Opinion: On CQB and the “Raid Mentality”..

Author’s note 9-5-21: There seems to be some confusion by some people who have read this article. This is an article about a tactic that I feel is oversold to civilians looking to become better defenders of their families and liberty. It isn’t about duking it out with law enforcement, I’m not really sure where you get that idea. Don’t come on my page and start going hysterical in the comments, I’m not interested in who you’re pissed at or why, I’m really only interested in relevant conversation with people interested in developing their own skills.

Hawkeye over at UW Gear has been sharing some good videos lately from a gentleman that goes by Dick. I don’t know Dick (go ahead, laugh..), but a lot of what he talks about seems to mirror my own experiences and thoughts. They are entertaining to listen to but give some good perspective on some things that need fixed in our civilian tactical community.

A lot of it is just a case of people not knowing what they don’t know and in turn emulating what they are seeing. A lot of this stems from the fixation on SOF guys and how they operated in Iraq and Afghanistan, it’s something I call the “Raid Mentality”. High speed guys kitted up and conducting raids on HVT’s in the middle of the night, then extracting said target back to a secure base.

This ended up giving concerned citizens back home the idea that this is what they should be training to do, hence the “Raid Mentality”. This mentality has permeated almost every facet of civilian gun culture and tactical training for the last 20 years, and I’m glad to see that a lot of people are realizing there’s more to life than CQB.

What folks back home don’t see is the hundreds of foot patrols that went into patrolling that town and its supply routes, or the hundreds of hours of information gathering that went into determining who to capture and where. They also don’t see the external security provided during the raid on said house or the trailers (guys who follow the entry team and act as a rear guard and reinforcement for the guys doing the clearing) securing the already cleared rooms.

Sometimes I think people don’t know what they are talking about when they say “CQB”. I think people think it means any fighting in a building, and that couldn’t be further from the truth.

CQB is a policing tactic developed for SWAT teams, which themselves were developed in response to the University of Texas shooting in 1966, and that’s where it should stay. Not to glorify what Charles Whitman did in the slightest, but that was all in response to counter one man with a rifle, let that sink in for a second.. CQB is a tactic best used against an unknowing target in conjunction with overwhelming numbers and support. Once that sentence is no longer true you are no longer doing CQB, at least not if you want to stay alive.

This is an actual SWAT team from the 80’s. Chrome plated pistols, Ski goggles, and all..

How do I know this? Besides numerous examples from history (Stalingrad, Berlin, Hue, Grozny, An Nasiriyah, Al Fallujah…) I was once paid to do a fair amount of CQB training in my past, and having happily played OpFor against highly trained and professional CQB teams I can tell you first hand that once the element of surprise is lost you may as well hang it up. This of course happens at that point when the building is breached and the shooting starts, which is a situation that SWAT teams are trying to avoid altogether. How many SWAT teams would make entry on a building after they came under coordinated fire while riding in exposed on their Bears? How many would do it twice?

Grozny mass transit circa 1995

When myself and two others can wipe out a platoon of guys with sim rounds as they stumble through a door in massive suites of armor, while their platoon sergeant asks you to give them a chance, I’d say that pretty well means their tactics suck and you are so far inside their OODA loop they don’t know which end is up.

So while I do offer my own training in skills that are definitely more useful to the concerned citizen than CQB, there are a great many more trainers out there as well doing the same and I would encourage you to spend your training dollars in ways that give you the most bang for your buck. Start training realistically.

Alpha Charlie Concepts

If you’re not paying attention, you should be…..

Truth bombs from Dick….

20 comments

  1. I have played OPFOR for several LE department SWAT Teams and am very familiar with the tactics involved in making entry into and clearing structures. The simple fact is that once the element of surprise is lost, they expect to take 40% casualties and this is borne out by the dozens of exercises I’ve been involved in…….. Meaning, ONE BAD RAID and the team is done, combat ineffective. That’s why they will always terminate the mission and set up a perimeter and begin negotiations if any real resistance is encountered at entry. The idea that most Swat Teams are going to be running around night after night doing gun confiscation raids is ludicrous. Not that the politicians understand these facts……

    Liked by 1 person

    • ” The idea that most Swat Teams are going to be running around night after night doing gun confiscation raids is ludicrous. Not that the politicians understand these facts……”

      Or the “Patriot Community”, Preppers in general, and definitely NOT those that feed on both.

      Liked by 1 person

    • ” The idea that most Swat Teams are going to be running around night after night doing gun confiscation raids is ludicrous. Not that the politicians understand these facts……”

      Need to add – nor the Left.

      Liked by 1 person

      • The logistics involved in truly securing a region are beyond the grasp of most who haven’t seen it first hand. I’ve heard that fighting in Afghanistan was costing tax payers about $100 million a day. That’s to attempt to secure a country roughly the size of Texas. And in 20 years it never was secure. On a smaller scale, my battalion in Iraq with helicopter and tank attachments and logistical support a mile long was responsible for an area roughly 10 miles square, and while certain areas were secure at certain times, it never was “secure”.

        Liked by 1 person

  2. Thanks for doing this article, seems most of the youtube gun community suffers from the raid mentality. Also I think your opinion pieces are some of the best on the internet. Keep em’ coming badlands!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Lol thanks. Anytime you get out and practice there’s going to be some training value as long as it’s being done in a way that builds good habits. There’s a place for all sorts of skills, including the stereotypical square range training, but we have to adapt past that and continue improving and learning in other areas as well. Sometimes I wonder if a lot of this square range training has been promoted simply because that’s all the more area some trainers have to work with. Even the entire SUTS range out in Utah, which is a top notch facility hosting many large competitive action shooting competitions and training events is tiny compared to the ground we cover at the Fieldcraft course, so I kind of get they have to work with what they have.

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  3. “…once the element of surprise is lost you may as well hang it up.”

    Truth.
    As soon as the first round goes off, all plans become yesterday’s theory…

    It applies for aviation as well – especially for aviation, as we never really could sneak all that well.

    Liked by 1 person

      • Agreed.

        The difference between the two: the former is opportunity towards a quick and decisive victory; the latter, survival through attrition and blunt force.

        The Skobolev maxim I have used many times in my own posts holds true:

        I hold it as a principle that the duration of peace is in direct proportion to the slaughter you inflict upon the enemy. The harder you hit them, the longer they remain quiet.

        General Mikhail Skobelev (1843-1882)

        Punch them hard and fast… or go in with the determination and understanding that the struggle *will* become one of dogged and ignorant stamina.

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  4. Good article and spot on. I spent 20 years in LE after retiring from the service. Have been a member of the National Tactical Officers Assoc. for almost 30 years, training with LA Swat, LASD SEB, and many others. I have executed hundreds of search, arrest and no knock warrants in my day and have conducted hundreds of hours of POST certified training. I will be the first to tell you that cops get away with a lot shit because we deal with dumbasses. I served a warrant with a team that had one tactic-dynamic entry. While serving a search warrant on some dopers early in the morning the first 2 guys thru the door after the breach blew thru the living room without even seeing the suspect sleeping on the couch.
    so what its worth a couple of things to think about. Let the mission drive your tactics. Why are you going into that building? Is it an HR/active shooter situation? do we need to search and clear it for resupply? Can we make a slow deliberate entry, can we slow clear until contact, must it be dynamic? A lot of questions you should be asking before making entry. If you are the leader of a small partisan team you have to be considering every contingency.
    How many guys do you have? CQB eats up manpower fast, if you want to live anyway. Can you secure the perimeter? do you have break and rake teams to gunport windows? (getting a gun in a room on the other side of the building from the breach point is often a good idea). Alternate breach team in the event of a failed breach? Overwatch? You get my point.
    Everyone loves dynamic entry on the range and in the shoothouse. Dont run to your death. Start teaching your guys to clear buildings slow and deliberate, they will learn to use angles, see rooms more efficiently, id danger areas. Increase speed as they build skill, but never forget mission/situation drives the tactics. Use your own homes to train in, use a role player or an IPSC target hidden where a person could hide and search for it to start. Teach your people to see the whole person and collapse to the hands, Paul Howe teaches this after Delta had some blue on blue during sim training, see his articles at CSAT.
    While you are clearing your houses start learning how buildings are laid out by looking at the outside. Plumbing vents, size and shape of windows, doors etc. There’s a lot to learn besides right hand left hand door. hinge side. blah blah. Pick up Sid Heals book Tactical Diagraming for an in depth lesson.
    As a leader start iding buildings in your AO that you may need to enter. Take your guys and have them build target packages for each building. As in- where are the doors, utilties, emergency exits, tons of good to know info. Think partisan with minimal support.
    As you can see there is A LOT to this, not just kicking the door and charging in. Dynamic entries usually involve distracts (which you dont have in most cases) multiple entry points even if just breach and delay/hold. How can you do this successfully with what you have now? We can discuss entry tactics forever, if seeking training on this find someone whos done it. I have only done entries in a permissive environ those of you from the war could teach me a lot.
    Every building you walk into you should start looking at in the mode of “how would I clear this?”
    There seems to be a lot of chatter on the web about this lately with some ideas I feel are unsafe. Just some thoughts from an old swat guy Im probably wrong anyway, to paraphrase John Shrek McPhee.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks so much for all your insight, your comment should be an article of it’s own! I’ll be researching the books you recommended for sure, I’ll add them to the ever growing stack! Thank you and take care!

      Like

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