Tactical Clearance: An Alternative CQB Technique

For those of you who have read my blog for a while, you will know that I have big issues with the way CQB is taught and conducted. Traditional dynamic entry/immediate entry style CQB clearance methods show obvious tactical disadvantages against prepared or barricaded defenders. What is needed is a shift in thinking and training in the way CQB is conducted, with the priority becoming gaining an immediate tactical advantage, leading to greater survivability. The traditional ‘SWAT style’ dynamic room entry and clearance technique is already old hat. It has been replaced at the top end  with better ‘combat clearance’ and ‘fighting from the door-style’ techniques.  This article is not going to be about what is wrong with the traditional dynamic entry technique. However, in summary:

Dynamic  entry techniques rely on Speed, Surprise and Violence of action. When breaching into rooms and flooding the room with a team, you rely on somehow getting the drop on the enemy inside – either that or you are in fact entering a low risk environment. When it is a high risk environment with a prepared or barricaded enemy, you may not have the element of surprise – this is particularly applicable to further clearance after first making entry. The whole action of entering, sweeping for threats, cornering and running the walls leaves you extremely vulnerable. The way this is properly done in a high intensity environment (think war) is that the target building will be reduced by firepower before entry. If that cannot be done, shock will be achieved on entry by the use of fragmentation, concussion or flashbang types of grenades. The type will depend on the threat, the assessed presence of civilians or hostages, and the rules of engagement. Once you get away from high intensity clearance, you are beginning to assume more and more risk with each entry. If you cannot shock the room on entry, then there is not much to stop the enemy inside engaging you as you flood into the room.

Essentially, dynamic entry is designed for high intensity environments and when not used in such, it is not a sensible methodology, unless you are only dealing with low risk situations. Think SWAT, where they will avoid entry if there is a real threat inside, such as a barricaded enemy, and try to negotiate. Yes, current active shooter protocol is to go straight in, but that is not normally a barricaded threat situation, but one of a mobile shooter who needs to be taken down immediately.

As civilians if you are ever forced to conduct CQB, then you will not have the grenade type shock devices in order to gain that surprise as you enter. You don’t have remote robot cameras in order to see the enemy and gain a tactical advantage.  If you try dynamic entry, you will be running into the muzzle of anyone in the room. This methodology is taught across the country at ‘tacticoolaid’ schools. It is teaching people what they want to know because it’s the ‘cool guy’ stuff and everyone and their fan boy wants to know it. They all want to stack up on the door and flood the room. It’s exciting, right?

On the other hand, tactical clearance allows flexibility with the situation at hand and encourages tactically adaptive behavior. It also, in fact, is a phenomenon that happens naturally, when there are active enemy shooters inside a breach and dynamic is not going to work.


Read the rest on the MVT Forum:  Forums Tactics & Leadership CQB and Urban – Citizen Close Combat (C3)