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Firearms Training Around Vehicles – Five Dynamic Shooting Drills

February 14, 2024

When it comes to real-world scenarios, being able to effectively engage a threat while maneuvering around a vehicle is a critical skill for any tactical operator or armed citizen. In this article, we'll explore five AR-15 rifle training drills designed to enhance your ability to engage targets while utilizing vehicles for cover and concealment. These drills prioritize safety, efficiency, and effectiveness in simulated high-stress situations.

Drill 1: Vehicle Obstacle Course Objective: To practice moving around and using vehicles for cover and concealment while engaging multiple targets. Setup: Set up a course with multiple vehicles arranged in various configurations, including parked cars, SUVs, and trucks. Place paper or steel targets strategically around the vehicles at different distances. Execution: Armed with your AR-15 rifle, navigate through the obstacle course while engaging each target from behind cover. Practice shooting from different positions, such as standing, kneeling, and prone, while utilizing the vehicles for protection. Focus on maintaining proper muzzle discipline and trigger control while moving between cover points.

Tip: With this drill and others described below, you may consider running through the course initially with an unloaded firearm to test the safe location of berms in relation target placement and muzzle safety. Rather than damaging your own vehicle, utilizing existing damaged range vehicles or simulated vehicles is highly recommended.

Drill 2: Vehicle Ambush Response Objective: To train for engaging threats while exiting a vehicle in a simulated ambush scenario. Setup: Park a vehicle in an open area with simulated threats positioned around it. Use cardboard or foam cutouts to represent attackers. Execution: Start inside the vehicle with your AR-15 rifle in a ready position. Upon signal, exit the vehicle quickly and move to a predetermined point of cover. Engage the simulated threats while utilizing the vehicle for cover and concealment. Emphasize rapid target acquisition and accurate shot placement while transitioning between targets and cover positions.

Tip: Always remember “Height over Bore” or how the height of your optic relates to the centerline of your barrel. Not anticipating the relationship of your optic height to your bore line will potentially result in shooting holes through your cover (which happens to be your vehicle).

Drill 3: Vehicle Barricade Shooting Objective: To practice shooting from behind a vehicle barricade in a defensive scenario. Setup: Position your AR-15 rifle on a shooting rest or sandbag behind the hood or trunk of a vehicle. Execution: Assume a stable shooting position behind the vehicle barricade and engage targets downrange. Focus on maintaining a consistent shooting platform and sight picture while minimizing exposure to potential threats. Practice shooting from both standing and kneeling positions, utilizing the vehicle for maximum protection.

Tip: Plan ahead and know that shooting next to a vehicle will drastically increase sound percussion from the sides of the vehicle back towards face and ears. Be prepared with quality hearing and eye protection.

Drill 4: Vehicle CQB (Close Quarters Battle) Objective: To train for engaging threats in close quarters while moving around and inside a vehicle. Setup: Use a mock vehicle interior or a designated range training vehicle with simulated seating arrangements and obstacles. Execution: Armed with your AR-15 rifle, practice moving through the vehicle interior while engaging simulated threats at close range. Focus on quick target acquisition and precise shot placement while navigating tight spaces and obstacles. Incorporate drills such as shooting from a seated position, shooting through vehicle windows, and engaging targets while moving inside the vehicle.

Tip: Muzzle safety is imperative in these drills – there are numerous potential hazards in a vehicle (seat belts, steering wheel, head rests, mirrors) that could force your barrel in an unsafe direction towards other occupants in the vehicle, bystanders outside the vehicle or even towards your own body. Be extremely careful and avoid being overly rushed or confident when initially performing the drill.

Drill 5: Vehicle Retreat and Evasion Objective: To simulate a tactical retreat while engaging threats from a moving vehicle. Setup: Use a vehicle equipped with safety measures for simulating a moving shooting platform, such as a designated driver and safety harnesses. Execution: Start inside the moving vehicle with your AR-15 rifle at the ready. Simulate a tactical retreat while engaging targets positioned along the retreat route. Practice shooting from inside the vehicle while maintaining control and stability. Emphasize effective communication with the driver and situational awareness to avoid obstacles and potential threats.

Tip: This is an ADVANCED drill and should be performed with extreme caution and careful planning of the drill.  

Conclusion: Mastering the ability to engage threats while maneuvering around a vehicle is a crucial skill for any firearm operator. By incorporating these five AR-15 rifle training drills into your regimen, you can enhance your proficiency in utilizing vehicles for cover and concealment in various tactical scenarios. Remember to prioritize safety at all times and seek professional instruction when necessary to maximize the effectiveness of your training.

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