Close Quarter Battle - A (Thankfully) Changing Paradigm
Close Quarter Battle
A (Thankfully) Changing Paradigm
FEEL FREE TO POST THIS ANYWHERE AND EVERYWHERE. CREDITS AND COMPLAINTS GO TO RYAN AT CQB-TEAM. THANK YOU!
What is this shit?
I found it hard explaining my points of view to people on Close Quarters
Battle. Especially to people who had limited experience working within
urban environments, were not “up to date”, were new to it all, or did not
intimately understand the fundamental concepts.
So instead of constantly pushing shit up hill, I thought I might as well put my
thoughts into one precise area. They may challenge your way of thinking.
There are more methodologies and ways to think about close combat than
we’re used to. In fact we can incorporate them into what we’re doing now.
I will explain what is changing and what should change about CQB right here.
It is time for a long awaiting paradigm shift.
To note, I will be using a lot of terminology. I will try to explain each component clearly. For ease, I will
explain the commonly used words here:
• Breach – to make an access or entry point. Be it mechanical, thermal, explosive, etc.
• Entry – to enter through an access or entry point. The process of physically entering into the room.
• Immediate Entry – attempting to enter the room as soon as there is an opening. Immediately.
• Limited Entry – attempting to clear the room from outside before attempting to enter then allowing
a decision process which may progress to an entry or back away from the entry point.
• Immediate Threat – an armed hostile close or with direct vision onto the entry point. There are
orientated, prepared and other types of immediate threat. Prepared is ready for your entry, with a
weapon usually aimed on the entry point. Orientated meaning facing towards your direction or
along your direction of travel.
It is my thoughts that tacticians should try to use the same, if not similar, terminology when discussing
TTPs. Operational definitions and terminology is a must to standardize and improve general practice.
What is Close Quarter(s) Battle (CQB)?
Close Quarter(s) Battle:
• Combat usually characterized by short-duration, extremely violent action in close-distance
circumstance (within the context of close-distance encounters).
• This can be anything from a jungle environment to fighting within and around rooms, the
environment is not the main delineator – the short-range, violent engagement is the
differentiation to other forms of combat.
• Although the environment is not the delineator, it is often focused on urban warfare,
engaging within and around rooms, streets, buildings and other architecture – think room
entries, breaching techniques and shoot houses. NOT just a linear or square range with a few
“close contact” targets. That is Close Quarter Marksmanship or CQM.
• It is associated with very high mortality rates. Some units expect 25% casualties within the
first 3 minutes. In World War 2, some units expected above 100% casualty rates. Some as
high as 300%. 300 fucking percent! That’s your reserves coming to back you up and getting
fucked up too!!!
Close Quarter Battle is NOT THIS
Surprise, speed and
violence of action!
Slow is smooth,
smooth is fast!
Stack up on the left!
3… 2… 1… Go go go!
Push through the fatal funnel…
PEW PEW PEW PEW PEW!
Close Quarter Battle is more like THIS!
Oh shit, what’s…
Try come in the
door again fat
We can’t get in the
door – now what
do we do?
Let me shock you…
How are things changing? Half of this stuff has been out YEARS but some people are behind the
powercurve. So this is for those people. Change. How? Let me tell you about a big one.
It is fast becoming a preferred method to FIGHT FROM OUTSIDE or FIGHT FROM THE DOOR rather
than ENTER THE ROOM. Especially when against a PREPARED IMMEDIATE THREAT!
Small errors which are consistent get people hurt in the long run. Small actions by the enemy lead
to large consequences in such a confined environment. Large errors such as the way we enter a
room, if done wrong, get people hurt. If the whole standard is wrong, it’s bad news.
If you’re arguing about the fatal funnel or other concepts. I haven’t forgot those. Let me explain
over the course of numerous slides. By the end, you should have a different picture of room entries
in your head. Times are a-changin’…
“Strong minds discuss ideas, average minds
discuss events, weak minds discuss people” –
Without ideas, or the progression and expansion of thought, we would still be fighting
trench-to-trench in some hellhole of a place. When we consider the ideas and
concepts found within Close Quarters Battle, we begin to understand the relationship
between the use of the concept, the limitations of it and the context of the concepts
capability. We realise that some concepts are outdated, some simply are not reliant,
some are against behaviours seen commonly in combat. Some get you hurt.
Think about this when reading through this PowerPoint. These concepts have
limitations, innate problems, and they must be considered before you finalize on the
use of them in a specific situation. Placing it in reality has consequences, those
consequences will rapidly catch up to you if you placed them without consideration.
What is changing/has changed within CQB? 1
• The Fatal Funnel: This is a concept which many people hold onto as the framework to a
successful entry. This is untrue. The concept of getting through a entry point into a room
is surprise-orientated and reliant on low and often unprepared resistance. The fatal
funnel is a concept that should be taught but with consideration into where it fails,
where it has limitations, i.e. “pushing through” into an awaiting muzzle. The fatal funnel
does not mean “do not fight from the door” or “always enter.” This is where the
immediate entry methodology shows cracks. In limited entries, the fatal funnel is treated
differently and seen as something you do not walk into, if there is a threat there who is
ready to shoot it. Instead you shoot them first. Understood? It is a self-evident truth that
walking into someone’s muzzle will get you hurt. Action by enemy > reaction by you.
• Less emphasis on the “three principles” of CQB: Surprise, violence of action and speed
are emphasized near-always as the three pillars of CQB. There are however many areas
in which each individual pillar is inapplicable or unreliable to a given situation. These
principles, given by the nature of “surprise”, are orientated towards surprise-driven
entries as opposed to ready, awaiting enemies who know of your presence.
Oh look, I’m
Wait, is that a
guy with an AK?
Above: The Fatal fucking Fallacy.
See this video as a starter:
Push in gents!
We’re high speed
door kickers now!
CENSORED – DEAD
If I ever get my
hands on that fuckin’
USUALLY SHOT BY THIS POINT IN ENTRY
QUICKER DOES NOT EQUAL SAFER
BEING RELIANT ON SPEED IS BAD TACTICS
PUSHING INTO THE DANGER IS BAD TACTICS
The Fatal Funnel Narrative
People and literature will tell you that the fatal funnel is:
• A cone-shaped area spanning from the entry point in which the direction of enemy vision
and fire is orientated, and where you as the entry team are silhouetted against.
• A point, or cone-shape, you have to enter, cross and get through to increase chance of
• If you do not get through it, you will die. The fatal funnel is fatal for that reason.
• A point where stopping is inexcusable, engaging from the door or outside the room is often
not permitted. To get through the fatal funnel, you have to be on the move. This means
you should be moving and shooting to clear your immediate threat area, threat and corner.
• A doorway that you are entering. Usually in a surprise-driven, dynamic manner.
THIS IS ALL DOGMA!
The fatal funnel fallacy is the backbone for many arguments opposing other types of entries
or concepts on Close Quarters Battle. It is a problem for Military and Police progression.
The Reality of the Fatal Funnel
The reality, the fatal funnel is this:
• It is not cone-shaped, it can be any shape moulded by the arc and line of fire that the enemy
possesses. It is a dynamic concept that is not fixed to one key shape. For example if the enemy is
in the back-left corner and you are coming from the right side of the door, they have the drop on
you. It’s the perfect angle for them to engage. The fatal funnel is more bottlenecked architectural
terrain where movement is limited and fire through it is often fatal ending in instantaneously
injured or killed friendlies. So this should tell you not to enter it, right?
• If you enter the fatal funnel, that may be the last move you make. Entering in order to push
through to increase survive is a concept that usually applies to surprise-driven or surprise-
orientated entries, such as covert entries progressing into dynamic entries (or subdued entries).
• Pushing in and through the fatal funnel does not suddenly equal survival. In fact, putting yourself
in that position in the first place may decrease chance of survival. Sometimes other tactics are
required to kill the immediate threat such as stopping to shoot, shooting from the door or
doorjamb, using a reactionary gap before meeting the threshold, or shooting from outside.
• The fatal funnel is not just a doorway. It can be a window, a ceiling shaft. Anything you are
choosing to enter through. It is the entry point.
The Three Principles of CQB
• Violence of Action.
You have probably heard these a thousand times. You’ve probably also heard
people repeat the mantra, “slow is smooth, smooth is fast”…KISS.
The problem is, these concepts are not specific and are often used by people
without context or not in reference to room entries. This leads to people
teaching or using them ineffectively, in fact in some scenarios only one
principle may be applicable. In rare scenarios none of these principles will be
applicable. Conversely to which they are based, they may get you hurt.
Consider this: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NlE9bpCiJ_4.
The principle-driven approach relying solely on three factors is highly unlikely throughout an operation:
• This is often reliant on two states – the state of shock (surprise) and the state of confusion (disorientation)… both of which are not
absolute. Diversionary devices and techniques only allow for partial surprise, the enemy may still train themselves on the entry point.
• Surprise may be lost in numerous ways, i.e. post-initial entry which used an explosive charge, compromise when entering follow-on
rooms, CCTV/security cameras, door ambush, prolonged engagement prior to entry, shadow or sound compromise, etc.
• Going faster does not equal safer, speeding kills! It can be you running into a muzzle and into your coffin rather than avoiding it…
“Never bumrush into the unknown.”
• It is against human behaviour to go compliantly and quickly into danger. This leads to freezing, hesitation and other normal responses
(see: body alarm response; freeze, fight or flight). You now have to shoot on the move under extreme duress while processing the
room and threat. Did someone say sensory and cognitive overload?! Again, against human behaviour!
• You do not know what is in there and yet you’re pushing into it. Boobytrap, PPIED, PKM behind sandbags. D-E-A-D.
• Violence of Action
• You do not create violent action if you are combat ineffective/injured, trying to funnel into a space one-by-one. It’s hardly efficient.
Consider the limitations of each “principle” before relying on them.
More here: https://www.reddit.com/r/CQB/comments/32v3b5/are_immediate_entries_bad_military_science_xpost/.
• Surprise? Lose it? Use diversion or disorientation. This means you are not solely reliant
on speed, you have options of diversion. OODA loop, people. Lose diversion? Decide on a
course of action for a shitfight or denied entry.
• Speed? Pacing. This depends on the terrain and threat. Keep a regular pace, adjust when
necessarily. Do not rely solely on speed or being quick. Sometimes you slow down to
speed up again. Transition between slow, normal, fast and emergency speeds dependent
• Violence of action? Overwhelming violence? Controlled VOA. Your actions are justified
for controlled measure. There is no point putting a fragmentation grenade in a room full
of hostages. Some people feel safe in the most vulnerable positions, violence has to
specific and stimulate the threat. A few rounds that are off-angle to a threat might not
do jack! Again, some people feel safest in the most vulnerable positions…
Read further: http://refactortactical.com/blog/a-rebuttal-to-all-the-haters-by-88-tactical/.
MORE than THREE Principles
8 Principles of CQB (Close Quarter Battle):
• Violence of Action
• Dominate the Room
• Eliminate the Threat
• Control the Situation
• Check Red/Dead
• Evacuate Key Personnel and Equipment
Larsen, Erik; Murphy, Jack; SOFREP; Webb, Brandon (2013-08-06). Ranger Knowledge: The All-Inclusive Study Guide for Rangers
(Kindle Locations 522-526). St. Martin’s Press. Kindle Edition.
• Control The Living
• Search Dead
• Search Room
• Search Living
Mine are personally: don’t get shot, don’t put yourself in a vulnerable position. Safety and survivability before anything else!
Here’s a list of “principles” I have heard that are absolute bollocks:
• “If you stop, you die. Period.”
• Bollocks. Stopping on entry can save your butt. Stopping with a bunker/shield, stopping to shoot
from cover, stopping while enveloping from outside. Come on! Stopping is not BAD. The fatal
funnel fallacy promotes these arguments.
• “The first rule of CQB is to get in the door.”
• I don’t know what some of these people are taught but getting in the door is a progressive
decision. You first need to get on location, secure outside, decide on a breaching and entry plan
then go. You might not even be going through a fucking door! The hostage taker might get shot
• “Always clear your corner first.”
• This is silly beyond belief. If you have a threat, kill it first! You might not even want to push in and
expose your flank at this point. Think about it.
• “Never stop in the fatal funnel.”
• I’ve covered this. Old school thought. Shooting from the doorjamb is A-OK. Stopping to save your
butt is acceptable because it is justified. You just saved the stack.
What is changing/has changed within CQB? 2
• Immediate threats OVER hardcorners: This is the threat first approach. No
more corner-centre-corner approach. Immediate threats are engaged and
killed before clearing into your hardcorners. There is no point going to clear
5%-10% of the room initially when you can see 80% of it and there is a
threat there. Kill them! Don’t wait for “secondman to pick them up” or
you’re dead. D-E-A-D. Engage first, if second can then he/she will engage
• You do NOT have to cross the threshold to clear the room: You can engage
from outside of the room and be just as safe as entering. In fact because
you may be in cover or concealment, your whole body is not in the
firefight, you are theoretically safer. You are on the edge of a doorway as
opposed to being in the centre of it. You can also clear rooms with other
devices and tactics, such as a periscope or mirror, rather than physically
stepping inside. That’s dangerous and risky against a threat!
The Threat is Waiting For You…
What Are YOU Going To Do?!
Above: A Prepared Immediate
Threat – ready to engage.
Corners Come First?
I always get
Wait until he
Shoot the Threat First!
Above: Is your funnel fatal anymore? There’s no one left to shoot it! No one left to kill the hostages!
Kill the person who is going to kill you or someone else.
Do not push into his muzzle or door ambush.
Threat is DEAD? Room is clear!
Now you do not have to immediately enter. You do not have to cross threshold to clear the room.
You can use mirrors.
Folding lightweight infantry periscope.
3D Imaging Radar (Wall Radar).
You name it. Safer? I think so.
What is changing within CQB? Cont. 3
• Clear MOST of the room from outside: You can see a good percentage of the
room from outside. Being advantageous with this, you can clear most of the
room from this position. Outside gives you multiple advantages: casualties are
not within the room and harder to retrieve, grenades can be utilized and you
can back away. Tactical retreat. Through-wall shooting will happen in both an
immediate and limited entry, kill the threat before they can consider it.
• Targeted attack to the REMAINING area: You have now cleared 90% of this
heavy-right corner-fed. There is a hardcorner remaining. You can now create a
targeted approach to clearing it. You may not enter by using mirrors,
observation devices, etc. You may enter by putting the odds in your favour. No
more buttonhook and hope. You may have first guy run the long wall, attracting
attention away from the entry. Second man can quickly back up. Or first to
engage from doorjamb. This is called a corner attack. You can create and form
the tactic around the remaining danger area. This is better than blindly entering.
Clear From Outside and Target Your Attack!
Above: Max Velocity’s Alternative CQB (MV’s A-CQB) method. As you can see 80% of the room is cleared
prior to entry. The 10% areas are now targeted to clear as the next priority.
This is a very similar method to RedBack One’s Offensive Stronghold Clearance (OSC), the Israeli
Defence Forces Israeli Limited Entry (ILE) and High Threat System’s High Threat Limited Entry (HTLE).
Target Remaining Areas Example
Above: Area targeting example with limited-to-diagonal entry.
Thanks to FORTAC Tactical Group LLC for providing this.
What is changing within CQB? Cont. 4
• First Target principle: Often a prepared defender will engage the first man into the
room, it therefore comes into the responsibility of the second man to be quick to
engage the defender as soon as possible to backup the first man. Turn a one-on-one
gunfight into a two-on-one. Difference is the first man uses initiative and keeps
engaging, he/she does not pull into the hard corners until threat is dead and the
second man does not have to fully enter (they can do what is called a snap to hit the
target area quickly with effective fire). They can engage from the doorjamb. They can
stop to shoot.
• Split Target principle: Split up, don’t stay next to each other. If you have two people in
front of you, a meter or so apart, the hierarchy of engagement becomes blurred. This
creates a tactical dilemma and has the potential for hesitation for the bad guy. The first
man must widen and split himself from second man as much as possible while
effectively engaging the defender. It’s not just spreading out, it’s creating space for
advantageous shooting against the threat. The drawback is exposing angles, they are
made by opening up more of the room. Key is to not over-penetrate.
What is changing within CQB? Cont. 5
• Two Muzzles, One Threat principle: The theory is that putting yourself in an
active firefight in a one-on-one situation is bad news. For example clearing into a
hardcorner putting yourself in-line with a threat occupying the corner. This means
others entering cannot engage, they have to first work around you. It is a better
idea to put two muzzles on one threat, preferably by running the longwall or from
the door before actively entering in the same manner. You always aim to work in
sync to have two guns on one threat, and be able to work around each other
within seconds. If one goes down, two kills the threat. There is no “one-by-one”
entry process like in basic entries where each person goes down consecutively.
• Posture prior to entry: You can “stage” or “posture” before entering. A good
habit is to clear most of the room, from both sides of the door, and creating a
point of retreat prior to entering. Then posturing yourself ready for entry,
including ready to pick up speed and understanding your route. This includes
having your weapon and eyes facing the threat, ready to engage, your lead foot
angle ready, rear foot ready to propel yourself into movement, mind in the fight
and preparing for common errors, and so on.
Two Muzzles, One Threat and Split Targets
Above: A limited entry (left). Immediate entry (right) occupying a very large
space and only get one muzzle on threat, all while moving.
Image (left) Courtesy of High Threat Systems LLC.
Posturing or staging is the process of preparing:
1. Your muzzle-eye-head position to engage a threat coming into your area; and,
2. Your body position to quickly enter the room, fight into the room, fight from the door
or see into the room. It depends on your SOP.
3. Your mindset. Mentally posture for entry. Enter the right mindset. Consider the
potentials, the room, the threat. Avoid common errors.
Your muzzle and eyes must be as close to sync as possible to allow reflexive fire towards
your opponent. Your eyes do not have to follow muzzle, economy of movement dictates.
Your body must be on the right angle to push into the room without obstruction – no
knocking into the doorjamb. Tuck in tight. Correct foot is positioned forward and the rear
foot is spring-loaded, a spring heel, ready to explode and take-off for an immediate entry.
All equipment is easily accessible, especially IFAK/TQ, spare magazine, secondary/tertiary
weapon systems and grenades.
Above: Posturing allows you to prepare for a threat to
enter into the space you occupy. You must be prepared to
engage a threat coming through the door. It also allows
you to position your body to be quicker to take-off.
What is changing within CQB? Cont. 6
• Less immediate entries against threats: The whole premise of trying to get into a
room one-by-one, almost immediately, as soon as the entry is accessible, through one
entrypoint, is an old school of thought. It leads to casualties against threats. Funnelling
into a funnel gets you the Darwin Award. It is out-dated thinking for all entries.
• Strongwalling against immediate threats: As above it is almost impossible to get four
plus guys into a room safely against an immediate threat, therefore all the entries
based off or building up to strongwalling (i.e. opposing corners, buttonhook, cross,
false wall technique, etc) are fast becoming unrealistic. This is not to say it is not done
or trained on, but that it should not be thought of as a primary method when faced
with prepared threats. It has positive aspects for firefights that take place in the room,
post-entry once everyone is inside (i.e. against imminent or deep angle threats).
• Non-traditional Entries: Let us think limited entries, 45-90-45, incremental method,
pieing-to-entry, J-hooks, DJTs, diagonal entries, snap-bound entries, running the long
wall, centre-pen. With and without ballistic shields, grenades, etc. These entries are
specific to areas or confines of the room. They may be used as immediate entries.
Less Focus on Immediate Entries
What are Immediate Entries?
Immediate entries that look to put the team inside a room as soon as the
entrypoint is accessible. They look to clear the immediate threat area on the
move, while pushing into points of domination and clearing corners, all while
moving into or while inside the room. They often focus on stacking before
entry and moving into the room from stack.
Door opens? Team moves in. Explosive goes off? Team moves in.
Examples include: strongwalling, opposing corners, falsewalling, delta
wedge, running the walls.
Problems with Immediate Entries
Well there are numerous problems with this methodology, let me hit a few examples:
• You are expected to take multiple options in one whole movement instead of taking each
option at a time in small segments. In other words you go in and deal with a big problem
instead of making it smaller and more manageable. For example engaging an immediate
threat while pulling into or towards the corner. Not only that but first man in clears most
of the room by themselves. It forces them in this position, forcing them into the room.
• Often requires surprise to be truly effective. Even with partial surprise (i.e. distraction) it
can fail catastrophically. Only with absolute surprise is it beneficial.
• You are expected to do everything on the move such as shooting. There is often “no
retreat” in training. “Pushing through” is the universal rule, getting in the door and
keeping going. In a centre-fed you put your rear to a corner, this is rear exposure. This is
obvious tunnel vision or “ostrich effect.” If you keep “pushing” you open yourself to the
enemy. You put yourself in a disadvantaged position.
Immediate Entry – See the Problems?
Above: See the problems?!
Fair enough it’s not the best example but there are more around.
Problems with Immediate Entries Cont.
• People get corner or target fixated commonly. Flank exposure happens commonly on
corner-first entries. They are “blind” to immediate threats initially. Over-
penetration/over-exposure to many opening/exposing angles in the room is a common
drawback. If you’re injured, you’re in the danger area within the room.
• Shooting at a threat on the move can miss. Then pulling into the already clear corner
before rebounding back to the threat is bad economy of movement. It is also unreliable
as you’d usually already be shot. Doors become ambush zones waiting for people to
enter. Entering them causes casualties almost instantly and denies access.
• They are often not behaviourally compliant to real threats. You see pauses, hesitation,
many people go down. And if they try push even more, more and more people get hurt.
Test it Force-on-Force. It’s unforgiving. You’re shot. You’re shot in the bad spot. You make
one wrong move? Dead. You are slightly slow? Dead. You miss? Dead. And yet somehow
if you do it against a prepared and armed paper target, you survive… funny that.
Immediate Entries Get People Hurt
Above: A buttonhook on a centre-fed leads to rear exposure to a threat. Good thing he’s against
cardboard, right?! Where is his backup? I guess he’s dead.
Video example: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oyvw3Qu8k3A.
Video example: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=W1lCUHeyWH4.
Tradition tends to be corners first, immediate entries. If you cannot get enough
men in the room to perform a technique in the first place, it is not realistic.
Therefore entries “build up” or progress. For example a limited entry progresses
into strongwalling. So you shoot the threat, allowing entry into strongwall. If you
went for a strongwall straight away, you might’ve just killed your stack. Or a limited
entry clears half the room, allowing other types of entries to hit the uncleared area.
These include: 45-90-45, incremental method/segmented searching, pieing-to-
entry, J-hooks, Doorjamb Take-offs, running the rabbit, diagonal entries, snap-
bound entries, running the long wall, centre-pen, etc.
There is less focus on immediately and blindly entering and more focus on a room
and threat analysis to clear an area much more effectively.
And When They Say “Just Push Through, it’s a
It’s even worse when they try defend their arguments with…
“It’s not a science, it’s an art.” HAHAHAHAA! WHAT?!
What is changing within CQB? Cont. 7
• Limiting and confining the enemy: Once we clear from outside of the
room we keep the area we cleared clear. We cover the angle closest to our
unknown point. This limits where the enemy can advance to without first
being spotted and then being engaged. This is another example to
maintaining a targeted approach. Keep the enemy locked in place.
• No corner fixation: When people are moving to their “Points of
Domination” they often fixate on it. This is a bad habit. Pull away from the
corner quickly as soon as it is clear. You do not have to bring your weapon
to face the corner, if you see it is clear, pull out quickly. Should I call it the
pull-out method? Joking aside, I have seen instructors teach people to keep
walking towards the corner until they meet it, and then pull into the rest of
the room. This is the “ostrich effect”, you bury your head in the sand – you
forget the rest of the room. It takes too long as it is unrealistic.
Fix In Place
You have cleared what you can see. Your weapon is covering the edge
of what you cannot see. This area is now locked down. If anyone moves
into it, they are dead meat. This allows you to now target the area that
is fixed in place. Limiting enemy mobility and capability. Cage them!
Fixed in Place, Nowhere to Run!
Above: Fixing the enemy in place in a centre-fed and corner-fed room.
Corner fixation is clearing your corner but then failing to rebound out of it
into the rest of the room. This is time lost and it is a bad habit.
Simply put – don’t “dig your corners” for too long. We’re not digging for gold.
Every half a second we can take off the entry for things that are done for
incorrectly, the quicker we can be collectively.
You’re clearing your corners – correct purpose. You’re just doing it wrong.
Now if you have a threat there, that becomes target fixation if you are
engaging, they are down and no longer a threat but you do not react to this.
So react and clear the room quicker. Capisce?
Corner Fixation Example
Above: It’s clear. Clear. CLEAR. FUCKING CLEAR GOD DAMN IT!
CARL! GOD DAMN IT CARL! ONE SECOND WASTED.
In the video I screencapped this from. The first man takes over a second… whereas his partner clears his corners in
around half a second. Knock this off every entry and you will end up with a few seconds saved.
Small errors which are consistent get people hurt! Don’t be an ostrich.
What is changing within CQB? Cont. 8
• Particularized Triangulation of Fire: Triangulation of fire is a myth the way it is usually
taught. Room firefights usually last seconds. One man, two man have usually killed the
threat before three or four even get a bead on them. Therefore there is particular
emphasis on one-two man triangulation and coordination more than a four-man team.
3:1 rule still applies, more in room quickly and safely = better. Crossfire = unlikely.
• Near-simultaneous entries: Entries must be as close to simultaneous as possible. They
must be synchronous. When they have to, they hit corners in sync, in real-time, or as
close to as possible. Your buddies back should never be exposed. Rear exposure gets you
hurt!!! Flank exposure gets you hurt!!! Clear together.
• Through-door cover/engagement: A good idea is to have a coverman act specifically to
cover the door and be able to engage through it before the entry team step inside. You
saw this in the Paris Hypercacher Hostage Rescue. You see this with a reactionary gap.
They can shoot, you can hold. Then you can go. Have specific SOP/IOP around this.
Friendly fire potential is obvious. But it can save the lives of multiple entry members.
• First and second man must attempt to get two muzzles on one target.
They must attempt to engage first or in a manner where one man
backs up the other.
• Examples of this includes a high-low. Two weapons are on one threat,
triangulation of fire is being applied. A man-down does not lead to
failure of the tactic, the other man is capable of engaging the enemy
and ending the firefight. It remains combat effective with casualties.
• Third and fourth man must look for gaps to engage or to move around
the engaging team in order to shoot. Shooting the gap, earning the
shot or engaging through are common tactics/techniques for this.
• When going to enter look to be co-ordinated. One and two man must
be as close to each other when entering as possible.
• This allows them to hit both corners close to real-time off each other.
• This means less flank and rear exposure.
• This limits your gap of dispersion, or space gap. The gap – the space
between entry team members which equates to distance and time –
between each man entering.
• This allows two man to pull one man to cover if injured.
• Quicker to clear AOR and pull into other likely danger areas.
• Quicker to back up first man and get weapon on threat.
Above: Posturing for a near-simultaneous entry. Sniffing the cave. Snap-hold-enter.
Above: French Police able to engage through-the-door from behind vehicles to assist the entry team.
Everyone who said “don’t stop… the fatal funnel” when they saw this are behind the powercurve.
What is changing within CQB? Cont. 9
• Stackless entries: Stackless entries are occurring more often than “stacked” entries. Stackless
entries are often conducted in motion – there is no wasted time stopping and stacking. The
gap of dispersion is still limited, if done correctly. It can be used against closed doors.
• Dispersed or offset stack: A stack does not have to be a straight file. It can be dispersed or
staggered to allow better arcs of fire. An example would be a coverman being “offset”,
engaging through the funnel and then picking up with the stack as they move in. This stack
does not have to run along the wall, it can be offset from it. It can be in-line with the door
even. Think: Stack offset. Coverman offset. Ready to disperse/react to contact.
• Covermen: I’ve talked about them so I might as well put them down here. They cover you,
your entry, above you, below you, around you. Use them. They’re at the bottom of the
ladder covering up while you’re at the top of the ladder. They cover with VOLUMES OF FIRE.
As do sniper teams. It’s a layered system of coverage. MDACC. Motion, distance, angle, cover
and concealment. Target selection, pre-attack indicators and surveillance.
• Angle of Attack: All above come into consideration. Think of a good angle to approach! This
is very important when it comes to reaction to contact before entry.
Above: FBI HRT demonstrating their entries on 60 minutes.
Stackless entries were performed on follow-on, open-door rooms. First picture is the initial entry. Formation is
falsewalling allowing trailers to shoot the gap. Second picture is stackless entry into open-room. This allows
shooting from outside before entering but still maintaining speed. Third picture shows continued immediate
stackless entry, filling gaps and engaging immediate threats. First man engages and keeps the target locked
down, second and third fill behind before engaging. Shooting happens outside and inside the room.
Flowing through rooms is that much more smoother when you don’t have amateurs stopping to stack at every
point. Stackless entries sustain flow. They can be used against closed doors. If the door is locked, the entry team
may have to go back into a stack. Video here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MjCB9YLOuU0.
Stackless versus Stacked
• Limits gap of dispersion.
• Is good for newbies. More static.
• Limited opportunities for friendly fire.
• Good for safe stacking distance/minimum safe distance with explosives, especially for locked doors or initial entries.
• May slow up entry when stopping on each door.
• Continues free flow, keeps up speed. Does not stop at each door.
• Allows approach from any angle.
• Advanced techniques for experienced operators. Much more mobile/on-the-move.
• Opportunities for friendly fire if SOPs or training are not maintained. Constant decision-making, situational awareness.
• Has to have follow-up members of entry team ready to enter, if they are not then the gap of dispersion increases.
• May be limited by closed or locked doors.
Different Types of Stacking
• Not a traditional pattern.
• Can still limit gap of dispersion if done correctly.
• Split up so one grenade does not equal stack dead.
• One covermen or another stack is offset. Stack is off the wall.
• Allows engagement prior to entry. No dragging the wall.
• Still allows stack to push in. Pushing on different angles.
• Stack faces the door, is ready to enter.
• Danger of shooting through door/wall.
• Mobile vs Static
• Mobile keeps moving (stackless form) but in close formation to a stack.
• Static stops, usually at each doorway before entering.
• Cover stack just before they enter.
• Engage into the room as required.
There is much, much more out there. Do NOT think of stacking as a single file.
Above: Modified stacking by FBI and USSF.
Stacking – See the Problems?
Above: Stacking against two open doors with the
pointsman's weapon down. If you try to enter against a
threat it’s going to be bad news. If he catches you in
the corridor, you’re dead.
Stacking With Weapon Down? Don’t.
Above: Don’t do it, it’s dumb. It gets you hurt. Weapon UP!
Angle of Attack
The angle of attack or angle of approach is situation-dependent.
In some covert entries, it is safer to approach the building from the “weakest observation”
side, the one with less windows, motion-sensor lights, etc, and then move around the
building stealthily until hitting the entrance.
In a firefight where you have to make entry, it is safer to approach the building from an
angle that allows you to attack it in relative safety. Attacking the doorways and windows
keeps suppression on the attacker, it allows you to engage the threat and it does not put
multiple people in one stack where they can all be engaged and downed.
A good angle also allows better reactions. This includes reaction to contact in which
members of the entry team are given space to move. As opposed to in a stack where there
are often limited directions to move, which may get in others line of fire. Engagement
angles are also heavily limited.
Another concept to remember is exposing angles. What could catch you off-guard?
Bad Angle of Attack
Above: The incorrect Angle of Attack. Second man has to come all the way
around first man to engage the threat.
Angle of Attack Adjustments
Above: If we adjust this slightly in an “L” shape we can see we get a better
angle onto the threat area. Second man can now engage with ease and he
is harder to visualize. The Angle of Attack of the enemy is now wrong!
Good Angle of Attack
Above: Second man is harder to see from the enemy point of view. Therefore on reaction to contact, if
the stack disperses or splits then you have multiple Angles of Attack, Triangulation of Fire is created and
the near man (nearest wall) can move up along it, where as the far man (furthest from wall) has the
long angle, can engage into the room and creates a reactionary gap before entry.
Pictures and philosophy courtesy of Nathan Wagar of FORTAC Tactical Group LLC.
What is changing within CQB? Cont. 10
• Distancing the entry: Standardizing a “shooting” or “reactionary” gap between the
threshold and the entry team allows for immediate threats to be engaged before
meeting threshold. I.e. a J-buttonhook versus the standard C-buttonhook.
• “Squaring off” to the entry point: If you line yourself to the entry point, this allows you
to engage through it and eliminate any threats. It also means you are clearing most of
the room initially as compared with pushing in from a stack against the wall where you
push into a small angle clearing a small portion of the room initially. Squaring off clears
the immediate front. It can put you in danger but that danger is a warning not to enter.
• Height/level changes: This can come in a variety of forms. You can use furniture near
doorways to stand on and gain a height advantage. This allows you to quick peek or to
do an incremental search then engage unpredictably. Some entry teams use small tac-
ladders/elevation systems for this but treat furniture as an extension of the wall and use
it to engage unpredictably. So instead of popping up where I’d expect – at head level.
You pop up higher and your weapon is already on threat. Same goes with going lower.
Get low. Brokeback, urban prone, all those positions have potential.
The Reactionary Gap
Above: First man has created distance between himself and the
threshold. This is a better entry than directly from the stack.
Creating some space between the initial person entering and the entrypoint.
This distance or standoff translates to a better entry in multiple ways:
• Allows you to square-off and engage the threat before meeting threshold.
This means killing the guy who was going to kill the team before he is even
given a chance to kill the team. At best he gets one dude bagged!
• Allows you to clear some of the room from outside. This can now allow for
a targeted approach to other areas of the room. You also see obstacles.
• Clearing from outside means less stimuli to acknowledge. Less stress.
• Allows you to halt entry. Engage and go OR engage and hold.
• Allows you to clear casualties from outside of the room.
• It is more flexible than blindly entering from the wall.
Reactionary Gap versus From the Stack
Compare the reactionary gap to from the stack or from the wall:
• You immediately and blindly enter.
• It clears less of the room, if any, before meeting threshold.
• It prioritizes moving towards a corner when little is known about the room.
In other words it is not a targeted approach to the room.
• You have less space and time to engage immediate threats. Once you do
engage you are within the room. You keep “pushing” even when engaged.
• When you are within the room there is more stimuli, thus more stress.
• There is less concealment and cover coming through a door.
• If someone is injured, you have to enter to save them.
Reactionary Gap – Every Entry?
Is it not better as default to have a reactionary gap to every entry you
conduct? It can be a general modification to most entries out there.
• It is much more flexible. It allows better processing.
• It does not have to lead to entering the room.
• It still allows for immediate entry.
• It puts a fight to threats quicker and before meeting threshold.
• It puts casualties in an easier-to-extract position.
A one meter gap equals around half to one second of reaction time in a full-
speed dynamic entry. This may clear the immediate threat area, visualize
obstacles and prepare to target other danger areas. It is less hazardous for
the entry team. We should adopt it as standard.
The Reactionary Gap
Above: As you close in you can engage threats prior to
entering. From the stack you can come off the wall, offset
from the stack, square-off to the door at distance and
create yourself a shooting or reactionary gap. Simple!
Reactionary Gap Limitations
Here are some of the bad points:
• If the threat is in a deep area of the room you cannot engage them
using the reactionary gap.
• It puts yourself in-line with the door while you enter.
• If you are too fast you may miss.
• If you are too fast you may end up running blindly into the room.
• You may initiate a reaction towards the door or wall, such as gunfire.
• It is not as productive if you angle it incorrectly. For example in a
corner-fed where you may only clear the known common wall rather
than the largest area of the room if you approach incorrectly.
The Reactionary Gap Cont.
Above: Project Gecko video. The pointman creates distance, squares off, to clear immediate threats then hits the next
unknown area. This happens by stepping out to create a gap, then stepping back in to enter the room and hit the target area.
Video snapshots courtesy of Project Gecko.
More here: https://www.facebook.com/projectgecko/videos.
Some people call this “framework” or “using the frame.”
You have to face the threat. Your approach angle does not always allow this
so before you meet the area you want to clear. You prepare to square off
towards it. As soon as you meet the frame, your weapon is facing towards
the threat area. There is no lost angle, you are on threat.
It is simply orientating yourself towards threat then pulling from cover, ready
to engage instantly. It is a posturing technique. It is all about economy of
movement. Some people just call this orientating towards the threat.
Height and Level Changes
If you are engaging on the same height from the same position without
adjustment, you are a sitting duck. You are essentially a paper target.
Real humans adjust height, level, body position. They go to ground and
attack feet. They jump up and charge you within seconds. Anything can
You should be the same. Use different heights to hit target areas from
unexpected positions. This may include the use of tacladders to hit centre-
areas of the room in a surprising fashion. This may also draw people into the
open. Multi-angle, multi-floor attacks are better than single entry, ground-
floor attacks! And if you only have the latter, come in from an unexpected
Height and Level Changes Examples
Above and Around: Multiple examples of height and level changes.
Brokeback position and urban prone positions.
MARS and elevation systems.
Airborne/aviation platform engagements.
All methods to gain initial surprise or to hit a room from an
Recap: Making Immediate Entries Better
How do we make these better? People are still going to go them as default. Well… teach some principles:
1. Approach the doorway at an angle which puts guns on the entrypoint. Allow your group to disperse
from this position if engaged upon.
2. Have a reactionary gap or create distance before closing in with the entrypoint. This allows you to
shoot the threat in a through-door engagement. It also allows you to halt the entry and pull back
before stepping inside the room.
3. If you are going to stack do so with security. Weapons up. Implement a coverman to protect the stack.
4. Supported entries with covermen and through-door engagements are better. Using assets such as a
sniper team to cover the entry of the entry team. Good news. This may allow them to take out threats
before the entry team enter the building. Covermen who can shoot through your entrypoint is a tick.
5. Weaken the target building in a process of grenades and high explosive before entering. This is
especially applicable in a confirmed enemy-occupied room (contested room).
There are many other concepts you can add to immediate entries I have discussed, and that are out there,
to make them better. You can accompany your current entry with additional safety and security just by
changing some simple things.
will kill him…
I already regret
See this: http://cqb-team.com/cqbforum/viewtopic.php?f=2&t=2559.
What is changing within CQB? Cont. 11
• 3D disorientation: Noise-flash looks to disorientate vision and hearing. CS gas distorts vision,
makes you want to throw up, stings. People can still operate a trigger though. We go beyond this
now. We look to disorientate the way one perceives, interprets and makes a behaviour happen.
E.g. you can use smoke just as effectively as an NFDD. You can take down a wall next to them and
confuse them. You can make it look like you’re not there, or make the enemy fixate on something
else. Their behaviours change, they feel less safe so they become volatile, reactive. They play into
our hands. Do not look at NFDDs as “fix all things”, look at them as solely entry aids. Disorientate
in the way you enter, with what tools and the timing between. E.g. breach door but hold.
• Find a way or make one: Take down walls, roofs, windows, come from below. Blow holes
everywhere, have tunnels in prolonged operations. If we can come from literally everywhere, we
have the numbers advantage, we can get those numbers into an area that is condensed and
usually hard to access through compared to the one entrypoint i.e. a door. This involves armour,
choppers, rappels, tactical ladders, elevation systems.
• Contested room tactics: As I have been discussing, all these points combined are tactics that go
up against contested rooms – rooms with threats occupying them and denying entry. Entry denial
is a reason to change our thinking. We cannot get in so stop thinking all we have to do is get in!
Think: Limited entries, break-in techniques, fix in place, stand-off attacks, wait-outs.
Above: Oh a totally unexpected flashbang, I wonder if they’re going
to enter the room now?!
Above: As Pat McNamara puts it, “Limitation begins where vision ends.”
Anything can be made your entrypoint. Front door, no more.
“Execution with the consideration of the consequence.”
Find a Way or Make One
Contested Room Tactics
Above: Isn’t that better than walking in exposed?
I think so!
What is changing within CQB? Cont. 12
• Force-on-Force versus Paper Target Theory: More Force-on-Force to
iron out any errors in both limited and immediate entry processes.
You analyse the behaviour of FoF versus PTT. You note differences and
discrepancies. This allows us to tailor and foolproof entries to a
potential reality, at least towards going against another human brain.
• Empty Room Syndrome: Filling out rooms with furniture, objects that
trip you up, different flooring which makes you consider your terrain
analysis. This is reality. You cannot run the walls full of furniture,
clothes on the floor. Tunnels, caves, sewers. They pop up too. Holes in
roofs, half the ceiling coming down, ceiling shafts. A truly 360 degree
environment. The opposite of BAD CONDITIONING!
Paper Target Theory/Empty Room Syndrome
Above: Paper Target Theory compared to Force-on-Force compared to Reality.
In Paper Target Theory no one is hurt... Ever. In Force-on-Force you start to see true reactions and feel the pain.
But nothing accounts for reality where you see things, reactions, tactics… you’d never think you’d see.
What is changing within CQB? Cont. 13
• Emphasis on Performance-Based training: Without considering outcomes or potential outcomes, these goals are
controlled by you as the individual. If we improve individual performance, we can improve each entry uniquely. Each
member of the entry team has an impact on potential success. One-and-two man must be able to perform to a high
standard – shooting, movement, entry methods, coordination and communication. For example you know how to do
an immediate entry, do it to a high performance. Same goes with a limited entry. Wrong or right, do them well. “I want
to hit my POD faster”, “I want to kill the immediate threat in a safer way.” You do so with individual movement
techniques, gear adjustments, etc., to increase performance and reliability.
• Consideration towards Outcome-Based training: These goals/standards are set by others, often Subject Matter
Experts. For example clearing a short-room in under 4 seconds with a two-man entry. If we consider the outcomes of
these entries we can hone entries. The outcome of an immediate entry may be different to that of a limited entry, and
factors inherent within each type have to be considered. I.e. SOP as to what lingering time is. “We want to clear the
structure quicker”, “We want to clear the room quicker”, “We want less casualties.” What do we need? How fast do we
have to be? How can the overall improve? Consider the consequences. You do so with team coordination, faster
procedures i.e. stackless entries post-initial entry as an example.
• Potential approaches for Evidence-Based training: We are starting to see research projects as well as low-evidence
including case studies, historical content and Force-on-Force, be used as empirical evidence. It is willing to be wrong. It
tries to put itself in a realistic environment against a threat. That hones good habits. For example the Texas State
University put out a research paper comparing multiple entries. Limited penetration techniques did better overall, by
the way. Accuracy and survivability were better. If this is used across the nation then those numbers multiply.
Above: It may look fancy but anyone who is trainable and persistent can be taught and built up to
this standard. The problem is trying to fit it into context and with outcomes aimed towards
survivability. Getting this many in the room to begin with is a challenge.
What is changing within CQB? Cont. 14
• Less Rule-Based Errors: Rules such as “always push through the fatal
funnel” do not take into account special considerations. Therefore there is
less emphasis on rules. There less emphasis on black, white, and right or
wrong. Tactical understanding and reasoning, the grey, are better criteria.
Do not be process-driven, be situation-driven. What is required of the
situation? Am I safe to do this?
• Risk Avoidance versus Risk Acceptance: We understand room entries are
risky but that does not mean we can’t avoid unnecessary or known risk.
Changing small ways we do things can avoid small risks. Small actions in a
condense environment lead to huge consequences. Risk acceptance is
going with it anyway, for example because the mission requires it. A
hostages life is worth more than my own. But that said if a combatant can
eliminate an entry team, this does not help the hostages. It’s a grey area.
Let’s avoid irrational risk-aversion and suicidal behaviour. Risk-reward.
“Rule-based content is taught as the concrete foundation of our actions. When a person defies the said rule to survive, you begin
to see that the concrete foundation these rules are built upon is sworn with hairline cracks. It soon crumbles under pressure.
Reality-based methods fall back on limited entries time and time again. My first rule is not to get shot. That starts with not
putting myself in the most vulnerable position… not putting myself within the room.”
– Abraham Lincoln, 2015.
When Their Main Argument is “Just Push
Through the Fatal Funnel…” Repeating!
Above: Face palm, I’m getting nowhere with this tit.
And now his mate is telling me “he’s right”, too. Oh Lord.
DOGMA, DOGMA, DOGMA.
Risk Avoidance vs Acceptance
• The act of avoiding or keeping away.
• The state of approval, taking or receiving something offered.
When we avoid risk, we look to minimize it, isolate it and keep it at bay. We avoid hazards.
When we accept risk, we look to go with what we have got. We do our best to minimize the amount of risk we take on, or the amount
of risk we expose ourselves to while conducting the action.
We look to reduce the impact of actual and latent errors that may or do occur.
Risk acceptance is part of working within this environment. There is no perfect technique. Casualties are bound to occur. Therefore
finding balance is important. Avoiding risk from default is a good idea by clearing the room from outside, then accepting the risk for
the remaining areas when entering as an example. Blindly ignoring risk is bad behaviour, in fact it is suicidal behaviour. This is not
recommended. Minimize risk using a variety of methods before putting the physical human body in the way. Use shields, explosives,
etc. Anything to avoid risk to yourself. But at the end of the day, as Gabe Saurez says… “Risk is the currency of CQB.”
Immediate Entry Risk Acceptance
Above: Entering like this puts you in a space the enemy is to engage. When you clear into a corner, you are behind the
powercurve. The enemy has the drop on you before you have a bead on them. You are in a one-on-one fight.
What is changing within CQB? Cont. 15
• Information Processing/Behavioural Compliance: Attempting to process all the
potentials in an immediate entry is almost impossible. As is being behaviourally
complaint against danger with specific movements going against instinct. Slowing
down and working on processing is a plus in high-stress, high-confusion. Take
some time to consider this point. Our brains and behaviour need consideration.
• Choices between Two Bad Options: Sometimes there is NO right way. NO way
that will save your arse. It’s unfortunate but true. We now recognize that. We try
not to get in those positions but sometimes we’re caught in the I’m completely
fucked zone. So what is the best choice between two bad options? If you are
telling me limited entries are bad but immediate entries are good then I take it
you will take an immediate entry no matter the situation in front of you. You
should not be like that, prepare for both possibilities and have a default and one
to fall back on. They work in symmetry. You can’t gain entry? Fall back on a
limited. You have to be quicker and react now? Push to an immediate.
Consider human factors. There is a concept known as cognitive load. Our
working memory is limited. Processing information quickly in a high duress
environment working from room to room is almost impossible. When you
are faced with a threat, information overload! The brain focuses on clearing
the danger more so than avoiding or minimizing other hazards. Run away or
kill the threat. Therefore we must allow as much information to be processed
before proceeding room to room.
From the door we can process the room anatomy and structure. Doing this
on the move, though, is much more challenging, if not impossible and in face
of absolute risk. Speeding kills!!! Learn to process danger first. E.g. by using
models limiting overload like 3CS: Corners, ceilings, closet, stairs. Or breaking
up phase lines to the operation, i.e. post-clearance allowing for an SSE,
secondary search or reclear which is slower and methodical.
And BAM! INFORMATION OVERLOAD.
Above: KISS works for high duress, closely confined environments. Information processing is key to
consistent quality tactical decision-making. Cognitive, sensory and information overload is bad!
What is changing within CQB? Cont. 16
• Safety: Weapon safety has always been a contentious issue. Linear and square range
safety types will often moan on about numerous, what they see as, safety violations
occurring. It depends what school you were taught in but consider this…
• In some schools muzzle sweeping is allowed in “soft areas” like the legs. In some schools it is
allowed to get your weapon on an immediate threat quicker. In some schools it is not allowed at
• In some classes, for example those taught by the late ex-22SAS John Mac, safety is always off in
close environments or moving into rooms. Or weapon safety is not a priority when you’re
pointman into the room.
• You may not know what is beyond your target or where the target is but may still engage into a
wall or room. This is seen commonly in SOA methods.
• The finger may be on the trigger as you come up to a position. For example as you orientate
towards a threat area, and pull your weapon up to it. It may be empty, but the weapon and you,
are ready to engage. Some people work with their finger in the trigger housing in certain postures
before entry, this is especially seen in limited entries.
In other words do NOT consider conventional linear range safety as the absolute. Friendly
fire avoidance and “earning” the shot are more important processes. This also applies to
grenades and other HE.
Other Safety Concepts within CQB
Expand your thoughts on weapon safety in close environments:
• On Line Rule
• 45 Degree Rule
• 2 Meter Rule
• Earning the Shot
• First to Shoot Owns That Shooting Lane
• Working Around Friendlies
• Body Contact Rule
• Rear/Shoulder Check
• Mutual Support
• Situational Awareness
Example video of good safety: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ve1yy_Riad4.
“This is my Safety!”
Above: Okay, it’s rather pretentious at a chow hall but in close combat… you get the point.
What is changing within CQB? Cont. 17
I hope this has given you some perspective on what is and has changed
within CQB. I hope this limits the amount of people out there still stuck
in the “fatal funnel” and other bollocks.
Now to explain some better techniques… for your benefit. Enjoy.
Limited entries, enveloping, fix-in-place techniques, break-in
techniques, wait-outs, SOAs. Let’s go!
What are they?
• Entries that look to clear most of the room from outside before moving in.
• Once inside they look to limit their exposure, not progressing too far into
the room initially. They methodically progress through the room.
• They are able to initiate and sustain a firefight from OUTSIDE the room, the
DOOR and INSIDE the room.
• They can progress into any form of entry seen in immediate entry
• You are not necessarily changing pace. These entries can be done
dynamically at emergency speeds. They can be done in HR/SRO work.
Example video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=w8YUwaLWN_4.
Immediate to Limited – Transition to Reality
Above: Fallujah, Iraq. When immediate entries go wrong – what do you transition to? A limited entry.
In the second picture the Marine has lost the angle and resorts to blind fire.
Limited Entry Limitations
• They need hallway security and may perform poorly in a contested hallway,
for this you may have to adjust to an immediate, stackless entry.
• Being outside the door can get you “trapped” outside. This is bad and
good. Bad in some situations such as hostage rescue or non-permissive
environments behind enemy lines. Good whereby you have all the time in
the world to hang around.
• Casualties may occur quickly, for example being shot through the wall.
• Exposure may occur, for example a deep angle onto the far-door side guy.
This leads to one man being downed in the far-side area which is hard to
retrieve and to clear.
Above: Limited Entries conducted by Navy SEALs.
Limited Entries Cont.
Above: SEALs, Moyock, North Carolina working on Limited Entries.
Limited Entries Cont. Cont. Cont. Cont.
Above: No-idea-who-they-are conducting Limited Entries.
See this video:
Limited Entries – What Not To Do
Try not to:
• Think this is going to work or safe your butt all the time, have
other emergency options as backup. TOOLBOX.
• Over-expose your body unnecessarily.
• Flag the barrel beyond cover/concealment, which is known
as telegraphing the barrel.
• Pause or linger in the doorway for too long unnecessarily,
e.g. no active threat.
What Not To Do (Limited Entry)
Above: Over-exposing unnecessarily and muzzle exposure or protrusion (telegraphing).
Better Ways To Do It (Limited Entry)
Above: Limiting exposure and getting better angles on threat. No obvious muzzle protrusion.
Images courtesy of Project Gecko.
Example video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MxDjBdizSkM.
Limited Entry Goes Wrong – Now What?
Are you still denied access? A denied entry?
• You can continue to use fragmentation grenades and so on to suppress or
“weaken” the room. In other words “break-in” techniques or “red” entries.
• Envelope around the room and look for an angle of opportunity to engage.
• You can “Wait Out” and take specific opportunities to engage any peekers.
• If you have casualty you will have an easier time extracting them from here,
outside of the room, than if they were inside. If they are on the far-side of the
door, especially without a coverman, it can be a difficult process to clear, cross,
clear again and then extract the casualty.
• Use ballistic shields. Use observation devices.
• Building Demolition. Target supporting beams and structure elements with
explosives. This might take securing the first floor.
• Bring in the big boys. Stand Off Attack time. Call for Support.
Enveloping the target can give the entry team an advantage. Clearing around the building allows a detailed
building assessment and external structure analysis. You may be able to make a detailed plan on entry from
this point on. For example, you may be able to use a ladder to access another level of the building and
conduct a top-down clearance.
Enveloping allows you to engage from outside through windows and other architecture. This is a great way
to decrease entry team risk. You see this employed commonly from a coverman. Enveloping allows you to
see into the room and process what is there: threats, obstacles, civilians, etc. Enveloping with a static
coverman staying at the opening allows corners to be cleared from outside. Meaning it’s OKAY to neglect
your corner! Just be aware of follow-on rooms, basement or ceiling shafts.
Example here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5DDrDBY8lUo.
The SOA is engaging from a distance, usually to absolute building destruction
• Anti-Tank weapons:
• AT4, SMAW-D, Carlie G – You can put airburst rounds in the right places, or straight
up HEAT or HEDP into walls and windows.
• Personal weapons:
• M4 singular shots through an opening or suppressive fire.
• M203/M320 – Aim 40mms through holes, windows.
• Sniper/designated marksman weapons.
• Vehicular weapons
• TOW, MK19/GMG, .50, GPMG, etc.
• Other assets
Above: Thumb-down technique
using M203 allows greater close-
range accuracy for SOA.
Above: Stand Off Attacks. The picture to the left is from the Raid on Saddam Hussein’s two dickhead sons. Delta Force
could not make entry due to getting shot at in the doorway so they decided to blow it sky high.
Break-In and Fix In Place Techniques
When conducting an SOA you may have to break in the enemy and fix them in
• Break-In may involve suppressing the enemy and breaking their moral, their will
to fight. Slowing down their progression, reducing their immediate capabilities.
This may also involve using explosive ports to isolate areas of the room and open
up observation into the room. Use a vehicle to for wall demolition, open up the
room to engaging angles.
• Fixing In Place may involve surrounding the enemy, engaging them from different
angles and covering entry/exits. You can use door wedges, jams and blocks to
keep doors closed. You can put multiple weapons on the unknown angle.
• A ruse may be conducted to confuse and disorientate, keeping the enemy in an
area. Greater confusion may cause the threat to act wildly, such as putting
themselves in very vulnerable positions.
Example video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_ISktkFAnVo.
Call For Support
I like standing far away and watching something go boom.
Know what helps?
• An F/A-18 with GBU-24 PAVEWAY II (Okay maybe I’m dreaming) at the ready!
• An M777 Howitzer with 155mm boom-booms coming down!
• An M224 mortar with 60mm for them! An 81mm, even better!!!
• Use armour or explosives to create shooting ports or take down structure supports.
• Structure support demolition from internal explosive charges (internal demolition).
• A Bradley to knock down walls and open up the room.
• An M1 Abrams to say hello with 120mm of hello-ing power.
• Hello Apache. FOX News told me you have big “machineguns”, please use them. And by that I mean the 30mm Chain Gun Cannon
• Call for backup and “fill the injured” with other team members who are ready to enter.
• Call for MEDEVAC/CASEVAC…
Be sure to send in a ground clearance team for a Battle Damage Assessment and in case there just happens to be some rubble-
dwellers. Is this better than immediately entering over and over again? Yes!!! We’re not brain-dead robots.
The Colour System
I made this to simplify things. This is a method of using these tactics in real-time by using pro-words based upon colours. This is similar to NATO
standards. Try it. See if it works for you…
GREEN – ROOM IS CONSIDERED CLEAR. NON-CONTESTED ROOM. Civilians may be present. Entry per SOP. If engaged on a green entry, the team
commander is to decide whether or not to fight through or escalate the awareness to a different entry type of dis/engagement ("Soft Clear”).
YELLOW – ROOM IS OCCUPIED WITH HOSTAGE/HVT. Extreme care, use aimed fire in the hostage or HVTs direction. Flashbangs are supported, HE
is NOT (“Cautious Clear”).
ORANGE – ROOM IS POTENTIALLY UNSAFE WITHOUT ENTRY AID. Noise-flash distraction device utilized under caution to enter room or safely
allow a limited entry before immediate entry occurs or for an immediate entry to occur taking the known risks after an expedient risk-benefit
analysis in an emergency entry – again as per SOP (“Flashie Up”).
RED – ROOM IS UNSAFE TO ENTER OR FIGHT THROUGH AT THIS POINT. CONTESTED ROOM. Grenades and other HE ordnance used to clear.
Limited entry (or limited incursion), fix-in-place and break-in techniques utilized. Enveloping may be used to clear from outside. If still unclear
then may be designated as black as ground situation dictates ("Hard Clear").
Black – ROOM IS DEEMED TOO UNSAFE TO ENTER AT ANY POINT IN TIME. PULL OUT. Conduct a Wait-Out or Stand-off Attack… from distance with
HMG, GMG, AT, vehicles, snipers and other assets. Enemy runners are to be engaged or captured; all exit points are to be covered if possible ("No
Example: Shots coming through wall in the stack. RED. Man-downed. BLACK.
Example: Shots coming through the doorway. RED. Enemy-occupied room. RED. Grenades used. Still denied access. BLACK.
And When They STILL Keep Saying “Just Push
Through the Fatal Funnel…”
Above: You know what? You first…
Go ahead and enter blindly you fuck.
Well, I hope you enjoyed it. I hope it gave you some perspective.
Let’s stop thinking about room entries in a “must enter to clear” mindset.
And “get through the fatal funnel” baloney point of view. If we are going to
enter then let’s be safer. Let’s put ourselves in an advantageous position and
essentially fool-proof and behaviour-proof our entries. Let’s enter at our own
pace, as the situation determines. Not immediately, always.
And I’d like to thank my sponsors Metallica and ACDC for letting me play
their music non-stop while writing this. Shoot to thrill! Play to kill!
Stay safe out there.
FEEL FREE TO POST THIS ANYWHERE AND EVERYWHERE. CREDITS AND COMPLAINTS GO TO RYAN AT CQB-TEAM. THANK YOU!
I used many open-source platforms to find photos.
If anyone has any complaints, wants changes or removals… please
message me via CQB-TEAM.
FEEL FREE TO POST THIS ANYWHERE AND EVERYWHERE. CREDITS AND COMPLAINTS GO TO RYAN AT CQB-TEAM. THANK YOU!