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If you shoot someone chances are they won’t immediately fall down dead (a la James Bond’s elimination of bodyguards with a silenced .22 in Spectre). In fact, if you shoot someone straight through the heart they’ll have enough blood pressure to keep going for up to 30 seconds, or more.

If your attacker is hyped-up on adrenalin, they may take a ballistic licking and keep on ticking long enough to kill you dead. Which is especially dangerous if they’re terrorists slashing at you with 12″ knives.

So if you’re facing that kind of threat, indeed if you’re facing any kind of deadly threat, move! And keeping shooting until the threat ends. Realistically speaking, that won’t be one bullet. It’ll be several. How many? A bunch.

If multiple rounds center mass aren’t getting it done, a bullet to the bad guy’s command center is plan B.

Some call it the Mozambique (a.k.a, “failure to stop”). Technically speaking, a Mozambique is two to the chest, one to the head. But as I said, confirmed with TTAG’s resident war hero, the better bet is lots ‘o shots to center mass and then one to the head.

Head shots are a bitch. It’s a tiny target, and it’s usually moving. You should be too. So . . . good luck with that. But it’s well worth practicing so you have something to do if the bad guy or guys seem [temporarily] impervious to center mass perforation.

Just remember that a head shot is an aimed shot. So when you practice, go rapid fire minute-of-bad-guy then stop, at least momentarily, aim at the noggin, aim for the head and squeeze the trigger.

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  1. I’m a big fan of the five count drill. Two to the chest, two to the pelvic girdle and one to the head. If a double tap center mass doesn’t stop an attacker, two to the pelvic girdle will probably put them on the deck with a shattered pelvis. Then if those two shots fail, you go for the tricky CPU shot. (The critical cranial trauma area is actually very hard to hit, most of your head actually IS non-vital.)

    • This is true, and little known pwrserge. My strategy says though that non critical GSWs to head are a great way to disturb an opponents aim, allowing time for more shots. Also there is always a chance for blindness, loss of consciousness, deafness, loss of balance, crippling vertigo and or nausea, among others. I’d imagine having ones head used as a stop for handgun rounds is an extremely unpleasant activity, in the event one survives and is conscious enough to register the misery. What is often enough said about center mass applies here too; follow up shots are still the order of the day.

    • pwrserge,

      That is an interesting concept going for the pelvic girdle. Needless to say, an attacker who cannot get up on his feet is a greatly reduced threat … unless he/she has a firearm.

      And therein lies the rub. Pelvic girdle shots are fine for strong arm, bludgeon, and edge weapon attacks … and not so fine for attackers who have firearms.

      Can the average person train adequately to be able to immediately discern whether their attacker warrants a pelvic girdle or Mozambique strategy? I have my doubts. I am liking the idea of going the Mozambique route first and then going for the pelvic girdle if all else fails.

      • The big thing to remember is that this strategy also deals with body armor. Very few armor systems cover the pelvic girdle.

        I use it as my default as I don’t count on my ability to hit a notecard sized target under stress with a handgun. The head shot is more of a hail marry. I don’t count on it hitting, that’s why I train to double tap the pelvis first.

        Failure drills are also why I don’t put a lot of stock into single stack micro pistols or revolvers. Once I run the drill, I’m more or less out.

        • Pwerserge,

          Those are good points as well.

          All of these considerations remind us once again that firearms are not magic talismans. Sometimes, you can do everything right and still lose.

          I wonder if .44 Magnum eliminates a lot of these concerns. Sure, you only have six shots without reloading — and reloading is S L O W !!! At any rate one shot to the chest, even if your attacker is wearing a Level IIa vest, would have to be debilitating. And one shot to the pelvic girdle, even if your attacker had Level IIa material covering down there, would have to be quite debilitating as well.

          Assuming close range: I have to imagine that a 180 grain bullet impacting your chest or groin at 1,600 fps is going to mess up your day unless you have an actual armor plate covering that target area.

        • Pwrserge, I practice a modified Mozambique with movement all the time (once every two weeks) at the range and I still miss about 5% of the time. In a high stress situation I dont think think the first head shot would hit its target. Recently I have started to use the zip up method. Essentially it’s one shot pelvic girdle two center mass and one head. The shots are less then .25 apart and move up the body until a well aimed head shot can be taken. Just another way of looking at it.

        • I carry a micro .380 so I guess I’m screwed. 7 shots and I’m out of ammo and the things so small it doesn’t even make a good club.

          When I took my Chl class years ago, the instructor stopped everyone that was on the firing line for a second and demonstrated the Mozambique technique (on a BLACK target no less). He was probably three feet from the target, looking at us explaining that the most likely DGU would be ….then he drew his CC from his pocket and put three in the target before anyone around could blink and said… “over just like that.” I don’t remember him even looking at the target.

      • Don’t forget and attacker, even with a gun, who gets two pelvic shots will be quickly doing a cement belly flop with occupied hands.

        Then the threat has to roll, lean or tilt their body to reacquire you all that buys time to take aim or otherwise reduce the threat

    • This is very good advise in my opinion. We are hearing stories of terrorist or mass shooters who are wearing vest that may contain plates, bombs, or extra magazines- all of which have a chance to stop rounds making it to the actual target. It is only a matter of time before we hear of Kevlar helmets making an appearance too. A pelvic shot may not end the fight like a well placed head shot but it is a much larger target that contains muscles, bones, and large vessels that all limit mobility and could allow you to make it to cover, reload, and assess your next move. I have worked in a trauma center and have been amazed with the number of self inflicted gun shot wounds to the head that have come in, with exception to the notable trauma there are many who I wouldn’t consider “out of the fight”.

      If you can make the well placed head shot, great, go for it, you’re trying to hit a triagle that goes from eye to eye and down to the nose. If you take the head shot and miss a couple inches left, right, or up, there is no guarantee and there is a good chance you are just making noise and expending ammo. With the pelvic shot, if you miss a couple inches left, right, or up you are still getting hits on target. I will take a femur fracture or a large vessel leak any day over a cranial miss. May also keep you out of prison if they are coming at you with a blunt weapon.

  2. Protecting the head becomes very difficult at ranges close enough to use a knife. Misses don’t count if you still have ammo, stay at it, because a pistol is much like a dagger in a close up fight; it needs the right alignment and attitude to strike effectively.

  3. Antiquarian note: the Mozambique Drill was named after Mike Rousseau, a merc in what was then the city of Laurenço Marques in Portuguese East Africa (Mozambique) was armed with only a Browning Hi Power rounded a corner and encountered an anti-colonial guerilla armed with an AK. He fired two to the chest with no result, then went for a headshot (in the event, he mashed the trigger, sending the round “between the collar bones,” where he severed the guerilla’s spine.) He recounted the event to Col. Jeff Cooper, who dubbed it the Mozambique Drill and integrated it into his training curriculum.

    If I recall correctly from time in Gunsite 250, they differentiated the “Mozambique” Drill from a “Failure” Drill in that in the latter, there was a brief pause to ‘evaluate’ whether or not the first two shots stopped the attack. If it didn’t, the second, aimed shot was delivered to the head. There was no such pause in the Mozambique Drill — after the second torso shot, you aimed for the head.

  4. Learned in Korea and Vietnam with opponents hyped up on drugs and kept on coming AND shooting their AKs until the ran out of blood. Even a 90mm recoilless with an anti-personnel round (about 1,000 steel darts) didn’t always stop them right away. Training was to turn around and fire elevated and let the exhaust take them out by turning them into crispy critters as a last resort.

    LAPD learned this the hard way in the mid 1970s. It took six point blank shots by a cop in a bear hug by a scrawny guy on PCP. Scrawny dud had already been the subject of nightsticks and chemical deterrent as he was tossing a cop OVER one of the squad cars. Then he grabbed a young cop who was able to get his firearm out, press the barrel against scrawny’s midsection and pull the trigger six time with, as I recall, a S&W Mod 19 .357 loaded with .38Spls.

    That wild wild west shooting is for the movies. Under stress and adrenalin, an aimed shot at a small target is most often a miss no matter how good you are at the range. Maybe this explains why it took an estimated average 50,000 bullets to kill one enemy in Vietnam. That and over use of full auto.

  5. A friend of mine came up with what he termed the “can’t shoot this” (said like MC Hammer) drill, which is essentially a modified version where you fire 3-5 rounds.

    Basically he’d take a target and block off pieces of it with duct tape and/or some colored construction paper. That’s the area you can’t shoot and you don’t know what part of the target is blocked until it’s presented. Sometimes it’s just a strip of tape horizontally placed across part of the normal outline target.

    At first I was like WTF is this? His explanation was that the tape and/or paper represented hard objects he’d noted blocked his view of people IRL and were hard enough to stop or deflect a bullet. So, a strip of tape across a target might represent a metal railing that, IRL, you’d want to shoot around to hit the bad guy and avoid bouncing rounds off into other people.

    I’m not sure of the real world application but it does present interesting shooting scenarios while making you think on your feet and aim for very specific parts of the target.

    • I was in a training class one time and did something similar. They would hang a target up and then put a piece of cardboard with cut out shapes (stars, circles, rectangles, etc) about12-24 inches in front of it. You had to shoot through the cut out and had to make scoring hits on the target behind it, under time. If you hit the cardboard at all it was considered a fail. Not only did it increase the stress and difficulty but it made you move to get an angle for a scoring shot. When asked about the drill the instructor said, “in a gun fight you don’t get to dictate the scenario……unless your the bad guy”

  6. Just remember that a head shot is an aimed shot. So when you practice, go rapid fire minute-of-bad-guy then stop, at least momentarily, aim at the noggin, aim for the head and squeeze the trigger.

    911 Caller: Officer – This is the perpetrator’s weapon. [points to the perps machete].

    Officer: Two in the chest, one in the head??? Were you trying to kill them?

    911 Caller: Officer, I shot to stop the threat and only to stop the threat, in self defense only, against a perpetrator seeking to inflict serious bodily injury or death. I’ll cooperate fully with a statement on this matter or any others, after I consult with my attorney.

    • Never tell the LEO, or anyone, that you paused and then took a head shot.

      If you say anything at all it would be best to claim it was just a flyer and you got lucky.

      • If you shoot the guy in the head and claim it was unintentional, you’re setting yourself up for a civil lawsuit. “Accidental” injury to another person is fair game for a liability claim against you or your insurance.

        • The shooting wouldn’t be accidental since you intended for the bu llet to strike the machete wielding terrorist in a vital zone.

        • If you had justification to be shooting at the dude it would make no difference that one of your shots happened to penetrate his skull. This isn’t a matter of “accidentally” shooting someone. We’re talking about deliberately shooting someone with good cause but claiming a particularly effective shot placement was just happenstance to avoid the appearance of malice.

        • How about this:

          911 caller: Officer, I’m not a good shot, I was just trying to stop the threat.

        • “911 caller: Officer, I’m not a good shot, I was just trying to stop the threat.”

          “I shot him twice, but he kept coming at me, officer…”

    • 911 caller: “He had a sword. He said he was going to kill me.”
      Cop “Did you shoot him?”
      Caller: “Did I shoot him?”
      Cop: “That’s what I said. Did you shoot him?”
      Caller? “Officer, I…don’t feel well at all. Could I get you to call me an ambulance? I think I may be having an anxiety attack, and I need medical attention.”

  7. The Z Man would Mozambique you pretty quickly I’d imagine. His English has certainly improved.

    He catches a lot of grief on a certain other firearms blog. I actually enjoy watching the guy. Yeah, he does some corny stuff on occasion. Still a hell of a shot.

  8. Sixteen to the head!

    If that doesn’t stop them then idk, garlic or a silver bullet or something?

  9. Another takeaway from this post is, regardless of pelvic shots, head shots, chest shots, etc, is to train to vary your targets.
    If you haven’t done it, it is much more challenging than you might think. It’s the rhythm that screws up most people. After those multiple shots to the body, most people rush that next shot to whatever is the next area they are going for. I certainly do. On the Moz, most people shoot right over the head, as they have shot while the gun is still coming down in recoil, or they just didn’t stop it fast enough.
    Real fun comes when you miss that shot. What do you do? Probably what you’ve trained to do. If that’s shoot 2 to the body, 1 to the head, and reassess, you are going to stop and reassess, whether you’ve missed that head shot or not.

  10. Same dude in another video does a move I like much more:

    @ 8:06 he goes to ground. If you have more time and vision you can move toward, away from, or at an angle to the attacker. The key is movement; it gives you options. Most people at code red of black adrenaline levels do not have the fine motor skill to pull off a head shot on a moving target.

    • I train shooting from the ground quite a bit, with the understanding that I may already be knocked to the ground prior to knowing the attack was on. As the NCVS shows that most people are injured prior to knowing they were being assaulted, that seems like a safe bet.
      One thing I’ve found, falling down takes room. That is, you are likely to hit something on the way down, at least in the real world and not on a matt or square range. As far as intentionally rolling to the ground, that takes up a whole lot of space.
      Definitely something to keep in your tool chest, but be realistic when on the matt or the range, that the space you use there is unlikely to exist in a safe way in the really real world.

      • I’m not an operator or anything, but this is in large part why I prefer the Weaver stance. Isosceles makes sense for competition shooting where the targets are 15 yards away and splayed out left to right, but a real world attack is likely to be at very close range and you need a stance that makes you hard to knock down. You may also need to protect your weapon and this leaves the strong side of your body away from the attacker so you can pull the weapon away while protecting yourself with your support hand. Then shove your gat into his ribs and let him have it. YMMV.

  11. Was taught in NM prison system 1 to the head, then keep shooting at center body mass till one of you falls down.

  12. a guy close enough to stab you is close enough to stick your gun in his face at fire.

    the downside is that you might very well get slashed or stabbed, but he’ll be worse off than you.

    • A guy that is close enough to stab you is also someone close enough to grab the muzzle of your gun and have at least partial say in the direction your muzzle is facing, and if you carry a semi auto you will only have one chance before you have a block and he still has a knife. Just something to think about.

  13. One little caveat about center mass shots when facing a terrorist: because C-4 explosive is hard to get, they commonly use a more unstable concoction called TATP. Unlike C-4, TATP may be detonated by bullet impacts (happened in France). So, if you are happily shooting away at a bomb-wrapped terrorist chest/body anywhere closer than 100 yds from the perp, you are, also, in a suicide mission. Just saying.

    Suicide Bomber? Better Make it a Head Shot

  14. A lion practices long and short leaps. You should practice long and short shots. With a pistol that most likely would be from 25 yards back to 0. Torso, T-shot and head.

  15. Seeing as how I carry a rev olver I’ll stick with the traditional Mozambique drill so I can handle two attackers. If there’s a third I’ll have to hope he gives me 30 seconds to get my speed strip out and reload.

  16. isis clown car just parked on nigel and shit out a load of terrible clowns with edged weapons. Concentrate your attention and 5-6 bullets on one and you may be hash, quickly.

    If you can’t Run Away(yes, shameless Python reference) position yourself with something solid to your back and make them come at you head on. Nobody gets shot twice til everybody gets shot once.

      • Another reason for “Everyone gets firsts …”:
        For a bad guy, watching his friends dying all around him is a VERY strong incentive to voluntarily stop the attack.

    • It’s all situationally dependent. I am going to neutralize the most immediate threat first and then transition to different courses of action, whether reload, retreat or use another weapon. The everyone gets first training is good if I have equal standoff at with a pistol. Using a handgun round to stop multiple attackers in a dynamic situation may mean multiple shots on target to actually neutralize. I appreciate Kyle Lamb and his drills but not all applicable to edc. As far as head shots for suicide vests that’s very much a nightmare situation, hopefully you can adapt to the situation fast enough that being said making a vest go off before the assailant wants it to maybe the only win from the situation.

      • “I appreciate Kyle Lamb and his drills but not all applicable to edc. ”
        Tactical Jesus is never wrong.
        Seriously, if you ever find yourself disagreeing with SGM Lamb, unfuck yourself.

        • I think I was more disagreeing with applying his offensive rifle drills to defensive handgun use but I will relook the bible of Viking Tactical and see if I am in heresy.

    • Most terrorists don’t care about their ‘buddies’ dying, but rather the mission. They go into it planning on dying anyways. However, expending all their manpower to take down one person is not really in-line with most terrorist mission parameters. They will go for the most damage, chaos, etc…so they will most likely split off from you if you start shooting at each of them, with the hope that they will get away and be able to carry on somewhere there isn’t an armed opponent. Hopefully you will hit them each enough to slow them down at least, and track them down after the one(s) that did stay for you are dealt with.

  17. Another good reason to NOT be carrying a revolver with only six round capability… Three shots per terrorist…three terrorists…oops…

    • Unless you’re using magnum amm unition, in which ca se you won’t need 3 shots per terrorist.

      • I have much love for revolvers, guv, but this type of attack is where a hicap auto comes in handy.

        Backing up a serbu super shorty slung up under your duster.

        • You can keep your scattergun. I’ll take my 7.62 Krink. Best part about that sucker is that it slings like a sub gun.

        • I see it as a wash. You’re assuming that when the Aloha Snackbar opens you’ll be front and center, in which ca se I’d want something like a 250 round magaz ine. However, if you’re in the nosebleeds, a re volver is the much better option. I have complete confidence that my 3″ GP 100 loaded with the full pressure loads can take out a terrorist at 100 yards, provided I can find an improvised rest. Now if the jihadi in question is running around stabbing people, my own life may not be in imminent danger, but what if he’s firing away with an AK 47? There’s no way I make that shot with any semi-auto I’ve ever shot.

        • As much as I love autoloaders, I carry a revolver, and a five shot one at that! The five that I have available, trumps the 14 you have sitting in the magazine, and nowhere to go because you have a stove pipe, failure to fire, failure to eject, misfire, or other malfunctions prone to autoloaders, that keep you from deploying whats left in the mag.
          And yes, you can clear that jam, but for the time it takes, I’ll have put a couple more rounds into the perp.
          I also carry a mini magnum as a backup for in your face, last ditch effort shooting.

  18. Someone coming at you with a ballistic vest, machete, and ill-intent (all of which are easily obtainable) will literally be able to shrug off body shots with most pistol rounds.

    Something to think about when considering how fast to go for the head. Spend too many shots fussing with the body and you may run out of space… and time.

  19. As difficult as a shot to the brain stem is, it is ultimately debilitating, since it controls heartbeat and respiration…

    • A 6″ S&W Mod 29 puts the question of concealability right out of the picture though.

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