The Dozier Drill
In December 1981, U.S. Army Brigadier General James L. Dozier was kidnapped by the Italian Marxist terrorist group The Red Brigade.
He was rescued after 42 days of captivity. At that time, US military personnel were prohibited by Italian law from carrying firearms at their homes within the local community. General Dozier was unarmed and unable to defend himself during the attack.
According to reports, four terrorists entered General Dozier’s apartment posing as plumbers. One of the terrorists removed a submachine gun from his bag of tools while another terrorist read a political statement to General Dozier. The General’s wife was held at gunpoint and was bound and left unharmed in the apartment.
Jeff Cooper designed the “Dozier drill” after the kidnapping. In the drill, the range is set with four targets. Originally Cooper used ‘Pepper Poppers’, but the goal is to engage multiple adversaries, so use what you can. An assistant should stand well to one side and is tasked with retrieving a pistol and an unloaded magazine from a tool bag, which he must assemble and make ready for action. This action mimics the terrorist who retrieved his submachine gun from his tool bag and provides a level of stress as the shooter must compete against the assistant to complete the drill.
On the signal, the shooter must draw his pistol and engage targets before the participant representing the terrorist retrieves his pistol and readies it for use. The shooter may engage in any order with a single round or double taps.
In reality, singlehandedly engaging four terrorists, might not be the best course of action, but this drill is designed to stress the “look-shoot” method of multiple target engagement and provide the added stress of racing against an armed opponent. The drill is designed to build your speed and accuracy in presenting a weapon from the holster to engage multiple targets. Done properly, the shooter must draw, engage, look to the next target, move the pistol and engage again until all the targets are cleared. Remember, look first, then move the pistol.
To add an additional wrinkle or two to the scenario, consider starting with the pistol resting on a bench or barrel a short distance away from the shooter. At the command, the shooter must move to retrieve his or her pistol, simulating the movement to a pistol stored somewhere in the home, before engaging. This also reinforces the idea of moving to cover in the face of a deadly threat.
Further changes to the scenario could include arranging the targets differently or marking some targets as “unarmed” or “no-shoot” targets.
The Dozier Drill is not designed to turn you into Jason Bourne. It is here to hone your skills in what will surely be a dynamic situation. It brings together the triad Cooper first described many years ago: Diligentia, Vis, Celeritas (accuracy, power, and speed).