Shooting A Double Tap
One of the most widely-taught defensive shooting techniques is the double tap, delivering two shots on target in quick succession. It’s actually more difficult than it sounds, and a lot of shooters aren’t necessarily doing it right.
It’s one of those skills that’s easy to learn, but deceptively difficult to master given the finer points of the technique. It’s definitely one of the better shooting drills to learn and to practice regularly, but it demands a certain attention to detail to get right.
Double Tap Pistol Drill Has Been Taught For Decades
There’s a reason that the double tap pistol drill has been taught by and to professionals such as police and military personnel for decades – it works. The technique was initially conceived by Bruce Fairbairn and Eric Sykes during their heyday with the Shanghai police, and they later taught it to American and British special forces.
Granted, part of the genesis of the drill was that they (and later the soldiers they taught it to) was to make up for the limitations of full metal jacket ammunition. FMJ is great for practice but isn’t very good compared to defensive rounds such as hollow points and other expanding bullet designs. One shot wouldn’t do much, but a second shot delivered to roughly the same part of the body in quick succession causes double the damage in the same spot.
Thus, you get double the hydrostatic shock, double the blood loss and double the chances the target will be disabled – though in real life, a double tap may not be sufficient. More may be required…though less may be required.
Not The Same As The Controlled Pair Or The Hammer
There is a similar technique called the “controlled pair,” and both involved aimed firing of two shots into the same target area. However, the techniques are not the same. While they share a lot of similarities, the focus is different and how the technique is performed is also different.
There’s another similar technique called a “hammer,” which is even more simple than the double tap.
The practical definition of a double tap is two aimed shots in as quick succession as possible. In other words, the goal is to deliver fast, accurate fire. The difference between the hammer, the controlled pair and a double-tap is that speed is the focus of the first, accuracy for the second, but the double-tap is about BOTH.
Additionally, a hammer is really geared to be employed at near point-blank distance; you want to put two shots in the target as quickly as possible. A controlled pair is perhaps better suited to longer distances and aimed fire. The double-tap could then be presumed to be a mid-range technique; 3 to 7 yards is therefore a very good range at which to practice it.
How To Shoot The Double Tap
As with anything else and certainly any defensive shooting drill, if you want to get good at the double tap…start slow and perfect and work up to being fast. Again, as with anything, slow is smooth and smooth is fast.
It works like so: take a high, tight, hard grip on the pistol. Acquire the target, aim and fire. Reacquire the target as soon as it’s possible to with the recoil, and get a flash sight picture with the front sight, and fire again.
With a controlled pair, the follow-up shot is a second shot of aimed fire. In other words, you aim and fire, then aim and fire again. With the hammer, you aim, fire and then fire again as soon as you think you’re back on target. With a double tap, you reacquire the target as quickly as possible and fire, putting a second shot on target as quickly as possible with greater accuracy than a hammer shot but with less aiming than with a controlled pair.
After you’ve gotten a feel for it, there’s a natural “pause” after the second shot. In a shooting situation, you would pause ever so briefly to scan the target. If they’re still pressing the attack, deliver more shots or a single aimed shot to the head – which is the Mozambique or “failure” drill.
Seems simple enough, right? It kind of is…but it takes a lot of practice to gain serious proficiency. Of course, that means spending more time at the range and who doesn’t want to do that?
About The Author
Born in southeastern Washington State, Sam Hoober graduated in 2011 from Eastern Washington University. He resides in the great Inland Northwest, with his wife and child. His varied interests and hobbies include camping, fishing, hunting, and spending time at the gun range as often as possible.