Gun Digest

Shooting Drills for Self Defense

Shooting Drills
Shooting scenarios are an excellent way to build real-world skills.

SWAT teams, Special Forces groups and other operators are constantly training when not on a mission or active call. Civilian shooters should obtain this same mindset when it comes to self-defense training. Here are three skill sets with shooting drills that are certain to improve a shooter's capabilities when it matters most.

Failure Drill

Also known as the Mozambique drill, the failure drill was designed as a way to stop advancing threats when body shots weren’t enough. Mike Rousseau first used the method during the Mozambican War of Independence. Armed with a Browning Hi-Power, Rousseau encountered an assailant armed with an AK-47 and put two rounds into the attacker’s body. When the attacker continued to advance, Rousseau aimed at the head and put the man down.


Pressure Drills

The hardest factor to train for in a self-defense situation is pressure. During a life and death struggle a person’s heart rate rises, breathing becomes erratic and fine motor skills break down. This is why firearm instructors stress motor skills in shooting drills, as well as repetition to ensure that needed handgun skills. A person must be able to perform these actions when the body is in flight-or-fight mode. One way to bring out a level of stress on the range is by elevating heart rate and breathing through exercise.

Getting ready to run a shooting course.



Malfunction Drills

Whether it’s an empty chamber, a stovepipe or a double feed, a handgun malfunction at a critical time is more than just a problem; it can get a person killed. That’s why shooters should always perform proper maintenance on firearms, but most especially on carry guns. The handgun that is carried daily should be broken in to handle all types of ammunition, cleaned and lubricated after every shooting session and inspected regularly to ensure no foreign objects have worked down into the mechanism during carry. Magazines should also be rotated to maintain spring pressure, as magazines are one of the leading causes of semi-auto handgun malfunctions.

Double feed.




Firearm skills are finite and need to be constantly renewed to ensure proper use. Drills help maintain muscle memory, but must be performed regularly or the skills will not be there when they are needed.

Editor's Note: This article appeared in the November 18, 2013 edition of Gun Digest the Magazine.

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