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.[citation needed] Rousseau hit the target on either side of the sternum,[citation needed] 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.[citation needed] 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 Mozambique Drill has been depicted in various entertainment media.

  • In the 1981 episode "Mad Buck Gibson" of the TV series Magnum, P.I., Higgins identifies the shooting pattern Buck Gibson used as the "international Mozambique pattern." The episode is in error as Buck, while soaking in a bathtub, shoots the pattern in reverse order (one shot followed by two) at a hand-drawn silhouette using Magnum's 1911 pistol.[9]
  • In the 1984 episode "Hit List (a.k.a Calderone's Return Pt I)" of the TV 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 1995 film Heat, directed by Michael Mann, two characters are killed using this technique. The first, during the armored car robbery, is shot by Michael Cherrito. This is 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". The second example is the killing of Waingro by Neil Macauley.
  • In the 2004 film Collateral, directed by Michael Mann, 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. Mann uses this technique to input a sense of realism into his films.[12]
  • In the 2007 episode "See-Through" of the TV 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]
  • In the 2009 episode "Mozambique" of the TV series Southland, the technique is mentioned and explained.
  • In the 2010 first-person shooter video game Call of Duty: Black Ops, CIA APLAA analyst Ryan Jackson recommends Special Agent Jason Hudson to execute Captain Alex Mason with the technique.
  • In the 2010 Frederick Forsyth political/thriller novel The Cobra, said character is killed with this technique by a Mexican gangster.
  • In the John Wick movie franchise (2014–), 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 bathhouse scene of the first film.
  • In the 2016 film The Accountant, Christian Wolff kills several enemies using this technique, two in the chest, one in the head, coherently with his preference for number 3.
  • In the 2019 film Fast & Furious Presents: Hobbs & Shaw, Brixton describes how he was shot: "No, actually, it was three bullets, two to the chest, one to the head, just like they taught us." (35:03)
  • In the 2016 video game Titanfall 2 there is a 3 barrelled shotgun called the Mozambique. The barrels are configured with two side by side, and one in the groove on top of them, so that at the intended range, pointing the gun at the target's neck and pulling the trigger a single time will put one shot into their head( from the top barrel), and two, next to each other, (from the bottom barrels) into their chest. This weapon's design, not only is an obvious nod to the technique, but provides a unique gameplay experience. The gun also appears in Apex Legends, another game set in the Titanfall universe.
  • In the 2015 movie, Jesse Stone: Lost in Paradise, Chief Jesse Stone (Tom Selleck) shoots Detective Leary twice in the chest and once in the head while holding Amelia hostage.

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. ISBN 9781101580400.See section on Mozambique.
  2. ^ Wilson, Jim (18 May 2017). "The Mozambique Drill: A History and How To". Shooting Illustrated. National Rifle Association. 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, 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.