Essential Skills: Live Fire

AQT Qual

Remember, the purpose of consistent dry fire training is to translate the practice into live fire validation.  These basics are the cornerstone of practical marksmanship.  Before you decide you are ready to go the next phase of weaponry skill, you should, on a ‘square range’ score at least 190 on the ‘Quick & Dirty’ AQT.

Doing so demonstrates to all who witness (including yourself) that you’ve mastered the weapon to the degree that, all things being equal, you will operate safely on a more dynamic course of fire that includes fire and movement along side a ‘battle buddy’ or in a more complex exercise that could include a base of fire and a maneuver element, depending on the course you’re in and the range available.

fire and moveement

Keep in mind that in the case of live fire and movement training, being focused on leaving nothing to chance increases the probability that nobody gets injured or killed.  That’s extremely important for your NPT, and obviously so.  The ramifications of NPT’s training to fire and move and having someone killed due to miscommunication, poor fire control, or any other ‘reason’ would be significant and possibly far reaching, especially in today’s political climate.  Therefore, the original point of dry fire, AQT qualifications, dry fire and movement practice until it’s done right, and then wet fire, all stand the test of logic and common sense.

Deciding to go out on a piece of private land somewhere with a few NPT members and shoot an ad hoc course does not stand those tests.

Your formula should be:

  • Dry fire – consistent regimen
  • Familiarization Fire (unofficial qualification shooting) – Monthly
  • AQT Firing – Quarterly until scoring 190 points and continuing between live fire & movement training sessions
  • Fire & Movement Training
    • Dry runs – Until muscle memory begins to be demonstrated on safely navigating
    • Wet runs – When all NPT members participating have demonstrated the capability to move safely with their weapons, assume various shooting positions while navigating the course of fire.

Some might think this is, ‘old school’ and rightfully so:  it’s the exact method used for training I underwent from two branches conducting the training.  Might not be considered high speed, but we never had a single casualty in either course I attended or the many subsequent courses my instructor team taught.  Keep that as your objective:  realistic, productive training that is safe to navigate.

Have fun!

12 thoughts on “Essential Skills: Live Fire

  1. Pingback: DTG: Live Fire – An Essential Skill | Western Rifle Shooters Association

  2. IgorDriver

    Forgive my ignorance, but can you please explain (or provide a link for) the AQT? Many thanks.

  3. Defensive Training Group Post author

    Sure, we’d be happy to! You can get these targets very inexpensively at Fred’s m14 sight. Google it, it’s easy to find. The explanation for the course of fire are on the targets themselves. You can run them at 25 meters for both 762 + 556.

    Thanks for stopping by!

  4. IgorDriver

    Very good, and thank you! I piped off with the question a little too soon; easily found online.

  5. everydaycarrysolutions

    Having personally run through more than a couple of DTG’s marksmanship variations/iterations I’ve observed the following about the AQT:

    1. “No Range Bench” Marksmanship – The average class attendee is challenged to score 135 or above. The average class attendee has much difficulty attaining a 175 (even without PT prior to the shoot).

    2. Adrenaline – With the addition of right kind of PT immediately prior to shooting this course of fire, I’m not going to say how many folks are lucky to score an 80 (well below failing). As history has shown, most don’t shoot so well after simulating the adrenaline surge and heart rate of ‘mexican stand-off’ – even the ones in shape (although the people out of shape suffer many more clean misses).

    3. Target ID: When I was in class (still am actually – every. Single. Day.) – you shoot someone else’s target, you both are DQ’d. “But that’s not fair!” . . . Life ain’t fair . . . especially for the innocent person that gets shot (SHTF or regular self-defense situation) who wasn’t properly identified. Every round is the responsibility of the sender. So this course of fire requires shooters to demonstrate target identification when you have multiple shooters online: shooting at targets that look just like the guy’s targets next to him – well let’s just say guys get pissed when you screw up a good score on a good training session. Shooting the 2nd round of fire under time does no good if you get DQ’d because you failed to take an extra fraction of a second to properly ID your paper bad guy.

    What I like about the AQT referenced in this article is that you can run it pretty “vanilla” for shooters who are new to training for self-defense, or you can ramp up the difficulty to challenge skilled folks.

    This is strictly my observation, not necessarily anyone else – Kevin Hart said “everybody wants to be famous, but nobody wants to do the work” before every comedy show he does – Same thing – everybody wants to do fire and maneuver, but nobody wants to do marksmanship.

  6. Corvette

    Better yet, sign up for an Appleseed event near you and spend two days working on your square range fundamentals. You can probably talk the shoot boss out of a few of our AQTs for follow up work. Appleseed, reviving our shared American heritage of marksmanship. Join us if you can and bring someone with you. Friends, wives, girlfriends and
    /or children. If they can be safe on our line, all are welcome.

    Corvette, Appleseed Shoot Boss, Ohio

  7. Corvette

    My appologies, didn’t mean to sound competitive with your offerings. I saw our targets in the photo and just wanted to offer Appleseed as a great place to start training efforts in preparation for more advanced live fire training with others like your group. The more we all share our skills with our fellow countrymen, the safer lady Liberty will be in this great land.


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