Review: Close Quarter Battle Course May 26 – 28: Barry

Max Notes: Barry wrote the following article which can be found on the MVT Forum: ‘Close Quarter Battle Training and Tactics in the United States.‘ (You need to be a forum member to view this). Barry was a Ranger Company officer in Vietnam, at least one tour, and Purple Heart recipient. He worked in Law Enforcement and spent 10 years as a SWAT Team Leader. He finished his career as an elected Chief of Police. Barry trained at MVT, Combat Team Tactics, 67 years old at his first attendance. He is still attending and training MVT Close Quarter Battle Classes.


I recently returned from another great training session conducted at the Max Velocity Training Center located near Romney West Virginia.  Before I get to the AAR, I want to compliment my fellow students.  What a great group of Americans!  Besides the excellent instruction and first rate facilities, the enthusiasm and good feelings that are generated during these classes raise my morale and remind me that I am not alone in my views and beliefs.  I have yet to meet “that guy” at any training conducted at Max Velocity Tactical.

Instructor.  John and his two Assistant Instructors were well qualified to present the material taught during this course.  John is a multi-tour light infantry combat veteran with firsthand experience conducting close quarter battle in both Iraq and Afghanistan.   John presented the material in a very professional manner.  He demonstrated a complete grasp of the subject matter and, more importantly he is able to communicate the information in a manner that even the most basic student would be able to understand.  Safety was continually emphasized throughout the course.  He patiently answered all questions.  Training was organized and started on time.  John obviously enjoys instructing and watching students grow.

His two Assistant Instructors are combat veterans that served with John on one or more of these tours.  They worked well together and had the same view of the doctrine.  They provided useful advice and coaching to the students and continually hustled to stay one or two steps ahead of us in preparing the facility for the next evolution.

Max Notes: From the MVT CADRE PAGE:

John is a US Army veteran with over 29 months deployed in Afghanistan and Iraq. He has extensive experience and expertise in small unit tactics, reconnaissance, CQM/CQB, and specializes in long range and unconventional marksmanship. He has been selected to represent two Division Marksmanship Teams nationally and internationally.
John has led or served in numerous conventional, reconnaissance, and special forces units throughout his tours, being specifically recognized by 3 separate US Special Forces Operational Detachment Alpha Teams as well as advising numerous NATO Special Forces groups. He has also been recognized for valor being awarded the Bronze Star Medal for Valor. John is a dedicated and motivated instructor, using his knowledge and combat experience to personally connect with each student at MVT.
Thus, as with all MVT training, what we are teaching are legitimate, current, adapted, combat proven TTP’s.
Course Content.  This course was taught in a progression over 3 days.  No night or low-light evolution was conducted.

Day 1.  On the first day, we spent the morning on the flat range conduction various drills utilizing ball ammunition.  All students arrived with zeroed weapons.  This was my first indication that I was not dealing with people that were not serious.  Basic weapon handling was reviewed and I am sure that John was assessing our ability and safety as well in order to determine where to start with us and how fast we could progress once we began the CQB training in the shooting house structures.  After lunch we began learning the basics on the flat range by utilizing door frames and taped off rooms.  John calls them “glass houses.”  These drills were done dry.  Emphasis on learning the points of domination and safety, i.e. don’t “flag your buddy.”  For most of the students, this is the first time they have moved in pairs, into tactically tight spaces.  There is a learning curve here as most are not used to having a rifle and another person so close to them while rapidly moving.  It’s a lot of information to process while being aware of others in the room and the potential for a “blue on blue” if you make the wrong choice.

Day 2.  The second day started with a safety brief and the explanation of the use of Ultimate Training Munitions (UTM) training equipment.   A UTM bolt replaces the standard bolt in the M-4 rifle.  This bolt is rim fire only and will not fire live ammunition.  UTM ammunition consists of an aluminum cartridge with a non-lethal “marking projectile.”  This technology represents a quantum leap over simunitions and other types of training ammunition.  These rounds will definitely sting you and will leave a welt or bruise.  A pain penalty forces realism into the training/tactics cycle. Eye pro and protective gear MUST be worn and safety rules rigidly enforced.  The weapon functions normally with recoil and is accurate out to about 50 meters.  Teams and tactics can be taught and assessed in a realistic manner.  This is first rate professional equipment and not to be confused with paint ball or airsoft toys!

We began dry evolutions with one and two man entries with paper targets placed in every room.  The 3 instructors demonstrated, walked thru and corrected our entry techniques.  They rotated often to ensure each team got their point of view.  In between rainstorms John presented a lecture on CQB with story boards.  As we progressed we began using the UTM rounds on paper targets.   Learning to trust each other and flow into the rooms.  The targets were somewhat realistic depictions of persons armed and unarmed.  Paper plates were also used.

Once John felt we had the basics down and were not flagging each other, we progressed to force on force training.  We had 3 teams and two “CQB” huts.  One team functioned as the opposing force and  the other two teams cleared the two facilities.  We rotated responsibilities.  Our drills were primarily 2 and 4 man teams.

On Day 2 we spent some time on mechanical and shotgun breaching skills.  John has built a unique method of teaching this skill.  He uses a standard door frame with a wooden bolt designed to function as a deadbolt.  This is cheap and you can rapidly change out your “wooden lock” to allow each student the opportunity to breach the lock.

With constant emphasis on safety we continued to progress and learn the angles, corner drills  and playing off each other’s mistakes.

Day 3.

Day 3 we began exercising the same principles we had learned the first day, only at a faster pace.  Teams rotated quickly and some evolutions were 7 on 3, etc.  This was challenging for defenders as well as the assault team elements.  We also began patrolling in to the objective from the wood line.  We used basic patrolling formations in the woods and then moved quickly into the stack to enter.  The exercise became more challenging when John opened the windows, forcing us to plan various routes to escape observation.  By the afternoon John put the “mega house” together.  Using large plywood/landscape barriers as walls, the house was enlarged with more rooms, another entry point and a hallway.  As a learning point, we were allowed and encouraged to shoot thru the soft walls.  This was to remind the students that the soft walls in most dwellings in American will not stop rounds. This is a great teaching point for anyone that might have to clear their own house.  Day 3 ended with a very good critiques and summary of training.  It was obvious to all of us that John wanted feedback to improve the course.  I was glad to see a warrior without ego or a feeling that what he does/teaches is the “only way.”

Learning points/take-aways:

  • CQB is a skill that requires constant training in order for anyone to be successful.
  • Everyone has to understand the principles of domination and where to be in a room in order to support his teammates, avoid hostile fire and to avoid moving into another shooters zones of fire.
  • You must move at a “careful hurry.” Not moving uncontrolled into space you don’t own, just moving fast enough to clear the door, identify hostile targets and accurately return fire.
  • Momentum not out and out “speed” is the key to success. If you allow your opponent to “reset and think” you are going to lose.

Recommendations for students attending this course:

  • Be in reasonably good physical condition. This is not a physically intense course.  However, you will be putting in 3 full 8-9 hour days, mostly standing on your feet.  WV is a state built on a hill. It seems no matter where you are standing your only choice in movement is uphill.
  • Remember to continue to hydrate. Getting de hydrated will cause you to lose focus.
  • Plan on carrying a medium size ruck sack. Put everything you need for a day’s activities, food, water, etc. in the ruck.   You will be operating away from your POV.  This will save you time.
  • Have a cleaning rod and cleaning material with you.
  • Make sure you have adequate PPE. Follow the guidance Max puts out to the letter. (Max Adds: a follow on guidance / clarification post o FoF/CQB PPE will follow).
  • Anyone who has graduated from one of Max’s courses can do this.

I have had some experience in teaching, mentoring and performing CQB while operating as a SWAT team leader and a Chief of Police.  This class was simply outstanding, from the facilities, the instructors and my fellow students.  Sign me up for the advanced class!

We finished the training by saying good byes to each other in a very hard down pour.  Our team photo will probably more closely resemble drowned rats that human beings!


Next CQBC Class: August 18 – 20. We have some spaces available at this time.

We do teach one-day CQB intro classes as part of the Force on Force Team Tactics weekends. These are optional add-on days on the Friday prior to the weekend. These will not replace CQBC, but they will give you a clue. They are primarily intended to give you a leg-up on the Force on Force weekends, because the CQB huts are included in some of those scenarios as the objective. We are offering a huge discount the class coming up on Father’s Day: ‘Massive Father’s Day Discount! Force on Force + CQB June (16) 17 – 18.

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