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Last week SIG SAUER gave both Tyler and myself a crash course in using firearms in CQB situations. Using some UTM training rounds and some of SIG’s firearms, we spend a good part of the day endlessly clearing rooms under the direction of the SIG SAUER Academy’s instructors — the same guys that teach this stuff to SWAT teams and military units on a regular basis. We weren’t anything even resembling what you would call good at it, but we got the basics and I figured some of you armchair operators might be interested in what we learned . . .

Planning Prevents Piss Poor Performance

As I quickly realized, the most important step was actually taking a moment to think before opening the door. The position and type of door dictates how the maneuver is performed, and when we did it wrong the negative results were glaringly obvious.

A room where the doorway opens inwards was the easiest to work with. One shooter positions (or “stacks”) on either side of the doorway, and the operation begins when the shooter nearest the doorknob opens the door. The idea is to allow your teammate on the other side to to through the door first since it will take a moment to get your hand back on your gun after opening the door and your buddy will be good to go.

An outward-opening doorway is slightly more difficult. Instead of being able to stack on either side of the doorway, there’s only one side where immediate access into the room is provided. The idea is to have both shooters stack on the side of the door with the doorknob, which allows both of them to enter at almost the same time. The trick here is that the shooter closest to the door DOES NOT open the door — the guy behind him in line reaches around and does that instead.

The basic principle that the instructors were trying to convey was that getting rounds on target as fast as possible was the name of the game. You want to set yourself up so that your team can see and engage threats faster than those targets can respond, and a big part of that is configuring yourselves so that someone with a gun gets in the door the second it cracks open.

Economy of Motion

Once the door is open, the name of the game is to get as many shooters on-line in as short of a time frame as possible. More shooters means more protection for the rest of the crew and allows the team to take down more targets more quickly. The way this is accomplished is by having shooters take the path of least resistance when entering a room.

Let’s start with that inward-opening door. Shooters are positioned on either side of the door, and when it opens they simply proceed straight ahead. The shooter on the right side of the door takes the left side of the room, and vice versa. What makes this setup convenient is that the time it takes for the doorknob-side shooter to open the door and get back on their gun is just enough time for the opposite side shooter to slip into the room, clearing the way for guy #2 to slide in behind.

With an outward opening door things are similar, but not identical. The first shooter still goes straight ahead, but for shooter #2 in the stack that direction is now blocked. Instead, they need to “button hook” (turn after entering the door) to cover the other side of the room. It makes sense — the first shooter is blocking the straight ahead direction, so the “path of least resistance” is to turn and service the opposite side of the room.

Once inside, the plan is to sweep from the outside in. Starting with the outer wall (the one the shooters just stacked on the opposite side of) they should scan until the two shooter’s fields of fire meet in the middle of the room. The guidance that our instructors gave us was that our area of responsibility ends about 2 feet in front of the extreme position of the other guy’s muzzle, which allows for some overlapping of the responsibility in the middle of the room.

Speed, Surprise, and Violence of Action

Above all, the most important thing that we failed to do was move with a sense of urgency. Speed, surprise, and violence of action — these are the principles that make CQB tactics like these work. If you can act successfully before your opponent has time to even realize what is going on, you win. But for us, our constant problem was that we weren’t smooth and quick enough to do it in a time that would work.

That’s just for one door at a time — expand that sequence to a full-on scenario and personally my fat ass can’t keep up.

At the end of the day, the instructors set up an extended scenario where we would use everything we learned that day and stretch our abilities. I made it through the little village just fine, but as soon as we started jogging down the road to the next shoot house I could no longer keep up. I’m dangerous over short distances, but anything over a couple hundred yards and I’m huffing and puffing like a lifelong smoker during a marathon.

Moral of the story: I need to lose weight. In a game where speed is the key to survival, my power-to-weight ratio is way off kilter.

While our half day in the modified shipping containers didn’t make us into lean mean room-clearing machines, it definitely gave us a better appreciation for the skills and expertise that SIG SAUER’s training academy has to offer.

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  1. Oh. My. Gawd.

    Do you really have to teach people this basic sh*t after they hit 10 years old? How f**king sad. No wonder America is in the sh**ter.

    • It’s a perishable skill. Q: When are you done learning? A: When St. Peter tags you that he’s moving.

      • Really? “high-speed, low-drag operators” actually need some putz to teach them basic weapons handling fundamentals? Truly sad. Once again the “formal training” fetishists are out doing themselves.

        • Sounds like you’ve got the confidence. Call us back when you’ve got the capability.

      • Ah, no wonder you cry like a beeatch all the time. How sad for you. Its OK, though! I give you permission to continue to crawl on your knees and beg for mercy.

        • It certainly is, and you still have my permission to crawl on your knees and beg for mercy. Seems that is about all you are capable of so I won’t take it from you. Your welcome.

        • Do you sing “Eye of the Tiger” in the mirror every morning?

          “It’s the EYE OF THE TIGER, it’s the thrill of the FIGHT..”

    • 5 am. every morning. get up and get at least a 30 min workout in. good bkfst. meditate. relax. focus thru the day. and be ready to bring it all to bear in a 45 second fight. lost 20 lbs in the last year. it is a lifestyle.

    • I prefer a shaped charge, followed by frags. Although!?!?! I have seen the latest, greatest building clearing ideas from Uncle Sam’s Misguided Children and US Army and I likeeee!!!! 20lb propane tank with 1/2lb C4 taped to it and pitched through a back entrance KILLS the f*ck out of the enemy. That is always a plus. Especially if you got their anti-human attention focused out front and then hose them down with heavy machinegun fire and a few claymores. Kill all He sends and Mohammad will send no more. Unless His intention is to kill everyone? Oh, yea, deathworshipping c*nts. Never mind.

        • Feel free to continue crawling on your knees and begging the enemy to spare your life. I will continue killing enemies. See how that works out, skippy.

        • Ah, I see. You want to talk with the enemy, perhaps pay them to go away, get to understand their “pain”. Yea. That is the line Obama voters always follow. Good luck with that.

        • Yes, especially if you think this day camp for yuppies is what all gun owners should be spending money and time on.

  2. Haha, I was right next door to those cargo containers this past Sunday, in the Engineering Building giving my Law of Self Defense Seminar. :-).

    Those Sig Sauer Academy facilities just keep getting better and better.

    –Andrew, @LawSelfDefense

  3. Years ago, My Government taught me to open the door just far enough to toss in a grenade, then slam it shut and step back. Too bad my LGS is fresh out of grenades!

  4. Light, dark, light, dark, half-light, bang bang bang, hear sound of your hard-breathing try to control, move, communicate, omg

  5. In several rooms you cleared there was red team shooters at both ends of the room. If the red team shooters are at all competent (and they may not given that they are backstopping each others’ fields of fire), then the first blue team shooter will likely be shot in the back entering the room. Did the Sig Sauer instructors tell you that the speed and element of surprise will keep you safe?

  6. Basics:

    -shoot opponent
    -Shoot opponent repeatedly

    Problem solved, problem staying solved. See? This is not that hard, maybe I should have my own “tactical” course?

  7. The game changes considerably when you have people shooting back at you. Bottom line: Leave room clearing to the pros. Unless there is something very, very important (like a family member) in another part of the house, the smart money is to get the hell out if you can or barricade yourself in a defensible location and call the fuzz,

  8. Looks fun but what is the point of this newfound thinking that civilians need to learn stuff only spec ops actually do? Yeager is a big proponent of it (he’s just trying to make $ though). What is the point of learning advanced skills like this? Is it just for fun?

    • Seems to me that learning a skill like this could come in handy at some point in your life. For instance, if you’re staying in a remote cabin with no cell phone service, and you come back after a long day of “doing stuff”, and you find the back door slightly open, what are you gonna do about it?

      Sleep outside for the next week while trying to catch rabbits for food? Drive a hundred and twenty miles back to town and forego your cabin trip entirely? Or clear the cabin with your buddy using proper, safe techniques in case there is someone in there, only to find out that it’s an over-zealous raccoon who just wanted a snack?

      Basically, if you get a chance to take a course like this, and be taught stuff by someone other than your own brain, I say you should do it. It *probably* can’t hurt (permanently, welts do fade with time).

  9. A bit ridiculous. In each of the scenarios the entering assaulter would be shot by the ensconced person(s).

  10. Even the military continues to practice skills, even elementary ones. Constant practice keeps the skill fresh.

  11. So I’m guessing 2hotel9 is 23years old and thinks he is a hard MFer because he plays airsoft, oh I’m sorry, “mil- sim”, on the weekend with his 13 year old friends. Seriously, son, to claim that the dark art of CQC is not a perishable skill means your a damn fool. Why do you think that the professionals quite literally drill this stuff every day? Heck, even shooting is a perishable skill.

    • I’ve had the pleasure of knowing a ranger and a few marines. One thing I’ve noticed is that the guys who actually know this stuff generally don’t talk about it. It takes knowing them a while before the stories start coming out. They certainly don’t have a need to impress strangers on the internet.

    • Ah, whats wrong?!? Did mean old mommy make you shut off the Xbox?

      You are the fool if you honestly believe yuppies ponying up a pile of cash to play soldier is real training. But hey, they get a cool tshirt and hat, so I guess it is a bargain.

  12. Need to keep the PT up in order to keep the speed up. There’s a reason you don’t see many fat bodies outside of support. REMF can haul a spare tire, grunts can’t (too much other gear…)

  13. Somebody’s got a troll infection. I instructed PRC for two years and learned something new every. single. day.

  14. 1. Protect your Buddy.
    2. Eliminate all threat.
    3. Cover all danger areas.
    4. Dont F up.
    4.5. If you do F up make it look sexy.

  15. They teach swat? Did they have you toss a flashbang into a crib? Shoot any dog silhouettes? I assume that will all be included in part 2?

  16. I’ve been compelled to post. First time.
    A. Glad you had fun
    B. Hip pocket fellas,hip pocket. You and your partner should be,”wearing the same pair of pants” go in in the room. Not addressing this is a HUGE fail for the academy (I get there teaching,”crossing streams”, principal still stands)
    C. you predominantly fire your weapon right handed. If you make entry, and are responsible for the RIGHT side of the room, you are now a mandatory Southpaw!(insert cheers of approval) failure to do so will, well, lead to failure. “But Snake, I can’t fire my weapon left handed,does it really matter?” Then you suck,and yes,yes it does.
    D. This one is big. Dig your corners. Dig em each time,every time,bottom line. For Gods sake, Dig the corners. Or you will die.Again, huge fail by academy if they failed to address this.
    E.yup, your out of shape. Most Americans are, so your in fine company.This is something that,as a long time lurker of the site, I’ve often wanted to address( not specifically YOU Nick!) Here’s a great little assement tool. Push your car down the block(or your buddies, if someone’s not going to be steering it). NOW train your weapon. How you perform on this test can be considered a strong indicator of your capabilities in a fight. “But Snake, I use a walker, I can’t push a car”. I debate that it is, still, a valid test even if you can’t preform it. Not very PC, but truth rarely is.
    F. Aaaaannnnnnnd…………let the hating of the Truth begin

  17. Interesting. My tactics (& weapon) would be completely different, but looks like fun. Never hurts to compare & analyze.

  18. Seans my brother, try this little gem:
    Have yer buddy,wife, kid,pizza delivery guy stand juuuuuuuuust inside the corner. Like you see in the movies, where the guy is waiting around the corner. The corner immediately to your right as you would enter the doorway, literally with there back to the wall, finger pointed at the door. Enter the funnel of death, and have them say,”bang!” When they see a part of your body.
    Now try it Southpaw, all tucked up proper. See what happens.
    Ol Snake won’t steer ya wrong…
    Or not, I really don’t care

    • So what exactly is your background in doing CQB. Curious. As for what you are saying, one that guy in the corner will always have the advantage with a dynamic entry. Why doing dynamic entries are stupid unless hostage rescue. And even then you are talking about such milliseconds that it isn’t going to matter.

  19. Oh, you know, I play a lot if call of duty . Pretty much an expert…
    Theres a game show, called,”duel”. You play for your life and 1 million bucks. In it, you face off against another lucky contestant, 5 yards apart. You each get a gun, locked at your side. When the timer goes off, the locking mechanism releases, and the game begins! Buuuut….
    The host is crooked. For a piece of the take, he will release your mechanism early. He makes this offer to both contestants.
    What’s a millisecond worth now?
    BTW, it’s called cover. Calling it,”barricades” marks you as a,”shooting sports ” guy, when reality is,” life and death guy”.
    And so marks the end of Snake! So long fellas

    • I am guessing you don’t have much time actually setting up a house. Me using the term barricade isn’t from shooting sports, it’s from me being a qualified military CQB RSO. Which means it’s my job to set up the house and make sure people don’t shoot each other. And we call the stuff barricades. And working with the other branches I know they use the same terminology. Also guessing you haven’t heard the term barricaded shooter.

  20. Marcus Aurelius, most guys don’t tLk about what they’ve done out of humility.

    2hotel9, the cool tshirts makes and breaks dudes

    • My favorite tshirt is “Needs more hot sauce!”.

      And to the actual point I was sarcastically and snarkily trying to make to begin with. All this supertrooper “training” being trotted out by “operators” is NOT what the majority of gun owners need. It is what they are being TOLD they need, by people who simply want to separate as much cash from as many marks as possible before people get hip to their scams.

      Basics. Learn them, drill on them. Rinse, repeat. Why is this so difficult for people to understand.

      And now I be outta here for the weekend. Got 2 ranges to set up for a competition shoot Saturday and Sunday, and a pig to cook.

        • I have not bothered with WoW in a couple of years, my son is still into it, though. Been spending my down time at World of Tanks. Fast paced, short sets don’t eat a lot of time and I can do them in between document downloads and printouts.


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