In CQB shooting the following are common elements:
. High stress
. High speed shooting
. Relatively short ranges
. Bad lighting conditions
. Limited space
. Multiple targets
. Smoke, noise and confusion
Close quarter shooting requires familiarity with basic tactics, physical
agility, controlled aggression and above average shooting skills. Because
of the confined spaces in most rooms the operator can be in very close
proximity to armed threats. This leaves very little time to evaluate the situation.
The principles of combat shooting are well known:
To be able to shoot fast enough without sacrificing accuracy requires
modifications to the fundamentals of basic shooting.
The actual shooting stances like the weawer, and the modern isosceles stance
plus many more can be discussed in the
The key features of the stance are still comfort and balance but there must
also be the flexibility to move quickly. There is a natural tendency to bend
the knees slightly. Do not over exaggerate it.
The grip on the weapon should be firm but not a death grip. Too much pressure
on the weapon will affect accuracy. The extent to which the arms and weapon
are extended toward the target will be determined by the distance to the
target, and the potential for being disarmed.
Sight alignment, in the conventional sense, will often be impossible because
of low light and target fixation. When an armed threat is pointing a weapon
at you or another team member, it is almost impossible to draw your
attention away from the imminent danger and back to the sights. In addition,
the distances involved are often close enough to be able to depend on muscle
memory and natural weapon alignment.
Any hope of controlling breathing in a high stress entry is pointless.
Trigger control will also have to be modified. There is no longer the time
to slowly increase pressure for the perfect "surprise break". The weapon
must fire at the instant the operator has a clear shot.
With the correct training, the trigger finger will become programmed to
respond to visual input and squeeze the trigger with very little conscious
When engaging multiple targets the operator will come to depend on this same
rapid weapon alignment and subconscious trigger release. Longer shots and
smaller targets may require the use of a more conscious sight picture and
progressive trigger control.
The speed with which one shoots will be dictated by three factors. The
distance, the size of the target, and the shooter's personal ability. Never shoot faster than
you can consistently hit your intended target EVERYTIME. Misses are an
unacceptable part of training and a serious hazard on an operation. Take an
additional quarter second to guarantee a hit on medium range targets. This
gives the gun the opportunity to settle into the kill zone.
There is a tendency place too much emphasis on speed shooting. Instead of working on a correct
aim and guaranteed hits. The operator is simply trying to get all his shots
off in the required time limit. The emphasis shut be placed on accuracy and
guaranteed hits. Only then can the operators begin to push themselves and
develop speed without sacrificing accuracy. Speed will come on it's own. The
accuracy and guaranteed hits must be mastered first to become a
useful member of a tactical team. This is a matter of safety as well
as having the basics as the foundation to build on. Let the speed
developon its own. It will happen.
Once the fundamentals have been mastered and the operator has achieved a
well above average standard, he must strive for the level where shooting
When the weapon becomes an extension of the body, muscle memory will bring
the weapon to alignment
instantly, and the eye registers the sights without conscious thought. Point
shooting, without use of the sights, can be mastered through constant
repetition of a given movement until muscle memory develops. If a weapon is
brought to the aiming position enough times, eventually it will return to
that position even if focus is maintained on the target. This is not
instinct but simply a combination of concentration and muscle memory.
Studies from the British SAS confirm that an operator will begin to active
this level after minimum 2300 repetitions of the same drill. Mastery of
anything is about repetition; not talent. Strive to become a skilled
operator. Skilled operators are made. They are not born that way.
You don't have to have talent to be excellent, just willing to put
in the reptitions and hours of practice to become skilled.
One exception to the rule of shooting from the shoulder is when the weapon
is equipped with a light or laser. Since the aiming point is projected onto
the target, it is unnecessary to fully shoulder and align the weapon as you
would with conventional sights. For this type of shooting tuck the stock of
the weapon under the armpit to forms a stable shooting position. Lockdown on
the stock with the right arm, control the muzzle and light with the weak
hand, watch the aiming point move onto the target and shoot when the
situation warrants. A flashlight-mounted weapon can still be fired from the
shoulder and should be, when precision is required. The sights will show up
clearly on the well lit target. However, this is a slower method when the
situation calls for a fast chest shot at medium to cose range. The added
benefit of the light mount is that the light will blind and disorient the
There are two ready/entry positions to choose from.
The first, low ready, requires shouldering of the weapon and then keeping
the muzzle down to allow a clear view of the killing area. The muzzle of the
weapon is raised only when engaging a target. This allows for extremely fast
sight acquisition since the weapon is already in a shooting position. When
the sights cannot be seen - too dark - this position allows for very
accurate point-shoulder shooting.
The alternative is a modified port-arms patrolling position called high
ready. The weapon is held in a shooting grip, thumb on safety, but with the
stock resting inside of the right elbow and the muzzle held at chin level
but angled well forward. The operator looks across the top of the muzzle as
he scans an area, then mounts the weapon to the shoulder in one smooth
motion when a target comes into view, much the same way as a shotgun shooter
mounts his weapon on the trap range.
A operator must elevate or depress the muzzle of his weapon quickly, when a
fellow team member passes in front of him during entry. When clear, the
operator can immediately come back on target.
CQB shooting program
We are assuming that you can already shoot quite well, and master the
following basic weapon skills:
. Loading and unloading drills
. Operation and safety.
. Selection of shooting positions
. Aiming with the sights versus Point Shooting
. Tactical reloads
. Malfunction drills
Initial training should be-done on paper targets so that the operators can
score their performance and the instructor can see the weaknesses in
technique. All multiple target shooting - shooting from various barricades,
fire and movement drills, and team drills - are shot on steel targets. The
steel gives the shooter an immediate indication of a hit and the instructor
a visual and audible indication of the shooter's ability. If you are
restricted to paper targets, put up two or three for each shooter, shoot one
exercise on each, and then go downrange and score all three at the same
time. This will save time and unnecessary fatigue on the part of the
Because of the different rules and regulations found around the world, some of
the shooting might not be suited for some teams. Feel free to modify these
drills, as you see fit.
Prone, supported (sandbag) to check sights
Adjust sights and repeat prone, supported
Shooting sitting, kneeling and standing
Standing to kneeling to sitting to prone (timed)
Right and left barricade shooting
Barricade shooting will make maximum use of cover.
Prone. Shoot one round on command (within 2 seconds)
Drop to prone supported and fire one round (5 seconds)
Walk and fire from 100 to 25 yards
Snap shooting from 25-yard line, standing
Drop to kneeling and fire one round
Walk and fire from 25 to 10 yards
Shoulder Point shooting at 10 yards
Aimed head shots at 10 yards (2 seconds)
Aimed head shots at 25 yards (5 seconds)
Walk-and-fire exercises, everyone engaging the targets with two rounds each
time the rangemaster commands "Shoot!" or blows his whistle.
Moving target drills at 25 and 50 yards. These should include running,
turning and fleeing targets
Low-light and night-shooting exercises
Night scopes, if they are available
Multiple target shooting.
Multiple head shots
Multiple targets with shoot/no-shoot exercises
Multiple targets will be shot in order of proximity or threat.
Exertion and shooting. Use running, push-ups and sit-ups.
Transition drill. Dropping the shoulder weapon and drawing the pistol to
engage the target.
Night time transition drill: drawing the pistol and engaging the target
while keeping the shoulder weapon mounted in order to utilize the light
Reloading drills. (Reloading should be done automatically without reminders
from the instructors.)
When training, imagination will help design even more complex exercises keep
pushing yourself, and try new stuff as long as safety and guarantied hits
still are achieved.