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Life-Saving Defensive AR drills

The AR 15 is easily one of the best weapons for home and property defense. It’s easy to use, lightweight, and affords low recoil. Combine it with an effective round and a high-capacity magazine and it’s hard to beat.

Defensive AR Drill 1: Failure to Stop Drill

The Failure to Stop Drill (occasionally referred to as the Mozambique Drill) is used for close-range fighting. It’s taught to Marines who need to stop a threat quick and because of its effectiveness in combat, it’s reinforced over and over again. This drill focuses on shot placement and scoring hits in the vital, mushy parts of an enemy. This defensive AR drill is designed to take down fast-moving, close attackers, or attackers using drugs to dull pain receptors. Executing the drill means placing a total of three shots on the target and it can be accomplished easily at 25 yards.

The Failure to Stop Drill requires a target with clear head and chest areas, or clear chest and pelvic areas. The shooter can use any range they are comfortable with to drill this. The shooter starts with their weapon at the low ready, finger off the trigger, weapon on safe, round in the chamber, and at least two rounds in the magazine.

On a signal, the shooter fires two rounds rapidly into the chest of the target and transitions up to take one well-aimed headshot. Alternatively, the shooter can put two rounds into the chest area and transition down, placing two rounds into the pelvic area.

Headshots are guaranteed to stop the fight but they can be difficult to land on a moving target. The pelvic area is much larger and easier to hit. Rifle rounds will break pelvic bones, and a broken pelvis will take someone out of the fight, usually with death following closely behind. It’s not just highly painful, either. A target can’t physically walk, run, or fight with a broken pelvis.

One way to make this defensive AR drill more challenging (and effective once learned) is to shoot faster, use a smaller target, or get further away from the target.

300 Blackout (8.5" Barrel & 7" Keymod Handguard) AR Pistol Upper

Our 300 Blackout pistol uppers pack a huge punch and are compact. Perfect for home defense.

Defensive AR Drill 2: Be Up, Get Down, Go Lower

This drill will require your rifle, at least six rounds of ammunition, and a buddy with a timer (or an automatic timer). The goal of this drill is to teach you how to move while aiming your rifle, and how to rapidly take cover. Getting behind cover and making yourself a smaller target is incredibly important when it comes to defensive shooting. You’ll want to be able to do both without taking your eyes off the target.

Your target needs to be set up 15 yards from your starting position. A successful shot will be one that hits the head or chest.

Because the drill encompasses movement, it’s important that you make safety a priority. This should be done slowly at first, and without live ammo. This is to ensure you understand the movements and safe ways to make them. You must also be sure to exercise some of the golden rules of shooting: Know where you’re aiming, and know what’s behind your target at all times.

Start this Defensive AR drill in the standing position. Using a shot timer or a partner, your goal is to transition to three positions, firing two shots in each position, scoring 6 hits in 10 seconds. The timer should start when you fire your first shot.

After firing two shots standing, transition to the kneeling position and fire two more shots. Transition from the kneeling to the prone and fire two shots. That’s all there is to it.

It’s simple and effective, often used by Marines and warfighters who can’t find defilade or standing cover to conceal behind.

Defensive AR Drill 3: Viking Tactics 1-5 Drill

This drill was invented by Sergeant Major Kyle Lamb, a retired Delta Force operator who now runs Viking Tactics. The drill is designed to teach and refine muzzle control, body positioning, follow through, transitioning targets, and shooting until the threat is gone. You’ll need three targets placed on a line, one yard from shoulder to shoulder — that’s about one target width apart, each. You’ll also need 15 rounds of ammunition for this drill.

Standing five yards from the target you’ll shoot one round on the left target, two rounds on the center target, and three rounds on the right target. Then, transition back to the center target and take four shots, then finish the drill by placing 5 shots on the left target.

Only center chest shots count and the goal is to complete the drill in under 5 seconds. Anything under 3.5 seconds with all hits is considered pretty dang good. Kyle Lamb does it just under 3 seconds, for those looking to meet the highest standard.

PMAG 30 Round 5.56 Windowed Magazine | AR-15 | Black

Our windowed PMAGs are perfect for getting a round count when training drills like these.

Setting up Your Rifle for Defense

Conducting drills is only half the equation. The other half of the equation is you and your rifle functioning as one, cohesive unit. Any “typical” AR 15 will do in a pinch, but when life or death are questioned, every advantage counts. If you’re training with these drills, you should put in the effort to invest in making your rifle ready for the challenges.

We’re talking about how to make your rifle more stable, more ergonomic, and quicker to use. That means investing in three critical components: A good sling (We like single-point elastic slings for their simplicity and security), a foregrip (we recommend the Magpul Angled Foregrip), and back-up iron sights (we like Magpul’s MBUIS) with an optic of your choice.

Going Defensive

If your rifle is designed and built for home defense, it’s a good idea to train as you fight. That means separating yourself from static practice and training in a defensive manner with drills like we discussed above. Challenge yourself and step outside of your comfort zone — you certainly won’t be in a comfort zone when it counts most. And remember, safe is always the number 1 priority, especially when training with live ammunition.



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