Review: HEAT CQB May 2021 – Duane

I signed up for HEAT CQBC a couple of months ago when I realized that my son was graduating high school and my opportunities to do things like this with him are soon ending. We attended HEAT 1 and DCH in 2020 together and I have been coming to MVT since Max moved from the tarp to the newly constructed pavilion in 2013.  I keep coming back because unlike previous schools at which I have trained, I have never reached a comfortable level of competence with what is taught at MVT.  More to the point I am afraid that at some point my son and I might have to use these skills.  Had it not been for that, I would not have come due to the gas shortage that weekend.

At MVT my first introduction to CQB was at the 2015 Rifleman Challenge and then Citizen’s Close Combat at MVT.  Since then the curriculum has been re-written to reflect the most up to date TTPs.  Therefore, much was significantly different.

Day 1 consisted of time on the flat range with live ammo.  Ordinarily this would be with frangible rounds on steels targets, but we used regular ammo and paper targets due to the ammo shortage.  Total round count for me was around 200 rounds and I wasn’t trying to conserve.  The first portion consisted of what I would call “ready up” drills whereby we re-acquainted ourselves with our rifles and placed rounds on target at 25 meters.  We then practiced things such as firing while walking and turning towards the target from all presentations using the “head-body-rifle” method.  Later we began practicing appropriate techniques for room entering such as pie-ing or diminishing the room and then the various methods for entering the room.

Day 2 began with being issued our AirSim rifles, magazines and accompanying equipment.  These rifles are near 1:1 replicas of an M4 that utilize AirSim rounds and function exactly the same as an M4 (including full auto).  The individual magazines hold approximately 40 rounds and contain the Green Gas (unodorized propane) in which to propel the round and charge the rifle for the next round.  They were mostly reliable.  That being said:  Everyone had plenty of opportunities to practice malfunction drills.  The round is propelled hard enough that they will sting and leave a small mark and we were intructed not to utilize them at close range and utilize the command “Close Kill”.

We then gaggled up to the CQB building where we began practicing our entry drills as individuals with force on paper targets.  We practiced such things as entry of center fed rooms,  side fed rooms, buddy pair and team entry.  Day 3 was force on force. Class size was 12 and we sorted out into 3 teams of buddy pairs. We spent turns with one team defending the building and two teams attacking.  While earlier in the morning our drills were somewhat scripted, later we developed our own tactics to attempt to enter the buildings.

Things of note:

1.  CQB is a thinking man’s game;  therefore, it is necessary to take time think about your next move.  IE:  Once you secure one area, you can regroup and plan the next entry.

2. CQB is high risk.  In all the drills we did, I don’t recall one in which a team did not take a casualty. Usually many and sometimes all.