A drive-by shooting is a somewhat self-explanatory type of attack fundamental to many urban gang wars. A vehicle will approach a target alongside the road and slowly drive by while the armed occupants fire upon the target through the window. This done, the driver will accelerate and the vehicle will quickly depart the scene. A well-executed drive-by shooting allows the attackers to strike at the unsuspecting and undefended target from within partial cover and then escape before any enemies can regroup or retaliate. In terms of body count, the effectiveness of drive-by shooting is questionable, though even if the target is not hit, a drive-by is very intimidating, can confuse or scare an enemy, and will likely interrupt any activity they were involved in at the time.

The vehicles used in performing drive-by shootings vary widely, and are not a major strategic concern. Given the importance of maintaining the element of surprise, it is best not to use a vehicle that an enemy may recognize. Beyond that, as shooters may take some return fire, both cheap, expendable vehicles and large, solid, and ideally, armored vehicles might be desirable. Guns used are usually pistols or light submachine guns such as the MAC-10 and Uzi, although occasionally, heavier weapons such as the AK-47 will be employed.

Between the questionable accuracy of many of these weapons, the difficulty of firing from a moving vehicle, the imperfect firing stance the situation necessitates, and the general lack of firearms training among the practitioners of this tactic, drive-by shootings are notoriously inaccurate, and often injure or kill uninvolved bystanders (assuming there was an actual "involved" target to begin with). The former problem can be compensated for to some degree by packing the vehicle with as many gunmen as possible and making up for inaccuracy with sheer volume of lead. This tends to aggravate the latter, but then again, you can't make an omelet without killing a few people.

Drive-by shootings are first and foremost a matter of strike-and-retreat. They're not skirmishes, they're not firefights, they're (if there is such a thing), mobile ambushes. If you're looking for a military parallel, Roninspoon has suggested you picture a helicopter raid. Replace Wagner with Ice-T as necessary. If you need to reload before you drive off, you're probably doing it wrong. While a drive-by shooting may cause confusion and take down some enemies, it will also alert others in the area, who will then be prepared and who may summon reinforcements or the police.

As the weapons used in a drive-by shooting tend to be lacking in range and penetration, targets must be alongside the street or in buildings closely abuting the street, which limits the tactic's employment to urban settings. Success also assumes that the target is not armored or being actively guarded and that enemies do not have the capability to quickly pursue or disable a vehicle, rendering the tactic's effectiveness rather questionable in serious military conflicts or insurrections and relegating it to the small-scale gang disputes or territorial conflicts in which it first rose to prominence.