Tactical Clearance: CQB Entry Methods Discussion

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    • #96016

        I have not had time to do diagrams for this, which I probably need to, but I wanted to get some information out there and secondarily provide a forum for discussion of CQB entry techniques. Tommy just joined the forum and I hope John will be along soon, so we will hopefully get some legit guys with recent CQB experience jumping in here. Excellent.

        For those who have seen my posts and / or attended CQB training with me, you will understand my philosophy. I am mainly teaching civilians, and CQB can be a high attrition activity. I am not a fan of dynamic entry techniques and try to teach a mix of limited penetration / fight from the door techniques. I am aware that most buildings in the US provide concealment not cover. My methods can be similar to Israeli limited penetration techniques, but are not the same and may be more dynamic, with penetration.

        If you have a barricade or even an alert enemy in a room, and you try dynamic entry, it will likely not end well for you. Dynamic entry will work for you if:

        • you can pull off surprise.
        • you can shock a room or shock it with your breaching technique.
        • that is what flashbangs / explosive breach / grenades were invented for: to get you in the room.
        • it may be a good option for an initial breach on a closed structure when you have surprise.
        • I know there are opinions where you have to go dynamic for any closed door, but my jury is out on that. Discussion point.

        What best describes the methods that I am teaching? We are trying to hit the enemy fast and with surprise from the doorway. We can see about 95% of the room from the doorway, with perhaps the two near corners accounting for 4-8% that we cannot see. Furniture of course creates more dead space. So we want a method where we rapidly ‘pie off’ the visible part of the room using the vertical angle of the door, then rapidly get eyes/muzzles onto the two near corners.

        1) Stacking on one side of the door:

        • Either number 1 or 2 man in the stack will ‘pie across the doorway’ (vertical angle) engaging threats as they come into view.
        • The man that remains at the start side of the doorway is covering the room.
        • Once the man is across the doorway, both men will conduct a ‘step center’ into the doorway and then enter the room.
        • As they enter, they each button hook towards their near corners. These corners are the only parts of the room (4- 8% probably) that cannot be seen from the doorway pie.
        • Example: stack on left of door. Man 1 pies across to the right side of the door. Man 2 remains on the left. Man 1 and man 2 step center and enter. Man 1 button hooks to the right, man 2 to the left, towards their respective near corners.

        The issue with this is that it is designed that both enter at the same time. This means that ideally, neither of their backs is exposed to their opposite near corner without a buddy covering their back. However, often due to narrow doorways and big dudes, one has to go through slightly ahead of the other. This can also be a gear issue, with people who will not listen  to the advice about huge battle belts, getting hung up in the doorway!

        2) Stacking both sides of the door:

        • This means that one man does not have to pie the whole doorway across.
        • Starting opposite each other, both men start a simultaneous pie/step center engaging threats as they appear. They then are both next to each other in the doorway.
        • They then enter the room as per the first method, button hooking left and right.

        New options to add:

        Here are some options that we want to consider adding as alternatives as we develop this methodology of the MVT Tactical Clearance POI:

        3) Stacking on one side of the door (1): ‘Diminishing Returns:’

        • First man pies across the door as per the example (1) above. This is often called the ‘diminishing returns’ method.
        • Rather than stepping center and button hooking, the two men opposite each other in the doorway then do the crisscross:
        • Here, the man that initially pies the door continues the move into the room towards the near corner that is now opposite him.
        • The man who remains on the stack side of the doorway then immediately goes into the room towards his opposite near corner, straight behind the back of the first man who entered.
        • Example: stack is on the left side of the door. Man 1 pies across to the right side , then crisscrosses through the doorway towards the left near corner. Number 2 crisscrosses behind him towards to right near corner.

        This method causes a deliberate delay between the first and second man in the crisscross. You have to train either trust with one man crossing across the muzzle of the other, or alternatively the muzzle is raised temporarily as the first man enters the room. However, the crisscross acknowledges that two men may get hung up in the door doing a simultaneous button hook, and accounts for that with a fast but staggered entry.

        3) Stacking on one side of the door (2): Step Center:

        • First man pies across half of the doorway. He then takes a ‘step center,’ and rocks back and then forward.
        • The rock gives him momentum to enter the room. He button hooks goes towards the near corner that he did not clear visually.
        • Second man will criscross him to the opposite near corner.
        • Example: start on left side of door. Man 1 pies then steps center, then enters the room to the left near corner with a button hook. Man 2 on the left side of the door, then goes crisscross behind the first man to enter towards the right near corner.

        This is a sort of combination of diminishing returns / dynamic entry. It is important to note that rather than being focused on the near corner to the exclusion of all other threats in the room, any threats seen will be engaged either on the initial pie, the step center, or as entry is made on the button hook.

        Food for thought. I hope the descriptions worked well enough! I want to rope John / Tommy into a full weekend CQB class sometime next year.



      • #96017

          Max, that is a great explanation of the step center method that we discussed earlier. The thing I particularly like most about this option is that you have the best of both worlds, if necessary the 1 man can immediately identify the threat and neutralize it from the safety of the outer walls. However if in a western (drywall) structure he can choose to use violence of action as his teams cover and move straight into dynamic entry with them in tow. Looking forward to setting up a designated CQB class early next year if there are enough interested party’s. Everyone please let me know your opinion on the best way to enter a room in a domestic environment; either in offense or in deliberate defense of your own home.

        • #96018

            Welcome John! Happy Thanksgiving.

          • #96019
            Mike Q

              I want to do a dedicated CQB class.

            • #96020

                Happy Thanksgiving brother!

              • #96021
                Sam Brady

                  count me in for a dedicated CQB class.

                • #96022

                    This is an awesome thread Max. It presents good info with space for discussion as well. Very complex subject, one size does not fit all. Lots of noise on line confuses the issue.

                    I really like the crisscross variation, as two guys with kit can get hung up easily when trying to enter simultaneously. Yes, it has some drawback, but must be balanced against the reality of the hesitation caused by two guys trying to squeeze into a 30″ opening.

                    From my very limited experience, trying to get both guys through at the same time is a bit klunky. Perhaps better to stay towards your side, with limited concealment/maybe cover, as long as you covered your sector, with fire as necessary, and then enter the center of the doorway, as you criss cross to the opposite corner (the one you end up oriented towards, not the same side as you’re on). Yes you are exposed here. Your buddy needs to be johnny on the spot and get in there to his corner right behind you. I would definitely be open to trying it.

                    As an added thought, you could essentially do the same thing, without the criss-cross, if you just designate a first and second man through the door, a slight stagger if you will, to allow you to get in there faster.

                    Might depend on the layout of the rooms. But as always, “number one is always right”, so whatever side he takes, you take the other.

                    I think the overall concept of the “combat” or “limited penetration” clearance techniques are very sound and applicable to us. Especially if the oppo is aggressive and going to fight back, versus the crack head who curls up on the floor. Very different game with guys sandbagged into fighting positions, or with “murder holes” in the back wall.

                    Yes I think some alternative to std frags n bangers would be a definite plus for us. Perhaps see what’s available in fireworks stands that could be modified for our use. At least some kind of home-made diversionary device.

                    Overall lesson here is holing up in buildings, waiting for the enemy is pretty close to suicide. To be avoided if at all possible. You have a much better chance when maneuvering than staying stationary.

                    And the other side of that is don’t clear the buildings unless you really have to. Burn it down, blow it up, whatever.

                    I know Max has said this stuff many times. but it bears repeating.

                  • #96023

                      Our SOP was #3-1. For the very reasons Max stated. You MUST focus on clearing that corner. The major city in our parish lost an officer because loss of focus – he was #2 in and assisting #1 who was already engaged but BG came up from behind and put a single round behind the L arm, missed the armor and entered the chest, blowing out the L ventricle, died on the spot.

                      Also, understand we wore Level IV and a .38 cal still took out the officer. You can’t protect everything – and that is where tactics come in.

                      We also carried 2×4 wedges that we would drop at the bottom of a door that we couldn’t clear at that moment to block it until we could come back and clear.

                    • #96024
                      Short Stroke

                        I have no experience with this, so I have a few questions. Sorry if these questions have been answered before.

                        – When man #1 pies across the doorway and sees a threat, you say to engage it. Say the threat is at 12 o’clock. Where do you position yourself and for how long? What do you communicate to man #2?

                        – Say you (and the enemy) know that the walls are drywall. How does that change how you fight from the door?

                        – Wouldn’t you have to pie relatively slowly if the room is very large (or extremely large, like a warehouse) and if it is pitch black (even if you have flashlights)?

                      • #96025

                          – Say you (and the enemy) know that the walls are drywall. How does that change how you fight from the door?

                          Stay OFF the walls……if you scrape the wall, you stand a high chance of being shot through the wall. From my post on 9/10/2016 – early 1990s – NW Louisiana SO. Call for burglar in the house. First 2 deputies on-scene (1-man units) saw a “woman” inside the house and decided to go in versus waiting for K9. 1st deputy in took a round to the abdomen (stayed in ICU for several months and was medically retired). 2nd deputy in took a round to his R forearm, shattering it. We used 686’s at the time, he reloaded with his L hand and could hear the person behind the wall, put 6 rounds (going diagonally away from the entranceway) into the wall and hitting suspect on the 2nd or 3rd round, heard the “oomph” from the suspect and put remaining rounds same, killing suspect (deputy said all remaining rounds had a thud sound with body having 3-4 rounds in him). The “woman” was a male wearing a wig.

                        • #96026

                            Short Stroke: hard to train nuance in a blog post. This is more a discussion or various legit techniques.

                            The pie of the doorway can be done slow or fast, depending on the situation and dynamic nature of it. Some will tell you the pie has to be slow as minimum risk, but it can be fast.

                            If you engage a threat you continue the pie of your sectors to ensure there are not other threats. If you are entering, then team members coming behind will engage any threats in their sectors, which may include engaging the guy you shot, again.

                            We know that most structures are concealment not cover. Hard to express the nuance of this. You are not supposed to be hanging outside the door having a chat. Use stealth or speed or a mixture of both for situational surprise. I’ve written about this before: you should suddenly appear in door muzzle towards the enemy. If the enemy is barricaded/alert in there, this gives you a better chance and better options than running through the door into their guns. You don’t fight from the door all day, you are not squatting there using it as cover. This is
                            hard to express to people without demonstrating it.

                            It’s a little like lite battle belts with no suspenders…some just don’t get it unless they are shown!

                          • #96027

                              Paul Howe at CSAT also teaches this limited penetration technique for civilian use. He also teaches this technique to lone LEO clearing. This is very much a legit technique that Max didnt pull outta his arse.

                              HEAT 1(CTT) X 3
                              HEAT 2 (CP) X1
                              FOF X3
                              OPFOR X2
                              CLC X2

                            • #96028
                              Short Stroke

                                Makes sense, thanks. I hope to get to a CQB class someday.

                              • #96029

                                  What I’ve been taught is that once you either open a closed door or some piece of you (usually your muzzle) breaks the visual plane of the door you should go dynamic. The rationale was that when you make visually identifiable movement into a room (including opening a door) that you’ve now revealed yourself, and to capitalize on whatever surprise you had you have to go dynamic quick, fast, and in a hurry.

                                  IF one had grenades or flashbangs, they change the equation. If you have them, you can open the door and pie, but before you make entry you toss one into the room.

                                  John, Max, what are your guy’s opinions on that? Particularly about what precisely to do when opening a closed door.

                                • #96030

                                    The rationale for breaking the plane of the door with your muzzle, body or even the door itself (breach) is received wisdom. We train you not to break that plane with the pie, until you commit to entry.

                                    But let’s examine that idea that if you have to break that plane, you must enter? Why? The idea of tactical clearance is that it gives you options, and an out. I am not trying to counsel stopping /hesitating in the door on a dynamic entry. That is not what I am saying. I am saying you do your tactical clearance, and then the number 1 guy makes a decision to enter or not. Just because his barrel breaks the plane of the door, but he is duking it out with a barricaded enemy inside the room, why should the then have to push to his death? He has the option of pulling back and considering another plan / another breach point if he cannot get into the room. Don’t just rush in to your death!

                                    Same with breaching the door – why does this mean that you have to blindly rush in to the room? Breach the door and try to rapidly reduce the enemy within with tactical clearance. Then make an entry decision.

                                    You realize that I can only say this because this is my forum. If I went public on some other place, like lightfighter or AR15, I would be destroyed by trolls who only know what they think they know. CQB in its modern form is like that, it is a religion. People learn it as a form of rite of passage – know the cool lingo and you are in. But they rarely think about what they are doing.

                                    The other side of this is that some are trying to reduce the effectiveness of tactical clearance by insisting that it has to be done real slow. That is an effective individual search technique but if you are in a fight there is no reason why it cannot be done fast and aggressively. That is what the Israelis do with their limited penetration techniques. What we teach is similar, but not the same.

                                    I will post a video below as an example. I am not using this video as an ideal example of how to do CQB, becasue it is not. It is one US SF dude fighting through the house as his ANA guys are getting hammered. I am specifically using it as an example of a fast aggressive tactical clearance. You have to quirt worrying that you may have exposed a part of your lead leg, and get it done. Better than blindly running into the room!

                                  • #96032

                                      @ Shortstroke

                                      1- The entire purpose of 1 man pieing is that he can engage the threat as soon as he see’s him, no matter the threats location in the room. Once he identifies a threat he immediately engages, the big difference here is whether or not he is in a position to fight from the door and if he has a team stacked with him. If it is a soft wall, As soon as I engaged the threat I would move into the room, throwing a few rounds at the threat and hitting my decisive point in the corner of the room, this allows #2 to engage the threat and proceed to his decisive point opposite #1 man, and ultimately leads to number three man throwing lead at the 12 o’clock threat and finishing him if he has not been finished yet. If this is commonly practiced this all happens in a matter of a second and every person in the room is ultimately throwing lead at the threat either neutralizing it or at least getting him/her to seek cover and stopping accurate fire. No communication should be necessary other than possibly a 12 o’clock call out. #2 man should knowingly assume you are entering the room. If this is a hard walled room then I would consider fighting from the door, keeping your body closer to the door frame/wall and maximizing your cover, in this instance it is the same call out of where the target is located in case you are hit and incapacitated so your team is aware of the target last known location, but nothing movement wise necessarily needs to be called out as your team is following the movement of 1 man, if he stays the team stays.

                                      2- If I know the walls are soft walls, I will typically not use them to fight from, not just due to my safety but my teams safety standing in a high threat/no cover area. Instead I will identify the type of walls in the building as soon as I can so that I’m not trying to determine that at the time of contact. Once I have identified the walls being soft I know that I am going to step center into dynamic entry if contact is made.

                                      – Yes and no, warehouses and other large structures are a completely different dynamic than a typical home like structure and I wouldn’t use the same tactics I would in a house, moreover I would use dynamic entry to a place of cover and then use a bounding to cover technique that you would use in the CTT course.

                                      I hoped this helped answer your questions, please let me know if I have not or if you have any others.


                                    • #96033
                                      Short Stroke

                                        That is extremely helpful. Thank you for the detailed answer.

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