We're wrapping up our 3-part series on CQB Essentials.
I've gotten some great responses from you guys during this series, so let's jump in and finish strong!
Recall, the 3 principles of Close Quarter Battle (CQB) are:
Today, we're taking on the third principle, Violence of Action. If you need to get spun up on the first two installments of the series, I've posted them on the website. You can access parts 1 and 2, by clicking these links: How to Dominate in Close Quarters and CQB Essentials Part 2: The Element of Surprise, respectively.
Now, let's go!
Violence of action is the principle by which we neutralize the threat as soon as possible. If I were sum up the concept in one word, it would be dominance. We must dominate the enemy both
physically and psychologically to prevent them from defending their position or mounting a counter-attack against us. When it comes to Violence of Action, overwhelming force is the name of the game.
Picture it this way. You're watching a UFC or boxing match. You see one of the fighters launch a brutal salvo of punches into his opponent with the speed and ferocity of a machine gun. You can literally hear his fists smash into the other dude's head as he shreds him into a bloody pulp. The beaten fighter buckles under the unrelenting storm of punches, unable to fight back or protect himself.
Eventually, the referee steps in to stop the fight before someone gets seriously hurt. The fight is over. Pitted against such overwhelming force, the other guy never had a chance. And that, my friends, is classic violence of action.
Can we apply that to CQB? You bet.
If our goal is to overwhelm and dominate the enemy, there's a number of ways we can get that done.
From a military or law enforcement perspective, we can begin by:
And that's just the beginning! Follow it up with a highly trained team flooding the room with guns and that's violence of action par excellence.
But what about in a civilian context? Does violence of action apply to a security-minded citizen? Yup.
If you have to clear your house or enter a shopping mall to retrieve a loved one during an active shooter event, violence of action is especially critical. And while you may not have breaching assets or demolitions handy, you can still establish violence of action.
Utilizing fast, aggressive maneuver and fire superiority may be all you have. But if you do it right, it may be all you need. Anything that allows you to gain and maintain dominance over the enemy is what we're looking for.
It's all related...
The principles of speed, surprise, and violence of action all have a synergistic relationship to the others. Gaining the element of surprise will help you with speed. Moving with speed will help you sustain violence of action. Speed and violence of action can help you gain the element of surprise. They all work together.
But just like with speed and surprise, there are common mistakes shooters make when implementing violence of action. I could do a deep dive on each of these, but since this is an overview, I'll focus on these three:
MISTAKE #1: FAILURE TO COMMIT
You've heard me talk before about the dangers of the fatal funnel. Typically, the fatal funnel is a doorway or threshold you must pass through in order to advance on the threat. These funnels or choke points are where you are most vulnerable, so you have to pass through them quickly - and therein lies the problem.
It can be counter-intuitive to move into a danger zone where a bad guy that you can't see is armed and waiting for you.
Because of that, new shooters will often freeze inside the threshold without properly advancing into the room. This causes a number of problems. One, it makes you a static target at the focal point. Two, it blocks other members of the team from making entry to help you out.
The results? You lose your violence of action.
The remedy is simple. When it's time to go, go. Move through the threshold in a controlled, but aggressive manner in order to dominate the space. Commit to move, then to move to your corners of domination and cover your sectors. See it through.
MISTAKE #2: INADEQUATE WEAPON SKILLS
When training CQB, especially if you're new to it, the stress, fatigue, and cognitive overload can take it's toll on other tasks - like weapon handling skills. You must maintain discipline by :
While on the subject of weapons handling, let's talk about malfunctions. When jams or malfunctions occur on the flat range they are simple and easy to correct. But when they occur during a close quarters engagement, it can be catastrophic. You and your team need a plan of action for how you will handle these a malfunction should it occur. Make it part of your standard operating procedures (SOP), so that everyone is on the same page. The same goes if you're working alone. Have a plan and work it into your training.
MISTAKE #3: TARGETING
The third error we commonly see is targeting, which has two components: target discrimination and shot placement.
Target discrimination means that the bad guys get shot and the good guys don't. CQB is fast and confusing when you're first starting out. Remember what I said in the first installment in this series about speed. You can only move as fast as your eyes can process the room. Move with controlled speed and controlled aggression, so that you'll have time to differentiate between friendlies and enemies in the room.
The second part of targeting is shot placement. In CQB, the enemy must be incapacitated immediately. Shots that wound, but do not immediately incapacitate aren't much better than missing the target completely. Why? Because even if you inflict a mortal wound, if the threat is not immediately incapacitated he can still pull the trigger and kill you with his dying breath. To insure immediate incapacitation the threat, you must make well-placed head shots.
The challenge is many of us have been taught to aim center mass of the target. Head shots aren't something we're accustomed to doing on the move. And while chest shots that that enter the heart and lungs are normally fatal, it may take several seconds for the threat to expire. Again, that's enough time for him to return effective fire on you. Besides, the threat could be wearing body armor. Yet another reason why head shots are necessary.
To gain immediate incapacitation, aim for the area approximately in the center of the face, below the middle of the forehead, but above the upper lip. That will "turn off the lights."
But why the head? Can't we achieve incapacitation with a shot to the spinal column? Yes, a hit to the spinal column (anywhere below the jaw and the top of the sternum) can get it done, but that's a very narrow target. If you're off by even a few centimeters, you may leave him with enough gas in the tank to deliver a fatal shot to you. Train yourself to make well-placed head shots and you avoid the problem altogether.
Now, having said that, there is another way to approach the issue of shot placement. I know of some units that don't train their personnel to take head shots per se. Instead, they prefer the to teach "shoot the threat center mass and continue shooting until the threat is down" approach. Personally, I'm good with that too.
So, there you have it, the Essentials of CQB. In this series we've discussed the three principles of CQB, which are speed, surprise, and violence of action. We discussed each element, its best practices and common mistakes. And we've only scratched the surface! There's a lot I didn't cover, like footwork, mechanical offset when aiming, etc.,. We'll talk about that in future.
I hope you enjoyed this series and found the information useful. Now it's your turn. Drop a comment below and share your thoughts and insights.
As always, if you have questions or topics you'd like me to cover in the newsletter or on the podcast, send it.
Until next time, stay sharp.