Mozambique Drill

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

The Mozambique Drill,[1] also known as the Failure Drill, or Failure to Stop drill and, informally, as "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 instantaneously 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).[7] Fighting at the airport at Lourenço Marques (modern-day Maputo), Rousseau rounded a corner and encountered an enemy combatant, armed with an AK-47 assault rifle, at 10 paces (7.5 m (25 ft)). Rousseau immediately brought up his Browning HP35 pistol and fired two bullets into the target's upper chest, usually enough to incapacitate or kill outright. Seeing that the fighter 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][8][9]

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][9]

In popular culture[edit]

The Mozambique Drill is featured in a number of movies, notably Heat and Collateral, both directed by Michael Mann.[10]

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. ^ Sadowski, Robert (20 March 2022). "History of the Failure Drill: Mozambique Revolt Roots". The Armory Life. The Armory Life. Archived from the original on 19 May 2022. Retrieved 3 June 2022.
  8. ^ Boatman, Robert (26 February 2004). "Jeff Cooper's Mozambique Drill". Archived from the original on 19 November 2015. Retrieved 3 December 2013.
  9. ^ 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.
  10. ^ Internet Movie Database: Movies tagged with "mozambique drill", retrieved 17 February 2023.