If you are not training yourself to move at the start of a gunfight, chances are pretty good you will not win that gunfight.

Consider this: You have one chance to prevail in a deadly force encounter. Most people never trade shots with a bad guy. Anyone who does is typically only involved in one gunfight in his or her entire life. That incident is very likely to last only a few seconds.

In the unlikely event that you do have to use your gun for self-defense, you will have just one chance to do what you need to do to win. So, let’s go back to my first rule of a gunfight: Don’t get shot. Getting shot greatly reduces your chances of winning the fight. (As an aside here, remember also that if you do get shot, you should not quit. Keep fighting until you can no longer physically continue. If you do that, you seriously increase your chances of winning. But I digress.)

The best way to clearly follow the first rule is to get moving. You don’t want to be where the bullets are going. While it is true that you cannot outrun a bullet, it’s also true that your movements will require your attacker to react to you. And remember: Action beats reaction every time.

So now you are likely asking, “But wait, Kevin, if action beats reaction and self-defense is always reactive, does that mean we are always destined to be defeated when attacked?”

In a word: NOPE!

That is because even though you are behind the curve when the attack starts, that does not always mean the initial attack will do enough damage to kill or even maim you. If, however, you are so distracted and so unprepared for the initial attack that you do nothing as the attack comes, you can pretty much count on a negative outcome. That is why good instructors stress that you should live in Condition Yellow, or, if you don’t like the Cooper Color Codes, you should always be “aware.” Yellow and “aware” are the same things. They both mean that you are paying attention to what is going on around you and making note of potential threats, danger areas, and escape routes. If the situation gets worse, you move to Orange or “alert.” That means you have identified a potential threat and you are formulating a plan of action.

That plan of action should always include movement. Even if you can’t move a lot, you should almost always be making plans to move in the face of aggressive action.

Movement takes you out of the line of attack. Movement forces the attacker to react to your movement. The more you move, the more you put yourself in control of the situation by forcing the attacker to react. If your movement includes going on the offensive, all the better. By doing that, you force the attacker to rethink his entire strategy while you are implementing the plan you were thinking up when you were in Condition Orange.

Include movement in all your training drills. If you can’t move and shoot at your range, set up dry drills in your garage. You can do this. Train like your life depends on it.