What Is A Drill?

Drills are a method of repeating something over and over until you can’t screw it up. Courses of fire are timed scenarios that are designed to test our skills and diagnose what we need to work on. If there is one thing that I have learned from my time using guns, professionally or otherwise, its that drills are important. Drills are a great way of perfecting your skills to the point of becoming second nature. As shooters, it is important to always advance in our skills and become faster, and more efficient. But these skills do us no good if we are not able to implement them universally and adapt to any scenario. It is always good to test your speed and proficiency under stress periodically and some courses of fire are a great way of doing this. However, a lot of courses of fire used today are modified, turned into drills, and used without question. This is the case with most trends in the tactical/self-defense community. People will follow whatever looks sexy and may make them look like they’re part of the tack-tickle club.

These DRILLS are supposedly used to teach skills. But its as if the purpose of these DRILLS has been lost in translation from instructor to student through the generations. You will see people doing these courses of fire over and over until they break some time record like some kind of drill, hence why they are now called DRILLS. I intend to discuss why I think you shouldn’t use these courses of fire as drills, and how they should instead be implemented and why.

I just want to start by saying that I prefer to keep things simple and stay versatile and adaptable. My method of training and practicing are based off of perfecting things that are good with all platforms and situations. This means drilling properly on the basics only and learning speed through smooth repetition. Click here to watch my video on the few drills I do train on, how I do them, and why.

Drilling on timed courses of fire is quite popular for trying to teach several skills all at once, but they don’t really help you much. They are only going to build your skill in that specific course of fire. Let’s look at each course of fire and what it’s supposed to do for you/show you in theory. Click on the names to see videos of the drills being done the wrong way.

Mozambique/Failure drill: 

Made popular through Jeff Cooper, this drill in my experience has been modified to the point of complete fantasy that is more dangerous than helpful. It is originally supposed to be done by delivering two rounds to the chest, going back to the low ready for a pause to represent assessment of results, and then delivering a quickly aimed shot to the head. I was taught this when I was in the military and I was taught to go right to the head but with no real rush, maybe even drop to a knee beforehand. This was wrong and is completely unnecessary and even wasteful and overkill if used all the time.

Modern day experience and lessons in gun fighting has taught most of us veterans that two to the chest is a useless answer to a threat. In reality you should be training to shoot until the target has stopped fighting. The only time this type of response would be necessary, is when the threat just won’t stop from multiple shots and they are continuing to be a considerable threat, such as the case if they are wearing body armor. In this case, you should just do a headshot and not waste your rounds. However, most of the time you will not get feedback on your hits like in movies anyways. The only time you may see a definite involuntary physical response is if a loadbearing structure such as bone or joints are damaged or shattered. Other than that it is a purely psychological response to being shot that makes them stop.