The Failure Drill, when practiced and perfected, is an extremely useful drill that saves lives.
The modern Failure Drill is accomplished by the shooter firing two center-mass shots as quickly as those shots can be delivered into a target and within an 8-inch center mass area. Following the second shot, the shooter follows through and assesses if their target still presents a deadly threat. If the target is still a threat, then the third shot is taken and ideally hits the area between the eyebrows and the upper lip. Note: The shot is aimed at this area of the skull because this is where the bone is thinnest.
The Failure Drill is more difficult than it sounds.
The most difficult part of the Failure Drill is the changes of shot delivery that the shooter must make. The first two shots should be fired as quickly as the shooter can center his hits. Then, they must slow down enough to re-evaluate the situation and with precision deliver a headshot.
The history behind this technique (and something to practice): The Mozambique Drill: A History and How To
Here’s something to try for both accuracy and speed… a version of the 5 x 5 x 5 drill for the handgun.
5 shots in 5″ target in 5 seconds.
Start at 3 yards and see how you do. When you master that level of accuracy at that distance in that time, move out to 5 yards, then 7 yards, etc.
Start at low ready. When you have mastered that, start from concealment.
You’ll be surprised what it will do for your shooting skills.
I know its fun to go to the range and burn up a lot of ammunition. However, think about working on one or two particular skills each time you go to the range.
Some examples would be to work on
- marksmanship (always),
- developing a smooth and efficient presentation (draw),
- shooting from various forms of concealment,
- shooting from unconventional shooting positions (seated, from the ground, etc),
- strong hand only,
- weak hand only,
- and so on.
The purpose and benefit are to develop your shooting skills in a variety of ways so you will be better prepared in the event you need to use your handgun in a defensive situation. Note…these concepts work well with rifles and shotguns too.
I’ve said it before but it is very important…Carry Your Gun! You never know when it will be needed. Go back and re-read the javelina story. Carry your gun…and some extra ammunition.
Handgun shooting skills are perishable. If you don’t practice you will see your shooting skills degrade. Go practice. I’ll see you at the range.
One of my students had an interesting (intense is the way she described it) encounter recently. While hiking with her dog three javelinas charged from the sagebrush. Her dog came to her defense and intervened in the attack distracting the javelina. After the dog had been bitten by one of the javelinas, the dog retreated a short distance giving her an opportunity to fire her handgun killing one of the attacking javelinas. The other two javelinas ran away. She was not injured. The dog was not as fortunate but is recovering and doing well.
Lessons to Learn
- First, have a gun. Carry all the time. You never know what may happen or when you may need it… even hiking.
- Second, any gun is better than no gun. She was carrying a .380. Not a particularly powerful round, but it did the job in this case.
- And third, choose the proper ammunition. Don’t try to skimp by. Save your inexpensive ammo for the range. Your life may depend on QUALITY ammo. She had good self-defense ammunition in her .380 and it did the job.
Do you carry your handgun while driving in your vehicle? If so, have you practiced drawing (presenting) your handgun from the driver’s seat? (If you haven’t you should!)
You can practice in the privacy of your driveway. Make sure the gun is unloaded…and then check again to make sure. Then practice drawing your handgun.
Practice with and without your seat belt as well as unbuckling your seat belt as part of your draw. Practice exiting the vehicle with your handgun. Each vehicle will likely require a slightly different technique.
So, work with your vehicle and how you carry until you find the combination that works for you. Take your time as you do this… there is no need to hurry while you are figuring this out. It just might come in handy someday.
If you are approached by someone in a parking lot (i.e.Walmart, etc) with a hard luck story wanting money, your best bet is to say something like ‘Sorry, I can’t help you’ while moving away and looking to see if they have a partner. Be aware that the approach of asking for help could be a way to distract you so you can be attacked/robbed/whatever by a partner. This isn’t always the case, but it certainly pays to be aware and be safe.
Which leads us to Tip #2…Carry your handgun on a routine, daily basis. You do not get to pick which day you will need your gun (do you really think you get to pick the day the situation mentioned above occurs???). Someone else makes that decision for you, and you will typically be informed at the very last minute!
Think about that last sentence for a moment and realize how true it is.
Stay safe at Christmas. Reread The Gift of Preparedness This Christmas and take it to heart.
Be extra cautious and don’t become complacent about your safety as you go about celebrating the Christmas season and enjoying family and friends.
Practice shooting with your weak hand. This is something everyone tries to avoid, but the truth is that you should be ambidextrous with your handgun (rifle as well). Use a tight grip, angle the handgun slightly, line the sights up and press the trigger. Nothing to it, just something you need to practice.
Suggestions for the Tip of the Month are from the Tom Givens article mentioned in the Interesting Thoughts article this month.
- Have the gun on your person, it won’t do you any good otherwise.
- Solid initial training, followed up with periodic sustainment training with your carry gear leads to a comfort level with the equipment fostering the willingness to actually wear it daily.
What to Learn
- Learn to access the handgun from concealment, safely, reliably and quickly.
- Learn to get good, solid hits with the first rounds out of the gun.
- It would be good to know how to reload your firearm and to fix malfunctions if they occur.
- Take a good course on legal issues, like one from Massad Ayoob or Andrew Branca,
and then carry on.