by Jason

Gesture Line Soldier Gun barrel Balance

You hear a lot today of people talking about "Running & Gunning" and shooting ultra lightweight AR builds on professional courses all while decked out in the latest tacticool khaki cargo pants and logo'ed polo shirt... But what about the more basic applications of "Run & Gun" for exercise and it's real world benefit! I will use my own experience to try to explain why I do it and why it has helped me!

I've always been into fitness! Being an active outdoor participant skiing, climbing, and backpacking has always pushed me to improve myself and I would train for big trips accordingly. Sport specific exercises are a key part to excelling at any activity and shooting is no different! For me going to the range is not always about shooting for groups or distance (although I still enjoy that), but has become more about being a more complete shooter!

Anyone who knows me knows that I'm a huge supporter of training with your gear! The more you use it, the more comfortable you get in it and the better you will perform if you ever need to actually use it! This is where using the Run & Gun for exercise is key! Wearing a battle belt, chest rig or plate carrier, a day pack, EDC (Every Day Carry) bag, etc, while moving, running, changing out mags, or switching from your primary firearm to your secondary can add or change the way you shoot. Imagine the added stress of running 25 yards to seek cover and after you fire 3 shots your weapon jams. Can you clear that jam under stress and out of breath? Have you practiced changing out mags in that scenario and still get a shot or two off on the target? You have to practice it! Can you shoot quickly and accurately standing, kneeling, lying down? Change out mags in those positions? Run & Gun is great training for that, not to mention the physical conditioning it adds to your overall well being!

Plant Tree Air gun Shotgun Grassland

Here is how I use Run & Gun for exercise! I have an outdoor range I use and am able to spread out a bit for this. At the most, I'll wear my battle belt loaded, plate carrier w/plates, and hydration pack that is removable! Combined it weighs 34 lbs.. That can be a lot to run with, get up with, and not to mention changes how you shoot and move. I think of myself as being in above average physical shape but after running and shooting with this entire kit on for the first time I was whooped, my legs hurt like hell the next morning and my shooting progressively got worse as the day went on... That was a wake up call that I had to train for this like any other outdoor pursuit of mine!

Clothing Camouflage Military camouflage Sky Cargo pants

Here is my favorite drill to run, I call it the 100 yard run and gun:

-Start at 100 yards lying on your back w/feet facing target, shoot!

-Get up and run to 75 yard mark, kneel and shoot!

-Get up and run to 50 yard mark and drop down to the prone position and shoot!

-Get up and run to 25 yard mark and shoot!

This is a great drill for endurance and controlled firing, making shots count, and controlled breathing! I do this with full plate carrier w/armor, hydration pack, and battle belt! My goal is to hit every shot and do it in under a minute!

You can add variants to this drill by using barricades, short loading mags to force mag changes, or at the last mark transition to your sidearm and walk towards the target while firing!

Another fun and physically taxing drill, especially if you are a bit limited on space is whats called the Shuttle Gun! Essentially, set a distance from your target or targets, start on one line and sprint laterally to the opposite line, engage targets with 2 shots each and sprint back to the other line! This can be set up similar to a shuttle run and you can add barricades at the lines and add different positions and throw mag changes into the drill!

There are many more drills out there and you can make them up as you go. If it is new to you then run the drills with just your rifle and a belt with spare mag! Add to it as you feel you are progressing! If you run a sling bag as an EDC for your concealed carry and trunk gun, then do the drills with that! As you advance throw a partner into the mix to yell out commands for multiple targets or for running simultaneously at
multiple targets!

I know that at the end of a session I am soaked with sweat and grinning from ear to ear because I just got to have a fun workout while on the range and am greatly improving my shooting skills at the same time! I think my biggest improvement with using the Run & Gun for training and exercise has been an increase in my speed and precision with getting shots into the target zone presented to me! I hope this was informative and gave some new ideas on range training and shooting workouts!