Drake Shooting

Tuesday, March 9th, 2010

The Selous Scouts of Rhodesia developed something called Drake shooting for fighting in bush country:

This useful technique is based on the fact that in a close-quarters firefight, 99 percent of combatants seek to hide from incoming fire by hitting the ground and rolling into the nearest cover. Accepting this fact, the Drake/cover shoot concept requires that two rounds be fired into positions of likely cover until all positions are neutralized.

Each man of the patrol would concentrate on his assigned arc of responsibility to his immediate front and systematically analyzed it.

While the scout analyzed his arc he would think ‘if I was the enemy, which position within my arc would I chosen for cover?’ The scout would look at the base of large trees, rocks and thickets, and “double-tap” two controlled shots into each side of the suspected location close to ground level. By placing the shots low into the position, dirt and stones will spray up into the face of anyone hiding there, causing them to take rapid evasive movements and thus exposing them to aimed fire. The trick is to try to place the bullets just above the ground, because a man lying down is no more than 12 inches high. To shoot any higher will result in the bullet winging harmlessly overhead.

A four-man tracking team of scouts could quickly and effectively clear 40 potential firing positions, assuming that each man uses a 20-round magazine on a semiautomatic weapon. In the case of trees, the scout was trained to fire right into them at almost ground level, as bullets fired from modern high-velocity weapons can easily and completely penetrate most trees. As the scout observed his arc he would start close up, then systematically progress further and further back, widening the arc of fire, until all likely and suspected positions have been engaged. This technique is effective in flushing hidden adversaries and is economical in ammunition expenditure.

For training, areas were chosen at random by the instructors for these purposes and small targets concealed in all likely positions in which an enemy might take cover. After some practice and coaching, it was quite remarkable at how many targets were successfully engaged without the firer ever having sight of the target.


  1. [...] – For fighting in the bush with overlapping cones of fire, there’s Drake shooting. [...]

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