Video: Perfecting The Failure Drill For Self-Defense

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Developed by Col. Jeff Cooper, the failure drill prepares you for defensive shooting situations where a center mass shot doesn't do the job.

Sometimes center mass simply isn’t enough. Maybe the assailant is amped up on adrenaline or perhaps drugs, even wearing body armor. Whatever the case, a well-aimed shot to the chest doesn’t get the job done. In turn, you must be ready and capable to respond. This is why the failure drill should be part of any armed citizen’s training.

Developed by Col. Jeff Cooper, and sometimes known as the “Mozambique Drill,” the exercise sharpens you up for circumstances when center mass shots fail to neutralize a threat. As the story goes, the drill was inspired by Mike Rousseau’s experience in the Mozambican War of Independence. Running into an armed guerrilla soldier, the mercenary performed a double tap, delivering two shots to the mans’ chest. Despite the new orifices, the man continued coming, until Rousseau attempted a head shot. Needless to say, since the mercenary was able to relay the story the final shot did the trick.


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The failure drill attempts to recreate this feat and while you may never use it, it’s certainly a potent arrow in your quiver. Essentially, you deliver two shots to the chest, then one to the head. Sounds simple, but executing it in a timely manner is a challenge – even for seasoned shooters. And it's most certainly a transition you need to practice on at the range to make effective in real life.
Headshots are notoriously difficult, particularly in the flash of a self-defense situation. Not exactly something you want to just wing. Thus, you should definitely find time to work the failure drill.

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