(Note – the following is from an LE/Military perspective – you may find the training aspect to help improve your handgun training) Using the Level III (IV) ballistic shield is ideal in most active shooter scenario for tactical responders. The psychological effect is an advantage for the tactical team. But one thing that you never hear about is the “Entry Man“, the one carrying the shield and having to shoot their firearm knowing that its a bitch to lug the shield and shoot one handed. This article is not about tactics used with the shield, but on developing shooting skills necessary to hit your target while performing your duty with the shield.
In a different perspective having to shoot this way actually improves your normal two handed shooting. The differences in technique is that shooting with the shield is “point shooting“. Here are other factors involved when shooting with the shield:
- Limited lighting
- Can’t see your sights
- Your gun arm will be in a bent position
- Main focus will be looking forward through your goggles and the view port of the shield
So the main thing that you will see is just the target and if you have a laser you can see where its pointing at. The best way to train for this sort of shooting is to progressively shoot targets with the shield at close range and work back to 15 yards. Real quick on the handling of the pistol, it will be natural to have a cant when pointing the handgun and try to have it level at eye level or close to it.
Course of Fire
The progression is as follows for the course of fire with the shield:
- 5 yds 5 rounds rapid fire at stationary working back to 7 yds, 10 yds, 12 yds and 15 yds
- Shooting while moving forward, sideways and backwards engaging targets at 5 to 10 yards – start slow to medium pace – always think control your platform
- Move through a live fire shoot house (tire) and shoot at targets
Takeaways on Training
The foundation of the training that must be mastered is shooting from the stationary position. You must hit the target, and the groupings within 12″ at center mass, no head shots and shots are fired within a second. Add reloading into this phase as well. The training at this stage may be for a few weeks depending on how much shooting takes place and your skill level.
Shooting on the Move
Once you can point shoot accurately from the stationary its time to put this to the test while on the move. Start at the 15 yard and move forward and engage your target at 10 to 5 yards with multiple shots. Repeat the same while traversing your target left to right (vice versa) from 5 to 10 yards and firing. Obviously, you will find the grouping will be at 20″ or more.
Participating in a live fire shoot house is the way to go when you’ve reached a certain level of proficiency. Depending on budget sources the next best thing is to run through a mock shoot house with “air soft pistols“. Most scenarios are usually dynamic entry, but if you really want to get used to the shield, suggestions would be to do a “soft” entry from the outer perimeter of a structure and work your way to the designated “shoot house“. From here will be a “hard entry” to clear the hot area and re-clearing all the way out to end the exercise. Imagine doing that for 10 hours, at that level holding the shield and shooting for 30 minutes will be a breeze.
Note on Reloading the Handgun
You will notice there isn’t much of reloading exercise mentioned above. It’s not to say that you can’t do it, because there are other agencies out there practicing it. When I was an “Entry Man” many years ago, I adopted a different method. The primary handgun was on a lanyard with high capacity magazine. On my side (gun side) was a small pouch and a second handgun holstered on the vest at stomach area. If I needed to reload, I merely dropped my handgun into the side pouch and pulled my second pistol out and continued on. Just so everyone understand, this is what worked for us and our missions at the time.
Lawful Gun Owner
As I stated at the beginning, this is through an LE/Military perspective. Please take the method of training into consideration and apply it to your needs. I’m sure you can benefit from the approach and mentality of training in mind.
Written by Jon Hines