam footage. It just seems that having something between you and the perp or getting off that first fast hit matters the most.

    • In our simulator at Boondocks we have a moving target exercise we like to run. The students are told to shoot at the target as it moves from side to side. The target moves at a consistent pace from right to left. When the target reaches the end of the track, it moves back to the right.. The students can visually tell when the target will stop and move back the opposite direction. Even though they know the target is going to stop and move the other direction, they still overshoot it. They simply can’t stop their body’s movement.

      In Greg’s article, the hit rates drop to about half when you add movement, and in half again when you have cover. So if you have cover to move to, then I would suggest it is best to move to it, but if cover isn’t available movement appears to be much better than standing still.

      Here a link to Greg’s article

      • Percentages of hits on the shooter from an opponent may not be included in the “what works” test. Operating from concealed cover obviously CAN help you from being hit in an “exchange of gunfire.” You do have to make sure that your view is not fatally hampered. Another factor is whether you are finding grip posture that provides consistent trigger control. Years of practical shooting from my Fanner Fifty taught me my own best policy. Prone, from concealed cover, with a .45 Colt Peacemaker. Wham, perps!

  6. Army training for combat uses several acronyms for reference in winning a gunfight. METT-T (plus C for Civilians) and OCOKA, both explained in detail on the Web, are especially useful and can be combined into one mindset that gives both preparation and quick response to any situation. You always want to be a step or two ahead of any developing threat, and take advantage of any and all useful factors. Criminals are learning from studying You Tube shootings to act in greater numbers, and to attack without warning. In any case, you had better use your senses and be alert for being singled out as prey, look competent, and be ready to maneuver. Parking lots, sidewalks, and ATMs are particular concerns these days.

  7. Chad Winkler’s article is fabulously helpful. One thing Americans have a lot of is police and warrior experience. There was a period, I think it was 2005–2007, when there were a lot of gunfights in Iraq. Some of our warriors have a lot of experience from that time. War fighting is different than crime fighting, but there was a lot of urban warfare in Iraq, so at least the distances were shorter than on a typical battlefield. The NY Stakeout Squad got a lot of experience in crime fighting.

    From my viewpoint, being on defense is the right place to be morally, but tactically, it makes one vulnerable to an ambush or surprise attack. Richard Marcinko, who developed Seal Team Six, wrote that about 50% of the enemies he killed in Vietnam didn’t even know he was there. He used so much time and stealth to gain that precious advantage of surprise, and it worked to his advantage, and allowed him to have a long career. He even admitted he had no interest in participating in a “fair” gunfight.

    I’m so thankful that we have experienced teachers to train us in this dangerous art. This is a subject you want to learn about by reading, not by doing real combat. When men who have been in combat share their experiences, it is very helpful. I had misconceptions about combat and wounds even in my early 40s, until I was enlightened. Combat is another subject that is very uncomfortable for some people to hear and talk about. In order to remove our ignorance, we have to push ourselves out of our comfort zones. This is something Leftists are unwilling to do. The Leftists think like this; Who want to think about blood and guts when you can think about rainbows and unicorns? Guns, fighting, death and wounds are too ugly for their thoughts.

    Of course, as long as we are in a Rule of Law situation, we have to be on defense. We can’t ambush criminals, even though that would reduce crime and be good for society in general. Bonnie & Clyde were ambushed, so there is a precedent for ambushing criminals. But we wouldn’t want that system to be corrupted. I mean, someone could ambush someone and falsely claim they were ambushing a criminal, so even criminals need to have a fair trial before they are executed. So, since we will normally be on defense, reaction time is critically important. There is a tradeoff in concealment, which was mentioned in the article. The gun needs to be concealed enough so it can’t be seen, but it needs to be available enough to draw quickly. That’s a balancing act, especially in hot weather.

  8. That’s exactly the point! The vast majority of the population, including many of those who consider themselves to be shooters, get their information from the entertainment media. I’m old enough to have preceded the officer survival movement and encountered entirely too many LEO’s who appeared to get their “tactical training” from John Wayne movies.

    The folks who design match stages for the various gun games don’t help either. Most are real world non survival situations.

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