The Kenya Mall Drill: Skills, Mindset and Tactics

On Sept 21, 2013 and unknown number of heavily armed terrorists invaded a shopping mall in Kenya, Africa.  The Westgate Mall is located in the capital city of Nairobi.  The terrorists were hell bent on killing as many non-muslims as possible, although they didn’t care if muslims were killed in the process of torturing and killing the non-muslims.  These thugs carried out unspeakable mayhem for 48 hours that resulted in over 72 deaths and hundreds wounded.

What would you as a CCW holder do?

Consider what you would do, if you as CCW holder were in a mall with your family when heavily armed thugs entered and started shooting.  It is probably something you ought to think about.

With that in mind, we came up with the Kenya Mall Drill.  The premise of this drill is to help you exercise some Skills, some Tactics and some Mindset that may prove useful should you ever be faced with the tragic circumstances of armed bad guys in a mall.  This drill is meant to integrate Skills with Tactics and Mindset.  It is NOT meant to be THE thing you should do in a real situation.  The actual situation you find yourself in will dictate that tactics, not this drill.  However you will see how this drill can help you be better prepared.


Kenya Mall Drill

Here one of my alumni “Lima Mike” takes aim with an AK at the next terrorist target.

You have been separated from your loved ones in the mall when bad guys emerge and start firing.  The bad guys are between you and your loved ones.  You don’t know exactly where your loved ones are, you just know that are down toward that end of the mall.  You have not preplanned with them a rally point where you would all meet (somewhere outside the mall) so you must try to find them in the mall.

This drill requires the following:

5 barrels or other forms of cover typically found at a range.

5 targets ideally with each wearing a T-Shirt

5 target stands

4 different types of firearms (must include 1 handgun and 1 AK type long arm)

Arrange the barrels somewhat like you see them in the diagrams below. These will represent columns or planters in a mall, or anything really that can used as cover/concealment in a mall. Set the targets out also.  Care must be taken while setting targets out that when you are shooting a near target the bullets won’t also penetrate a farther target.  As mentioned above it works best if you can put a shirt over the target, it helps the realism a little better.  People don’t look like IDPA or USPSA targets, they wear clothes.  So “dress” the targets. It helps with Mindset.

Place a ground cloth or a gun case on the ground right in front of targets T-1 through T-4 and an additional one next to C-1 through C-5.  Then with the four different firearms that you have gathered, place one on each ground cloth or gun case in front of T-1 through T-4.  With each firearm, either have it be totally unloaded with a few rounds lying next to it, or set it up so there is a malfunction.  Try to make it so there are no more than 5 live rounds per firearm.  Do not let the students know the condition that each firearm is in.

Then follow the instructions on each picture below.  As the instructor ensure each student utilizes cover PROPERLY, i.e. no part of their body is unnecessarily is exposed to enemy fire. Also ensure they maintain Situational Awareness while behind cover, ensure they are constantly looking behind them and not get tunnel vision towards the *known* targets.  In real life bad guys can appear from behind them too.

Regarding the firearms that will be “pick-ups” – try and get a variety of them that so that hopefully there will be at least 1 firearm the student has never fired before.  As they are trying to load an unfamiliar firearm, or to clear a malfunction from an unfamiliar firearm, induce some added stress by telling the student “hurry up a bad guy is coming!”  Also encourage them to maintain situational awareness and not get tunnel vision “on the gun”.  DO NOT teach everyone in the class the manual of arms for all the “pick-ups”.  Let them run through it “cold”.  We want the stress to be as high as possible.  Unfamiliar firearms will up the stress factor.  After everyone has run through it once – THEN teach them the proper way to manipulate all the “pick-ups” and let them all run it again.


  • The skill to manipulate firearms to get them in firing condition as soon as possible.
  • The skill to hit only what you are aiming at from behind cover (there are good people in the mall too.)
  • Shooting from both shoulders


  • Proper utilization of cover/concealment (don’t expose any part of your body to enemy fire unnecessarily)
  • Changing cover locations as often as possible (don’t get married to one piece of cover)
  • Utilizing both sides of cover


  • Firearms are tools – they are NOT weapons – YOU are the weapon – if your tool stops working, get another one.
  • Keep your head in the game even in very high stress
  • Maintain Situational Awareness


It is extremely important you do this under the watchful eye of a competent instructor that is well versed in the Warrior Triad.  He will pick out your flaws after you finish the drill.  You WANT your flaws identified now, not when the bullets are flying both ways.  Then when you practice on your own you know exactly what to focus on.  Then return and train with your instructor to ensure that you are practicing (what you do on your own) correctly what you learned in training (training is when you are under the watchful eye of a competent instructor).

Watch the video!

Kenya Mall Drill

Kenya Mall 1

The starting point.



Kenya Mall 2

Step 2


Kenya Mall 3

Step 3



Kenya Mall 4

Step 4


Kenya Mall 5

Step 5


Kenya Mall 6

Step 6


Kenya Mall 7

Step 7


Kenya Mall 8

Step 8


Kenya Mall 9

Step 9


Kenya Mall 10

Last step (10)







Categories: Firearms Training


  • Dave says:

    I love this drill! Great work!

  • Kent says:

    I see myself having about 23 OODA Loop dumps in this one…Fantastic test of tactics; I love the idea that shooting ability is secondary to maneuvering and tactics.

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