Vitaly Kryuchin is the president of IPSC Russia. You have probably seen him in videos where he makes music by shooting at different steel targets dual wielding and hip firing two Glock pistols. If you haven’t seen these videos, you can watch them by clicking here and here.
These videos are cool and entertaining, but they raise a simple question: how he does that? Is it a result of extensive training or is there a trick or special technique or maybe the combination of both?
Russian TV and YouTube channel called T24 published a video with Vitaly Kryuchin where he tells how he shoots that way and the history behind this technique. They call this hip fire technique “intuitive shooting”.
The reason why Vitaly started practicing the intuitive shooting is the stories told by his grandfather who used that very technique during WW1 where he was a member of a special recon unit. Vitaly’s grandfather used to carry 6 revolvers (presumably Nagant M1895 models) on his person. During sabotages and attacks, he used to dual wield the revolvers and use the intuitive shooting technique when fighting in the trenches. Once the two revolvers were emptied, he would simply drop them and pull out the second pair, then the third pair.
At first, this sounds like a movie scene and doesn’t seem to be a too efficient fighting method. But let’s think about it. So it is WW1, you are attacking/sabotaging the enemy trenches and the enemy is most likely armed with bolt action rifles and handguns. Granted that Vitaly’s grandfather was shooting as fast and accurate as Vitaly does, it is actually a tremendous amount of firepower in the trenches of WW1.
At some point of his shooting career, Vitaly started experimenting with the intuitive shooting trying to master it. He studied the biomechanics involved in it and after 3 to 5 years of research and practicing he refined and systemized the technique. In other words, he brought the hip firing almost to a scientific level making it something that can be taught to others.
According to Kryuchin, the key aspect of this technique is that your muscles aim the gun, not your eyes. Another important part is to be able to see the point of impact which means you have to be able not to blink when the shots are fired. While shooting you also need to “see” the guns with your peripheral vision. When you see the impact of the projectile, your brain adjusts the position of your hands so that the follow-up shots will be more accurate.
Sounds pretty simple and easy which it is in theory. However, in order to make that happen, you need to practice a lot. According to Vitaly, after some 10,000 rounds of practicing one should be able to do develop the necessary muscle dexterity. After that amount of practice, your eyes, brain and muscles refine this technique and make it more like a muscle memory. Your brain learns how to align your line of sight and the bore axis so that the two lines cross at the target. As Kryuchin says, you will eventually stop thinking how to hold the guns, it will happen naturally.
With even more practice you can train your both hands to work equally accurate. As you can see in the animated images below, at the level of refined muscle memory Vitaly has, you can even move to different directions (left to right or back and forth) and still be able to quickly engage the targets. It doesn’t even matter for him on which hand he has the pistol and in what direction he engages the targets: left to right or vice versa, opposite to the direction of his movement etc.
Kryuchin also gives a tip on moving while utilizing the intuitive shooting. You need to keep the center of mass of your body even with the ground level. Instead of normal walking, you need to sort of crouch using the heel-toe moving method. He bends his knees slightly and moves so that his upper body stays even in the vertical plane. This way the handguns stay steady while you are moving.
Interestingly, before each exercise, Vitaly Kryuchin makes the first shot on a rectangular target to kind of confirm that his biomechanical aiming system is properly calibrated.
This is maybe not a skill of any practical importance. Nevertheless, it is interesting to know the family history behind this technique and to know how to learn it if you will ever need/want to. Needless to say that it is overwhelmingly fun! Now I can’t wait to practice a bit during my next range trip.
If you want to watch the mentioned YouTube video (in Russian), you can find it embedded below:
In the context of this article, let me tell you about another tip that I heard from a very skilled shooter and a veteran of some special forces units with a huge combat experience. One of my friends introduced me to that man while we all were at the shooting range. We were shooting 12 gauge slugs and buckshot. At the end of that range day, he loaded a slug into the shotgun and with saying “Let’s see if I still remember it” lowered the shotgun to his hip. At first, I thought the old man is just having fun but quickly changed my mind when saw him hitting the clay target placed at about 3 to 5 meter distance. I asked him if there is a tip he can give me to let me learn this trick. He nodded.
He started with telling me that the vast majority of people who try hip firing, end up shooting higher. For some reason, your brain crosses the bore axis and line of sight way in front of the target thus resulting in projectiles flying over the target. I immediately tried that. I was sure that I am pointing the muzzle at the target but both shots I fired went over the target. Then he told me to hold the muzzle down as much as it would seem to me that I would hit the ground in front of the target. I did that which is kind of weird, you are really sure that you will hit the ground. I gently pulled the trigger and launched a Lee 1 oz slug downrange. You guessed it, it hit the target. Well, not a clay target but a larger paper one. I tried it over and over for at least 5 times and kept hitting the target with decent (human size) accuracy and only one flier. That was a rather cool skill to learn.
What this gentleman told me in response to my expression of gratefulness for the tip, is a perfect phrase to finish this article, too. He said me:
“You won’t probably ever need to hip fire, but if you have to, you’d better know how to”.