If you talk to anyone that knows anything, or thinks they know anything about Special Forces, they say “Shoot, Move, Communicate, always be doing two out of three.” It sounds good and is a good idea if you are operating in a military team, sort of.
I love to move and shoot. Moving helps me not get shot, which I like. Moving and communicating is always a good idea if there is more than one good guy around. Again, it helps me not get shot (by the good guys this time). But when you start working with guys for a long time you talk less and less. The only time you need to communicate is when something goes wrong. Everything else, where I look, which way I turn, and everything else I do communicates to my team. And when I shoot, it’s the best way to communicate to my team (I don’t know why, but that last statement took me almost 10 years to learn).
The last combination of “Shoot, Move, Communicate,” shoot and communicate is the hard one. When I went through the police academy I had an old cop and an older cop (that was also in Vietnam) tell me when your trigger finger is activated, your mouth needs to stop. The funniest example of this was watching cops one day. The police officer was chasing someone with her gun out, stops, draws a bead and yells “Stop! Or I’ll” boom, “shoot!” In the middle of the sentence she fired a round. Sounded horrible, and looked horrible on video. The video only showed her, and not what the bad guy was doing.
It was never a problem for me. I only talked during a firefight when it was necessary. I did say some painfully obvious things that my Marines laughed at me for after the fact, but… The communicate thing is over rated, can make you look dumb and worst of all, it gets in the way of what you need to be doing, and that’s making hits on the bad guys while moving.
As a civilian, we normally won’t have a team around us to communicate to. We will have people around and we need to communicate to them. But when we start shooting, we are done with our mouth. If we are talking, our attention is elsewhere, when everything we have should be focused on our goal to stop the bad guy. If there is something that needs to be communicated, then stop shooting and start talking.
This fact strikes me the most when I’m trying to film for The Shooters Club. Bob Mayne and I do how-to videos at that site on shooting and self defense. We set up drills to learn skills and then explain them. The problem comes when we are trying to shoot and explain at the same time. Once, we went through the drill multiple times, shooting them perfectly and then turned on the camera to record us talking about the drill as we shot. We both went from a 100% hit ratio to about a 50% hit ratio.
I’ve also seen this in classes I’ve taught. If I make my students talk while they were shooting, most everyone will miss. A simple sentence, like stop or I’ll shoot, makes my students miss almost every time. It’s even more fun to watch the students try to improvise something. It’s always funny to hear and then funny to watch. Everyone gets a good laugh as we watch the student miss, a lot.
So shoot, move, communicate is a great idea. But once you start shooting, put everything into your shooting. Everything in your life at that instance depends on you making a hit. For the rest of your life, no matter how long or short it might be, will be determined on whether you hit or miss. You are looking at taking a life and saving your own. The only thing you need to concentrate on, the only thing that matters, is whether you hit or miss. Make your hits when it counts and talk when you should.