Devin L. Crinklaw: Choreographed CQB does not reflect the real world when met with resistance.

About the author

Devin L. Crinklaw is a 20 plus year LE veteran, 14 year veteran SWAT Team member and trainer with an extensive background in threat mitigation, firearms and tactics training. From Civilians, Police/First Responders and Military, In Extremis Tactical Group’s desire is to specialize in providing high quality affordable training based on research, science and experience.

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Limited Penetration CQB directly contrasts with the traditional “Dynamic” method, solely relying on speed plus synchronicity

The Article

The purpose of Limited Penetration CQB is to offer the Operator/Soldier/Officer tactical options that enhance their survivability.

Especially in a situation that is considered high risk, i.e. (searching for dangerous offenders) and can result in injury or death if confronted by a prepared and willing defender inside of a stronghold.

Limited Penetration CQB directly contrasts with the traditional “Dynamic” method, solely relying on speed plus synchronicity – and with another operator as a partner to assess, discriminate, evaluate, and act while moving into an unknown and previously unseen location.

Consequences in high-risk situations are life-threatening, and precision shots are often required while moving.

It is an incredibly difficult skill for even an exceptionally highly trained and experienced “Operator”.

But through training and practice, we build enough repetitions and actually become quite proficient at this skill, also known as Close Quarters Battle.

Sounds simple right?

We train this all of the time in shoot houses and on flat ranges, but there is a disconnect between what we are doing in training and what really happens when we are doing it against “resisting threats”.

I will explain here briefly.

Nobody will close on a threat that is oriented towards them and is shooting

Take #1: In the training scenario described above, the reasonably trained operator can move safely with a weapon and has good weapons handling/marksmanship skills.

As well as the ability to assess and discriminate what a good guy target or no-shoot target is vs. a bad guy target or threat target – and can bring the gun up and shoot it.

These regularly trained operators will act confidently and do well in a shoot house situation with 2-dimensional paper targets.

Take #2: Same Operator, same scenario, same weapons system with UTM/Simms Conversion bolt or dedicated SIM upper, etc., the same room now has live role players with Simms/UTM weapons and protective gear inside the room.

Role players are told to start shooting at the doorway and operator as soon as a muzzle or body part of the Lead Operator breaks the threshold.

The two-man team makes the entry, and as the first man starts to cross the doorway, they take fire from just off the center of the room. What happens?

What doesn’t happen is a repeat of what we saw in the paper target run. Nobody – (in general) the average officer/operator (when they are getting shot at room combat distance) – will close on a threat that is oriented towards them and shooting them.

The is entirely behaviorally non-compliant (the primal brain gets a say in this situation).

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They all flinch first, stop forward movement, startle drop, fall down, and some run away

Under startle, ambush, and new experience, and when the consequences are life-threatening, with little or no time to react, our bodies will default to defensive actions first.

Don’t believe me? Watch any Youtube video of a SWAT team that is postured offensively on an operation until they get shot at.

They all flinch first, stop forward movement, startle drop, fall down, and some run away before they are able to get back into the fight.

It is simple physiology.

The primal portion of the brain (the Amygdala) only cares about survival, so it short circuits the high brain and overrides trained responses with natural survival postures and actions like flinching, hugging cover, stopping forward movement into an ambush, etc.

Mentally sane individuals do not choose to run to their own death willingly.

That is why the Military can get 18-year-old Marines to do things like that.

Tell a 30-year-old Marine the same thing, and he will have choice words for you.

I challenge you to do the same demos, film them and observe the HUMAN BEHAVIORAL differences between the two drills.

I am confident that you will see that there is a massive disconnect with how we conduct CQB training on a flat range and in shoot houses when the role players are not shooting back.

For the assaulters, use face protection and t-shirts only.

The dynamic method of CQB works until it is met with resistance

True Close Quarters Battle doesn’t look like the typical stuff you see on “the Gram” and on Youtube, with four Operators smoothly running into large empty rooms while “running the walls” and shooting inches off the muzzle of the opposite cornerman in the far corner.

Choreographed CQB does not reflect the real world when met with resistance.

Most rooms where people dwell have clutter—lots of it.

Specifically on the walls, which prohibits that dogmatic method of running the walls.

Very often, there is simply not enough room to put four men inside of a room like the CQB end-user and shoot house instructor courses taught as SOP.

The open space is often in the center of the room, precisely where you don’t want to move into.

So the real-world changes our CQB, yet we still teach our officers/soldiers to run into rooms “blind” and guess what? It works.

Yes, I said it works.

Why does it work?

Because the overwhelming majority of CQB operations do not encounter prepared defenders.

The dynamic method of CQB works until it is met with resistance.

Then things fall apart behaviorally, and the results are catastrophic.

The Limited Penetration CQB method is an ambush system as opposed to running dynamically into a predator’s lair.

No predator in nature will run into another predator’s cave without sniffing it first.

Limited Penetration CQB allows us to “Sniff the Cave” before we ambush its occupants from the outside.

And remember, bullets will always travel faster than feet. (Credit goes to my Colleague Trevor S. Thrasher, USARNG Special Forces MSG (ret.) Career Police Officer, for the “Cave Sniffing” analogy).

The genesis of the Behavior-Based Limited Penetration CQB Methodology

To sum up what we have discussed here:

The genesis of the Behavior-Based Limited Penetration CQB Methodology is rooted in applying and enhancing primal human behaviors under duress to maximize survivability and effectiveness while reducing liability, training burdens, and training disconnects.

It provides one comprehensive principle-based methodology that can be applied at various speeds in various situations.

It is compliant with what people will actually do when confronted with a real threat.

Many common methods of CQB require excessive precision in execution and extreme performance under duress.

These methods are not focused on the survivability of officers, offer no flexibility in response, and are largely dogmatic and theoretical.

They are primarily based on paper targets and shoot-house scenarios.

The recent wide availability of actual combat footage shows that traditionally taught immediate entry tactics are almost always abandoned upon first contact with a real threat.

• Limited Penetration CQB – is reality and behavior-based. It does not require officers/operators to work against their instincts to survive. Behaviorally non-compliant actions increase confusion, stress, and poor decision-making.

• It is survivability-based – it makes use of cover, concealment, movement, maximizing forces, and disruption of the OODA loop to increase both: defensive and offensive capability.

• It gives officers a means to pull out of and stabilize extreme situations (a massive benefit!).

• It uses a combination of limited penetration and focused entry in a flexible but universal manner to deal with various and rapidly changing situations.

High-intensity Close Quarter Battle against automatic gunfire and high explosives

One of the best representations of a highly trained Special Operations Unit can be seen in the “El Chapo Raid” video – US SOF trained these Mexican MARINAS. They have extensive experience in combat and the drug war, conducting CQB operations against extremely prepared and well-trained defenders (once again probably US SOF trained).

During the video, you will not see one operator stack up on the side of the door, get “tapped up”, and run into the room full of bad guys with machine guns waiting to ambush them.

Natural human behavior is what kept these men alive, despite the Commander telling them to hurry up “Rapido!” “Rapido!”

They intuitively fought from the edges of the doorway (i.e., Limited Penetration CQB) in a hard-fought, high-intensity Close Quarter Battle against automatic gunfire and high explosives.

Watch the video of this operation if you want to see what really happens with people if others are trying to kill them from inside a room.

Fortunately, we are hard-wired to stay alive. So why are we training people against nature?

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Photos by Devin Crinklaw

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