What is a failure drill? Something designed to makeup for a failed tactic or technique. Why do we do this? What’s the situation? What’s the distance? Let’s debunk some common shooting myths.
2 Shots to the Body and 1 to the Head also known as the Mozambique Drill. You need to ask the questions:
Why do we do this? What’s the situation? Is it because your shots to the body hit armor? What’s the distance? Is it between 7 meters, or 57 meters? Does that conform to reality? Why not just shoot the head first? Why not just put those three rounds into the target’s mouth/nose area? That’s the best time for a shot to that spot anyway — because after you’ve shot someone in the chest, there’s a high likelihood they’ll be moving and definitely aware of you — making that head shot harder.
Double Taps (Hammers). To do this you shoot based on a “rhythm.” You fire the first round, and then the second one as fast as you can pull the trigger. The problem is that you cannot shoot moving targets using this technique because the target will not be there for the second follow-up shot. This doesn’t allow use of the sights for the second shot, which is not a good thing - always see the sights because you are responsible for every round that leaves your muzzle.
Tactical Reloads are defined as a reload to refresh your gun with a new magazine. This is a “want to” technique. In other words, you have not run dry, but have found an opportunity to refill your gun, even though you may not be completely empty. Ask, “What do you do with your magazine that you remove?” Most people say, “Put it into my pocket.” But why are you reloading? Because I shot the gun and depleted some of the ammo. But why did you shoot? Because there was a threat out there (i.e., a bad guy). Then why not put the magazine back into the magazine pouch where you normally get magazines? You might need those rounds later. It’s where you always train to get them; you don’t train to go to your pocket, do you? Don’t make things harder on purpose. Put EMPTY magazines in your pocket, or throw them down, etc. Finally, do a press check.
Speed “Combat” Reload. This is something you do in a fight when your gun goes dry, and you must reload your weapon. Do you train to perform this technique by keeping the weapon up, pointing at the threat while reloading? Why? Most will say, “In order to keep the weapon trained in the direction of the threat.”
The reason people have trained to do this in this manner (keeping the weapon pointed downrange) is because during mass weapons training courses, the instructors didn’t want people turning weapons left and right and endangering other students/instructors, so they made everyone point them downrange to perform the reload technique. Along the way, someone came up with the idea that it was “extra-ninja-tactical-cool” to say that you were keeping the weapon trained on the threat, when in fact it was just the by-product of a safety precaution.
So what are you going to do to the threat with an empty weapon? There is no point in pointing an empty weapon at a threat unless you plan to throw it at the bad guy. It’s just as fast to bring the weapon down, turn it to look at the magazine well and do the reload, then get the weapon back into the fight.
Kneeling to Clear a Malfunction. Why do you do this? If your weapon stops functioning the best thing to do is get mobile immediately and get OFF the X. Kneeling has it’s place however — to get down behind cover to fix the gun, for example. It’s a valid technique in certain situations. Does it work? Yes, at times. Is it necessary? Not always.
Strong-side Only Reload Technique. When would you do this (or WHY would you do this)? The common answer is that when your left hand is doing something else like when you’re wounded or carrying something (i.e., dragging your buddy, holding equipment, etc.).
Where is the place you place the weapon in order to accomplish this technique? A common answer is to place the weapon in the crook of the knee (i.e., the back of the knee) to hold the gun, and then reload with your strong hand. But what’s the problem with this technique? You cannot get mobile, if you need to. So, is there a better way to do this? Why not put the weapon back into the holster? The holster is made to hold the weapon and you can perform the reload with the strong side hand easily.
Stances: The Isosceles v. Weaver Argument. The Weaver stance requires the shooter be turned to the target to minimize the shooter as a target. His strong arm is “pushing” forward, while your weak arm is “pulling” slightly. This forms a “stable” shooting platform from which to fire the weapon. How do you use body armor from this position? You can’t maximize your armor because you are not turned to the target. How do you shoot one-handed from this position? You cannot because you will, theoretically, “push” your gun into the street.
Instinctive Shooting. Something instinctive is (paraphrased) innate, something that you do not need “training” to accomplish. If it is instinctive, then why do you train? At what range(s) can you perform “instinctive shooting”? The common answer is “usually anywhere under 15 yards.” But a response is that if it is “instinctive” why is there a range limit?
The 21-30 Foot Rule. This says that a Bad Guy (BG) with an edged/blunt weapon at 21 to 30 feet, or less, can still get to you and kill you even though you shoot him (unless you get a CNS/pons or medulla shot). It is based on physics that a body in motion will continue, etc. It is also based on the fact that unless a CNS attack is successfully made, people will not die and cease activity immediately just because they have been shot. But the actual technique for dealing with this threat is to get offline as you fire at the BG. The technique is simple―move and shoot.
Immediate Threat Training. A Bad Guy (BG) is within arms reach and is attacking you. The technique calls for you to block, draw your weapon and fire. The technique calls for you to do 3 movements. But the distance is arms reach.
Ask this, “Why, at a shorter distance, in the face of an immediate threat to your life, do you pile on a complicated series of movements?” Why not treat it like the 21 Foot Rule and get offline and shoot?
The bottom line is this - KISS - keep it simple student.
(Dedicated to the memory of Al Clark who died suddenly on 23 May 2015. Al was a highly decorated US Navy SEAL and co-founder of Blackwater Training Center and gifted instructor).