COURSE OF FIRE: Tactical Lateral Movement Drill

By Deputy C.E. Monroe, Training Coordinator, Oswego County Sheriff’s Office

Each issue of The Police Marksman will feature a “Course of Fire” that police officers can use for their own department’s training. Training courses can be shared and used “as is” or you may wish to modify them as needed. If you have a firearms course that has worked well with your own department’s range training, send it to us and we’ll pay you $50 if it’s chosen to be shared here. Try to keep the round count at a single box of 50 rounds for pistol courses as we know today’s ammo budgets are challenging. Courses with movement, cover, shields, low light, etc. are beneficial to all police officers, so follow the standard instructional format like this issue’s course and e-mail it to us at

Required Items and Materials:

  1. Standard patrol duty equipment
  2. Any silhouette target (3 targets per course of fire are recommended)
  3. 15 Rounds of ammunition (perform course of fire three times for a total of 45 rounds)

Instructional Goal:
To understand the importance of tactical lateral movement

Instructional Objectives:
The drill will enhance the officer’s ability to move both forward and laterally.

Lesson Plan:

  1. Introduction
    1. Introduce self
    2. State your qualifications
    3. Course of fire explanation
  2. Explain the importance of forward and lateral movement while firing.
    1. The vast majority of lethal force encounters do not occur during static-controlled firing conditions.
    2. The ability to effectively change direction and engage threats is a crucial skill to hone; explain gun turret technique and side stepping technique.


  1. Course of Fire on the range
    1. Set up 4 standard 55-gallon drums (plastic ones are ideal). The drums should be spaced evenly (in a square) to start at a distance of approximately 10 yards apart. Drums are not for cover but are obstacles to guide movement.
    2. One officer will report to the firing line with a duty rig and 3 magazines loaded with 5 rounds in each. Officer will be oriented down range at the target arrays, beginning at either of the rear barrels (left or right rear—see diagram next page).
    3. On the command of move, the student will draw and start moving forward tactically and engaging the first designated target while moving.
    4. Students should focus on well-placed hits and tactical movement. All rounds are to be fired by the officer while moving forward.
    5. Students should now reload and turn to move laterally by either the gun turret technique or side stepping, and fire the next 5 rounds.
    6. Students should now reload and fire the 5 remaining rounds while moving backward.
    7. Scoring is pass/fail, percentage of hits in the center mass area (usually 70 -75%)
  2. Scoring is Pass/Fail, percentage of hits in the center mass area (usually 70-75%)

INSTRUCTOR NOTES: The simplicity and flexibility of this drill make it very effective for shooters of all different skill sets. By increasing or decreasing the distance between the barrels and/or the distance between the barrels and targets, you can vary the difficulty based on the individual shooter’s skill set. Also increasing or decreasing the amount of rounds fired in between directional changes is an option. The purpose of the drill is to help students realize what speed they can operate at and still fire effectively; this should be reinforced at the briefing before the drill begins. Use of barrels or 5-gallon buckets is strongly suggested to prevent a tripping hazard; low-profile items such as tires do not work well. Start students at both left and right rear barrels to force bilateral conditioning.



  1. Questions
  2. Thanks PM

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