Mozambique Drill

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The Mozambique Drill,[1] also known as the Failure Drill, or Failure to Stop drill, informally, "two to the body, one to the head,"[2][3] is a close-quarters shooting technique that requires the shooter to fire twice into the torso of a target (known as a double tap or hammered pair to the center of mass), and follow up with a more difficult head shot that, if properly placed, will instantly stop the target if the previous shots failed to do so.[4][5][6]


According to anecdotal history, the technique originated with a Rhodesian mercenary, Mike Rousseau, engaged in the Mozambican War of Independence (1964-1974). Fighting at the airport at Lourenço Marques (modern-day Maputo), Rousseau rounded a corner and encountered a FRELIMO guerrilla, armed with an AK-47 assault rifle, at 10 paces (~7.5 meters). Rousseau immediately brought up his Browning HP35 pistol and performed a double tap maneuver, a controlled shooting technique in which the shooter makes two quick shots, to the target's torso. Rousseau hit the target on either side of the sternum, usually enough to incapacitate or kill outright. Seeing that the guerrilla was still advancing, Rousseau attempted a head shot that hit the guerrilla through the base of his neck, severing the spinal cord. Rousseau related the story to an acquaintance, small arms expert Jeff Cooper, founder of the Gunsite Academy shooting school, who incorporated the "Mozambique Drill" into his modern technique shooting method.[1][5][7][8]

The Mozambique Drill was incorporated in the Gunsite curriculum from the late 1970s. In 1980, two Los Angeles Police Department SWAT officers, Larry Mudgett and John Helms, attended pistol training at Gunsite and received permission from Cooper to teach the technique to the LAPD, and to rename it the Failure Drill (concerned that "Mozambique" might have racist overtones).[5]

Theory and technique[edit]

The Mozambique Drill is intended to ensure that the target is immediately stopped, by first placing two shots into the larger, easier-to-hit mass of the upper body, then, if the target is still active, following with a third, more precisely aimed and difficult head shot. Due to factors such as body armor, the bolstering effect of drugs, or failure to hit vital organs, the body shots may not be immediately effective, necessitating the third shot. To guarantee instant incapacitation by impacting the brain and central nervous system, the head shot must be delivered to the area between eyebrows and upper lip, otherwise, various bony areas of the skull could deflect the bullet.[5][8]

In popular culture[edit]

The Mozamibique Drill has been depicted in various entertainment media.

  • In 1981, in the ninth episode of the second season of the TV series Magnum, P.I., "Mad Buck Gibson", Higgins identifies the shooting pattern Buck Gibson used as the international Mozambique pattern.[9]
  • In the 1984 episode "Hit List (a.k.a Calderone's Return Pt I)" of the television series Miami Vice, actor and firearms expert Jim Zubiena plays a hitman and performs a Mozambique Tap against a handyman of one of his victims.[10] Jim Zubiena later performed the technique again in a 1998 episode of Nash Bridges.[11]
  • In the 1995 video game Police Quest: SWAT, the Mozambique Drill (referred to in game as the "Failure Drill") is used during small arms training exercises.
  • In the 2004 film Collateral, the Mozambique Drill is the antagonist's preferred killing technique, and is used several times, including in a scene where said antagonist is confronted by two enemies at gunpoint. Heat and Collateral were both directed by Michael Mann, who uses this technique to input a sense of realism into his films. [12]
  • In the 1995 film Heat, also directed by Michael Mann, two characters were killed using this technique. The first, during the armoured car robbery, is shot by Michael Cherrito. This is helpfully pointed out in a subsequent scene where Detective Bosko goes to the body and points to "a double-tap entry wound to the sternum" and a head wound with "scorched bone" indicating that the victim was shot at close range and "probably executed". The second example is the killing of Waingro by Neil Macauley who shoots him twice in the chest and once in the head.
  • In the fourth episode of Season 2 (2007) of the television show Dexter, while investigating a crime scene, Sgt. James Doakes sees the style in which a victim was murdered and comments that "she was Mozambiqued."[13]
  • It is mentioned in Call of Duty: Black Ops, a 2010 first-person shooter, in which CIA APLAA analyst Ryan Jackson, oddly specifically, recommends Special Agent Jason Hudson to execute Captain Alex Mason with the technique suspecting that Mason had been successfully compromised by Soviet agents.
  • It is applied in the 2010 Frederick Forsyth political/thriller novel The Cobra, in which said character is killed in this technique by a Mexican gangster.
  • In the second episode of the first season of the TV series Southland, named Mozambique, the technique is mentioned and explained.
  • The games Titanfall 2 and Apex Legends contain a shotgun-pistol hybrid weapon named Mozambique, and the developers have stated that the name refers to the Mozambique Drill because of its unique spread, in the shape of a triangle.
  • In the John Wick series, the titular character uses the Mozambique technique against multiple enemies throughout the three films. An example of this is when he uses it against a henchman that ambushes him from the water in the bathouse scene of the first film.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b Oldale, John (2012). A World of Curiosities: Surprising, Interesting, and Downright Unbelievable Facts from Every Nation on the Planet. Penguin.See section on Mozambique.
  2. ^ Wilson, Jim (18 May 2017). "The Mozambique Drill: A History and How To". Shooting Illustrated. Archived from the original on 14 September 2018. Retrieved 14 September 2018.
  3. ^ Nash, David (2011). Understanding the Use of Handguns for Self-Defense: What You Need to Know. Looseleaf Law. pp. 110–111. ISBN 978-1608850259.
  4. ^ Burleson, Tony Lee (2012). The Survival Code and Situational Awareness: Teaching the Instructed. Trafford. pp. 17–18. ISBN 978-1466929104.
  5. ^ a b c d Wilson, Sheriff Jim (10 November 2011). "Failure Drill". Shooting Illustrated. National Rifle Association. Archived from the original on 6 October 2014. Retrieved 24 September 2014.
  6. ^ "Lesson Plan: Immediate Target Engagement (CMC-22 Combat Marksmanship Coaches Course 08/12/2008)". United States Marine Corps. 21 February 2008. p. 7. Archived from the original on 17 February 2013. Retrieved 15 November 2014.
  7. ^ Boatman, Robert (26 February 2004). "Jeff Cooper's Mozambique Drill". Archived from the original on 19 November 2015. Retrieved 3 December 2013.
  8. ^ a b Mann, Richard A. (29 March 2017). "Shooting Skills: The Mozambique-Failure Drill". Gun Digest. Archived from the original on 30 September 2018. Retrieved 30 September 2018.
  9. ^ "Magnum Mania! - Episode Guide - Mad Buck Gibson".
  10. ^ "Shooting Dice Blog". 21 January 2016. Retrieved 25 July 2017.
  11. ^ "". Retrieved 28 July 2017.
  12. ^ Inouye, Kevin (2014). The Theatrical Firearms Handbook. CRC Press. p. 179. ISBN 9780415733984.
  13. ^ ""Dexter" See-Through (2007)". IMDB.